NFL Draft Buzz: Round 1 Wideouts

After seeing what both Santonio Holmes and Larry Fitzgerald did on Super Sunday, the Chicago Bears need to get serious about finding some difference makers at the receiver position. There are several intriguing prospects that may be available at No. 18 overall. NFL Draft expert Chris Steuber weighs in.

Jeremy Maclin

Strengths: Although he's only a redshirt sophomore at Missouri, Maclin (6-1, 200) was an awfully productive receiver during his two-year run with the high-powered Tigers offense. He reeled in 182 passes for 2,315 yards and 22 touchdowns in only 28 games played, and he's also a weapon as a return man on special teams.

Weaknesses: It's hard to take Maclin's gaudy statistics too seriously since Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel isn't considered much of a pro prospect because of the Tigers' spread-option attack.

Steuber Says: Maclin is a dynamic all-around performer who excels in multiple areas on the field. He possesses elite speed and quickness and poses a problem for the opposition when the ball is in his hands. He gets a quick release off the line, runs good routes and flashes reliable hands. He's a playmaker in the open field after making the reception and has a nose for the end zone. He has outstanding vision and the ability to make defenders miss. He's a terrific return specialist who can take it to the house at any time.

Hakeem Nicks

Strengths: More and more productive as his career at North Carolina progressed, Nicks (6-1, 210) exploded for 1,222 yards on 68 receptions this past season. He delivered a ton of big plays down the field, as evidenced by the 12 TDs he scored and a gaudy 18.0 yards-per-catch average.


WR Hakeem Nicks
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Weaknesses: While it may be hard to argue with the numbers Nicks put up week in and week out, his stock could take a precipitous plunge because he's not expected to run a fast 40-yard dash time at the Scouting Combine.

Steuber Says: Nicks is a consistent pass catcher who has reliable, strong hands. He lacks elite speed but is quick, runs crisp routes and has the ability to stretch the field. He gets a fluid release off the line, is physical through routes and makes tough receptions. He offers the quarterback a nice target and also comes back to the football consistently. He's a tough runner after the catch and doesn't go down easily fighting for positive yards.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Strengths: A prototypical wideout at the next level, Heyward-Bey (6-3, 206) has the natural blend of size and speed that catches scouts' attention the moment he steps on the field. He didn't have quality quarterback play at his disposal while at Maryland, but his natural ability is simply undeniable.

Weaknesses: Unlike Maclin and Nicks, there isn't a ton of jump-off-the-screen film on Heyward-Bey because he never put up eye-popping stats with the Terrapins, plus he dropped his share of passes.

Steuber Says: Heyward-Bey is an explosive playmaker who can change the momentum of a game on any play. He gets a quick release off the line and is elusive in the open field, but he runs average routes and flashes inconsistent hands. He sets up defenders nicely on the outside, gets separation going vertical and has the ability to make acrobatic receptions. He doesn't shy away from going over the middle and making tough receptions in traffic. He demonstrates his versatility on the end-around and displays excellent vision in the clear.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report. Chris Steuber is the NFL Draft expert for Scout.com.


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