This year's rookie class of wide receivers could go down as the best in the last 25 years, rivaling the 1988 draft that produced Michael Irvin, Tim Brown and Sterling Sharpe. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, and Odell Beckham Jr. headline the class, but there is plenty of depth behind them.
The next crop of pass catchers won't be nearly as deep, but there are a few potential stars in the group. Alabama's Amari Cooper has produced a monster season, and many expect him to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. I polled five NFL executives and asked them where Cooper would rank among the star-studded 2014 class. Here are their answers:
Executive No. 1: Fourth
"He would rank right behind Sammy, Odell and Mike Evans. I have him graded the same as Cooks and Benjamin coming out."
Executive No. 2: Fourth
"I'd have him behind Watkins, Beckham and Evans. I think there's a significant drop behind those three guys. Then I'd have Cooper above Cooks, Benjamin and (Green Bay's Davante) Adams."
Executive No. 3: Second
"I like Cooper better than Evans coming out but I thought Sammy was the best of the bunch. (Cooper) would be second on my sequence list of wideouts."
Executive No. 4: Third
"I would slide him in at No. 3, behind Watkins and Beckham but ahead of Benjamin and Evans."
Executive No. 5: Third
Verdict: It was a bit of a mixed bag, although none of the executives ranked him outside of the top four. All but one had him behind Watkins and Evans.
Conclusion: I have more work to do on Cooper, but based on what I've seen so far I would have him at No. 3 on my list. I'd have Watkins at the top, followed by Evans and then Cooper. This is based on my pre-draft evaluations of the 2014 class, not a projection of where he might land in 2015, if he were to forgo his senior season at Alabama.