The Falcons released veteran wide receiver Harry Douglas last week, who spent the last seven years with the club, signed originally as a third-round draft choice by Atlanta in 2008. Months away from the 2015 NFL Draft, the Falcons will continue evaluating their draft board according to the best fits for the team, which could include a wide receiver.
In what has been described as a passer-friendly league, NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock is optimistic that the upcoming receivers in this year's draft class can contribute immediately.
"These kids have been used to catching the football forever," Mayock said via conference call. "Everything is a pass-first league now. (In addition), with the emphasis on the 5-yard rule, the smaller wideouts are getting off press coverage; they know after five yards, they can run routes with impunity."
Mayock also added that the bigger-bodied receivers don't necessarily have to be ideal route runners, thanks in part to the back-shoulder throw. Headlining the 2015 class of wide receivers, Mayock says West Virginia's Kevin White, Alabama's Amari Cooper and Louisville's DeVante Parker are "consensus top-20 picks," with others listed as question marks, including Missouri's Dorial Green-Beckham.
Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers got their chance to shine in the second day of on-field workouts on Saturday at the 2015 Scouting Combine. Take a look at these photos from the fourth day in Indianapolis.
For those teams not expected to draft a receiver on day one of the draft, April 30 in Chicago, Mayock says there's plenty of talented pass catchers to be found in later rounds.
"I'll give you the name of a guy who I think has first-round talent, the (Breshad) Perriman kid from Central Florida, (Devin) Smith from Ohio State and (Sammie) Coates from Auburn," Mayock said.
"I do believe it's going to be (a) highly-productive (group), because, a: there's a bunch of talent; and b: the rules and the way we play in the NFL today lend itself."
Mike Mayock's Top 5 receivers in this year's draft:
- Kevin White, West Virginia
- Amari Cooper, Alabama
- DeVante Parker, Louisville
- Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
- Devin Funchess, Michigan