A record seven wide receivers were drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
The 2014 class of wideouts may have the talent to challenge that record.
Want speed? Clemson’s Sammy Watkins blazed a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the recent NFL Scouting Combine - and that was tied for the seventh-best time. Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks led the way at 4.33 seconds.
Need size? Texas A&M’s Mike Evans measured 6-foot-5 - with a 37-inch vertical jump.
Craving strength? Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews did 21 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.
That all presents an interesting dilemma for the Buffalo Bills when their turn comes up at ninth overall on May 8.
In the following mock draft, only one receiver - Watkins -- is off the board when the Bills come to the podium. It’s widely assumed the Bills will look to add a receiver early in the draft. So should they pull the trigger at No. 9, or does the depth of the class afford them the opportunity to wait until the second round?
That’s something General Manager Doug Whaley and Co. will spend the next couple months considering as the draft approaches.
Here is The News’ second look at how the first round may unfold at Radio City Music Hall.
1.Houston Texans. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. Bridgewater doesn’t seem to be generating the buzz of the other quarterbacks in this class, but that’s not a bad thing at this point.
2.Atlanta Falcons (projected trade with St. Louis). Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. The best match of need and available talent in the draft. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is a wheeler and a dealer.
3.Oakland Raiders (projected trade with Jacksonville). Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. The Raiders leapfrog Cleveland at No. 4 to land Manziel, the most polarizing prospect in the draft, but one who will undoubtedly invigorate any fan base he goes to.
4.Cleveland Browns. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. Three quarterbacks in the first four picks. If you don’t have a quarterback, you’re not going anywhere in the NFL.
5.Jacksonville Jaguars (projected trade with Oakland). Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. Jaguars GM David Caldwell, a St. Francis grad, picks up a high second-round pick in a deep draft to move down two spots, and lands the draft’s best playmaker.
6.St. Louis Rams (projected trade with Atlanta). Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. Rams brilliantly work the board again to pick up a 2015 first-rounder from Atlanta and still land a potential franchise left tackle.
7.Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo. The Bucs do backflips up to the podium as Mack – one of the steadiest risers in the draft – is still on the board here. UB Pro Day is Tuesday.
8.Minnesota Vikings. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA. Early run on quarterback leaves Vikes in a tough spot. They’re desperate for a franchise signal caller, but might have to give Josh Freeman one more chance. Barr is a good consolation prize, though.
9.Buffalo Bills. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. The Bills opt to rebuild the offensive line first, then see what kind of receivers are left in Round 2. Matthews has great bloodlines - his father, Bruce, is a Hall of Famer - and would help both the rushing and passing attacks for the Bills. Should the Bills elect to cut Erik Pears in the interest of salary cap space between now and the draft, I like this pick that much more. Matthews would be a Day One starter at right tackle.
10. Detroit Lions. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. Ran a solid 4.51 40 at the draft. Won the Jim Thorpe award as the nation’s top defensive back.
11. Tennessee Titans. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina. Delanie Walker had a good first year with the Titans, but Ebron has the potential to be a Vernon Davis-type player.
12.New York Giants. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan. Showed terrific athleticism at the combine and plays with an edge. Eli Manning was sacked a career-high 39 times last season.
13.St. Louis Rams. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. Gilbert is competing with Dennard to be the first cornerback taken. The Cowboys star blazed a 4.37 40 at the combine and can replace Cortland Finnegan in St. Louis.
14.Chicago Bears. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. Even your grandma’s mock draft has the Bears taking Florida State D-tackle Timmy Jernigan here, but Donald is one of those “risers” in the draft process who has had a good Senior Bowl and combine.
15.Pittsburgh Steelers. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville. Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu are eligible for the Champions Tour. Pryor maybe the best hitter in this draft, a style that should endear him to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
16.Dallas Cowboys. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. The safety class falls off a cliff pretty soon. The ‘Boys gave up approximately 10,000 passing yards last season. Clinton-Dix can cover the deep third of the field the best out of any prospect in this class. He fills a huge need.
17.Baltimore Ravens. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. Baltimore never adequately replaced Anquan Boldin in its offense in 2013. Evans had rock-solid measurables at the combine, and would team up well with Torrey Smith.
18.New York Jets. Marqise Lee, WR, Southern Cal. Lee’s stock has slipped a bit in the pre-draft process, but the tape doesn’t lie – he can ball. Jets desperate for any kind of playmakers on offense.
19.Miami Dolphins. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame. It’s not exactly breaking news that the Dolphins need to rebuild their offensive line.
20.Arizona Cardinals. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri. John Abraham had 11.5 sacks last year, but he’ll be 36 when the 2014 season begins. Ealy has the frame to get stronger and develop.
21.Green Bay Packers. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama. Mosley’s a highly productive player from a proven program who can stay on the field for all three downs.
22.Philadelphia Eagles. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State. Good ball skills with 35 passes defensed over the past two seasons. Ran a solid 4.49 at the combine.
23.Kansas City Chiefs. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State. Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver had had big-time production the last two seasons – 195 catches, 2,881 yards, 21 TDs.
24.Cincinnati Bengals. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State. Geno Atkins is coming back from a torn ACL, so Jernigan gives the Bengals great depth in the middle of the defensive line.
25.San Diego Chargers. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU. Verrett’s a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, but his tape and combine performance both say he’s a first-round pick. Chargers have to play Peyton Manning twice a year, and finished 29th in passing defense last season.
26.Cleveland Browns. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU. Beckham becomes the fifth receiver off the board as the Browns begin rebuilding around Bortles. The defense is in good hands with Mike Pettine.
27.New England Patriots (projected trade with New Orleans). Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame. Patriots move up two spots to get an eventual replacement for Vince Wilfork in the middle of their defense.
28.Carolina Panthers. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia. Good height (6-6) and arm length (35 3/8 inches) for the position, and good need-based pick after the retirement of Jordan Gross.
29.New Orleans Saints (projected trade with New England). Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State. Played cornerback for the Seminoles, but projects to safety. Good leader who produced in big games and would pair with Kenny Vaccaro to give the Saints two solid young safeties.
30.San Francisco 49ers. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State. Has the size, at 6-5, to be a potential matchup nightmare. Leaving school after his redshirt sophomore season.
31.Denver Broncos. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota. Converted tight end has “man” strength with 31 reps on the bench press at the combine. Made 13 tackles for loss in 2013.
32.Seattle Seahawks. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech. Had 1,352 yards and seven TDs last season. Fits the mold of today’s athletic tight end and would be a big weapon for Russell Wilson.
41. Buffalo Bills (second round). Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt. Ended his career as the SEC’s all-time leader in catches (262) and yards (3,759). That’s big-time production in the best conference in the country. Ran faster than expected at the combine.