MOBILE, Ala. -- It's been a long time since the Senior Bowl game has presented a high-quality receiving prospect for the NFL Draft. This year things might change.
Although there isn't a lock for the first-round in Mobile this week, there are a number of interesting receivers in the game. One such receiver is Marquise Goodwin, a track stud from Texas who has amazing speed and quickness. Despite that he measures at under 5 feet 9, a fellow analyst listed him as his favorite receiver because his nimble feet help him avoid getting pressed at the line and his track speed gets him open deep in a hurry.
But on our list, he's fourth best. Proof yet that the Senior Bowl has some talent. Here are the three best and worst receivers through three practices each.
- Terrance Williams, Baylor. Williams started the week with a bang Monday with a couple of highlight-reel catches while establishing himself as one of the fastest players on the field. On Tuesday, he had some drops and didn't play fearlessly when going cross-field, which could paint him as an outside-only threat. Williams rebounded Wednesday with another excellent practice where he again showed a lot of excellent quickness in individual and team drills but also made an adjustment to a deep ball from Tyler Wilson and caught what would have been a touchdown. He even tacked on a nice block during the 7-on-7 drills. Considering size and skills, he's the best receiver in Mobile, which frankly shouldn't come as a big surprise since he had double-digit touchdowns the last two years and 1,832 yards in 2012.
- Markus Wheaton, Oregon State. This is probably the North team's best receiver. He has very good speed (second fastest on this team) and can run routes well, two traits that especially stood out during practices. There was a play Monday where he made a pretty over-the-shoulder catch and another where he adjusted his body to an underthrown ball, making his quarterbacks look a little better on each play. He is also a willing blocker as he got noticed in drills Wednesday. The all-time leading receiver at Oregon State doesn't have huge size but the 5-11, 183-pound speedster should develop into an effective weapon at the next level.
- Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech. Many analysts were surprised by how well Patton adapted to playing with kids from big schools as he stood out for the right reasons. He was quick off the snap and ran really well. Though he didn't have a breakaway gear, he did show off great hands and concentration throughout the week, particularly on Wednesday when he caught a pass from E.J. Manuel with a defender right on his hip. Expect teams to study up on him and consider him to be a Z receiver.
- Denard Robinson, Michigan. Robinson didn't look as fast as advertised. It might have been a case where he was thinking too much and that locked up his speed, which is excusable considering he used to be a quarterback. As it were, there wasn't a lot to like about him. He was slower, and either the same size or smaller than most of the receivers in the Senior Bowl. But it's obvious what kind of athleticism he has, so expect him to get picked in April as a guy who could develop into a role player.
- Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas. When the Senior Bowl's first practice wrapped up, I came away interested in Hamilton. He had made some nice catches both underneath and downfield and had some good speed to him. But he was invisible going forward as the other receivers flashed more often. So maybe it's a case of getting lost in the shuffle since he clearly enjoyed a productive career at Arkansas with a Southeastern Conference record for most yards in a single-game (303) with Top-5 finishes in receptions (90) and yards (1,335) last year.
- Conner Vernon, Duke. It was a close call between Vernon and Kansas State's Chris Harper for the third spot, which frankly shouldn't mean something negative. Both players were good, not great. In the case of Vernon, his best catch Wednesday was out of bounds, and on another play he dropped a pass from Tyler Wilson. He doesn't have much speed or quickness to him, just a set of decent hands (drops aside) on a good-sized body. Harper just seems to have a little more potential.