Mid-Round Wide Receiver Prospects, 2016 Draft
Just a couple days ago, the Ravens inked Mike Wallace to a contract, adding some much needed speed to the Ravens receiving group. Depending on the health of last years first round pick, Breshad Perriman, the stable of receivers looks improved. Steve Smith should be rehabbed and ready as well. Wallace, Perriman, Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro. Not bad.
Not bad, but could be better. However with other pressing needs, I don’t see the team making a play for La’Quan Treadwell, or other wide receivers in the first round for the second straight year. They could, and probably should add one in the middle rounds though. Smith is likely to call it quits after 2016, Wallace has an option after the season, Perriman is entering his pseudo rookie year, Aiken could be a free agent, Campanaro hasn’t stayed healthy for any decent period of time.
On paper it looks good, but could go to hell in a hand basket real quick. So here is a look at some wideouts who could be had in the middle rounds. Pro Bowler Tyler Lockett of the Seahawks, and other playmakers such as Jamison Crowder, and Stefon Diggs we’re taken in the middle of the draft just a year ago.
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Malcolm Mitchell – Georgia
6’0”, 198 lbs, Senior (RS). Projected round four. Mitchell missed the whole 2013 season after landing wrong celebrating teammate, Todd Gurley’s score in the season opener. He tore his ACL. Other than the mishap, he had a decent college career where his versatility made him a Hornung Award finalist (WR, CB, KR). He was the teams offensive captain and leading receiver in 2015. Mitchell shined bright at the Senior Bowl. He won numerous one on one battles, showed hands like glue, and caught balls in traffic. He carried over his performance to the combine where he ran a 4.45 40-yard, 36” vertical, 10’9” broad, and the 3-cone drill in under seven seconds. Rob Rang of CBS Sports compares him the A.J. Green. I don’t know if that is because they are both Bulldogs, but high praise for sure, especially for a guy slated to get drafted in round four. Mitchell is a star off the field as well, commended for his community service work, and has authored a children’s book. Probable Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner down the road.
Charone Peake – Clemson
6’2”, 209 lbs, Senior (RS). Projected round four to five. Peake was one of the top prep players in the nation, sought after by many top programs, when the South Carolina native settled on Clemson. Clemson has been churning out wide receivers of late. Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant, all bodes well for his stock. They are teaching these receivers something right in Death Valley that is translating to the pro game. Two knee injuries, including a torn ACL has slowed his production in college. But he did run a 4.45 40-yard at the combine, and a 4.37 at his pro day. Other than his medicals, the other red flag is small hands for his size, which has led to a case of the drops from time to time. Peake has learned under some great players, possesses a great blend of size of speed. Hands and medicals though. Tough to project.
Thomas Duarte – UCLA
6’2, 231 lbs, Junior. Projected round five. You might think if you plan on going pro early it would be because you grade out as a first or second round prospect. An Impact player on the next level. But leaving UCLA could cost Duarte millions as he grades out as a fifth round pick, and didn’t help himself with a 4.72 40-yard time at the combine. His size will play, and the hands match. But he’ll more likely be asked to bulk up as more of a move tight end, like Dennis Pitta had been. He’s in between size wise, but is fearless at working the middle of the field and possesses a large catch radius.
Jaydon Mickens – Washington
5’10”, 174 lbs, Senior. Projected round five to six. You could have guessed it from his bio. At 174 pounds, he is strictly going to be a slot receiver in the NFL, with kick return potential. But he might be the best small, pure slot man in the draft. He isn’t quick like a Tavon Austin was. But he is elusive, slippery. He just finds a way to elude tackles. Very dangerous in the open field. He was more of a body catcher, but the hands have come along in his senior season using his hands to snatch balls more than pulling them into the body. Could be a target for the Ravens who have needs in kick returning, (because everyone loses their minds when a veteran like Steve Smith or Lardarius Webb gets back there), and a slot guy in Michael Campanaro who can’t stay out of the trainers room.
De’Runnya Wilson – Mississippi State
6’5”, 225 lbs, Senior. Projected round six. Last year in this type of article, I highlighted Darren Waller out of Georgia Tech. A late round prospect with elite size for the position. Waller was drafted by the Ravens. Wilson, should not be. He is a two sport star, also playing basketball. He would be a redzone target given his size, it’s what he did most at Mississippi State. But that’s about where the accolades end. He ran a 4.8+ in the 40-yard, where Waller ran a 4.4. His vertical was a red flag measuring a small 28 inches, and his hands are very small for a 6’5” man at a shade over nine inches. I don’t see anything where he would be an asset at the next level.
Chris Brown – Notre Dame
6’2”, 194lbs. Senior. Projected round six. Brown was a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic team in track, excelling in sprinting and high jump. A couple of traits that are highly sought after in WRs. He was overshadowed by Will Fuller at Notre Dame, but has hands issues. He did earn an invite to the Shrine game where he had a nice showing. He’s not afraid to do the little things like block, engage in special teams, from what I’ve read, coaches love him. Hands are an issue though, making him a day three pick with potential tools to be an explosive playmaker. Unfortunately we didn’t see him at the combine. (On a day like today, I had to get a member of the Fighting Irish in my piece).
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]