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Bucs draft 2008: Top 10 receivers

Devin Thomas

Associated Press

Devin Thomas

For Bucs draft news and updates, go to bucs.tampabay.com

Bucs Draft 2008

When: Saturday (Rounds 1-2) and Sunday (Rounds 3-7)

Bucs picks (round-overall): 1-20,

2-52, 3-83, 4-120, 5-154, 6-none (Michael Bennett trade), 7-none (Jake Plummer trade)

Top 10 receivers

1. Devin Thomas, 6-2, 215, Michigan State

Devin Thomas may be considered the top banana at the receiver position, but he's also the greenest one.

Thomas played just one season for the Spartans and made the most of it with 79 catches for 1,260 receiving yards, eight touchdowns and more than 1,000 kick return yards.

But pro scouts have only a snapshot to try and picture how Thomas might produce in the NFL. Grades prevented him from entering a Division I school as a freshman and he had to go the long route by playing at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

Is Thomas, 21, a one-hit wonder?

"I felt I proved enough," Thomas said. "I had a solid season and there's a lot more I can improve on. I have the ability and potential to improve my career in the NFL."

Thomas ran 40 yards in 4.4 at the NFL scouting combine, but he can't distance himself from some doubters.

"When I look at the NFL, I really like Anquan Boldin," Thomas said. "He has toughness, he catches the ball in tough areas and makes things happen after the catch. I like his style."

2. DeSean Jackson, 5-10, 175, California

Most explosive wideout and natural pass catcher. Could help immediately as kick returner.

3. Limas Sweed, 6-4, 217, Texas

Great size and tremendous red zone threat. Injured wrist caused his stock to drop.

4. James Hardy, 6-6, 216, Indiana

Creates matchup problems with smaller DBs. Double-digit TDs in three seasons.

5. Malcolm Kelly, 6-4, 222, Oklahoma

Great on film, but hurt himself with 40-yard time of 4.75.

6. Early Doucet, 6-0, 208, Louisiana State

Slot receiver slowed last season by groin injury.

7. Jordy Nelson, 6-3, 215, Kansas State

Polished receiver projects as a No. 2 option for West Coast-style offense. Slow 40-yard time dropped him.

8. Lavelle Hawkins, 5-11, 185, California

Dropped passes and disappeared for Cal late in the season.

9. Mario Manningham, 6-0, 183, Michigan

Character issues abound and slower-than-expected 40-yard time of 4.59.

10. Keenan Burton, 6-1, 199, Kentucky

Great hands and work ethic. Series of injuries affected last season's performance.

Thumbs up

Andre Caldwell, 6-0, 205, Florida

Gators' all-time receptions leader with 185 has to overcome the poor history of Florida wideouts in the NFL. But Caldwell really opened eyes when he ran a 4.35 at the NFL scouting combine. He needs to show that burst during his routes, but has moved up the draft board.

Thumbs down

Malcolm Kelly, 6-4, 222, Oklahoma

Kelly's pro day was a train wreck. First, he ran a much slower than expected 4.75 and 4.68 for 40 yards. But his reaction to it is what has buried Kelly. He blamed the Sooners coaching staff for switching the workout from AstroTurf to field turf. Kelly will have to hope scouts rely on the film, which is pretty impressive.

Under the radar

Donnie Avery, 5-11, 189, Houston

Extremely fast and productive receiver who is not afraid to get physical. Excellent kickoff return man who catches the ball away from his body. Ran a blazing 4.43 in the 40. Only knock is the level of competition in Conference USA.

Bucs draft 2008: Top 10 receivers 04/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:58am]
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