2009 NFL Draft WR Rankings

Here’s a look back at how I ranked the WRs coming out in the 2009 NFL Draft. I’m going to say my biggest miss was Mike Wallace, who I ranked as the number-22 WR. And my biggest overhype was probably Brian Robiskie at number 5.

  1. Jeremy Maclin: Eagles, 1st round. Very fast. AAHM. Will be their slot receiver right away, and should be their #1 or #2 by 2010. Needs work on route-running in west coast system to rise up depth chart. Only has average size. Is in a pass-heavy offense with an excellent coach and QB, which boosts his stock a lot, but he dropped a bit because of his 1-week holdout.
  2. Michael Crabtree: 49ers, 1st round. All-American. Great hands. Physical, but not exceptionally fast. Coming off foot surgery. More talent than any other 49ers receiver, but may have to back up Bruce for year. He will be their #1 by 2010. Holding out of camp, which hurts his first-year stock. Also, the 49ers will be a run-first team for Singletary, so it’s unsure if he’ll have as much impact.
  3. Hakeem Nicks: Giants, 1st round. Great hands and fantastic concentration. Strong and physical receiver with average speed. Potentially great possession receiver like Anquan Boldin. In perfect situation in New York to take Plaxico Burress role in offense. Should be top receiver right away due to his polished playing style. Showed great hands at minicamp. Expected to become starter some time in 2009. On a run-first team, though, which drops him in the rankings.
  4. Percy Harvin: Vikings, 1st round. All-around weapon with RB body and strength. Good speed and vision. Tough – had big bowl game running and receiving even though injured. Will need work on routes, but they looked good at pro day. Will immediately be their slot receiver but produce like a #2, then like a #1 in 2010 and beyond. With bad CB play in division, could run wild if QB can get him the ball. Being used all over the field in OTAs. Slightly injury-prone, but showed he can play well through injury.
  5. Brian Robiskie: Browns, 2nd round. Great size. Excellent route-runner, and very polished. 4.5 speed, Showed strength, hands and intelligence at Senior Bowl. Will be an excellent possession receiver. Should be their #2 receiver for years with Stallworth’s legal troubles. Or may be #1 if Braylon is traded. Also immediately helps QB play with his dependability.  Minimal bust potential. However, is just a possession receiver on a run-first team, so his upside may be 900 yards and 8 TDs.
  6. Darrius Heyward-Bey: Raiders, 1st round. Good size. Fastest receiver at the Combine, and with great verticals. Will immediately be #1 receiver in Raiders’ improving offense. He has the ability to excel in a couple of years if he gets coaching help — a questionable concept on this team. Can make the circus catch, but has inconsistent hands – dropping passes left and right in training camp. Has immediate pressure put on him because of high draft spot. Also, has been having hamstring problems all offseason, so will be behind the learning curve immediately.
  7. Kenny Britt: Titans, 1st round. Outspoken, but has the skills to back it up. Big and physical. Makes the tough catches over the middle, and is hard to bring down. Great speed for the size. Like Nicks, is in perfect situation for his size and talents. The Titans need him as a replacement for McCareins, but the offensive style, with emphasis on running game, means he won’t be as productive as he could have been. Was impressive at the rookie minicamp, but missed OTAs due to a hamstring problem. Inconsistent hands.
  8. Deon Butler: Seahawks, 3rd round. Polished receiver. Good burst, hands, and elevation. Tough for his 5’10” (168-lb.) size. Good instincts. Adjusts well to ball. 4.38 40. Will be 4th receiver in 2009 with starting slot potential in 2010 and beyond. Replaces role former Penn St. and Seahawks WR Bobby Engram filled. Did great at minicamps, and was noticed by coaches. Undervalued here.
  9. Austin Collie: Colts, 4th round. Great hands and routes. Very productive. Great size. Average speed. Can get open. Said to be a Brandon Stokley clone, and is going to the team that knows best how to use that ability. Could be starting right away in the slot in Colts offense, which adds much potential. Should definitely be starting by 2010. However, apparently not in the mix for the WR3 position in 2009 as of June 1. May also eventually replace Reggie Wayne, who turns 31 this year — but Manning will have retired by then.
  10. Brandon Tate: Patriots, 3rd round. Was developing into 1st-round talent before injuring knee in October 2008. Good size, strong legs, excellent returner skills. Good hands and average speed. Probably a 4th receiver for 2009, a #3 in 2010 when Galloway retires, and #1 potential as Randy Moss’s backup in 2011 and after. On PUP list, and will miss training camp completely, as well as first 6 weeks. 2009 looks to be a washout for him, but future is bright.
  11. Jarrett Dillard: Jaguars, 5th round. All-time NCAA Receiving TD record-holder. Understands the position. Natural pass-catcher with fantastic leaping ability. Runs great routes. Great hands and runs well after the catch. 5’10”/190lbs., but plays much taller. May need to work on upper-body strength to escape NFL jams. Should start on Jaguars as flanker right away, but team’s emphasis on run may limit his touches. Struggled first day of minicamp, but improved. Now he’s been praised for his all-around skills, intelligence, hands, and feel for the position. Will be eventual replacement for Holt. Undervalued at this spot.
  12. Louis Murphy: Raiders, 4th round. Good speed, size, concentration and adjustment to the ball. Improving blocker. Catches well with hands. Tough over middle. Won’t start right away, but has potential in improving Raiders offense. Cable singled him out as the biggest surprise of draft. Needs work on routes. May be 4th receiver in 2009, with #3 potential afterwards, but will never be WR1.
  13. Mike Thomas: Jaguars, 4th round. Very short, but polished receiver. Runs great routes. Very fast and quick, and gets good separation. Didn’t have very strong legs in offseason, but has added 10 pounds of muscle since. OK upper-body strength. Good returner, and is being tried there in OTAs. Should be starting slot receiver on Jaguars right away, but offense’s run emphasis may limit his upside as a receiver.
  14. Johnny Knox: Bears, 5th round. Productive at Texas vs. the Nation game. Ran good routes and showed good hands and quickness. Good routes and concentration. 2nd-fastest 40 at Combine. Also has returner skills. Looked great at pro day. Probably 5th receiver in 2009, but may work up to starting slot WR by 2010. Is expected to contribute immediately. Cleanly caught almost everything in OTAs. Undervalued.
  15. Juaquin Iglesias: Bears, 3rd round. Does nothing spectacularly, but always catches a lot of passes. Tough receiver with improving routes, but inconsistent hands (great at pro day). Above-average speed. Good field awareness. AAHM. Will be big possession receiver Bears need across from Hester, with 80-catch potential. Muhsin Muhammad -like (in a good way). With Cutler throwing the ball, has excellent potential right away due to his polished level of play. Seems very unimpressive in OTAs, though.
  16. Patrick Turner: Dolphins, 3rd round. Big receiver who’s tough to tackle. Doesn’t use hands to catch. Never amounted to much in college or in all-star game, but may actually be productive on Dolphins. Should be #4 right away, and may supplant Bess and Camarillo by 2010. Could even be top receiver by 2011 if Ginn levels off. Caught everything at minicamp.
  17. Sammie Stroughter: Buccaneers, 7th round. Average speed and a little short. Shifty and strong. Has returner skills. Excellent body control. Good after catch. Mostly invisible during Shrine Game. Probably a 5th WR on Buccaneers, though he’s apparently already moving up the depth chart on the Bucs. May never be more than a slot receiver due to size. Undervalued.
  18. Ramses Barden: Giants, 3rd round. Very tall, but well-built frame. Was very productive and dominant at small school. Good routes with great breaks. Excellent work ethic. Durable. Adjusts well to ball and has good hands. Good speed for the size. Will improve with time. Is probably the Giants’ 4th receiver in 2009, with #2 potential behind Nicks after that, but has crowded depth chart ahead of him. With Nicks and Barden in goal-line offense, this offense has great potential. Is said to be a few years away, however.
  19. Mohamed Massaquoi: Browns, 2nd round. Good routes and hands. Good size. Above-average speed. Good character. Like Robiskie, has good potential on Browns  — a team that lacks receivers — but his game is similar to Robiskie’s, and that may put him deeper on the depth chart. Offense will probably be run-heavy, which also limits his upside, but the team’s need for moving the chains may be a good sign, as possession receiving is his game. If Braylon is moved, then Massaquoi should be team’s #2 WR. With Edwards and Robiskie ahead of him, though, won’t be more than #3 on team
  20. Brooks Foster: Rams, 5th round. Tough. Above-average size. Strongest bench press ever at Combine for a WR. Above-average speed & elusiveness. Suspect hands and durability. Coming off injury-shortened season, and was injured at Senior Bowl practices. Has ability to make an impact in Rams offense, with their lack of receivers. Should be their #5 in 2009, with rising potential behind Avery in 2010 and beyond. Not expected to contribute much this year, though. Waived by team in August, 2010.
