2012 NFL Draft: Receivers

The opinions and analysis contained in this feature are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department.

A look at the positions heading into the April 26-28 draft:

BEST OF THE BUNCH

Player, School                                           Ht.    Wt.    Projection

WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.      6-1    207    First round

WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame            6-3    220    First round

WR Kendall Wright, Baylor                   5-10    196    First round

TE Coby Fleener, Stanford                      6-6    247    First round

WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech              6-4    215    Late first, early second round

(Rankings and projections by Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com)

What it all means: With all the throwing in the league (16 quarterbacks put the ball up 500-plus times last season) someone needs to do all the catching. Teams used to shy away from taking wide-outs too early, because too many teams had been burned – only nine of the 40 wide receivers selected in the first round since 2000 have produced multiple 1,000-yard seasons. But last year, A.J. Green (to the Bengals at No. 4) and Julio Jones (to the Falcons at No. 6) went in the Top 10. Green caught 65 passes for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, while Jones had 54 receptions for 959 yards and eight TDs. In addition to Green, rookies Greg Little (Browns) and Doug Baldwin (Seahawks) also led their teams in receiving. This year, enter Blackmon, the consensus top wide-out in the draft class; but also Floyd and Hill, even bigger targets for all those passes.

What about: Hill. After catching only 49 passes for 1,248 yards and nine TDs at Georgia Tech, he entered the draft season considered a third- or fourth-round prospect. Then came the numbers he put up at the NFL Scouting Combine: 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash; 39½-inch vertical leap; 11-1 broad jump. “Stephen Hill killed it,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “I had a bunch of scouts tell me before the combine this kid might blow the roof off. And he did.” Then there are those other numbers: 6-4, 206. Hill also has long arms and big hands, and is considered an outstanding blocker – a skill he developed while playing in Tech’s triple-option offense.

Don’t forget about: Nick Toon. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the 6-2, 220-pounder from Wisconsin is the son of Al Toon, who caught 517 passes for 6,605 yards and 31 TDs for the Jets after being the 10th pick overall in the 1985 draft out of Wisconsin. Like his father, Toon is a reliable route-runner with enough speed and a knack for generating separation. Rang ranks Toon at No. 16 among the wide-outs and projects him as a fourth-round pick.

Seahawks situation: Sidney Rice. Doug Baldwin. Mike Williams. Golden Tate. Kris Durham. Ricardo Lockette. From big (Williams); to fast (Lockette); to both (Durham); to acrobatic (Rice); to versatile (Baldwin and Tate), the Seahawks have added a variety of wide-outs in the first two years with coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider in charge. And there also are holdovers Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler. So why would they need another? “You’re always looking for touchdown-makers on offense,” Carroll said. “You always want to get guys that can score. So if there’s a wide receiver in the draft that would be cool.”


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