Ranking Top 29 Wide Receivers

Why settle for a pecking order of 10 or 12 prospects when we examine 29 receivers in this year's class. Taking the small guys out of the equation, as has been the Packers' preference, Cordarrelle Patterson

Here is how Packer Report ranks this year's prospects at wide receiver, based on conversations with three scouts, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, and the NFL's longtime lead scout, Dave-Te' Thomas.

(Note: In line with the Packers' long-running philosophy of not drafting short receivers, you will not see Ace Sanders, Tavon Austin, Marquise Goodwin and Darius Johnson — among others — in our rankings. For the record, our sources have Austin as the No. 1 receiver in the draft.)

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (6-2, 216): He's our Cream of the Crop.

2. Robert Woods, USC (6-0, 201): Caught 76 passes for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns, playing second fiddle to Biletnikoff Award-winning teammate Marquise Lee. Woods finished his three seasons with 176 catches for 2,084 yards (11.8 average) and 21 touchdowns; a 24.8-yard average and one touchdown on 55 kickoff returns; an 8.7-yard average on 15 punt returns and 13 rushes for 76 yards. In 2011, Woods was dominant with 111 catches, 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns to be a Biletnikoff finalist. Interviewed with Packers at Combine. Had a brilliant pro day workout. "I like Woods," Thomas said. "Everybody has to go back and look at last year. He had an ankle injury and a lot of people didn't know about it and they thought he was having a down season. Woods had a fantastic workout for teams recently, showing some good cutting ability."

3. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (6-0, 204): Caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards (13.4 average) and 13 touchdowns. His 116.0 yards per game ranked fourth in the nation. his 8.7 receptions per game ranked seventh and his total touchdowns were fifth among receivers. Think it was because of lesser competition? Think again. Mississippi State's standout cornerback, Jonathan Banks, called Patton "the best receiver" he faced. And against Texas A&M, Patton had 21 catches for 233 yards and four touchdowns. He caught 79 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior after playing two seasons at Coffeyville Community College. "He's a special type of ballplayer," Thomas said. "This guy, if he's still around in Round 2 or Round 3, I'm looking at that guy. I think he can come in and contribute. To me, he reminds me of Steve Smith (of the Giants) before he got hurt. I like the way that he goes after the ball. He's an aggressive little critter." Added another scout: "If you want to replace (Greg) Jennings with the same kind of player, Woods and Patton would be good choices. They might not impress you in shorts but they do when the lights come on."

4. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (6-1, 214): Early entrant. Set school records with 82 receptions, 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He was a second-team All-American and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. He set ACC records in touchdown catches and consecutive games with a touchdown catch (10). In just three seasons, he set Clemson records with 27 touchdowns and 3,020 receiving yards. Spent one season on the Clemson basketball team. Interviewed with Packers at Combine. Big 10-inch hands. "I'm not convinced that this is a guy that's going to come in the league and be all of that," Thomas said. "I look at him as an efficient type of wide receiver but, I don't know, I see a lot of holes in his game. He runs good patterns and everything but he's not aware of the sidelines, has balance issues and is a little stiff in the hips. He runs well on a straight-line burst, but if I need someone to do a post or an out pattern, this is not the guy I want on my team to do that." Another scout, however, said he could see Hunter being in the mix for Green Bay at No. 26. "You watch him on film, he shouldn't be there (for Green Bay) but he's a 4.55 guy so he could be."

5. Keenan Allen, Cal (6-2, 206): Early entrant who has been compared to Jordy Nelson and Hakeem Nicks. Set a school record with 205 receptions, is third with 2,570 receiving yards and seventh with 17 touchdown catches. Allen dominated in 2011 with 98 receptions for 1,343 yards. He fell back to 61 catches, 737 yards and six scores in 2012 because of a knee sprain that cost him the final three games and because his half-brother, Zach Maynard, was the team's quarterback and wasn't any good. He also averaged 12.0 yards per punt return for his career, including 14.1 with a 69-yard touchdown this season. Allen is an excellent blocker, as well. Scouts, however, are concerned about his health: He had ankle surgery before the season and missed most of the "scouting season" because of the knee. Not yet 100 percent, he ran a bad 4.71 at his pro day last week. Allen was recruited by Alabama to play safety.

