2011 NFL Draft Player Rankings | Wide Receivers
We here at NFL Soup are dedicated to featuring the best NFL Draft coverage, and we continue with the 2011 Wide Receiver class.
There are a lot of talented receivers, and most of the front runners are underclassmen with big play ability. In the NFL, a quarterbacks best friend can be the receiver that bails him out of a misfired throw, or even a guy that can take a five yard pass for another 40 yards after the catch and score.
Let’s take a look at the wide receivers in the 2011 NFL Draft class.
1) A.J. Green- Georgia*- 6’4 212
There’s not much you can’t say about A.J. Green. He’s one of the most talented players in the nation, and has great size at 6’4 192 pounds. Green is a speedy wide receiver who runs excellent routes, with excellent control of his body for making easy and tough catches. He can beat even the fastest of cornerbacks, and gets excellent separation. Some maturity issues are a small concern, but if he really wants to be dominant, then he needs to get stronger and get a bit better fighting for the ball. He’s still a the top option at wide receiver.
Projection: Top 10 pick
2) Julio Jones- Alabama*- 6’4 220
Jones is the biggest competition for A.J. Green in the top spot. What makes Jones so special is his possession ability. He has excellent size at 6’4 220, and he fights corners for the football. He’s tough after the catch and is fast enough to beat receivers down the field. He’s excellent catching the ball in the middle of the field, as well as making tight sideline catches. His biggest flaw is his concentration. He often drops the easier passes and makes the tougher catches. While his college statistics are nothing to write home about, he suffers thanks to a heavy rushing attack by the Crimson Tide, but Jones always comes through when needed.
Projection: Top 15
3) Jonathan Baldwin- Pittsburgh*- 6’5 230
Jon Baldwin is an intimidating wide receiver, at 6’5 230 pounds. Some collegiate tight ends are smaller than him. He has excellent hands and body control, as he’s also a very strong wide receiver. For being such a big wide out, his downfield ability is limited, however, there is huge upside. He’s got solid speed, but needs to learn to better create separation from corner backs. Baldwin’s hands make him a top prospect, still, as he can catch well and runs very well after the catch.
4) Leonard Hankerson- Miami (Fl.)- 6’3 205
Hankerson is a lanky receiver who is as sure-handed as they come. Hankerson broke out in 2009, and has followed up with a stellar senior campaign despite mediocre quarterback play. He’s an excellent red zone threat.
5) Titus Young- Boise State- 5’11 190
This wide receiver class in lined with guys who can outrun entire defenses. Young is another one of those smaller guys who excels in the return game and is heavily utilized in quick slants and screen passes. He’s excellent after the catch. He’s drawing comparisons to DeSean Jackson.
6) Torrey Smith- Maryland- 6’1 202*
Smith has made a name for himself with his speed down the field. He has excellent hands, and gets a good release off of the snap. He’s not the most physical receiver, but he creates separation, and can make big plays all over the field.
7) Randall Cobb- Kentucky- 5’11 190*
Cobb is a versatile player that Kentucky is going to miss. He ran the ball, and he caught everything that was thrown his way. He’s an electrifying play maker who can line up all over the field and is extremely athletic.
8 ) Vincent Brown- San Diego State- 6’0 195
Brown is one of the fastest receivers in college football. He’s excellent down the field, and can make plays after the catch. His hands are very soft, as he seems to catch everything. He gets great separation and uses his speed to make defenders miss after making the catch.
9) Greg Little- North Carolina- 6’3 220
This running back turned receiver still needs a lot of work, as he is very raw. He’s a physical wide receiver that fights for balls thrown his way. He needs to work on looking the ball into his hands.
10) Jerrel Jernigan- Troy- 5’8 190
Troy’s all-purpose receiver can run the ball well, and catch even better. He’s a threat to take it to the house on every touch, but lacks ideal size. He’s a quick receiver who is an ideal threat to run after the catch. He can stretch the field with his speed, and also work well in a horizontal offense.
11) Ricardo Lockette – Fort Valley State- 6’3 210
Great size with excellent speed. Not a big-time college performer. Fairly raw and inexperienced. Injury history is a concern.
