Wide receivers have been really hit or miss near the top-end of the draft of late, but that's because it's one of the harder positions to project. Plenty of players get by on athleticism in college and fall flat with their technique in the NFL, while other players get drafted due to strong route running or hands, only to fall off due to the intense physical nature of the big leagues.
As such, receivers often aren't ranked among the top players when it comes to pre-draft big boards and other such rankings. That didn't stop Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN coming out with his latest Top 25 Big Board with a receiver featured in the top 15, though.
Kiper has Cordarrelle Patterson of the Tennessee Vols at No. 14 on his list. As such, Patterson is his top receiver and the only receiver he has among the top 25 players entering the draft.
He could be the top WR available when all is said and done but faces a true discovery process during the draft lead-up because of a limited sample size. He's here because his ceiling is extremely high. Great size and leaping ability, strong hands, with explosiveness as a runner with the ball in his hands. Can go up and get it. Helps his QB. Ceiling of a very good No. 1.
When it comes to the type of receiver you'll find near the top, Patterson fits the "extremely athletic with high potential" bill. He's not Michael Crabtree, but more so someone like Stephen Hill, who was taken near the top of the second round in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Like HIll, Patterson is tall and lengthy, has a big frame nad runs a 40 time in the 4.35 range. And like Hill, Patterson is one of those physical players who have a high ceiling, as Kiper has pointed out. He has all the tools to be a top receiver in the NFL, but the question remains: did he get by on his athleticism in college, and how will he look throughout the months leading up to the draft?