Another position with lots of talent heading into the 2016 draft is the receiver class. It will be tough to beat what the 2014 class had to offer, as players among the likes of Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, and Kelvin Benjamin were all selected in the first round and all had significant impacts in their rookie seasons. However, there is still lots of talent to be found, and here are the top five wide receivers to watch for the 2016 draft class.
Tyler Boyd – Pittsburgh
Heading into the 2015 season, Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd is the top ranked receiver. After a monster freshman year, Boyd topped it in 2014 recording 78 receptions for 1261 yards and eight touchdowns. Boyd has solid size at 6 feet two inches and 200 pounds, and will have an immediate impact as soon as he is drafted in the NFL.
The best asset that Boyd possesses is his speed, as he can beat defenders all over the field and make plays. He has great range with his hands, and has ability in the return game. Where Boyd needs to improve is his route running, as he is rather raw, and tends to struggle at times getting open. If Boyd can improve on these things this coming season, there is no reason why he wont be the first receiver off the board.
Mike Williams – Clemson
Clemson’s Mike Williams is the second ranked receiver heading into the 2015 college season. At 6 feet four inches and 210 pounds, Williams possesses ideal size for a number one receiver in the NFL. Last season, he hauled in 57 catches for 1030 yards and six touchdowns. With both his speed and size, Williams should dominate college football in 2015.
Aside from his size and speed, Williams, like Boyd, has a great set of hands, and can catch pretty much anything thrown his way. His run blocking is a big part of his game as well. In 2015, Williams needs to work on paying attention to detail when it comes to his route running, as he is sloppy at times.
Michael Thomas – Ohio State
Despite undergoing miner surgery earlier this offseason, Ohio State’s Michael Thomas is the third ranked receiver heading into the 2015 college season. Thomas possesses good size, standing at 6 foot three inches, and 210 pounds. In 2014, he caught 54 passes, for 799 yards and nine touchdowns.
Thomas thrives in the red zone, as he is able to utilize his size and use it to his advantage. He has a nice set of hands and is very consistent when it comes to his route running. The biggest thing that Thomas needs to work on is his speed. If he can improve on this, he will be able to gain more separation from defenders and make more big plays.
Pharoh Cooper – South Carolina
Although South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper lacks size at 5 foot eleven inches and 207 pounds, he makes up for it with his speed. After he only recorded three catches in his freshman season, Cooper made a significant impact in 2014, recording 69 catches for 1136 yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 200 yards on the ground with two scores.
What makes Cooper such an electrifying player aside from his speed, is his ability to make an impact from all over the field. Whether he is lined up in the slot or in the backfield, Cooper can make a big play at any time. If he can improve his route running, than there is no reason why Cooper wont be one of the top receivers selected.
Demarcus Robinson – Florida
After accumulating just five catches in his freshman season, Demarcus Robinson had a breakout campaign in 2014, recording 53 catches for 810 yards and seven scores. At 6 foot one inch, and 204 pounds, Robinson has decent size and with improved quarterback play should have a productive 2015 season.
Where Robinson thrives is in his route running. He often can generate separation from opposing defenders which allows his to get open all over the field. If Robinson can improve his speed, he will make more impact plays and become a more dominant receiver.