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2012 NFL Draft Positional Rankings: Wide Receivers

April 18th, 2012 at 5:29 PM
By Hazem Kiswani

The New York Giants had what was arguably the best wide receiver trio in football last season in Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham. After his outstanding postseason in which he scored a touchdown in every playoff game leading up to the Super Bowl, then made the biggest catch of the game in Super Bowl XLVI, Manningham was signed to a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers worth up to $7.375 million. The third wide receiver role is now open in New York, and the G-Men are getting Domenik Hixon back from an ACL injury to compete with second-year player Jerrel Jernigan for that spot on the roster.

That being said, the wide receiver class in the 2012 NFL draft is a strong one. The class isn't led by a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald type prospect, but it is a deep group with about eight prospects worthy of being selected in the first two rounds.

The Giants do not necessarily need to be aggressively pursuing an addition at wide receiver, as Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz profile as the best wide receiver duo in football going into the season, but it is a draft where a value pick at the position can certainly be found. With the departure of Mario Manningham this off-season, wide receiver could be an option for New York in the first three to four rounds of this draft. 

ELITE 

1. WR Justin Blackmon - Oklahoma State – 6'1 207 lbs 

Very tough, very instinctive, and a wideout that can really work the middle of the field. Blackmon is very competitive and shows the ability to use his strength and power to consistently tack on additional yards after the reception. Some of the best ball skills in the draft and shows great body control in adjusting to the football in the air. Not a burner, but a receiver that will challenge defenses for four quarters and move the chains for his quarterback. 233 receptions, over 3300 yards, and 38 touchdowns in 25 games for Oklahoma State in the past two years. 

Value: Top Ten Talent 

FIRST TIER 

2. WR Kendall Wright – Baylor – 5'10 196 lbs

One of my favorite offensive prospects in this year's draft. Outstanding skill set highlighted by an explosive combination of speed, quickness, athleticism, and burst. Great accelerator who reaches his top speed and puts a lot of pressure on defensive backs quickly. Extremely elusive after the catch and shows good balance and toughness to gain extra yards consistently. Great ball skills and tracks the deep ball particularly well. He may not profile as a pure #1 wideout, but this is a kid I can see being a very explosive playmaker for an NFL offense. 

Value: Early-Mid First Round Pick 

3. WR Michael Floyd – Notre Dame – 6'3 220 lbs 

Big, physical wide receiver with arguably the best combination of hands and ball skills in the draft. Difficult to press at the line of scrimmage, just too big and physical for most cornerbacks. Good power moves after the catch and isn't easy to bring down on contact. Very competitive and comes from a pro style system in which he developed strong route running skills. Definitely has all the tools to become a pro-bowl caliber receiver at the NFL – but comes with substantial concerns, both in his off the field concerns and injury history. Dealt with hamstring, knee, and collarbone injuries in his time at Notre Dame. Was also arrested three times on alcohol charges. 

Value: Early-Mid First Round Pick 

SECOND TIER 

4. WR Stephen Hill – Georgia Tech – 6'4 215 lbs 

Intriguing prospect with an exceptional combination of length, athleticism, and speed. Extremely explosive athlete who takes a very tough and physical approach to the game as a wide receiver. Excellent blocker on the outside who is consistently looking to help out in the running game. Fantastic leaping ability and can certainly be a red zone threat. Speed is explosive and will consistently challenge defenses vertically. A raw prospect certainly, but a lot of physical tools here. A lot of work to be done, but upside is immense. 

Value: Early Second Round Pick 

5. WR Mohamed Sanu – Rugers – 6'1 211 lbs 

A prospect I find to be underrated due to a lack of flashiness, Sanu is a very, very tough and competitive wide receiver who has great hands and ball skills. Crafty and instinctive, Sanu does a good job of creating separation and runs tough with the football. Very strong and will give cornerbacks trying to press him a lot of trouble. Shows very good effort as a run blocker and will be a factor in that aspect. The type of player coaches rave about because of his unselfishness and versatility. Played some running back in his college career – carrying 125 times for 653 yards, and also returned punts. 

Value: Mid Second Round Pick 

6. WR Rueben Randle – L.S.U – 6'3 210 lbs 

Tall and athletic receiver with excellent ball skills. Crafty route runner who plays with good awareness and knows how to help out his quarterback. Hard worker who works hard off the field and plays very hard on the field. Tracks the ball well over the shoulder and has reliable hands. Not particularly explosive and won't dominate football games but can contribute as a possession receiver at the NFL level. 

Value: Mid-Late Second Round Pick 

BEST OF THE REST 

7. WR Alshon Jeffery – South Carolina – 6'3 216 lbs 

8. WR Brian Quick – Appalachian State – 6'3 220 lbs 

9. WR Chris Givens – Wake Forest – 5'11 198 lbs 

10. WR Ryan Broyles – Oklahoma – 5'11 192 lbs 

Also…

Tags: Alshon Jeffery, Football, Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd, Mohamed Sanu, New York, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft, Ryan Broyles