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2016 NFL Draft Preview: Five Intriguing Wide Receivers

The fifth article in our series leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft

In his three years as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, John Dorsey has drafted three wide receivers.

In 2014, he selected former Oregon standout De'Anthony Thomas in the fourth round with the No. 124 overall pick.

Thomas spent time at both running back and receiver in his rookie season before making the transition to working solely with the receivers group in 2015.

Last year, Dorsey traded up in the third round to take former Georgia Bulldog Chris Conley with the No. 76 overall pick, then selected Northern Illinois' Da'Ron Brown in the seventh round with the No. 233 overall pick.

Conley finished his rookie season with 17 receptions for 199 yards and a touchdown, while Brown spent the year on the practice squad.

Overall, there were six receivers selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, highlighted by the Oakland Raiders selection of former Alabama star Amari Cooper with the No. 4 overall pick.

Cooper finished his breakout rookie season with 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and 6 touchdowns.

The other five first-round receivers combined to catch 67 passes for 1,002 yards and 5 touchdowns.

2015 NFL Draft - Receivers Selected in the First Round







Amari Cooper

No. 4

Oakland Raiders




Kevin White

No. 7

Chicago Bears




DeVante Parker

No. 14

Miami Dolphins




Nelson Agholor

No. 20

Philadelphia Eagles




Breshad Perriman

No. 26

Baltimore Ravens




Phillip Dorsett

No. 29

Indianapolis Colts




It's worth noting that two of those players—Chicago's Kevin White (No. 7 overall) and Baltimore's Breshad Perriman, (No. 26 overall)—were injured and didn't play all season.

When looking at this year's draft, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has first-round grades on four receivers in his NFL Draft 400 series

Here's a look at five receivers available in the upcoming draft who are projected by many to go in the first two rounds:

A look at five of the top WR's in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Baylor's Corey Coleman (5 feet 10, 194 pounds)

Coleman finished last season with an astounding 74 receptions for 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging more than 18 yards per reception. His 20 touchdowns receiving also led the country.

These monstrous numbers and his obvious playmaking ability helped him win the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's top receiver.

Right now, Coleman is listed as NFL Network Draft Analyst Mike Mayock’s No. 2 receiver available in the upcoming draft.

Here's what draft analyst Lance Zierlein had to say about Coleman:

"Dangerous vertical talent with the ability to get over the top of defenders who fail to recognize his blazing quickness off the line of scrimmage. Coleman can get instant separation to create favorable passing windows and is one of the top playmakers in this draft."

TCU's Josh Doctson (6 feet 2, 202 pounds)

Doctson put up back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons at TCU over the past two seasons, including catching 25 touchdowns.

The Texas native spent his freshman year at Wyoming before transferring back home to TCU because of an illness in the family.

His mother actually worked as the vice chancellor of marketing and communications at TCU, which was his dream school growing up in Mansfield, Texas. In Mansfield, he attended Legacy High School at the same time as New York Mets superstar pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

Here's what Zierlein had to say about Doctson:

"Highly productive receiver with good height but in need of more functional mass for the NFL game. Doctson must prove he can play against press coverage if he is to reach his potential, but his ability to go up and win when the ball is in the air will endear him to quarterbacks. Scouts don't expect to be wowed by his 40 ­time, but most believe he'll be a solid No. 2 receiver in the league."

Notre Dame's Will Fuller (6 feet, 186 pounds)

There were a few players who were set to flirt with Chris Johnson's NFL Scouting Combine 40-yard dash record of 4.24 seconds set back in 2008, and Fuller was one of those guys.

Fuller ultimately posted a 4.32 40-yard dash, which only further proved what people have seen from him on the field as a standout receiver for the Irish over the past three seasons.

As a redshirt junior last season, Fuller averaged more than 20 yards per reception and scored 14 touchdowns.

He's currently Mayock’s No. 4-ranked receiver in this draft.

Here's what Zierlein had to say about Fuller:

"Big time, vertical daddy. Had just over 27 percent of his catches go for 25-plus yards this year. Uses short, controlled strides into his routes for maximum balance and suddenness underneath. Works to establish early leverage points against man coverage. Has elite acceleration to create easy separation vertically. Cornerbacks fear his speed giving him ample cushion…Can make sharp in-breaking cuts. Above average ball tracking skills and has good feel for the sideline at all times. Talented with the ball in his hands and can change direction without gearing down."

Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard (5 feet 10, 194 pounds)

There might not have been a better story told during the college football season than that of Shepard and his father, Derrick, who also played football at the University of Oklahoma in the 1980s before spending six seasons in the NFL.

Derrick died of a heart attack in 1999 when Sterling was just 6 years old, but despite his father never being able to watch him play, Sterling wore the No. 3 at Oklahoma in honor of his father, who was a member of Oklahoma's 1985 national championship team.

Gary Gibbs, who was the defensive coordinator for that team, has spent the past seven years with the Chiefs as linebackers coach.

Shepard was a consistent performer during his career with the Sooners, amassing more than 600 yards in each of his four seasons. He broke out with his first 1,000-yard season as a senior with 86 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Here's what Zierlein had to say about Shepard:

"The similarities in backgrounds, playing style, production and football character and between Shepard and Seattle's Tyler Lockett are obvious. Shepard doesn't possess Lockett's explosiveness as a return man, but is a better overall receiver. With more and more teams using '11' personnel (3 WRs) as their base offense, Shepard's stock should be on the rise. Teams looking for a slot receiver who can make plays and rack up a high volume catch count on any given Sunday will find their man in Shepard."

Ohio State's Michael Thomas (6 feet 3, 212 pounds)

While there's been a lot of media attention given to his college teammate at Ohio State and his fellow receiver Braxton Miller, and rightfully so, Thomas has all of the physical tools to be big-time receiver in the NFL.

Over the past two seasons at Ohio State, Thomas had 110 receptions for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Here's what Zierlein had to say about Thomas:

"Has the triangle numbers (height-weight-speed) of a WR1. Drives off the line of scrimmage selling his vertical push and forcing cornerbacks into passive position. Uses plus separation quickness at top of his route to provide comfortable passing window. Hands catcher who catches away from his frame when possible. Wasn't asked to work vertically much, but tape looks like he has a shot. Has the juice after catch to make defenses pay the price for missed tackles. Real red zone target who stacks the defender, tracks throw out of quarterback's hand and makes late play on the ball over top of defender. Has desired traits and flashes the tools."

2016 NFL Draft Positional Previews

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