  21. Derrick Williams: Lions, 3rd round. Good speed & adjustment to the ball. Return skills. Good upper-body strength. Not good route-runner. Slow out of breaks. AAHM. Will probably be 4th receiver in 2009, with #3 potential in 2010. Behind CJ, will not be better than a #2.
  22. Mike Wallace: Steelers, 3rd round. Good size. Great speed, good quickness and return skills. Showed good concentration on deep TD at Senior Bowl, but also showed lack of effort when play’s not to him. Fighting with Sweed and McDonald for #3 spot in 2009, but no more than #3 potential with Ward and Holmes ahead of him. May go higher when Ward retires by 2011.
  23. Brandon Gibson: Eagles, 5th round. Good size. Catches with hands and adjusts well to ball. Improving routes, but is a bit slow. Weak upper body. Good work ethic. Good fit for Eagles’ west coast offense, but it is believed he will have to beat out a veteran to make the team (Brown, Avant, Baskett). Regardless, would probably only eventually be a #3 buried behind Jackson and Maclin. Being compared to Cris Carter, but has some work to do to get there.
  24. Dominique Edison: Titans, 6th round. 6’2″ size and great speed. Good enough to be #4 WR on team, and has potential to be #2 to Britt in years to come, but probably just #3 with Washington also on roster. Did well at minicamp.
  25. Quan Cosby: Bengals, FA. 26 years old. Showed good hands and speed at Senior Bowl. Very smart and can read defenses well. Exceptional upper-body strength, but a little short. Could make it to #3 on depth chart by end of 2009, but may never be more than #2 receiver. Showed great moves in minicamp video.
  26. Dudley Guice: FA. Adequate field speed with 4.4 track speed. Has knack for getting open and catching the ball. Great size with long arms to go up and fight for the ball. Below-average upper-body strength. Very impressive at pro day, and was one of the top receivers in the Texas vs. the Nation game. Cut by Titans on 9/1.
  27. Tiquan Underwood: Jaguars, 7th round. Elite track speed. A project receiver, and will be behind Thomas, Dillard, and Holt at the outset. Also being tried as kickoff returner.
  28. Demetrius Byrd: Chargers, 7th round. Average size and good speed. Good athleticism. Production in senior season hurt by freshman QB. Temperamental. Probably #4 WR in 2009, with #3 potential eventually and limited fantasy relevance.
  29. Julian Edelman: Patriots, 7th round. Slightly below-average size, but well built. Good hands. Average speed, but excellent quickness. Compared to Wes Welker, and is now on the same team. Considered a Wildcat QB and special-teamer. May make practice squad and be Welker’s backup. Picking up offense quickly in training camp.
  30. Brian Hartline: Dolphins, 4th round. Average speed but good size. Not terribly productive senior year. Will have to battle for #4 or lower spot on team. Made some nice grabs in minicamp, but won’t participate in OTAs until mid-June.
  31. Marko Mitchell: Redskins, 7th round. Great size, but not very physical. Seems to have good practice hands, but they weren’t evident in Shrine Game. Average explosiveness. Not good separation. Doesn’t come down with tough catches. Injured at pro day. Not likely to make team except as #5 WR.
  32. Gregory Carr: FA. 6’6” frame, 217 lbs. 4.6 speed. Tough, with good hands. Cut by Chargers late August.
  33. Kenny McKinley: Broncos, 5th round. Good speed, moves and hands, but raw route running. Excellent quickness. Average size. Not physical. Dangerous after the catch. Was invisible at Senior Bowl. 4th or 5th on chart for Broncos, and will probably never be more than #3.
  34. Jason Chery: Panthers, FA. Great returner skills, and that’s probably where he’ll make his money in the NFL. Good acceleration and balance. Great speed and good concentration. Very productive at Texas vs. the Nation game. Could be #4 right away on team with Jarrett slightly ahead of him, but with aging receivers ahead of him, could see some playing time in 2009 and extensive time in 2010 and beyond. Could also be the returner the Panthers have needed since Steve Smith stopped doing it.
  35. Aaron Kelly: Falcons, FA. Tall receiver with average track speed for the size. A little slow changing speeds, but good body control. Good red-zone target. Invisible in Shrine Game. ACC’s all-time leading receiver. Chance to be #4 WR on team this year, but probably never more than #3. Douglas injury gives him a slightly better chance to make team.
