So last year, I joined the staff of Phin Phanatic right around draft time and my first series of articles was a Top 10 prospects for each position in the 2011 NFL Draft. I enjoyed doing it and learned a lot about players that I otherwise would’ve known almost nothing about. Last year I did every single position and realized that it was a bit pointless as many positions there was no chance the Dolphins would target in the draft. So this year, I am saving myself a lot of time and will only focus on positions that have been established as a need for the Phins. Today, it’s time for the receivers. I’m changing it up a bit however, since there are a ton of guys who the Dolphins could draft, and I will give MY favorite receivers in the draft, not the top 10.
Well this position certainly wasn’t a position of need when the offseason began, but with the trade of Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins have a huge hole to fill on the outside. I could certainly see the Dolphins doubling down and taking at least two receivers in the draft, but I do hope they wait until the middle rounds to do so, since gems at the position can be found anywhere and everywhere (Marques Colston, Victor Cruz, etc.)
There is a ton of talent at the receiver position in the draft so I don’t believe the Dolphins need to focus on getting one in the 1st round. The receivers they have on the roster currently never seem to get any credit but I believe Davone Bess is one of the most underrated slot receivers in the league (a la Wes Welker when he was in Miami) and will thrive in a WCO. Brian Hartline gets even less credit and I’m not entirely sure why. Before Marshall arrived, Hartline never really had a great quarterback throwing him the ball and after Marshall arrived he was pushed down the depth chart. Clyde Gates is still raw but will keep defenses honest.
Bottom line is, we know the Phins will be targeting a receiver in the draft so let’s take a look at who will be available and who they might select.
*REMEMBER, THIS IS NOT A LIST OF THE TOP 10 PROSPECTS; THIS IS A LIST OF 10 GUYS I REALLY LIKE. I AM AWARE JUSTIN BLACKMON IS THE TOP PROSPECT BUT HE IS NOT GETTING BY THE RAMS AT #6 AND I DON’T LIKE HIM ALL THAT MUCH ANYWAY…
1. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame 6’3, 220 lbs
Been shooting up draft boards with an excellent combine/pro day and it’s easy to see why some people are saying he should be taken before Blackmon considering Blackmon is lighter, smaller and slower than Floyd is. He holds seven ND records including yardage and touchdowns. There is no disputing the skills. He ran a 4.47 and jumped 36 1/2 inches. He has great hands and he is the size you look for in a number one receiver. The biggest red flag is his past. Floyd has been cited for underage drinking twice and DUI once. He was suspended from the team last spring before being let back on, losing his role as captain. Just ask the Lions if it’s a good idea to use a top 10 pick on a receiver with character concerns. I love the skills, don’t love the character for the Phins at #8.
2. Kendall Wright, Baylor 5’10, 196 lbs
With teams still regretting letting Mike Wallace drop into the third round, I don’t see Wright taking near as far of a tumble. He helped himself out with a 4.41 pro day and showed throughout the year how difficult he was to cover, catching 14 touchdowns and gaining over 1,600 yards. The guy has four years worth of starting experience at Baylor and that tape does much more for me than one bad showing at the combine. He played through several injuries in his career and isn’t afraid to go get the ball. Outside of his height, he really doesn’t have any negatives about him. Great hands, great route-running, excellent speed, fantastic after the catch skills and no character concerns make him a dream receiver.
3. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech 6’4, 215 lbs
The stats won’t jump off the page because Georgia Tech ran a run-option offense but Hill follows Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas as the latest Yellow Jackets to make the pro transition. The 6’4 frame is enough to get anybody’s attention but after running a 4.36 at the combine, he is now firmly on teams radar. He has solid hands and is a smart route-runner. Coming from the offense he came from, he is an excellent blocker on the outside and his size certainly doesn’t hurt as he is able to dominate smaller defensive backs. He may start out as a red zone threat in the NFL but with the right development, he could be a huge steal.
4. Chris Givens, Wake Forest 5’11, 198 lbs
I like Givens more than most. He has outstanding speed and will be a matchup nightmare for teams, especially if he lines up in the slot. He is a great route runner but never really excelled against top competition. Givens can be frustrating at times because he will make the acrobatic catch but then drop one right in his hands. However, that can be coached. Speed can’t. He was a former track star who has mastered the ability to get open and make quick cuts. Givens also can block and is stronger than you’d expect for someone his size. He also has exeperience as a returner. Probably a third rounder.
