With the NFL Combine being wrapped up and my numbers finally starting to wrap up, I wanted to write an article to talk about this ridiculous WR class. I have 29 wide receivers with a 5th round grade or higher, and on average, around 32 wide receivers get selected each draft. The talent in this class is insane. With this article however, I didn’t want to do another rankings. I wanted to write more of a discussion based article, as I feel like that allows me to talk about guys more than just a simple rankings article.
My Top Players:
These are the wide receivers that I have above the rest in my rankings and are my clear top guys. I believe in these guys as pro prospects and am willing to bet on them at the next level.
DK Metcalf, Ole Miss: My WR1 and an absolute freak. What more can we say about a dude like this? He’s got all the talent in the world, and for his size, he isn’t a half-bad route runner. Put him in an offense with a coach who has half a brain (unlike what he had at Ole Miss) and he’ll thrive. Let him go take the top off of defenses and be your dominant XWR1. My only issue with him is durability, but the two injuries are pretty freak ones. His perceived lack of production is overblown when you examine/understand the context of his situation, which many apparently do not. Don’t overthink this one.
Nice route by DK Metcalf.
– Motor release to bring the LOS to the defender
– Speed release and chop
– Gets compact at the top and explodes back
Don't see him run a lot of different routes but this plays like this show his potential to be a complete receiver. pic.twitter.com/wtWJXNegtt
— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) February 17, 2019
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina: Another exciting playmaker, Deebo is my WR2 and the perfect Z receiver. He is an explosive and dynamic player who is lightning quick with his routes. He can be an amazing weapon for a QB to enjoy and his playmaking ability from all over the field will let his OC have a lot of fun scheming Deebo. He’s a more refined player than first-rounder DJ Moore was last year, but is just as explosive.
Hakeem Butler, Iowa State: I’ve been on the Hakeem Butler train since the summer and then he went and shocked the world with his Combine. This guy is a bonafide star and is likely a first rounder come April. My biggest issue with Hakeem is drops, as I charted around 12 drops for him this season. While those drops were mainly concentration drops and not a hands issue, it was still enough to dink him in my grades out of the first (narrowly). He’s still a stud playmaker and can be a dominant force at the next level.
This is Hakeem Butler’s world and we are living in it pic.twitter.com/i4VenxpUtD
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) March 5, 2019
Kelvin Harmon, NC State: I think Harmon has been my biggest “faller” but that is more attributed to me falling in love with other guys. Harmon’s Combine didn’t do him any favors either. To me, Harmon is a quicker than fast, refined route-runner who will be a great target to move the sticks and an excellent red zone playmaker. He’s the ideal “possession” receiver and will be Mister Reliable for whatever quarterback he plays with. I just wonder if he possesses elite WR1 upside or if he’s better suited as a compliment to a dynamic player.
N’Keal Harry, Arizona State: I might upset some coworkers with how low I have Harry, but I can’t say I was overly impressed by him. He’s big, strong, and moderately quick. His explosiveness and route-running? Negligible. I truly wonder about his ability to separate against better athletes at the next level. To maximize his potential, a team has to get him routes that let him work underneath as he is great in the YAC game. Still, Harry will make a team fall in love with his playmaking ability as a ball carrier and red zone threat.
Emanuel Hall, Missouri: I really liked Hall’s tape coming into the Combine, and then he went and completely blew up the Combine, measuring in the 98-99th percentile on the jumps and running a 4.39 40 time. His explosiveness and speed is evident all over his tape, but to me his most special trait is how he works at the line of scrimmage. His releases and starts to his routes are *chef Kisses*. His issues however, are drops and durability. On a podcast I was recently on, I compared Hall to Houston Texans WR Will Fuller because of the good and the bads of their game.
On my 4th game of Emanuel Hall. Has impressed me in every one. Love how varied his releases are. How about this swim to get on top of the corner and then the finish? pic.twitter.com/t6Ma7j1ShJ
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) November 19, 2018
Stanley Morgan, Nebraska: Morgan had a very quiet Combine week, despite testing well. For my money, I think Morgan is the most refined route-runner in this class and really reminds me a lot of Daesean Hamilton from last year’s class. He’s an ideal WR2 that can play outside or in the slot and provide you with a reliable target.
