Falcons WR Draft Targets

Extremely Deep Wide Receiver Class

The Falcons issues with their receiving corps have been well-documented here in The Bird Cage. Roddy White is a two-time, consecutive Pro Bowler who is among the best in the NFL at his position. Michael Jenkins has had his ups and downs throughout his career, having a rather down year last year (1 TD). But Jenkins should be considered a major part of the receiving corps due to his leadership, superb blocking skills, and mostly sure hands (he only had 5 drops this year, but they were all really big). The issue is that Jenkins has been unable to take advantage of one-on-one assignments with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez both drawing double teams. He’s also making $4.5 million dollars a year as well.

Harry Douglas had a fantastic rookie year and added an excellent threat in the aerial attack, as well as raising all the other WRs game around him. Douglas is coming back from an ACL injury and won’t be ready until training camp in August. Brian Finneran has been the consummate Falcon, but has had 3 knee injuries in the last 4 years and will be 34 this year. Marty Booker was an emergency addition that added little threat and won’t return. Eric Weems showed some flashes throughout the year, but nothing that strikes fear into opponents. Troy Bergeron showed promise in the Arena Football League, but hasn’t ever gotten the chance on the field. Even though there is some obvious talent in the receiving corps, its safe to say that there is also a ton of uncertainty and lack of playmakers. Lucky for the Falcons this is an extremely deep draft class for wide receiving prospects.

Special thanks to NFLDraftScout.com and DraftCountdown.com for their draft rankings and superior draft analysis. Since the Falcons likely won’t take a WR first and don’t have a second round pick, the following receivers have either been analyzed previously or will likely be gone by the 3rd round: Dez Bryant, Golden Tate, Demaryius Thomas, Arrelious Benn, and Damian Williams.

3rd Round

Brandon Lafell – 6’3 – 211 – LSU

4.58 Forty – Bench Reps N/A – 792 Rcv Yds – 11 TDs

Lafell possesses the height and bulk that is the big trend in the NFL and College Football now and has good speed to add to it. Runs very good routes and has superior body control when going up for the ball and in open space. Extremely good blocker. Doesn’t have burner speed, questionable work ethic, and doesn’t get tons of separation. 3 very productive years at LSU in the SEC. Likely gone in the second round, but may slip to the Falcons.

Carlton Mitchell – 6’3 – 215 – South Florida

4.46 Forty – 16 Bench Reps – 706 Rcv Yds – 4 TDs

Mitchell has been skyrocketing up the draft boards recently with his impressive combine numbers. Many teams may have had him around the 4th or 5th round, but the South Florida receiver has turned many heads with his good route running skills and speed, where he timed 4.42 at his pro day. According to NFLDraftScout, he’s a physical receiver in the mold of Brandon Marshall “who can flat fly.” A very polished receiver to be so tall. Was considered a sleeper at one point, but is out in the open and likely will go early in the 3rd. Not outstanding college production with only 4 TDs.

Eric Decker – 6’3 – 217 – Minnesota

4.55 Forty – 16 Bench Reps – 758 Rcv Yds – 5 TDs

Decker has been an extremely productive receiver at Minnesota, even if not highly recognized. Has terrific hands, a good frame, and very nice speed for such a big receiver. Highly known for his superior work ethic. Goes across the middle with ease. Coming off a Lisfranc foot fracture that has derailed many NFL player’s careers. After Peria Jerry and William Moore’s injury history proving detrimental, the Falcons may opt to pass. But his excellent upside might be too hard to pass up.

Taylor Price – 6’1 – 204 – Ohio

4.40 Forty – 16 Bench Reps – 784 Rcv Yds – 5 TDs

Price is a very underrated talent that has very nice speed, but he’s best known for his excellent route running ability. Gets a lot of extra yardage after the catch. Needs work in blocking. Suffered from offense that didn’t put a heavy emphasis on their passing attack. Not the biggest name, but might be a steal for someone.