5. Brian Quick, Appalachian State 6’4, 220 lbs
Always been a fan of trying to find the gems from small schools and I think Quick will join the list. Love his ability after the catch, which is crucial for the WCO. While he won’t blow anybody away off the line, once he hits his second gear he is difficult to catch. He is a big guy and won’t drop many passes. Obviously, he will be a huge red zone threat in the NFL. He needs to work on his route-running but he has the skills necessary to become a great route-runner, if he is coached up. He holds most receiving records at Appalachian State, including touchdowns, yards and receptions. And he also has a huge, 80 inch wingspan. Middle round guy that could definitely be the small school “guy” this year.
6. Nick Toon, Wisconsin 6’2, 215 lbs
Love everything about this kid. Unfortunately, he played in a run-first offense at Wisconsin and his stats suffered because of it. But the skills are there and I’ve had trouble finding good reasons why he isn’t ranked higher. He actually broke his father Al Toon’s receiving mark at Wisconsin and came within just one touchdown of him. Toon has nice size, runs good routes, and has good hands. He also blocks extremely well. The knocks on him are his speed (even though he ran a 4.43 at the combine) and the fact that he has had a few durability concerns in the past. Another mid-round pick that the Dolphins should look extremely hard at.
7. Marvin McNutt, Iowa 6’3, 216 lbs
McNutt has improved his draft stock with an extremely solid combine and excellent Senior Bowl performance. Personally, I think McNutt could be the steal of the entire draft. He has outstanding body control and ball skills, showing very good hand-eye coordination with large, soft hands. He will not drop many passes and is completely fearless. McNutt is a former quarterback and has only three years of experience at receiver, so he is still learning. He has great size and uses it to his advantage; he is a good blocker. McNutt had over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in his last season at Iowa, but he did get shut down in his final two games (granted, against solid CB’s in Oklahoma and Nebraska). Deceptive quickness as well.
8. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma 5’10, 192 lbs
Anybody who has been paying any attention to me during the past month or two knows how obsessed I am with this kid. It is my belief he would be in the bottom of the first round if not for the ACL injury that sidelined him at the end of last season. Depsite the injury, he still ended his career as the NCAA all-time leader in receptions (349) and that is good for the WCO. Broyles’ hands are his biggest asset as is his toughness. He is determined to work out for scouts before the draft, even though he did not get to at the combine. He is not especially fast, but again, for the WCO the Dolphins are implementing, speed is not quite as important. Broyles had more than 100 yards receiving in seven of nine games last season and a touchdown in seven of nine games as well. He also has experience in the return game. The injury is slightly concerning but as long as he proves he is healthy, you have to take the chance. I could go on and on about how much I like him but I’ll stop there. He will be a 3-5 round selection and should be in a Dolphins uniform in 2012.
9. Tommy Streeter, Miami 6’5, 219 lbs
As expected, Streeter had a big combine and showed the speed we expected from him, which affirmed him as a second day selection. He probably would’ve done himself some good by returning to Miami for his senior season but in his one year of full-time action, Streeter showcased the ability to make big plays. Very few receivers are as big as Streeter and run as fast as he does, and that makes him a unique and tempting choice for many teams. He has a great combination of size, athleticism and body control. However, he is a very raw as a receiver and needs a ton of route-running work. He has yet to get the maximum potential out of his natural athletic ability, slowing down on crossing or outside routes rather than running full speed at all times.
10. T.Y. Hilton, Florida International 5’10, 183 lbs
Durability concerns me, especially at the receiver position, which is why Hilton and Ryan Broyles for that matter, are as low on this list as they are. Hilton may have as much explosion as anybody in this draft, but he is currently battling a hamstring injury which kept him out of pre-draft workouts and he has been battling injuries his entire career. However, he consistantly runs in the 4.3 range and proved he can handle playing against good competition when he had over 200 yards receiving against Louisville earlier this year. Hilton makes catches in traffic, even going up over taller defenders to get it. He has a small frame and can get knocked off his routes at the line. Very productive at FIU, with over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011. Mid to late round selection.
A lot of great names in this class and several guys I think could stand out as huge steals. As mentioned, I absolutely love Broyles, but McNutt, Nick Toon and Stephen Hill also have grown on me in a big way.
And follow my personal account as well, @notquiterosey!
Tags: Brandon Marshall Brian Hartline Brian Quick Calvin Johnson Chris Givens Clyde Gates Davone Bess Demaryius Thomas Justin Blackmon Kendall Wright Marques Colston Marvin McNutt Miami Dolphins Michael Floyd Michael Rosenbloom Mike Wallace Nick Toon Ryan Broyles Stephen Hill T.Y. Hilton Tommy Streeter Top 10 Prospects Victor Cruz Wes Welker Wide Receivers