  36. Eron Riley: Ravens, FA. Great size and elite speed and athleticism. Needs work on route-running and concentration. Has good chance to stick as 4th or 5th WR, but not fantasy relevant yet. Signed to FA contract after minicamp. Better chance now that Mason has retired.
  37. Kevin Ogletree: Cowboys, FA. Will probably battle with Manuel Johnson for last WR spot on team, and should beat him. Made favorable first impression, but is still considered long-shot.
  38. Quinten Lawrence: Chiefs, 5th round. Average size and good speed. Strong upper body. Has chance to stick on receiver-starved team, but is not fantasy relevant. Expected to compete primarily for returner job, but has shown great deep speed in training camp.
  39. Dobson Collins: 49ers, FA. Adjusts well to ball. Has good size and hands. Good concentration. Was fairly highly thought-of in early offseason, but has uphill battle to make 49ers young WR stable.
  40. Jordan Norwood: Browns, FA. Has fantastic practice hands and concentration, though it doesn’t seem to show on the field, in the Texas vs. the Nation game, or at the Combine. Average speed. May not make Browns roster, but could stick on practice squad due to his practice abilities.
  41. Michael Jones: Texans, FA. Great size and athleticism. Good speed for his size. Has chance as 4th or 5th WR.
  42. Kenneth Harris: Saints, FA. Great size and speed. Very good at pro day. Will battle with Matt Simon for last WR spots on team or practice-squad spot.
  43. Matt Simon: Saints, FA. Good size, speed, athleticism, and upper-body strength. Will battle with Matt Simon for last WR spots on team or practice-squad spot. Not fantasy relevant yet.
  44. Britt Davis: Jets, FA. Good size, speed, athleticism, and upper-body strength. Could stick as practice-squad player. Not fantasy relevant yet.
  45. Darius Passmore: Dolphins, FA, tryout. Average size and speed with big hands. Below-average upper-body strength. Very raw route-runner.  Had draftable talent, but then wasn’t signed until weeks after draft. Will be a three-year project at least. Has experience in Wildcat, and is going to the Dolphins. Best bet, really, is on the practice squad, especially with Turner, Bess, Camarillo, Ginn, Marion, and Hartline on the team.
  46. Chris Williams: Dolphins, FA. Exceptionally fast, but short and slight. Not much of a chance to make team, but could work on special teams. Not fantasy relevant yet.
  47. Josh Briscoe: Redskins, FA. Great height, but thin build. Great speed. Redskins picked up a few rookie WRs this offseason, and they will battle for maybe 2 spots. Not fantasy relevant yet.
  48. Isaiah Williams: FA. Great size and elite speed. Very athletic. Signed to FA contract by Ravens after minicamp, but waived at end of July.
  49. Vinny Perretta: Vikings, FA. Short receiver with 4.45 speed. Avg. upper-body strength with good lower body. Will compete for #5 WR spot, but is buried on depth chart.
  50. Greg Orton: FA. Physically solid, but not a good route runner. Average hands. Good blocker. A little slow on track. Could be WR or even TE. Waived by Bengals in late August.
  51. Larry Beavers: Panthers, FA. Very small, but elite speed. Major returner skills, and could compete with Jason Chery to replace Smith on special teams, learning from the also-small Smith on the finer points of the position. Not fantasy relevant for a while.
  52. Quentin Chaney: Rams, FA. Limited WR depth chart in St. Louis gives him a roster shot, but not much more.
  53. Nate Swift: Broncos, FA. Good size, but slow for a receiver. Probably just battling for a special teams spot, and isn’t fantasy-relevant.
  54. Eric Peterman: Bears, FA. Average size and speed. Low upper-body strength. Will only compete for special-teams role.
  55. Nick Moore: Vikings, FA. Tall, but thin, brother of Lance Moore. Average speed and athleticism. Will compete for WR #5 spot, but is buried on depth chart.
  56. Derek Kinder: 7th round. Good size and average speed. Was injured a couple of years ago and has never fully regained ability. Not fantasy relevant, and did not even make the receiver-starved Bears — cut on 9/1.
  57. Kole Heckendorf: Packers, FA. Great height, but too thin. Good speed and athleticism. Average upper body. Possible practice-squad player.