Jacoby Ford – 5’9 – 186 – Clemson

4.22 Forty – 15 Bench Press – 779 Rcv Yds – 6 TDs

Like his former teammate CJ Spiller, Jacoby Ford is lightning in a bottle. His speed and playmaking ability is off the charts. He is a pure deep threat that is not a great route runner or polished receiver. Ford does have amazing athleticism and could be a perfect in the right offense. Imagine pairing Harry Douglas, Jacoby Ford, and Jerious Norwood together in the same series.

Mardy Gilyard – 6-0 – 187 – Cincinnati

4.61 Forty – Bench Reps N/A – 1,191 Rcv Yds – 11 TDs

Many believed that Gilyard had potentially moved himself on the fringe of the first round after his very good performance in the Senior Bowl. After running a slower 40 time than he had hoped (4.61) and as the time has gone by, Gilyard has slipped all the way down to the 3rd or 4th round as the draft nears. Gilyard had amazing production in college with over 1,100 yards receiving and 11 TDs two years in a row. Also an outstanding special team player as well.

Riley Cooper – 6’4 – 222 – Florida

4.53 Forty Time – Bench Reps N/A – 961 Rcv Yds – 9 TDs

Cooper developed as Tim Tebow’s favorite target and for good reason. Cooper is very fast for a big and tough wideout. Cooper has the speed and quickness to pair with a big body to become an immediate impact on a given team. Was overlooked after being behind Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy for his first 3 years. NFLDraftScout.com has him slotted for the 4th round, not the 3rd.

4th Round

Blair White – 6’2 – 209 – Michigan State

4.49 Forty – 18 Bench Reps – 990 Rcv Yds – 9 TDs

Very physical receiver who was extremely productive who projects more than just a possession wideout. Makes tough catches and runs good routes. Also has a good penchant for blocking and is known as a high effort guy.

Andre Roberts – 5’11 – 195 – The Citadel

4.40 Forty – 15 Bench Reps – 792 Rcv Yds – 8 TDs

Roberts might be one of the absolute best sleepers in the draft and could go much earlier than the 4th round. Unbelievably productive in college with over 3,700 yards receiving and 37 TDs. Fast, quick, good route runner, and receiver with excellent hands. Played against smaller competition but would be perfect for the slot position.

Jordan Shipley – 5’11 – 193 – Texas

4.6 Forty – 16 Bench Reps – 1,485 Rcv Yds – 13 TDs

Shipley was one of the top receivers in college football receiving almost 1,500 yds receiving and 13 TDs. Tremendously quick and one of the best route runners in the game. Projects as an ideal comparison to Wes Welker and is suited perfectly for the slot. Dropped some due to poor 40 time. Slotted to go in the 2nd or 3rd by DraftCountdown.com

Dezmon Briscoe – 6’2 – 207 – Kansas

4.66 Forty – 9 Bench Reps – 1,337 Rcv Yds – 9 TDs

Briscoe has been one of the more overlooked receivers and was quietly one of the most productive in college. Nice height and bulk and is very athletic. Poor combine showing in 40 time has caused him to drop. Doesn’t get much separation, but could do well with the right team.

5th Round

Jeremy Williams – 6’0 – 206 – Tulane

4.59 Forty – 14 Bench Reps – 1,113 Rcv Yds – 7 TDs

Williams isn’t overly fast or explosive, but is a receiver that just makes plays. Excellent hands and good route runner. Good blocker and not afraid to go over the middle. Not much of a vertical threat. Had a very good Senior Bowl game and is slotted to go higher by other sites.

Joe Webb – 6’3 – 223 – UAB

4.46 Forty – Bench Reps N/A – QB in Senior Season

Webb is an interesting candidate who has played receiver in the past, but started his senior year at quarterback. Has very good speed and is an extremely good athlete that may translate to receiver well, but which ever team takes him will need to give him time.

Armanti Edwards – 5’11 – 187 – Appalachian State

4.43 Forty – Bench Reps N/A – QB in Senior Season

Edwards is another quarterback that looks to make the conversion to wide receiver. Extremely athletic as he threw and ran as a QB very well. Will also take time if drafted by an NFL team, but could make a nice slot prospect.

6th Round

Emmanuel Sanders – 5’11 – 186 – Southern Methodist

4.40 Forty – 12 Bench Reps – 1,339 Rcv Yds – 9 TDs

Sanders projects to be an extremely good pick and value where he can come in and compete for a slot position immediately. Good production, quickness, and explosion after the catch. Could go earlier than the 6th round.