Darius Slayton, Auburn: Thanks to Jarrett Stidham and Auburn’s horrid offense, Darius Slayton has really fallen under the radar. Not here folks. I was completely blown away by his tape, and I am shocked we aren’t talking about him more. He’s a legit vertical threat who actually runs some good routes. His route tree is limited due to the nature of Auburn’s offense, but Slayton will provide excellent deep-threat ability at the next level.
Darius Slayton, this is a ridiculous catch. pic.twitter.com/rxbEK1ltk9
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 11, 2017
Jakobi Meyers, NC State: The other NC State wide receiver, Meyers was Ryan Finley’s Mr. Reliable. His testing wasn’t great, but Meyers’ game revolves around his route-running skills and hands. He’s an ideal WR3 working outside or in the slot underneath.
Anthony Ratliff-Williams, North Carolina: ARW is a freakish man. He’s a former quarterback who converted over to play wide receiver and he’s raw, but his tape was absolutely dominant at times. He’s an awesome athlete with a huge catch radius and a bully mentality. Ratliff-Williams has immense upside but needs development at the next level.
Jalen Hurd, Baylor: Jalen Hurd’s off the field concerns and raw-ish technique as a wide receiver is concerning, but my goodness the flashes and playmaking ability in Hurd’s tape is very evident. He can be an above the rim ball player that stretches the field well. Nobody seems to be talking about him high, but if he’s available in the 4th or even 3rd round I’m swinging on that upside.
Jalen Hurd: another example of catching the ball at a high point using his hands pic.twitter.com/GT2pUylUYr
— Christian (@ChristianR_Vill) March 3, 2019
AJ Brown, Ole Miss: I recently made a tweet that stirred a little controversy, where I called AJ Brown overrated, and I wanted to offer some clarification. I have seen him often listed as people’s WR1, a top-5 WR, and a first round pick, and I don’t think he is a first round caliber player. What he does, he does well. He catches really well and he’s great after the catch. Before the catch, I would have liked to see someone who was a little more dynamic throughout his routes. I just didn’t see *enough* there to warrant a round 1 grade, and his projection is difficult due to playing in Ole Miss’s abysmal offense. If he goes Day 2, anywhere after the top 40 or so selections, sure go for it. He can be a top WR2 compliment to an NFL team. But as a WR1 and top option as a first round pick, his tape doesn’t back that up nor does it suggest he’s the #1 receiver at Ole Miss. That is apparently a hot take.
Riley Ridley, Georgia: I’m lower than the consensus on Ridley and that’s not because of the production hell I see on Twitter. Just not in love with his game enough to say he’s a top 5 WR in this class, like a lot of folks have him as. He’s a Z receiver and a superb route-runner, but to project him as a top NFL target with WR1 ability is too far out for me.
Marquise Brown, Oklahoma: It feels weird being the OU fan and saying I am way lower on Hollywood than others, but it’s true. We all know Brown is incredibly fast, that much is obvious. He isn’t just a speed guy though either; Hollywood is an above-average route-runner. However, he’s got issues I feel people are overlooking. His catching is…a problem. Too often he fights the ball and isn’t a natural catcher. He could be a first round pick if he was testing, but coming in with a pretty significant injury and not being able to test at all? For a small speedy guy, that hurts his stock more than people care to admit it does.
Preston Williams, Colorado State: Preston Williams has been getting a lot of hype…and for the life of me, I cannot understand where that came from. You’ve heard a lot from the media how he is a first rounder with off the field issues…but there must be a different Preston Williams they are discussing. He’s a raw big body who hardly separates downfield. For all this hype, I expected more.
Parris Campbell, Ohio State: I have the same exact issues with Parris Campbell as I do with Hollywood Brown except Campbell is even worse. He runs fast, sure. That’s…that’s it. Speed is his game. He doesn’t run any route well and catching the football is a challenge for him. I keep hearing his name as a potential first rounder but if I were making the call, I’d let him be someone else’s first rounder.
Other Names to Know:
Damarkus Lodge, Ole Miss
Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech
Keesean Johnson, Fresno State
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
Andy Isabella, UMass
Dillon Mitchell, Oregon
Terry McLaurin, Ohio State
Penny Hart, Georgia State
Disagree with anything? Hit me up on Twitter @AJDraftScout