  58. Tommy Breaux: Ravens, FA. Giant 6’7” receiver, but thin for the height. 4.5 speed with great explosiveness. Very raw, and has had unsuccessful tryouts with the Redskins and Giants.
  59. Lucas Taylor: FA. Excellent speed and good athleticism. Adequate size, and had good production until senior year. Placed on waived/injured list in late July.
  60. Jaison Williams: FA. Great size with excellent speed. Was cut by Redskins after OTAs. Could compete for a team as #5 WR or H-back, but is far from fantasy relevance.
  61. Tommy Saunders: FA. Immensely strong, with adequate NFL size. Good hands. May make team as 4th or 5th WR. Not fantasy relevant yet. Not signed by Buccaneers after tryout, and then waived by Detroit after OTAs.
  62. Brennan Marion: FA. Coming off knee surgery in December, but ran a 4.5 in March. Participating on limited basis in May OTAs for Dolphins, but was waived/injured in August.
  63. Manuel Johnson: Cowboys, 7th round. Wasn’t impressive in bowl game or at Shrine practices. Small. Not good routes. Suspect hands. Drops passes. Lacks elite speed. Added late to Senior Bowl roster, but was invisible there, too. Not likely to make team., but there has been talk of him being a Wildcat QB with his high school experience as a QB.
  64. Freddie Brown: Bengals, 7th round. Could make team as special teamer, but not much else.
  65. Jarrett Byers: Rams, FA. Average size and great speed. Average upper-body strength. Limited WR depth chart in St. Louis gives him a roster shot, but not much more.
  66. Tyler Grisham: Steelers, FA. Short and slow, with very weak upper body. Competing for special teams role and no more.
  67. DJ Boldin: Lions, FA. Younger brother of Anquan. Very productive in ACC last year. Uphill battle to make the team. Failed conditioning test at beginning of training camp.
  68. Justin Brown: FA. Great size and explosiveness. Good speed and upper-body strength. Cut by Cardinals after minicamp, even though I thought he’d have a good shot.
  69. Clarence Denmark: FA. Excellent speed and deep ball ability. Also has returner skills. Cut by Jaguars on 9/1.
  70. Jamarko Simmons: Packers, FA. Great size. Good speed and athleticism. Cut by Packers at beginning of training camp, but I thought had potential.
  71. Jeremy Childs: FA. Average size and speed. Special-teamer potential. Was cut by Chargers after minicamp.
  72. David Grimes: Notre Dame: Average athleticism and speed.
  73. Casey Fitzgerald: North Texas. Led NCAA in receptions in 2008. Big, strong hands, but a little short and very slow for a WR.
  74. Andrew Means: Indiana. Good size. Great speed and upper-body strength. Went back to play baseball with Reds since he wasn’t drafted.
  75. TJ Courman: Appalachian St. 5’8″ receiver with good explosiveness and upper-body strength.
  76. James Swinton: Auburn. Elite speed.
  77. Jon Davis: Azusa Pacific. Great size. Good speed and explosiveness.
  78. Marcus Everett: UCLA. Average size, speed, and upper-body strength. Good explosiveness.
  79. Ernest Jackson: Buffalo. Great size and adequate speed and upper-body strength. Bad leaping ability.
  80. Julius Pruitt: Ouachita Baptist. Great size and speed. Bad leaping ability.
  81. Ed Gant: N. Ala. Very athletic. Great size and very good speed. Above-average strength. May switch to DB in NFL.
  82. Patrick Williams: Colorado. Great size, good speed, and very athletic. Had suspect hands in college, but caught everything at his pro day.
  83. Maurice Covington: VA. Excellent verticals.
  84. Willie Edwards: Bethany. Slow but athletic, with below-average upper-body strength.
  85. George Smith: Vanderbilt. Good size and lower-body strength, but slow and weak upper body.
  86. Tredale Tolver: Cal-Poly. Small, but very fast.
  87. Chris Nickson: Vanderbilt. 4-year starter at QB, but lacks production and size for the NFL. Great athlete, but has never player receiver. Great size for it, though, and did well at pro day.
  88. John  Matthews: San Diego. Average size, speed, and athleticism.
  89. Jamayel Smith: Miss. St. Thin, but good height. Good speed and explosiveness, weak upper body.
  90. Jeremy Gilchrist: Hampton. 5’9″ size, 180lbs. Average speed, explosiveness and strength
  91. Carl Sims: West. Ill. Average size, but a little slow. Good athleticism, but weak upper body. Off-field issues and was dismissed from team.
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