The NFL Draft typically consists of at least 30 WR that are selected. I’ve watched tape on roughly 90 WR prospects that will be eligible this upcoming season. The type, extent, and quality of tape I’ve reviewed varies from prospect to prospect. I gave 45 players a top 30 grade but chose to trim the list down to 30. Here are my Top 30 2018 Draft Eligible WR.
30. Brandon Martin – Arkansas
Brandon Martin is a good looking athlete. The 6’4” and 220-pound JUCO transfer has a great frame but lacks football experience. A multi-sport athlete in high school, he was a state champion high jumper and has reportedly run a sub 4.4 40. While I think he has good speed, I don’t see that kind of acceleration on his tape. The gifted high jumper is at his best when high-pointing and winning 50/50 balls. He has good ball skills and the size to be a significant mismatch against smaller defenders. Martin is talented but raw. He has only played three years of organized football since entering high school, but he found a nice landing spot in Fayetteville.
29. Jake Wieneke – South Dakota State
At 6’4” and 215 pounds, Jake Wieneke has prototypical NFL WR1 size. The Minnesota native was a terrific high school player and burst onto the FCS scene in 2014 after a redshirt year. Wieneke has since caught 223 passes for 4,192 yards and 43 TD. In addition to his extraordinary size, he displays incredible football intelligence and polish. He is an astute route runner and understands how to put himself in positions to help his quarterback. While I don’t see great long speed when I watch him, his routes and length often get him close to the football while his leaping ability and strong hands consistently flash. I see a very polished prospect with a high floor and average ceiling.
James Hanmore took a look at Wieneke early this year.
28. Marcell Ateman – Oklahoma State
Physicality is the predominant trait I see when watching Ateman. He has tremendous size at 6’4” and 220 pounds. Possessing great strength, jamming him at the line becomes a very tall task for any defender. Ateman doesn’t have to have separation to win; he is an outstanding high-pointer of the football with very strong hands. In 2015, Ateman caught 45 passes for 766 yards (17 yards per catch and 64% catch rate). He missed the 2016 season with a foot injury but looks poised to be part of an extremely dynamic offense in 2017. The primary concern I have with Ateman, aside from needing to prove himself after missing last season, is that he will be 24 years old as a rookie in the NFL. Ateman has the size and skills to be dominant.
27. Terry McLaurin – Ohio State
Former Indiana Mr. Football, Terry McLaurin, is an exceptional athlete. McLaurin had a SPARQ score in high school of 141.96 which consisted of a 4.41 40, 42 inch vertical and 41.5 power throw. If you are unfamiliar with SPARQ scoring, this shows he is an elite athlete. At 6’1” and 205 pounds he shows tremendous speed and should be able to stretch defenses vertically. In addition to great long speed, he has great agility, vision and burst in the open field. McLaurin was used very sparingly in 2016 but looks to be a featured part of the 2017 Ohio State offense. I believe he is the next in line to be a very productive Buckeye deep threat.
26. Daylon Charlot – Kansas
Daylon Charlot is a former four-star prospect from Louisiana. He initially enrolled at Alabama but transferred to Kansas to see more consistent playing time and play in a more open offensive system. Charlot measures in at 6’0” and 195 pounds, but he can play a bigger man’s game. He has a bench press of 400+ pounds, and that strength makes him tough to jam at the line. Charlot is a good route runner that can consistently create separation. Although he is not a very tall receiver, he is very good in jump ball situations and shows excellent body control with strong hands. Charlot doesn’t have much collegiate production yet but I think he is in a positive situation to change that in 2017 and climb NFL boards.
25. Simmie Cobbs Jr. – Indiana
Simmie Cobbs is a huge target. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, he has prototypical NFL WR1 size. Cobbs was a minimal contributor in 2014. He then had a terrific 2015 season where he racked up 1,035 receiving yards but missed the overwhelming majority of 2016 with an ankle injury. He uses his size to his advantage and is a great high-pointer of the football. Cobbs displays good body control when airborne and has very strong hands. Drops are somewhat of an issue for him but I believe that is more of a concentration issue than an indictment on his hands. Cobbs has many tools to be a dominant receiver, but I see issues with focus and effort. He will be a 23-year-old rookie and I believe that he may be at or near his peak.
24. Miles Boykin – Notre Dame
From a measurables standpoint, Miles Boykin checks almost all of the boxes. At 6’4” and 225 pounds, he has a great frame for an NFL WR1. Boykin redshirted his first year and was used very sparingly in 2016. I believe the main reason that he hasn’t been more involved is due to inconsistency in his play. Boykin is still a very raw prospect that is learning to use his huge frame to his advantage. I had the opportunity to watch the Notre Dame Spring Scrimmage and it was apparent to me that things are starting to click for him. While he doesn’t have elite long speed, he is deceptively fast, improving as a route runner and has a very large catch radius. Boykin has a very high upside, but I want to see consistency from him in 2017.
23. Robert Foster – Alabama
For those that follow recruiting closely, Robert Foster will be a very familiar name. The former top ranked WR in the country has yet to break out in Tuscaloosa. In 2015, Foster had eight catches and two TD through the first two games and looked poised to be the Tide’s WR1. A shoulder injury against Ole Miss ended his season and his momentum. The 6’2” and 196 pound senior still has first round talent. He is a smooth runner with great burst and boasts a 40 time of 4.4. Foster has good open field moves and plenty of strength. Injuries and inconsistency have derailed his career up to this point but after a very strong spring camp, Foster looks ready to have his best season in his contract year.
22. Anthony Miller – Memphis
Anthony Miller is a former preferred walk-on from Memphis. He held several scholarship offers from FCS teams but at 5’11” and 190 pounds many FBS teams felt he was too small. Miller is an exceptional athlete that was a state champion sprint hurdler and runner-up in the long jump. His explosiveness translates well on the football field as he displays nice route running, burst and jumping ability. For a player that stands less than 6’0”, he certainly wins a lot more jump balls in traffic than he should. Miller has tremendous hands and will be a valuable slot weapon in the NFL. He and his QB, Riley Ferguson, make up one of the most dangerous deep ball tandems in the country and I expect a big year from him in 2017.
21. Nick Westbrook – Indiana
At 6’3” and 210 pounds, Westbrook has prototypical NFL WR1 size. The third-year junior is one of the youngest players to make this list and I believe he has tremendous upside. Westbrook was thrust into the spotlight at Indiana in 2016 after his fellow WR, Simmie Cobbs, was lost for the year. He has great size and moves well. Westbrook shows he is a really good ball tracker and has the strong hands needed to finish plays. Westbrook caught 54 passes for 995 yards for a very impressive 18.4 yards per catch. Westbrook is a physical player that can create yards after the catch and is one of the nation’s premier deep threats. I haven’t seen Westbrook play as much as many others, so I believe I’m very conservative right now with his ranking.
Tomorrow we’ll continue my countdown with my 20th through 11th ranked 2018 draft-eligible wide receivers.