NFL draft preview: Wide receivers and tight ends

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2013 - 11:47 AM

Teams in search of receivers won’t find a Calvin Johnson or a Larry Fitzgerald. But what they will find are solid starters, contributors and Day 3 sleeper picks

The hot topic:

No ‘Megatron,’ but there is mega depth

Teams in search of receivers won’t find a Calvin Johnson or a Larry Fitzgerald. But what they will find are solid starters, contributors and Day 3 sleeper picks who will go on to have surprisingly successful careers.

That’s what the draft experts agree on. What they don’t agree on is when the run on receivers will begin and which receivers will kick things off in the first round.

“It’s kind of pick your flavor,” said Vikings Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, referring to the wide array of shapes, sizes and talents of this year’s draft-eligible receivers.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. now likes West Virginia little slot receiver Tavon Austin as the first receiver taken, going 16th overall to St. Louis. Three to five more receivers, including the much bigger but less polished Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee, could join Austin in the first round. Another wave of potential starters is expected in the second round, while the third and fourth rounds should bring hidden gems such as Aaron Dobson of Marshall and Markus Wheaton of Oregon State.

The talent at tight end is considerably thinner, although Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert (6-6, 250) will be a top-20 pick. San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar, a 6-6, 254-pounder with exceptional speed and ball skills for his size, is rising quickly and could be a second-round pick.

THE FRONTRUNNER

Tavon Austin, West Virginia

The 5-8, 174-pounder is similar to former Viking and current Seahawk Percy Harvin. At least in his versatility and elusiveness. Austin is a dynamic playmaker with the speed (4.4) and quickness to separate from and frustrate defenders with yards after the catch. Where he doesn’t compare to Harvin is strength. Austin is about 10-15 pounds lighter than Harvin and not nearly as powerful.

THE CONTENDERS

Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, WR

The former junior college standout went to Tennessee and stood out there, too. He scored touchdowns receiving, running and returning kicks. He set the school record with 1,858 all-purpose yards. He has good speed (4.49) for his size (6-2, 216). But he’s also raw because he’s played only one year at the major college level.

 

Keenan Allen, Cal, WR

Allen (6-2, 206) has first-round talent but could fall to the second round because of a knee injury that sidelined him for the last three games a year ago. Caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards and six TDs two years ago.

 

Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TE

  • related content

  • West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin.

  • Da'Rick Rogers

  • Tyler Eifert

  • Keenan Allen

  • Cordarrelle Patterson

  • Tavon Austin is neither tall nor especially strong, but his speed and versatility might make him the first receiver drafted.

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Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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