With the NFL season officially finished, it is time to start looking ahead to the NFL draft. Below I’ve ranked who I believe to be the top 10 wide receivers in the draft. Obviously this is before the combine and pro days so it could change some before draft day.
1. Mike Williams Clemson (6-3, 225)
Stats: Final year: 98 catches, 1361 yards, 11 TD’s, 13.9 ypc.
Career: 177 catches, 2,727 yards, 21 TD’s, 15.6 ypc
Strengths: Williams has the ideal size at 6-3 with above average athleticism which allows him to beat the defense over the top with his likely 4.4 to 4.5 speed. Williams also uses his size and athleticism to win jump balls as he is very good at high pointing the ball and coming down with contested catches. Williams also has very good, natural hands, he catches the ball with his hands, plucking it from the air preventing the risk of it bouncing off his body and also making it more difficult for a cornerback to make a play on the ball.
Weaknesses: Williams biggest concern is his durability. Williams suffered a scary neck injury that kept him out of most of his junior year. Another concern with Williams is his route running, Williams is much better running deep patterns that allow him to use his long speed and size to separate and box out defenders. However due to his lack of quickness and suddenness he struggles to create separation on quicker, shorter routes.
2. Corey Davis Western Michigan (6-3, 213)
Final year: 97 catches, 1500 yards, 19 TD’s, 15.2 ypc
Career: 332 catches, 5,285 yards, 52 TD’s, 15.9 ypc
Strengths: Davis has everything you look for in a wide receiver. He has great size, runs good routes, has great hands, good speed and is extremely strong competing for the ball in the air. His production at Western Michigan was off the charts and he put on a show against Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl making an acrobatic catch in the endzone through contact and over multiple Wisconsin defenders.
Weaknesses: The main criticism of Davis is that he didn’t play great competition at Western Michigan. He would’ve had a good chance to quell those concerns at the senior bowl but he declined to attend,something that could concern teams. The other main weakness of Davis much like Mike Williams, is that as a bigger receiver he doesn’t possess great quickness and he is more of a strider as a runner. His long strides help him to have very good long speed to take the top off the defense but also limit his ability so stop and cut on a dime.
3. John Ross Washington (5-11, 190)
Final Year: 81 catches, 1,150 yards, 17 TD’s, 14.2 ypc
Career: 114 catches, 1,729 yards, 22 TD’s, 15.16 ypc
Strengths: Ross has big time speed and quickness that makes him a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Ross put up big time numbers at Washington in his final year and emerged as the top speed guy in the draft. Based on his speed on film I’d guess he’ll run in the 4.3’s at the combine. Ross has very solid hands and tracks the deep ball very well, his short area quickness allows him to put defenders on skates (Adoree Jackson) and create separation on his routes.
Weaknesses: Ross is smaller, listed at five foot eleven and 190 lbs. He’s going to need to show that he’s more than a one trick pony and improve his route running to become more of a complete receiver. Ross has good hands but allows the ball to get into his chest a little too often which can cause some drops.
4. JuJu Smith- Schuster USC (6 2” 220)
Final year: 70 catches, 914 yards, 10 TD’s, 13.1 ypc
Career: 213 catches, 3,092 yards, 25 TD’s, 14.52 ypc
Strengths: Smith Schuster looks the part of a big time NFL wide receiver. He has good size, strength,speed and had very good production at USC. Much like Mike Williams he excels in the air using his size and ball skills to win in contested catches. He’s also shown a very good ability to run after the catch using his size and speed to break tackles and run away from defenders.
Weaknesses: Smith- Schuster’s production dipped a bit his Junior year as he struggled through the Trojans quarterback situation. He has all the physical tools to dominate the game but needs to become a more polished route runner as he tends to round out at the top of them.
5. Cooper Kupp Eastern Washington (6-2, 215)
Final Year: 117 catches, 1,700 yards, 17 TD’s, 14.5 ypc
Career: 428 catches, 6,464 yards, 73 TD’s, 15.1 ypc
Strengths: The first thing that jumps out with Kupp is his insane numbers at Eastern Washington. Kupp absolutely dominated the competition all four years of school showing he was an FBS level player in the FCS. Kupp may have the best hands in the draft as he effortlessly plucks anything thrown near him. Kupp may be the most polished route runner in the class as well, a trait that he displayed in the senior bowl.
Weaknesses: Kupps major weakness is that he is not an elite level athlete. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run in the 4.6 range in the 40 and likely have a low 30’s vertical. This lowers his ceiling compared to some of the other receivers in the draft and forces him to be much more precise in his route running to get open.
The next 5:
6. Curtis Samuel Ohio State (5-11, 197)
7. Isaiah Ford Virginia Tech. (6-2, 190)
8. ArDarius Stewart Alabama (6-1, 204)
9. Malachi Dupree LSU (6-4, 195)
10. Dede Westbrook Oklahoma (6-0, 175)