4.39 Forty – 16 Bench Reps – 893 Rcv Yds – 8 TDs

Easley is shooting up the draft boards with his speed, size, and strength. Had good production in college, but not outstanding. Easley may very well go much earlier for teams looking for a big and tall receiver. Not polished receiver that may need some time.

Freddie Barnes – 6’0 – 215 – Bowling Green

4.67 Forty – Bench Reps N/A – 1,770 Rcv Yds – 19 TDs

Barnes might be one of the best sleeper prospects of all, as he was the most productive college player in college football with almost 1,800 yards receiving, almost 20 TDs, and breaking the record for most receptions in one year by a college WR. Not a burner, but finds ways to get open. Will come in with a chip on his shoulder after not getting a NFL Combine invite.

Danario Alexander – 6’5 – 215 – Missouri

4.62 Forty – Bench Reps N/A – 1,781 Rcv Yds – 14 TDs

Alexander is slotted to go in the 2nd or 3rd round by many other draft sites due to his great size and bulk. Not top speed, but may can be the next big receiver. Dropped way down by many sites because he’s torn his ACL in the same knee twice.

Other Wide Receivers: Shay Hodge-Ole Miss, Ryan Wolfe-UNLV, David Reed-Utah, David Gettis-Baylor, Mike Williams-Syracuse

Your Turn

-What receivers should the Falcons target?

-Should the Falcons draft more than one receivers?

-List out your top 5 receivers throughout all the rounds

186 comments Add your comment


April 6th, 2010
12:48 pm

Dare I say it?


April 6th, 2010
1:09 pm

Unca' Bob

April 6th, 2010
1:09 pm


Great research my friend. I’m standing pat with my earlier choices of Roberts and White. I have to admit, J Ford is compelling.

KC in Smyrna

April 6th, 2010
1:12 pm

I like Riley Cooper better than all the WR prospects in the draft after Dez Bryant (OSU) and Bebe Thomas (GT). I’ll also take Jordan Shipley in the 4th round or later as well. You can have the rest of this group. I don’t see the depth here that others see.

I’m not worried about Cooper’s speed given his size. Also not concerned with Shipley’s size or speed. I saw him punish teams weekly at Texas. He only ran a 4.6, but he plays every bit of that speed in pads. I never saw him caught and he ran away from many faster players ON THE FIELD.

Outside of those 4, you can keep the rest of this class. Jacoby Ford is a track star whose speed doesn’t translate to the field.

The Real Falcon

April 6th, 2010
1:18 pm

Late round help is a good idea. Let’s not spend any of our 3’s however. Must have speed and understand a pro route tree.


April 6th, 2010
1:24 pm

What’s up Cage.

This is an extremely deep draft for WR depth just as D3 stated. And there is talent abound for Falcons to choose from if we move in that direction.

I truly love Eric Decker. If he can get past the foot injury, he is a Pro Bowler in the future; all the tools are in place. Jeremy Williams and Andre Roberts are immensely talented receivers that will make a team very happy. Cooper and White also intrigue me.

Williams, Roberts, and White all are listed in the latest TeePee Sports Mock draft as selections and/or FA post draft signings.

Knew Money

April 6th, 2010
1:26 pm

Hey D3 what’s up. I just had to comment on these WR in this year’s draft. The falcons have got to take one and the two guys I’ve got on my wish list are Gilyard and C.Mitchell. Both guys I think has the potential to be all pros. Gilyard because of his special teams abilities and Mitchell because of his upside. After that you’re left with number 3s and #4s in Lafelle, Cooper, etc. I do think Shipley may have a chance to be a real good pro too. So in the 3rd round here’s the order for the falcons if these guys are still there.

1. Carlton Mitchell
2. Mardy Gilyard
3. Jordan Shipley (4th round)


April 6th, 2010
1:27 pm

Semper Fi, UnCa Bob.

I feel you; As I stated, Williams, Roberts, and White are consistent choices for me as well.


