The NFL draft begins April 28 in Chicago, with all 32 teams looking for the next great pro talent to emerge from the SEC.

We’ll take a position-by-position look at the SEC’s draft prospects in the days leading up to the event, continuing today with receivers.

So many SEC receivers have made an immediate impact at the NFL level in recent seasons, including Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans. That’s a great track record for the current crop of players trying to convince franchises to invest in them.

RELATED: Countdown to the NFL draft — SEC RBs

Still, this isn’t an overly deep class. Beyond Laquon Treadwell and Pharoh Cooper, there aren’t any obvious selections sure to be taken on the first or second day of the draft. And there are a few character concerns or players who never reached their potential in college.

So what is the current buzz on the SEC receivers?


Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss: Most draft analysts rate Treadwell as the No. 1 receiver in this class. He’s a near-lock to get selected in the first round. In recent years, SEC receiving leaders have emerged as early contributors, and even stars, at the pro level. And Treadwell produced more than 1,150 receiving yards in ’15. His long arms, physicality, strong hands and catch radius make him an excellent red zone target and a threat to win the majority of 50/50 balls.

But he ran a 4.63 40-yard dash — hand-timed. And according to Bleacher Report, doctors flagged his ankle at the Combine. (Remember, he suffered a horrific ankle and leg injury in 2014.) NFL corners are going to press him at the line of scrimmage again and again, as he doesn’t have the speed to beat them over the top.

Again, Treadwell should be a first-round pick and can start immediately. But there are flaws to his game that perhaps have gotten somewhat overlooked by most media and fans entering the draft.


Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina: At 5-foot-11 and 203 pounds, he doesn’t possess the length or size to be effective on the outside or deep downfield at the NFL level. But get the ball in his hands in space and he’s dynamic. His quick feet and change of direction make him ideal to work out of the slot on short to intermediate routes. But creative coordinators may be able to dream up ways to get him the ball on the move or in the open field. He’s not great at beating press coverage or outmuscling defensive backs for the ball, but he has trustworthy hands and explosive burst.


Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia: It’s easy to paint a favorable narrative for Mitchell. Despite playing in a run-first offense, an ACL tear and a decline at the quarterback position after Aaron Murray’s departure, Mitchell managed 174 career catches. He’s fast (4.45-second 40), his hands are among the best in the SEC (four total drops in the last two seasons), he’s a great character guy and he’s capable of making quick cuts to create separation. Yet he’ll be a 24-year-old rookie. He’s shown that press coverage really bothers him (see: Senior Bowl). And he should see a steady diet of physical cornerbacks at the NFL level. Can he adjust?


Cody Core, Ole Miss: Chad Kelly didn’t become the third player in SEC history to throw for 4,000 yards on the strength of Laquon Treadwell alone. Although his production wasn’t eye-popping (37 catches, 644 yards), he consistently caught two and three passes per game at more than 17 yards per reception. He’s not an explosive player, nor is he dynamic after the catch. His route-running won’t wow NFL scouts, and he must learn to high-point the ball with his hands instead of waiting on the ball to arrive and bodying it. But his combination of size, speed and oversized mitts (10 3/8 inches) should be enough to make him into a complimentary player who could find a role as a team’s fourth or fifth receiver.


Ricardo Louis, Auburn: Entering the draft, Louis reminds me of a poor man’s Sammie Coates. One of the fastest receivers in this draft class, Louis also possesses a powerful body, making him dangerous both on quick screens and go routes. He made some big-time catches at Auburn, so Tigers fans should remember him fondly. But he made a number of drops in college and is one of the least polished draftable receivers in terms of route-running and technique. Turning him into a significant NFL contributor is going to take time and patience.


Demarcus Robinson, Florida: He may be the SEC’s most natural athlete in this class. Words like “fluid,” “nimble,” “balanced” and “body control” follow him around on prospect evaluations. A good route-runner with leaping ability, he’s physically capable of becoming an NFL starter.

But teams are going to have to make hard decisions about Robinson. Any team that drafts him, especially early, will have put in hours of work on his character to determine he’s worth the risk. Suspended multiple times for marijuana use in ’13 and for meeting with a marketing official in ’15, he also spent time in coach Jim McElwain’s doghouse. He also gets alligator arms (pun intended) going across the middle and seems afraid of lowering his shoulder against a safety to pick up extra yards.

Teams are going to have to weigh the risk/reward potential with care when considering Robinson.


De’Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State: A former Mr. Alabama in basketball, Wilson entered college as a raw talent at receiver. At nearly 6-foot-5, Wilson made for a terrific red zone threat in the SEC.I try not to root for players or teams, but I admit I became a fan of Wilson’s while watching him develop the last two seasons. I figured with his hoops background, touchdown-making and commendable yards per catch, he’d excel at the NFL Combine.

Boy, was I incorrect. He ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.8 range and finished near the bottom of the class in vertical leap. Told of his numbers in Indianapolis, former teammate and quarterback Dak Prescott just shook his head. His technique and polish, though improved, never were great in Starkville, but now scouts have to be at least questioning his work ethic as well.

With long arms and the ability to box out defensive backs, Wilson still has the skill set to win jump balls. He’ll get drafted somewhere and probably will carve out a role for himself. But he’s not the top-tier prospect that I thought he might become.


D’haquille Williams, Auburn: One year ago, it would’ve been shocking to know that Williams is far from assured of getting selected in next week’s seven-round NFL draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. even insisted that Williams was the No. 1 receiver prospect of the draft class entering last year. Williams doesn’t have great speed, but his size, leaping ability, physicality and fly-trap hands makes him an excellent jump ball receiver downfield.

Then Williams earned his third suspension from Auburn, this time for allegedly punching four people at a bar. Thus, the Tigers dismissed him from the team. Also concerning was his production when he did play in ’15, as he seemed disinterested most snaps. Media reports indicate a major rift between him and the Auburn coaching staff.

So Williams has fallen from potential first-round pick to possibly out of the draft. He’ll get an opportunity somewhere, but he’s got a lot to prove, and change, before he can recapture his previous trajectory.


Marquez North, Tennessee: Perhaps the media and fans expected too much from North. But the guy is an NFL prototype from a physical standpoint: 6-foot-2.5, 223 pounds, 4.48 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical, 17 bench press reps at 225 pounds. Add to that his 496 receiving yards as a freshman in 2013 and Vols fans understandably felt excited about his potential. But injuries and inconsistency limited him to 378 yards for the remainder of his UT career. Then he left early for the NFL.

North may or may not blossom at the next level. But Tennessee has to feel a little disappointed at how his college career turned out.


  1. Corey Coleman, Baylor
  2. Josh Doctson, TCU
  3. Michael Thomas, Ohio State
  4. Will Fuller, Notre Dame


  1. Will Laquon Treadwell’s 40 time be a factor in relegating him to the bottom half of the first round?
  2. Can Tennessee’s Marquez North start a new draft streak for the Vols (51-year streak ended in ’15)?
  3. Will former SEC “problem child” players Duke Williams or Demarcus Robinson get drafted?


  • Malachi Dupre, LSU
  • Fred Ross, Mississippi State
  • Quincy Adeboyejo, Ole Miss