Who Is The Best WR Prospect In The ACC?
By Bill Lund
In 2013, Florida State and the ACC were able to knock the SEC off the top of the mountain for at least one season. With Florida State winning the National Title, the ACC has reason to bow their chests out as a top tier conference. Clemson, Duke and ACC newcomer Louisville all finished the season ranked the Top 25 giving the conference some cache when it comes to competition within the league. This season the ACC will feature some elite level draft talent. Florida State has QB Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who is more than likely playing his last season in Tallahassee. Clemson features DE/OLB Vic Beasley who may be the top pass rushing prospect coming out in 2015. These prospects have easily garnered the most attention in the conference, but the ACC is loaded with players that will be an impact at the next level. Florida State WR Rashad Greene would have been arguably the top returning wideout in the ACC if it wasn’t for Louisville becoming a new member in 2015. Devante Parker, WR from Louisville comes into the ACC with talent and production, but he will be without his QB, 2014 1st Round selection Teddy Bridgewater. Regardless, the ACC has two of the best WR prospects in the country and in this week's debate we will evaluate who is the better draft prospect.
DeVante Parker WR, Louisville
Parker is a 6’3’’ and 209 pound receiver who has big time written all over him. In 2013, Parker led Louisville with 55 receptions and 885 yards to go along with a school record 12 touchdowns. He capped his season with a 9 catch, 142 yard, 1 touchdown performance against the University of Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He has speed to beat coverages deep, the elusiveness to extend plays in the open field and ball skills to challenge defenders in the air. Parker can burst quickly at the snap and can shake an opponent with a good double move off the line. His ability to release at the line of scrimmage in addition to his speed leads to his big play potential. Parker can adjust on the football in flight, while maintaining his body control is the key to his game breaking catches. He also uses his length and catch radius to snatch balls out of the air away from his body. Parker has shown more consistency in making routine catches, a knock he had from his 2012 season. Parker considered entry in the draft last season, but his return to the Cardinals for his senior year could provide the stage for Parker to establish himself as the best WR in the 2015 draft.
Rashad Greene WR, Florida State
Greene is a 6’0’’ 180 pound, All-ACC 1st Team selection for the Seminoles and Jameis Winston’s most trusted target. Green ranks 4th in FSU history in career receptions with 171, 6th in yards with 2,465 and tied for 7th in touchdowns with 22. Greene is the first FSU player to gain 1,000 receiving yards since Anquan Boldin, which is pretty good company to be in. The biggest concern in Greene’s lack of size, though his elite speed makes up for it. He is equally as quick, and is smooth in and out of breaks. He has good instincts in finding the soft spots in coverage. Greene is polished, running sharp routes and has a strong catch radius extending out to grab balls. Greene will allow some throws to get into his body which creates some dropped balls. As a blocker, Greene is willing and does a solid job of getting leverage in the run game. With Jameis Winston returning to QB the ‘Noles and Greene coming back for his Senior year, the pair should have some highlight reel plays for NFL execs to evaluate. A strong season and blazing 40 at the combine should put Green into the first-day conversation.
Who’s the Best in the ACC?
Rashad Greene has the skill set to become an elite slot WR in the NFL. Much like Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson were used last season, he has ability to play the slot, get the ball on a sweep and shows return potential to make him a versatile threat. Going into 2014, DaVante Parker returned to help establish himself as the best WR coming into the draft in 2015. With the help Bobby Petrino’s offensive wizardry, Parker has the makings for a special senior season. Greene has versatility on his side, while Parker has the key measurables teams covet and has shown he can be a consistent big time performer. Parker has a slight edge with a stronger upside and the size-speed combination teams want in a prototypical NFL #1 WR. With that being said, a team that has a need in the slot could easily opt for the versatility of Greene based on draft needs. Either way, the ACC will have some great aerial shows coming this fall!