Every single year, players emerge after a mediocre showing and burst on to the scene, and we’re left saying, ‘I should have seen it coming’. So, let’s get a head start on the most improved receivers for 2013.

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Most Improved Wide Receiver: Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri

2012 Stats: 28 catches, 395 yards and 5 TDs

The Story: The former No. 1 overall prospect stayed in-state and signed with Missouri last year, but his first season didn’t go as planned. Because of all the hype, it was a letdown year for the supremely gifted pass catcher. But the letdown had more to do with the lack of a passing game than it did DGB not living up to the hype.

Why he will improve the most: DGB flashed potential down the stretch run of last season, and you could see the maturity and raw talent start to develop. He caught just seven passes in the first five games, but he finished with 21 catches and four of his five touchdowns in the last five games of the season. Josh Henson takes over the reigns of the offense and James Franklin returns healthy. Both mean more balls thrown Green-Beckham’s way and a better chance to develop as a player.

His 6-6, 225-pound frame oozes AJ Green or Julio Jones 2.0; now, all he needs is an offense and quarterback that’s able to get him the ball. Look for DGB’s game to jump to the next level in 2013.

Others to watch:

Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia: We haven’t seen Malcolm Mitchell’s best yet. He was arguably the SEC’s biggest deep threat as a freshman, but his numbers dropped off slightly last year because he started 2012 at corner. This year, he’s all receiver all the time and should develop into Aaron Murray’s big-play threat. He’s Georgia’s X-Factor.

Jarvis Landry, LSU: While Odell Beckham is a more versatile athlete than Jarvis Landry, Landry could be a better pure receiver. He led LSU with 57 receptions and five touchdowns last year, and as Zach Mettenberger improves, so will Landry’s numbers. He could develop into one of the top receivers in the conference, but Beckham could be the primary target.

Amari Cooper, Alabama: I know, it’s ironic saying the best receiver in the league could be the most improved. But with Cooper, it’s a reality, because he was so raw last year. He caught 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, and it will be hard to improve upon those numbers. Julio Jones had a sophomore slump and there’s a ton of receivers on the Tide’s rosters. I think Cooper will have a big year, but he was so nasty last year that I’m not sure he could become ‘the most improved’.

Photo Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports