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2020 NFL Draft

2015 wide receiver class loaded with numerous experienced options


MOBILE, Alabama -- The 2014 class of wide receivers was a party for the juniors.

One year later, it's shaping up to be a revival for those who logged at least four years at their respective schools.

After Alabama's Amari Cooper, who is presumed to be the first wide receiver off the board and a potential top-five pick, the 2015 class of wide receivers is heavy on experience and players who appear to be worthy of a Day 1 or 2 selection. A number of those players battled in front of scouts, coaches and general managers -- a group that included Ray Farmer and the majority of Cleveland's player personnel department -- at the 2015 Senior Bowl. They've all got a couple of more months to create separation among each other before April 30, when Cooper leads the parade of another talented group of college wide receivers to the NFL.

Those who attended the annual all-star event in Mobile were quick to acknowledge how nip and tuck the competition is. In its recent player rankings, tagged three receivers as split between the first and second round, three as second-rounders and three more as split between the second and third round.

A receiver on the fringe of that group, Stanford's Ty Montgomery, presented the pitch he'd give to a prospective team in an interview with He knew it'd require more than pass-catching ability to establish why he was better than so many other options.

"You're going to need a smart football player, someone you can plug anywhere on the field. I'm going to learn the offense the best I can. I'm not going to learn just one position, I'm going to learn entire concepts," said Montgomery, who caught 61 passes for 604 yards in an injury-shortened senior season. "If you need to plug me in at running back for whatever the scheme may call for, I'll be able to play running back. If you need me to return kicks, I'll return kicks. Punts? I'll return punts. If you want me to go gun, I'll go gun. If you want me to vice, I'll go vice.

"It doesn't matter. I'm just looking forward to being a part of an organization. Hopefully someone believes in me."

If the Browns believe a wide receiver is the best option with one of their first-round picks, two seniors who didn't attend the Senior Bowl are among the projected options.

Kevin White, who starred in his senior season at West Virginia after a relatively quiet junior year, backed out of the Senior Bowl at the last minute and drew some scorn from the game's Executive Director, Phil Savage. White, who is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, racked up nine 100-yard receiving games and finished with 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.

White's projected by most draft analysts as a top-15 pick. Todd McShay's latest mock draft pegged him to the Rams at No. 10.

DeVante Parker made the absolute most out of the six games he was able to play in 2014. After missing the first seven games of the season with an injured foot, Parker finished his Louisville career with a vengeance, hauling in 43 passes for 855 yards. His worst performance during that six-game span was against Notre Dame, when he had four catches for 65 yards.

Auburn's Sammie Coates was among the top prospects to attend the Senior Bowl, and he wasn't even a senior. Coates redshirted his first year and graduated during the fall semester, allowing him to qualify for the game. At 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, Coates had a catch of at least 49 yards in five games this past season.

The big-play threat is on a mission to prove he can do more than run fly patterns while maintaining what makes him such an intriguing prospect.

"I'm the type of guy that will make explosive plays," Coates said. "Any chance that I have to make a big play, I'm going to do it. Every opportunity I have, I'm going to take advantage of it."

Three of the smallest wide receivers, Duke's Jamison Crowder (5-8, 174), Miami's Phillip Dorsett (5-9, 183) and Kansas State's Tyler Lockett (5-10, 181), drew rave reviews from their respective performances at the Senior Bowl and are projected as Day 2 options. Ohio State's Devin Smith can be thrown into that group, too.

It's unclear how the Browns will address wide receiver over the next few months, but there are certainly a couple of holes to fill in a group that, as a whole, exceeded expectations in 2014. Josh Gordon's season-long suspension and Miles Austin's free agency are among the reasons why there could be a handful of new faces at the position when training camp opens in July.

The Browns did not draft a wide receiver in 2014 and haven't used a pick on the position since selecting Travis Benjamin in 2012's fourth round. If they buck that trend Day 1 or 2 in the 2015 NFL Draft, there are plenty of experienced options.

This article is part of the Road to the Draft series, driven by Liberty Ford.



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