6. Justin Hunter, Tennessee (6-4, 196): Early entrant. Hunter, who won the long jump at the 2010 World Junior Championships, was selected second-team all-SEC and Pro Football Weekly named him a third-team All-American. After catching 33 passes and scoring nine touchdowns in his first two seasons, Hunter piled up 73 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns in 2012. He caught 17 passes in the first three games of 2011 before going down with a torn ACL. Despite the big numbers in 2012, a scout said Hunter didn't look comfortable going over the middle. "A guy like Justin Hunter, if he's sitting there at 26, I'd definitely have a conversation about him," a scout said. "He's a great player. If he gets back to the form of his sophomore year, before he tore his ACL, he's a difference-maker." Thomas, however, wasn't sold: "A lot of teams have been bringing in (Vols quarterback Tyler) Bray and talking with Bray about his wide receivers (Patterson and Hunter) and they're getting the same impression, that these are the type of guys that will probably show up on Sunday but you won't see them Monday through Friday."

7. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (5-10, 193): Early entrant. Bailey matched Austin's catch total of 114, gaining 1,622 yards (14.2 average) and an eye-popping 25 touchdowns. The All-American was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation's top receiver. "If he were even 6-foot, he'd be a first-round draft pick and in the mix to be the No. 1 receiver," a scout said. In a 70-63 win over Baylor, he caught 13 passes for 303 yards and five touchdowns. "Bailey, to me, not only is the best route-runner, but 19 out of his 25 touchdowns were inside the red zone," Thomas said. "The thing that I love about him is 73.21 percent of his yardage came after the catch. When you've got a guy who can move the chains like that, oh, my God, this is a guy that I need on my team. A couple of years from now, he could end up being Reggie Wayne."

8. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State (5-11, 189): School's career record holder for receptions with 227. Finished with 2,994 receiving yards, 3,774 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns. During an All-American senior season, he hauled in 91 passes for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns, and added 142 rushing yards (7.1 average) and two more scores. Ran 4.45 at Combine and a scout compared him to Pittsburgh-turned-Miami receiver Mike Wallace. "I look at Markus and I see a kid who can come into this league and start right away," Thomas said. "He's not going to put up major-league figures out there but he's going to find a way to get open."

9. Terrance Williams, Baylor (6-2, 208): He's our Overrated.

10. Chris Harper, Kansas State (6-1, 229): A dual-threat quarterback, Harper started his college career running Oregon's spread offense. In 2008, Harper became the first Oregon player to run, pass and catch a touchdown in the same season in eight years. He wasn't a great passer, though, and wound up moving to receiver, then transferred back to his home state. As a senior, Harper led the team with 58 receptions for 857 yards. Plus, he led all NCAA receivers with 12 touchdown-producing blocks. At the Senior Bowl, he showed his knack for getting open, whether it was surprising speed or his physicality. Thomas compared him to Nelson, who played at Kansas State. "Somebody picks him up in the fourth round and they're going to have a very, very, very physical inside receiver," Thomas said.

11. Aaron Dobson, Marshall (6-3, 210): Hauled in 57 passes as a senior to earn second-team all-Conference USA honors. He ranks fourth in school history with 24 touchdown catches and ninth with 2,398 receiving yards. Made one of the more remarkable one-handed touchdown catches in NCAA history against East Carolina in 2011. He's an excellent route-runner and quality blocker, as well.

12. Corey Fuller, Virginia Tech (6-2, 204): He's our Sleeper.

13. Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech (6-3, 217): Early entrant was first-team all-SEC in 2011, when he posted 67 catches, 1,040 yards and a conference-leading nine touchdowns. He was suspended indefinitely for failing drug tests and a "bad attitude" and transferred to Tech. During his one and only season there, he caught 61 passes for 893 yards (14.6 average) and 10 scores. Ran 4.52 with 39.5 vertical at Combine. "First-round talent," a scout said, "but, wow, I wouldn't touch this guy (early in the draft). He's the type of guy you hope your division rival takes."

14. Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech (6-3, 233): Honorable mention on the all-ACC team as a senior, posting 51 catches for 953 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 18.7 yards per reception for the season and 17.4 on his 105 career catches. Davis played quarterback as a high school senior but moved to receiver for his freshman season, so he's still a relative neophyte to the position. Not only is he big, he has the second-biggest hands in the receiver class and displayed a 39.5-inch vertical at the Combine.

15. Tavarres King, Georgia (6-0, 189): Led the team with 42 receptions, 950 yards and nine touchdowns. Among receivers with at least 26 catches, King led the nation with a 22.6-yard average, due as much to his route-running acumen as his speed. Matched mostly against Alabama's Dee Milliner, King had five catches for 142 yards. For his career, he caught 136 balls for 2,602 yards and 21 scores. Must get stronger and become more polished. Ran 4.47 with 36.5-inch vertical at Combine.

16. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (6-0, 205): Tied Austin for fastest 40 at the Combine (4.34). Set school record for receptions with 72 as a sophomore and upped that to 89 as a junior. As a senior, had "only" 72 receptions for 913 yards and eight touchdowns. Tore apart Dee Milliner and Alabama's defense for 11 catches for 111 yards and one touchdown. He owns the school record with 252 catches, which he turned into 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns. Dropped too many passes at Senior Bowl. "He was a real good running back in high school and still looks like one," a scout said. "He's tough to tackle. He'd give you headaches in the slot."

17. Josh Boyce, TCU (5-11, 206): Set a school record with 66 catches as a senior, turning those into 891 yards and seven touchdowns to be named honorable-mention all-Big 12. His 22 career touchdown receptions also set a school record. Big offseason: Had 4.38 in the 40 and 22 reps on the bench at the Combine, and caught everything in sight at the Combine, pro day and team workouts. As with Swope, Boyce will be an asset in the slot.

18. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (6-1, 194): Early entrant. Caught 82 passes for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, running his three-year totals to 204 receptions, 2,594 yards and 24 scores. He was second-team all-Big 12 his final two seasons. He is the son of former University of Wisconsin and Green Bay Packers safety Ken Stills. Ran 4.38 at Combine but disappointing 33.5-inch vertical. "He's kind of a goofball and he's not anywhere as tough as his old man," a scout said. "You can't argue with his numbers, though."

19. Aaron Mellette, Elon (6-3, 217): Three-time all-conference performer and two-time All-American. As a senior, he caught 97 passes for 1,398 yards, with his 18 touchdown catches ranking second in Southern Conference history. For his career, he caught 304 passes for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns. Ran 4.54 with disappointing 33.5-inch vertical at Combine. "You question the competition, obviously, but he fit right in at the Senior Bowl," a scout said.

20. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas (6-2, 212): A lone bright spot in Arkansas' dreadful season with 90 catches, 1,335 yards and five touchdowns to earn third-team All-American honors. Not only did his receptions and yardage totals set school records — the old receptions mark was 66 — but they rank third and fourth, respectively, in SEC history. He set school and SEC records with 303 yards against Rutgers. He uses his strength to beat the jam and then pile up yards after the catch. However, his 29.5-inch vertical wouldn't have impressed even if he were an offensive lineman; scouts had him for 34.5 inches during spring testing.

