Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson headlines a quality receiver draft class, but there's still a lot of talent behind him as well.
With the impending loss of Mike Wallace to free agency, the Steelers' former wealth of depth at the wide receiver position has turned shallow. With a talented and fast receiver class available in the 2013 NFL Draft, they may look to replenish some of that depth.
1. Cordarrelle Patterson, University of Tennessee
Much has already been said about Patterson. He measured 6-foot-2 216 pounds at the combine. He has the long speed to be a deep outside threat. He also has the quickness and strength to make plays with the football in hand. There are questions about his football intelligence and his routes running needs work but Patterson has high potential and can contribute in all phases of the game early. In a wide receiver class that doesn't possess any elite player makers like a Calvin Johnson, Patterson is one of the few who have the potential to be a dangerous player for any offense.
2. Tavon Austin, West Virginia University
The old adage "Speed Kills" is never truer than when watching Tavon Austin on film. He measured in at 5-foot-9 174 pounds and amazed (the people who didn't see him play) away with his official time of 4.34s in the forty. On film he showcased that speed everywhere. West Virginia did everything they could to get Austin the ball.
He ran by defenders on deep route but unlike some fast guys Austin shows great change of direction ability and route running. It was because of this WVU also used him as a half back, or on quick passes. His acceleration may be the best of any player in this draft. Austin can catch the ball and possess a good pair of hands but not great because they are smaller. The only major concern about Austin is his size. While scouts aren't too worried about his weight, his 5-foot-9 height might mean Austin is a slot receiver only.
He will fall out of the top 20 pick because of this concern but whatever team picks up Austin will get an explosive slot receiver and punt returner from day one. Think Mike Wallace but quicker, better route running and better hands.
3. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech University
Quinton Patton is not a name commonly associated with the number three receiver in this class but it should be. He measured 6-foot 204 pounds with nearly 33 inch arms. On tape there may not be a savvier route runner in this class. His routes are crisp and he moves in and out of his breaks well. Patton has great hands to go with his savvy routes. He didn't show the ability to get separation on deep routes and he isn't explosive in his routes but his route running combined with just enough speed will allow him to succeed at getting just enough separation to make a play. Patton also needs to get stronger to break tackles when the ball is in his hands. Overall Quinton Patton is a very polished receiver with good hands and great route running which leads me to believe Patton can succeed in the NFL.
4. Keenan Allen, University of California
5a. Robert Woods, University of Southern California
5b. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson University