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2015 NFL Draft: Top five undersized wide receivers

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Big wide receivers like 2015 NFL Draft prospects Dorial Green-Beckham (6-foot-5, 237 pounds) and Devin Funchess (6-4, 232) are becoming more and more prevalent on NFL rosters, but that doesn't mean there is no longer room for the little guy. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and T.Y. Hilton, all measuring shorter than six feet and weighing less than 190 pounds, finished last year No. 1, No. 5 and No. 6 in the NFL in receiving yards. So who's next? Here are five receivers no bigger than 6-foot, 190 pounds in this year's draft that have the best chance to make an impact at the next level.

1. Phillip Dorsett, Miami

Dorsett is the only wide receiver that fits our size criteria and ranks on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the top 50 prospects in the draft (No. 48). That ranking places his value squarely in the middle of the second round. Dorsett (5-10, 185) blazed a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, the third-fastest overall time, and had an unofficial clocking of 4.25 at his pro day. He was virtually impossible to cover at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and averaged 24.5 yards per catch with the Hurricanes last season.
NFL fit: Miami Dolphins. If Miami doesn't address the wide receiver position in the first round, the second round (No. 47 overall) could be the ideal time. Dorsett could be available, and would be an explosive target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

2. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

At 5-10, 182 pounds, Lockett is definitely on the small side, but he has plenty of experience playing against press coverage because opposing defenses tried to take advantage of his size at the line of scrimmage during his Kansas State career. That could be good and bad -- he has more experience than most releasing against press, but it also foretells where he could struggle in the NFL. The scouting word on Lockett is that he consistently gets open, and could be a mid-round steal. He caught 106 passes for 1,515 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior and is known to be a high-character guy as well.
NFL fit: New York Jets. In Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, the Jets have a couple veteran receivers they can play outside. Lockett could be a nice complement in the slot position, where he might have an easier time releasing downfield.

2015 NFL DRAFT

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3. Jamison Crowder, Duke

Crowder (5-9, 174) wasn't as productive last season as he was in 2013, and his combine performance wasn't as strong as most expected. But he showed well at the Senior Bowl and improved on his testing times at Duke's pro day. He's an outstanding return specialist and could be a dangerous pro in the right system and role. He has the quickness to get open on short routes, which could make him ideal for a slot role. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis is high on Crowder.
NFL fit: Cincinnati Bengals. Crowder could be a nice slot fit in an offense that already has a star outside in A.J. Green. Cincinnati's punt-return average of 7.2 yards ranked 25th in the NFL last season. Crowder could give the team an immediate special-teams boost, and Bengals wide receivers coach James Urban was among those on hand to see Crowder work out at his pro day.

4. Mario Alford, West Virginia

The "other guy" at West Virginia, Alford played in the shadow of star receiver Kevin White, a potential top-10 pick. Like others on this list, Alford (5-9, 177) brings plenty of speed to his profile as a draft prospect. He caught 65 passes for 945 yards and 11 touchdowns, which is very strong production considering White was option No. 1 in the Mountaineers' passing game. Alford also averaged better than 28 yards on kickoff returns.
NFL fit: Kansas City Chiefs. The acquisition of Jeremy Maclin was a nice pickup, but the Chiefs still need to create plenty of competition at receiver and should invest multiple picks in the position. Alford could bring a spark to training camp, and probably at a minimal draft expense.

5. J.J. Nelson, UAB

Nelson could easily be an undrafted free agent, so the truth is, the draft isn't going to be spilling over with smallish receivers. The smallest of the small, Nelson is just 5-10 and 156 pounds. That's even lighter than San Francisco 49ers receiver/return specialist Trindon Holliday (5-5, 166), who has had to make his NFL living strictly on special teams. That might have to be Nelson's path, as well, but like Holliday, his speed is special. Nelson's 4.28 40-yard dash was the swiftest time of the entire NFL Scouting Combine. He caught 35 passes for 655 yards at UAB last season, but averaged 38.4 on kickoff returns.
NFL fit: Arizona Cardinals. The best fit for Nelson is easy enough: Just go straight to the bottom of the NFL's kickoff-return rankings, where the Cardinals lagged with a 19.0 average. Nelson could compete to replace Ted Ginn, who was released by Arizona this offseason, as a return specialist.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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