Quick analysis: Five receivers will go in first round

The 2015 NFL Draft is not until April 30, but the talk will begin heating up again with the bulk of free agency finished. The draft gives many underwhelming teams from a year ago the chance to vastly improve without spending big money, and allows contenders to push themselves over the top.

While free agency is fun, it is the draft where champions are built.

In this year’s edition, there is another solid crop of wide receivers. Other than pass-rushers, there is not a deeper position group, with five players likely to be picked in the first round with another half-dozen possibly coming off the board in the second. So where will the top guys go? Let’s take a look at who they are and where the best fits might be:

– Amari Cooper, Alabama
– Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma
– DeVante Parker, Louisville
– Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
– Kevin White, West Virginia

It seems almost certain Oakland will take a receiver fourth-overall. The Raiders have no major offensive weapon and it is hard to see them pass on Cooper or White. The pick should be Cooper, the most complete receiver in the draft.

The next likely landing spot for a receiver is with the St. Louis Rams at No. 10. The Rams have to help out Nick Foles, but Jeff Fisher and Les Snead like going with big men in the first round. They’ll probably pass and take an offensive lineman.

After St. Louis, the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns are at 11th and 12th, respectively. Look for White and Parker to come off the board, consecutively. It would be fairly stunning to see either team pass on a receiver, even with Minnesota acquiring Mike Wallace last week.

At 16th, the Houston Texans could make a play for a receiver after cutting Andre Johnson. Let’s go ahead and give them Jaelen Strong.

The major wild-card is Green-Beckham, who will have the Kansas City Chiefs staring at him in this scenario at No. 18. After adding a ton of talent throughout the offseason including Jeremy Maclin, does Kansas City take a chance on the most talented receiver, despite his off-field issues? It would be a major roll of the dice, although Andy Reid is famous for these types of moves.

If any of the receivers fall past Kansas City, likely landing spots would be the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.

About Matt Verderame

Matt Verderame, 26, is a New Yorker who went to school at the frozen tundra of SUNY Oswego. After graduating, Verderame has worked for Gannett and SB Nation among other ventures.