12) Austin Pettis- Boise State- 6’3 201
For what Pettis lacks in top end speed, he makes up in route running and reliable hands. Pettis could sneak into the first round if he can post a solid forty yard dash, as he is one of the most athletic players in college football. He’s not an easy guy to tackle either.
13) Edmund Gates- Abilene Christian- 6’1 200
Really explosive play-maker with good speed and quickness. Can make people miss with above average body control and agility. Does not have elite hands. Poor concentration. Needs to refine his route-running and ball skills.
14) Dane Sanzenbacher- Ohio State- 5’11 185
Projects as the perfect slot receiver. Has exceptional hands and route-running ability. Fearless over the middle. Solid, but not elite speed and athleticism. Fairly versatile player.
15) Jeff Maehl- Oregon- 6’0 181
Maehl is a pure pass catcher who’s a bit undersized. He’s one of the best overall blocking wide receivers, and is an extremely hard worker. He’ll be a gem in the middle-late rounds in the NFL Draft.
16) Dwayne Harris- East Carolina- 6’0 205
Harris has been impressive in his workouts during the Senior Bowl, and he is one of the more underrated wide receivers coming out of ECU. He’s very quick, and runs fairly good routes. He needs to work on looking the ball in, but when he gets it in his hands, he’s dangerous in the open field.
17)Terrance Toliver- LSU- 6’3 1/2 211
Toliver is a fast receiver who still needs some work running routes. He has excellent ability after making the catch and can turn a five yard catch into 25 yards in a hurry. His height makes him a good red zone target, despite his touchdown total not showing it.
18) Armon Binns- Cincinnati- 6’3 205
Binns could be a lot higher on this list, but inconsistent hands will scare some teams away. Still, his speed and size combination are ideal. He stretches the field very well.
19) Greg Salas- Hawaii- 6’2 210
Salas has made a name for himself with running great routes, having soft hands and being physical. He doesn’t have great speed, but cuts quickly in and out of his routes. He could rise to a much higher position in the draft.
20) Ronald Johnson- USC- 6’0 187
Johnson is a smaller receiver who fits best in the slot. He has good speed and is solid after the run. He has pretty good hands and makes catches all over the field. He can take a pass to the end zone on virtually every play as he can out run many of the defenders.
21) Jeremy Kerley- TCU- 5’10 190
Kerley has been a favorite wide receiver for Andy Dalton over the last two seasons. He works the slot very well, and he’s quick while also having good straight line speed. He has a knack for making the tough catches as well.
22) DeAndre Brown- Southern Miss*- 6’6 240
Brown has missed time in 2010 with a leg injury, but is a big red zone target who excels getting separation and making big catches down field. Off the field issues could hurt his stock substantially.
23) Tori Gurley- South Carolina- 6’5 230
Outstanding height with good build. Does not have good speed or great separation. Inexperienced and lacks explosiveness. More of a possession receiver.
24) Niles Paul- Nebraska- 6’1 219
One of Paul’s greatest attributes is making the tough catches. He brings the ball well into his body, and is a solid route runner. He’s not a game breaker in terms of speed, but he’s a solid possession receiver.
25) Cecil Shorts- Mount Union- 6’2 200
Perhaps the next Pierre Garcon has arrived. Despite coming out of a non-FBS school, Shorts has been very productive. He’s got very good hands and has exceptional route running ability.
26) Aldrick Robinson- SMU- 5’10 180
SMU continues to put out quick, speedy receivers, and Robinson is a big time home run threat. He needs to work on his route running and looking the ball in.
27) Ryan Whalen- Stanford- 6’1 204
Whalen isn’t a guy known for his speed, but his ability to catch the ball in traffic is uncanny. He’s a tougher wide receiver who fights for the ball well, and doesn’t care to run out of bounds. He won’t beat many cornerbacks down the field, but he will catch the ball over most players one on one.
28) Gerald Jones- Tennessee- 6’0 195
Jones has missed some time in 2010, and is a smaller short yardage guy who’s quick in and out of his routes.
29) Keith Smith- Purdue- 6’2 226
Smith suffered an ACL and MCL tear in the third week. He’s a bigger possession receiver who has good speed. He may apply for a medical redshirt.
30) Tandon Doss- Indiana*- 6’4 205
Doss isn’t a burner, but he can still get down field and make a play. He has some of the best hands in the NCAA, and he runs crisp routes. His best catches often come in the middle of the field in traffic.
31) Derrell Johnson-Koulianos- Iowa- 6’1 200
DJK is a quicker receiver who catches well down the field. He can stretch the middle of the field very well, and is mediocre after the catch. His reliable hands also make him a nice red zone target. He also does a nice job running the routes underneath the secondary. Off the field issues will make his stock plummet.
32) Jamel Hamler- Fresno State- 6’2 195*
Great character guy with a nice work ethic. Goes after every ball and finishes every play. Overall, a solid prospect. Good size, adequate speed, and solid hands. Figures to be a possession guy at the next level.
33) Mark Dell- Michigan State- 6’2 200
Dell is a quicker receiver who can catch well downfield. He’s not much of a red zone option, however.
34) James Cleveland- Houston- 6’2 205
Cleveland is a short yardage receiver who benefits from the system in Houston. He’s a reliable red zone receiver.
35) Stephen Burton- West Texas A&M- 6’4 215
Has excellent size and very good speed for his height. Not a polished route-runner. Not very strong. Has great body control and enjoyed a stellar senior season.
36) DeMarco Sampson- San Diego State- 6’2 202
Solid size with decent play-making ability. Had a monster senior season. Knee injuries have sapped his speed. Really doesn’t have the burst or break-away speed you’re looking for.
37) Phillip Livas- Lousiana Tech- 5’8 184
Fast, athletic, and explosive. Very small, however, with questionable strength and durability. Not a polished receiver.
38) Scotty McKnight- Colorado- 5’11 185
Very reliable, sure-handed receiver with ideal size and build for the slot at the next level. Has solid speed and route-running ability. Lacks explosiveness or elite play-making ability.
39) Marshall Williams- Wake Forest- 6’1 190
Has solid speed and quickness to go with good size and a nice frame. Under-used at Wake Forest, so experience is in question. Physically as good as a number of receivers ahead of him.
40) Markeith Summers- Ole Miss- 6’3 205
Good size and solid speed. Not a dominant prospect. Can make big plays, but is statistically very inexperienced.
41) Vidal Hazelton- Cincinnati- 6’3 210
Big receiver with nice build. Not terribly fast or explosive. Really a nice raw talent with solid potential, but major injuries the past few years have killed his stock.
42) Frantrell Forrest- UAB- 6’2 195
Safe, reliable receiver, but not explosive or dominant. Good size and decent speed, but not a burner or big play-maker. Knee injury in 2010 hurt his draft stock.
43) Kevin Grayson- Richmond- 6’3 205
Good size and versatility. Has some potential, but injuries and inconsistency have seen him regress in every season in college.
44) Duval Kamara- Notre Dame- 6’4 225
Excellent size with solid build. Has some potential, but really lacks in the speed department and had a knee injury recently.
45) David Gilreath- Wisconsin- 5’11 170
Has the size and speed to work out of the slot. Has solid versatility and is an experienced return specialist.
46) Owen Spencer- NC State- 6’3 187
Quality play-maker with good size and average speed. Put up solid numbers in college. Does a great job with body control and timing for jumps balls. Needs to work on consistency.
47) D’Andre Goodwin- Washington- 5’11 190
Good speed and average size. Really didn’t make a ton of plays in college, despite having the athleticism to do so. Just not an as explosive as you’d think he’d be.
48) Detron Lewis- Texas Tech- 6’0 206
Reliable target with adequate size and build. Not overly fast or explosive. Adequate speed, but lacks ability to separate. Pure possession receiver at the next level.
49) Jimmy Young- TCU- 6’1 210
Good size with moderate play-making ability. Not a very productive college player. Does not have elite speed or great explosiveness.
50) Jarvis Williams- NC State- 6’4 219
Has excellent size. Really is not very fast or explosive. Was reasonably productive in college. Will struggle with separation at the next level.
51) Jock Sanders- West Virginia- 5’7 180
Great speed and play-making ability. Can be a terror in the open field, but does not have advanced route-running ability. Very versatile and explosive. Limited to short passes because of his small height and size. May not have a real position.
52) Jeremy LaFrance- Akron- 6’1 195
LaFrance is a solid prospect with good size and average speed. Has decent possession receiver characteristics, but is seeing his stock drop due to a knee injury.
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