April 6th, 2010
1:36 pm

My top five:


allan in texas

April 6th, 2010
1:38 pm

Take Jordan Shipley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

b dawg

April 6th, 2010
1:49 pm

I said it last year and ill say it this year for the pros…Micheal moore can play…He gets no attention but he is a sure handed receiver and a great possesion guy


April 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

J.Ford from clemson or Shay hodge from ole miss nice 3rd picks….


April 6th, 2010
2:02 pm

Blair White is my 4th round sleeper….. I like White and Andre Roberts.

Sun Tzu 7

April 6th, 2010
2:13 pm

Since we probably not looking for a starter why not Ford?

We could always use another speed guy in the return game and you can’t coach a 4.22.

John Waynesworld

April 6th, 2010
2:14 pm

Agree with b dawg about Mike Moore from UGA. Guts, heart, hands and speed.

D3 I also like the idea of a WR who is also a QB, like Joe Webb in the 5th round. They know all about routes and reads and this guy has size (6′3″, 223). Speaking of that, I did not realize that Jordan Shipley is only 5′11″. Either he plays really big or the Big 12 is not so big.

D3, what about Mikey Moore? Free Agency? Walk on? Or would he be worth a 6th or 7th? I read he did very good at his pro day.

Jim Mora Jr.

April 6th, 2010
2:14 pm

The sooner Michael Jenkins quits stealing money from this organization, the better. Give me Shipley.


April 6th, 2010
2:21 pm

I think Armanti Edwards will go sooner than the 5th round…probably early 4th round pick.

Dandy D

April 6th, 2010
2:26 pm

Simple. Cooper or Shipley. Precise route runners from Big-Time College Football.


April 6th, 2010
2:31 pm

D3 – Good research. Give me Marcus Easley in the 6th.


April 6th, 2010
2:36 pm

What do we want/need in a WR?
Are we looking for a tall, randy 4th WR to replace Finneran or a jitterbug type to be in the slot and take advantage of the other teams 5/6th DB on the depth chart?
Right now I am not sure.
One other sleeper from my alma mater: Curtis Pulley – Florida A&M :)
He was a transfer from Kentucky due to some legal issues. He played WR and sparingly at QB (when was Andre Woodson was Kentuckys’ QB) until his transfer in ‘08 to FAMU. He was a dynamic offensive leader, but in the Pro Day, I think he ran 4.4 40 and may have been working out.at WR.


April 6th, 2010
2:48 pm

Great job as always D3. I would take Cooper or Shipley. My first choice would be Cooper. As you stated for his size he’s really fast and have great hands. Nothing against Decker but that foot injury scares me. If we can’t get one of them by the 3rd I say go with Jeremy Williams in the later rounds.

I really do not want to sound like a homer here but Mike Moore out of UGA is very underrated. He has good hands, decent speed and has no problem going over the middle. Would like to hear your thoughts on this. Also Trenton Holiday out of LSU is another choice in the later rounds.


April 6th, 2010
2:51 pm


April 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

Well I see that Moore has already been brought up.


April 6th, 2010
2:55 pm

Any of this guys is an upgrade at 2nd WR.


April 6th, 2010
2:55 pm

They need to bring Aaron Kelly back and give him a fair shot.


April 6th, 2010
2:55 pm

Wait one more year and trade up to get A.J. Green–put a franchise WR with your franchise QB. Some of the guys on this list can play, but none look to be guaranteed stars.


April 6th, 2010
2:57 pm

Kevin – Best WR idea I’ve heard yet.


April 6th, 2010
3:03 pm

Thanks Coop.

Hamad Meander

April 6th, 2010
3:07 pm

I really don’t want to see the Falcons take a WR before the 5th round. We have (2) 5th round picks and (2) 6th round picks. This is where we should be targeting a receiver. That being said, I like Joe Webb. He is raw, athletic, fast, and big. Exactly what you want in the 5th or 6th round.

Please Mr. Dimitroff – No WR before round 5. With Douglas back, the need for more WRs is diminished. I feel perfectly comfortable with White, Jenkins, Douglas, Gonzalez, and Finneran.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 6th, 2010
3:12 pm

Shipley & Alexander from Mizzou (6′5″ is a great size!!!)..agree w/ Hamad..nothing before round 5- stick with D until then.


