Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Beyond the 1st round: Wide receiver
By Mike Reiss
(Each day over the next week, ESPNBoston.com will focus on one position in the NFL draft and highlight a prospect in rounds 2-7 who might fit. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, “Beyond the first round” focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks)
Second round: Markus Wheaton (Oregon State)
With production that improved in each of his four seasons at Oregon State, the speedy Wheaton (5-11, 189) is the type of receiver who can threaten the deep third of the field. He also ran track in college, but proved he is more than a track athlete playing football (227 career receptions is school record). If there is a knock on him, it's that he isn't the prototypical size for an outside receiver, although that doesn't factor in his leaping ability. A team captain, he was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits at Gillette Stadium.
Besides being a fluid receiver, Robert Woods has potential as a kickoff and punt returner.
Third round: Robert Woods (Southern Cal)
Over three years with the Trojans, Woods (6-0, 201) caught a school record 252 passes and he adds potential value as a kickoff and punt returner. Unlike Oregon State's Markus Wheaton, he is not a burner, but is considered a fluid receiver who runs good routes from an outside position. He was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits at Gillette Stadium.
Fourth round: Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas)
At 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds, he fits the mold of a bigger, possession-type receiver and also is viewed as a solid blocker. Coming from a pro-style offense, his skills might be easier for teams to project into the NFL, and he had excellent production as a senior in 2012 with a single-season school record 90 receptions and 1,335 yards.
Fifth round: Da'Rick Rogers (Tennessee Tech)
If he checks out from an off-field standpoint, Rogers (6-2, 217) is the type of receiver who could be a good "risk" at this point of the draft. He was suspended at Tennessee last August, and transferred to Tennessee Tech, and if not for that he likely would be viewed as a much higher draft pick. The Patriots seem to value the three-cone drill in their assessment of receivers and Rogers' 6.71 at the combine is considered very good.
Sixth round: Kenny Stills (Oklahoma)
Entering the draft after his junior season, Stills (6-0, 194) is one of the faster receivers in this year's draft. He was productive from the get-go with the Sooners, having started as a true freshman in 2010 when he finished with 61 receptions. His father played safety in the NFL from 1985-1990, so there are some NFL bloodlines. He was one of the Patriots' 30 prospect visits at Gillette Stadium.
Seventh round: Mark Harrison (Rutgers)
At 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, Harrison is one of the bigger receivers in this year's draft. That size makes him a presence on the outside and a possible factor in the red zone. His connection to former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, and the Patriots' willingness to invest in players out of Schiano's program, lands him on this list.
(Round projections aided by Pro Football Weekly draft preview and ESPN's Scouts Inc.)