21. Conner Vernon, Duke (6-0, 196): ACC's career leader in receptions (283) and receiving yards (3,749), as well as setting league marks with 48 consecutive games with a catch, four straight seasons of 50-plus catches and three seasons of 70-plus grabs. The old ACC records were 232 receptions and 3,517 yards. Arguably the best hands in the draft. When Peyton Manning was on the comeback trail, it was Vernon on the receiving end of his passes. Slot receiver only; ran 4.68 with 32.5-inch vertical at Combine.

22. Charles Johnson, Grand Valley State (6-2, 215): After one year apiece at Eastern Kentucky and a junior college, Johnson spent two seasons at Division II Grand Valley State. He had 56 catches for 1,030 yards (18.4 average) and 15 touchdowns in 2011 and 72 catches for 1,199 yards (16.7 average) and 16 touchdowns in 2012. Ran as fast as 4.34 at his pro day and had a pre-draft visit with Green Bay.

23. Marquess Wilson, Washington State (6-3, 194): Wilson caught 52 passes for 813 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 in nine games. Then, with three games remaining, he quit. He was suspended for leaving a team workout. In a statement, Wilson said Mike Leach and the coaching staff "preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate" the players. A scout said Leach "bullied" Wilson into apologizing. He's long and athletic with excellent hands but badly needs to get stronger to prevent getting manhandled. Ran 4.51 at Combine with 34.5-inch vertical.

24. Tyrone Goard, Eastern Kentucky 6-4, 205): First Colonel to be selected to the Combine since defensive back Antwuan Molden in 2008. Caught 41 passes for 900 yards (22.0 average) and eight touchdowns as a senior. He finished his career ranked in the top 10 in school history with 1,842 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. Ran 4.50 with a 36-inch vertical at Combine.

25. Alec Lemon, Syracuse (6-1, 202): Emerged as Ryan Nassib's favorite target, hauling in 72 passes for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. He as the only offensive player who was a unanimous selection to the all-Big East team, and he was the lone player in the conference to reach 1,000 receiving yards. The 72 catches were a team record, as were his 201 career receptions. Syracuse has produced Art Monk, Marvin Harrison and Rob Moore, but Lemon is the only player to have caught 60 passes, a feat he's accomplished twice. Not a great athlete (4.59, 32-inch vertical) and small hands.

26. Brandon Kaufman, Eastern Washington (6-5, 216): Early entrant. Kaufman had 1,850 receiving yards to break FCS, Big Sky and school records for single-season receiving yards. He finished the year with 93 receptions and 16 touchdowns, and his 42-game career with 221 catches (third in school history, seventh in Big Sky history) for 3,731 yards (second all-time at EWU, fourth in the Big Sky and 19th in FCS) and 33 touchdowns (second in school history). He played in four games in 2011 before breaking his hand. Ran just 4.67 at Combine.

27. Rodney Smith, Florida State (6-4, 225): Caught 38 passes for 524 yards and three touchdowns as a senior and had 105 grabs for 10 scores over his final three seasons. He caught a pass in 38 consecutive games to tie a school record. Biggest hands in draft class. Ran 4.51 at Combine. "Yeah, and look at his numbers," a scout said. "He should be better than he is."

28. Reggie Dunn, Utah (5-9, 178): The Packers took a shot at former Utah return ace Shaky Smithson a couple years ago but that didn't pan out. How about Dunn, who had a shocking 4.22 40 at his pro day. Dunn had five 100-yard touchdown returns in his career, an NCAA record, as is his 30.9-yard career average on kickoff returns. Had two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns against Cal among his four return scores this season. He averaged 51.3 yards for the season. For his career, caught 31 passes for 355 yards and carried 40 times for 330 yards.

29. Denard Robinson, Michigan (5-11, 199): Dynamic dual-threat quarterback who started two games at running back late in the season. His 4,495 career rushing yards are the most ever by a quarterback, and his 1,702 rushing yards in 2010 also is a quarterback record. In 2010, he became the first player to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards. Is nowhere close to contributing as a receiver and might not be ready to contribute as a returner, either. "You know all of that and then you turn on the Michigan film and watch him run and you think of the possibilities."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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