April 6th, 2010
3:26 pm

Douglass will need 1 year to get comfortable with his surgically repaired knee. Don’t expect him to have the speed and explosivness this year. Next year he’ll be back to that 1st year form. Do the homework go to one of the small schools that toss the ball a lot and sign the kid undrafted free agent.

ken Strickland

April 6th, 2010
3:39 pm

Who we select at WR and where depends on what we’re looking for. Are we looking for a possession or 3rd down WR, and replacement for BFinneran, or are we looking for someone to challenge MJenkins? Personally, I think drafting a replacement for TE TGonzalez is more important than drafting a replacement for MJenkins.

We can supplement MJenkins’ production by basically throwing more to our RB’s, but that won’t work out as well when it comes to replacing TGonzalez’ production. I’d love to see us consistently isolate MTurner and JNorwood out in space, like the Saints do RBush, and watch LB’s try in vain to stop them.

For that to happen we have got to get better pass protection than we got last yr from our OL. If we don’t, OC MMularkey will continue keeping our RB’s in for protection. However, even with weak pass protection, we still need to get more than 31 total combined receptions out of our top 3 RB’s(JNorwood-19, OMughelli-7 & MTurner-5).


April 6th, 2010
3:41 pm

if they are looking for a big play guy, i’d say ford is the guy to get. he’s short, yes, but he could be a desean jackson type player. cooper wouldn’t be a bad choice, but i’d like him better as a tight end (if he’s a tough blocker). i think they need a sure handed tight end more than a receiver. although, unless something falls in their lap this year, i say they wait until next year. tighten up the D this year, and go for O-line and offensive playmakers next year.


April 6th, 2010
3:56 pm

WR’s Available at our picks:
1st Dez Bryant
3rd A Roberts, C Mitchell
3comp Mitchell, Cooper
4th Shipley
5th B White
5thcomp Briscoe,
6th F Barnes
mid 6th Arijotutu
All potential replacements for Jenkins, HD takes over at slot…..

Birrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd Man

April 6th, 2010
3:56 pm

Jacoby Ford or Riley Cooper in the 3rd would suit me. I’d really like to load up on a couple of them with 4’s and 5’s. Will Ford still be on the board at #3?


April 6th, 2010
3:58 pm

Great Comments – Excellent comments and analysis by all in here on the wide receiver front. Also great to see all the new faces in here. Just a couple of comments before I return to the forsaken yard work………

-Respectfully disagree with the opinions that we should wait until the 5th round to take a receiver. As tidog mentioned, HD will be slow to recover and won’t even be fully ready until training camp in August. Taking a flier on a receiver in the 5th round would be a mistake to not grab a stud in this deep class.

-Two words: Robert Ferguson and Marty Booker. These were our guys that looked to be our #4 and #5 receivers after HD was injured. Time to lock up a good receiver we can develop, instead of picking up free agents off the street.

-Finneran has had 3 knee injuries in 4 years and will be 34 by the time we tee it up. Putting faith in HD AND BFinn is a serious risk.

-We tried the Undrafted Free Agent route last year and not one of the guys even made the practice roster (brandon godfrey, darren mougey, aaron kelly, and a host of other WRs).

-Granted, the New Orleans Saints mined gold with Marques Colston in the 7th round, but that’s the exception and not the rule. If you look at their other two receivers, Devery Henderson (2nd rd) and Robert Meachem (1st rd) were both top draft picks and they are essential to the team that just won the Super Bowl.

-Jenkins is a good part of the offense, but do we all really believe he is a legitimate #2 paired with Roddy, Gonzo, and Turner on the field? 1 TD this year. Ranked 90th out of 107 wide receivers according to ProFootballFocus.com (and they include blocking as a part of their rankings)

-Does this current list of wideouts really strike fear into many opponents?
1)Roddy 2)Jenkins 3)HD(knee injury) 4)BFinn(3 knee injuries in 4 years) 5)Weems

My List

Selfishly, I want us to grab one in the 3rd or 4th and than with our last pick to develop. In full disclosure, this is my bias on taking wide receivers, similar to others and their bias on taking OL.


