Big expectations don't bother receiver Steve Johnson. After all, he did have 73 catches for 1,060…
Preseason Top 20 Wide Receivers
1. Adarius Bowman (6-foot-4, 220-pounds), Oklahoma State (Sr.) After two seasons at North Carolina, Bowman decided to transfer to Oklahoma State and have a fresh start with the Cowboys. After the transfer in 2005, he wasn't allowed to play for OSU and was forced to red-shirt. When he finally got on the field for the Cowboys in 2006, he had a breakout season and separated himself from the rest of the receivers in the nation, posting 60 receptions for 1,181 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bowman's physical stature resembles his idol -- Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens -- and if he continues his play from 2006 in 2007, he will become as feared on the field as Owens is. 2. Limas Sweed (6-foot-5, 219-pounds), Texas (Sr.) A tall, sure-handed receiver, Sweed is the ultimate red zone threat in an offense. He uses his body to his advantage and can muscle up against the opposition. Sweed is just another one of the brilliant receivers from Texas and has become one of the more recognizable players in the nation. He still hasn't achieved a 1,000-yard receiving season, but he hauled in 12 touchdowns last year. Sweed finished his junior season with 46 receptions for 801 yards and looks to improve on that this year. He's still developing his overall game -- and that's a scary thought for an opposing team. 3. Early Doucet (6-foot, 207-pounds), LSU (Sr.) After losing Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis to the NFL during the offseason, you'd think LSU may have a down year at the receiver position in 2007. The people who believed that were a little "Early" on their evaluations, as Doucet may end up being better than both Bowe and Davis. Obviously losing JaMarcus Russell in the Tigers offense may hurt Doucet's production this season, but LSU has high hopes for the new starting quarterback, senior Matt Flynn. Doucet had a nice junior season, catching 59 passes for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. Now the go-to-guy in the Tigers attack, Doucet looks to shine on his own. DeSean JacksonMarcio Jose Sanchez, AP 4. DeSean Jackson (6-foot, 166-pounds), California (Jr.) A game-breaker in every sense of the word, Jackson displays big-play ability as a returner on special teams and he has developed into a polished receiver on offense. He possesses one of the fastest first steps in the country and is able to get vertical quickly for a potential touchdown. Jackson, who shined in 2006 with 59 receptions for 1,060 yards and nine touchdowns, looks to improve his overall game in 2007 and lead Cal to a BCS Bowl Game. 5. Mario Urrutia (6-foot-6, 228-pounds), Louisville (Jr.) Some say that Brian Brohm is as good as he is because of the talent that he's surrounded by, and having a big target like Urrutia can only help a quarterback. Urrutia is as talented as any other receiver in the nation, and from the looks of his sophomore season, where he caught 58 passes for 973 yards and six touchdowns, the sky's the limit for number-seven. 6. Mario Manningham (6-foot, 181-pounds), Michigan (Jr.) Nicknamed "Super Mario", Manningham seems to make the impossible possible every Saturday. He's a player that can make the toughest catches over the middle and the circus catches downfield. He's always in the right place at the right time. Manningham finished his sophomore season with 38 receptions for 703 yards and nine touchdowns. With Michigan QB Chad Henne entering his senior season and looking to put up big numbers, expect Manningham to benefit from Henne's breakout year. 7. Keenan Burton (6-foot-2, 205-pounds), Kentucky (Sr.) Possibly the most underrated receiver in the country, Burton has the size, speed and skill to be mentioned among the elite. Having Andre Woodson as your quarterback can only help your numbers, and vice-versa, but Burton displays toughness and physical play that can only help a quarterback. Burton runs excellent routes and has soft hands. Those two attributes were a major reason for his 77 receptions for 1,036 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2006. Jaison WilliamsJoe Barrantine, AP 8. Jaison Williams (6-foot-5, 240-pounds), Oregon (Jr.) A big, physical receiver, Williams looks like a tight end but uses his quickness effectively as a receiver. He's the ultimate mismatch for a defensive back. Williams is almost unstoppable in the red zone and is a touchdown waiting to happen on any play. After a breakout season in 2006 (68 receptions for 984 yards and six touchdowns), Williams looks to dominate the PAC-10 in 2007. 9. Harry Douglas (5-foot-11, 170-pounds), Louisville (Sr.) Another weapon for Brohm is Louisville's other playmaker Harry Douglas. Douglas is probably Brohm's favorite receiver and most reliable, and that statement shows in statistics from 2006. Douglas caught 70 passes for 1,265 yards and six touchdowns and with his ability, those numbers will escalate in 2007. 10. Earl Bennett (6-foot-1, 202-pounds), Vanderbilt (Jr.) Not many people have heard of Vanderbilt's star receiver Earl Bennett, but he's one of the best kept secrets in college football. Most freshmen that enter college football take some time to learn the ropes and develop their game, but Bennett got started quickly and took off. Playing in the tough SEC, he caught 79 passes for 876 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman. As a sophomore, Bennett shined brighter, hauling in 82 passes for 1,146 yards and six touchdowns. Expect him to exceed those numbers this season and become one of the elite players in the nation. The rest of the list: 11. James Hardy (6-foot-7, 216-pounds), Indiana (Jr.) 12. Marcus Monk (6-foot-6, 220-pounds), Arkansas (Sr.) 13. Dorien Bryant (5-foot-10, 175-pounds), Purdue (Sr.) 14. D.J. Hall (6-foot-3, 186-pounds), Alabama (Sr.) 15. Jarett Dillard (5-foot-11, 180-pounds), Rice (Jr.) 16. Andre Caldwell (6-foot, 198-pounds), Florida (Sr.) 17. Sammie Stroughter (6-foot, 183-pounds), Oregon State (Sr.) 18. Greg Carr (6-foot-6, 212-pounds), Florida State (Jr.) 19. Davone Bess (5-foot-10, 195-pounds), Hawaii (Jr.) 20. Todd Blythe (6-foot-5, 209-pounds), Iowa State (Sr.) A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.
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