This year's wide receiver group is an above-average class. There are a half dozen juniors who expect to be selected in the top 100 choices.
Underclassman DeSean Jackson may be the first player selected at this position in the middle of the first round. There could be three No. 1 picks with prospects like Limas Sweed and Early Doucet coming off strong performances at the NFL Combine and others like James Hardy and Malcolm Kelly boasting prototype NFL size and speed.
This class lacks a prospect the caliber of Calvin Johnson from last year, but it is a deep class through the middle rounds. This group should supply 20+ starters to the NFL in time.
2008 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Rankings
1. Limas Sweed, 6-4, 215, Texas
Sweed is a physical player who opted out of the Senior Bowl because of a recurring wrist injury. He had a good performance at the NFL Combine and hopes to run better at the Texas pro day.
2. Devin Thomas, 6-1, 210, Michigan State
Thomas is a tough junior who had a fine 2007 season. He showed big-play ability as both a receiver and returner. He had a terrific performance at the NFL Combine that has him flying up the charts.
3. James Hardy, 6-6, 220, Indiana
Hardy is a huge prospect who was an unstoppable force in the Big Ten in the 2007 season. He is physically ready for the NFL game.
4. DeSean Jackson, 5-11, 165, California
This all-purpose playmaker can be an impact performer as both a receiver and return specialist. He burned up the track at the Combine - as expected - and may be the top prospect selected at this position.
5. Early Doucet, 6-0, 210, LSU
Doucet is a fast and athletic wideout who had a good week at the Senior Bowl. Doucet followed that up with a strong performance at the NFL Combine.
6. Malcolm Kelly, 6-4, 220, Oklahoma
This big and athletic junior flashed playmaking ability over his Big 12 career.
7. Mario Manningham, 5-11, 180, Michigan
Manningham is a junior who was a fine playmaker in his short Big Ten career. His performance at the Combine was disappointing, and he needs a good sprint time at his pro day to move up on teams' boards.
8. Earl Bennett, 6-1, 202, Vanderbilt
Bennett entered the draft after a tremendous three-year SEC career. The record-setting performer had a good effort at the NFL Combine.
9. Eddie Royal, 5-9, 185, Virginia Tech
Royal is a solid all-purpose performer who had big weeks at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. His efforts got the attention of many NFL scouts.
10. Keenan Burton, 6-1, 205, Kentucky
Burton is a receiver/return specialist who displays big play ability. However, he must prove that he has recovered from late season knee problems to rank higher in this class.
11. Andre Caldwell, 6-0, 205, Florida
Caldwell is an agile senior who has sure hands and a good understanding of the passing game. He ran a super sub-4.4 time at the Combine that has him moving up the charts.
12. Donnie Avery, 5-11, 185, Houston
Avery is a speedy senior who had a fine workout at the NFL Combine. His success in the events at the Combine should help him be selected on the first day of draft.
13. Lavelle Hawkins, 5-11, 185, California
Hawkins is an explosive slot receiver who developed nicely in the Cal passing game. Hawkins is one of the rising performers at this position after his big Senior Bowl effort.
14. Will Franklin, 6-1, 205, Missouri
Franklin is an athletic senior prospect who had a terrific performance at the NFL Combine. His efforts in Indianapolis moved him into top 100 prospects.
15. Marcus Monk, 6-5, 220, Arkansas
Monk should compete for a job as a No. 3 receiver early in his career. He ran fast times in the 40-yard dash at Arkansas' Pro Day, which probably moved him into the middle rounds.
Frank Coyle is a nationally known NFL scout who publishes Draft Insiders' Digest and www.draftinsiders.com. In it's 16th season, Draft Insiders' Digest is dedicated to year-round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football. He covers the NFL Draft and free agency extensively with a veteran scouting staff that provides insightful and unique information on players and team potential in the coming seasons. Draft Insiders' Digest is an extensive publication that produces 15 issues throughout the year and a Draft Yearbook with over 450 in-depth scouting reports.