April 6th, 2010
3:58 pm

Jacoby Ford has skillet hands. The guy wasn’t a difference maker at Clemson which should tell you something. Best hope for him would be a good return man. He’ll never make it in the NFL as a WR.


April 6th, 2010
4:08 pm

19.Brandon Graham.DE.Michigan
84.Matthew Tennent.C.Boston College
99.Eric Norwood.OLB.South Carolina
118.Riley Cooper. WR.Florida
150.Charles Scott .RB.LSU
166.Jeff Owens . DT.Georgia
172 .Colin Peek . TE.Alabama
190 .A.J. Jefferson. CB.Fresno State

Or, trade picks 99 and 150 to the Texans for their 2nd rd pick at 51, and do this:

19 .Brandon Graham . DE.Michigan
84.Matthew Tennent . C .Boston College
118 .Dakota Watson. OLB . Florida State
166 .Jeff Owens . DT.Georgia
172 .Colin Peek . TE .Alabama
190 .A.J. Jefferson . CB.Fresno State


April 6th, 2010
4:11 pm

AJ Green rd. 1 next year. Invest in D this year.


April 6th, 2010
4:13 pm

Really like the Norwood pick, Nativebird. Also, Jeff Owens could turn out to be a steal down at 166.


April 6th, 2010
4:19 pm


Love the Charles Scott pick. That guys is going to be a steal.

uberVU - social comments

April 6th, 2010
4:25 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by D3_Falcons: http://bit.ly/9DzKrG #Falcons Potential WR Targets in the #NFLDraft The Bird Cage…


April 6th, 2010
4:26 pm

Don’t forget Julio Jones @ Bama for next year also


April 6th, 2010
4:49 pm

I think Thomas is gonna be LONGGGGG gone by 51 nativebird. But theres hope

come on

April 6th, 2010
5:24 pm

thomas will be gone in the top 30 picks. maybe if we can trade down to a lower pick in the first round to gain a second round pick we could draft thomas like 25 to 30, but there is noway he is there at 51


April 6th, 2010
5:28 pm

I’m torn btwn the Falcons getting a big physical receiver (like Carlton Williams) or a slot receiver in the mold of Wes Welker (like Jordan Shipley). Given the type of QB Matt Ryan is,I think GM Dimitroff will go with a Shipley type.Maybe even Riley Cooper who is bigger and faster than Shipley. TD drafted Harry Douglas with Wes Welker in mind. I also think/want the Falcons to draft a good WR in the 3rd or 4th round. I think they will draft a WR before a TE (in the 5th or 6th round).


April 6th, 2010
5:34 pm

my 2 cents

I think the falcons will address the WR position in the third I like them taking Jordan Shippley. He has all the the traits TD likes in his players great production on the field and a good head on his shoulders.
He runs every route, plays tough in the middle of the field and rarely drops the football. Hes a tough versatile receiver w/ some of the best hands in the draft. To pick him up in the third would be a steal!!!


April 6th, 2010
5:41 pm

Got to get a Center, start developing now, the BC kid gives us great upside without blowing a top 2 round pick. IMO, draft for need, but this year, we need “quality” over “quantity” IF we can make a deal. Top 2 to 3 rounds should be players that can play year 1. Ryan’s third year, plus 2 (2.5 really) straight defensive building drafts = the time is NOW my friends. If a package of lower rounders can get you into the 2nd round? for a WR deep draft? Yes sir. do it. If not, get your RB of the future, a developmental TE and some depth on defense.

ron the man

April 6th, 2010
5:45 pm

Armanti Edwards will be worth a 4th round pick for sure. This QB for Applachian State has first step quickness like the great ones, and lead his team to three national championships and footballs biggest upset in the “big house’ at Michigan.He would be a great wildcat and will get separation with that first step advantage from receiver or return positions. Carolina might take him in the 3rd, but if not we need this guy in the 4th. I agree that Riley Cooper also could help our team. Go Falcons!!!!!


April 6th, 2010
6:05 pm

Gilyard seems to to be the best fit for the team. Kinda like a Harry Douglas guy. Natural wideout instincts. Just knows how to get open, catch the ball and do something with it. He’d push Jenkins for field time.