Let the hype train begin–it’s wide receiver time! This was the best group of offensive players at the combine, so let’s break them down and see what we can find. I’ve separated them into two categories. The first group could have an immediate impact next season. The second group will need work but have a good upside if they can get with some good NFL coaches. Now, I have to be honest, I did play this position in semi-pro and college so I am kind of hard on these guys. All these guys need more work, but they are college players so that is to be expected. The system and the quarterback will dictate their success, so where they go in the draft is very important for fantasy relevance next season. Let’s jump in.
Here are my top Wide Receivers, in alphabetical order because where they go is just as important as the talent they have:
- A.J. Brown, Ole Miss: 6’0” 226 lbs, 4.57 40 time – Good hands, dropped one ball at the combine but did have an over-the-head one-handed catch that was impressive. He runs solid routes and can be a number 2; he reminds me of JuJu Smith Schuster.
- Marquise Brown, Oklahoma: 5’10” 170 lbs, N/A 40 time – He is injured (foot) but when you pop in the tape, man can this kid run. He looks like Tyreek Hill did in college and I hope he can get close to Hill’s production in the pros.
- Parris Campbell, Ohio State: 5’11” 206 lbs, 4.31 40 time – Great hands, did not drop a ball at the combine and he is quick. He’ll be a slot receiver and game breaker, and reminds me of Taylor Gabriel.
- Ryan Davis, Auburn: 5’9” 185 lbs, N/A 40 time – Okay hands, did do some body-catching and one drop at the combine. He’ll be used as a slot receiver and for punt and kick off returns. He reminds me of Jakeem Grant, very shifty.
- Johnnie Dixon, Ohio State: 5’10” 201 lbs, 4.41 40 time – Great hands, did not drop a ball at the combine and he’s quick. He’s a slot receiver that reminds me of Kenny Stills.
- Terry Godwin, Georgia: 5’11” 184 lbs, 4.55 40 time – Good hands, one drop at the combine. He’s a slot receiver that’s more quick than fast with very oily hips. He reminds me of a low-end Antonio Brown but needs to put in that same work Brown did to make it to that level. But the raw talent is there.
- Mecole Hardman, Georgia: 5’10” 201 lbs, 4.34 40 time – Great hands, no drops at the combine, and is quick and fast but not strong at juke moves. He’s a slot, punt and kick returner who’s another Kenny Stills type.
- D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss: 6’3” 228 lbs, 4.33 40 time – Good hands, had one drop at the combine, and is big, solid and fast but not too shifty. Terrell Owens is who he reminds me of, all the way down to the catching and running style. But remember, T.O. had Jerry Rice to learn from–who is going to teach this freak?
- Riley Ridley, Georgia: 6’1” 199 lbs, 4.61 40 time – Great hands, didn’t drop a ball at the combine, good feet, and runs routes like his brother but without all that speed. Micheal Thomas is a good comparison, but he will have to put in the work to get to that level of production.
- Deebo Samuel, South Carolina: 5’11” 214 lbs, 4.5 40 time – Great hands, no drops at the combine, and a good combination of speed and quickness; based on the tape, he’s very hard to tackle. Jarvis Landry comes to mind when watching him run through arm tackles.
- Terry McLaurin, Ohio State: 6’0” 208 lbs, 4.36 40 time – Good hands, had no drops but didn’t have natural hands either. He’s quick and fast and gets my respect for asking his mother to throw balls to him so that he could reach his 100 balls-a-day quota. That’s determination, and the word is he is a great leader, which should help in getting on the field early and often. Jeremy Maclin is a good comparison and if you go back to his Missouri days, you can see the way they both run is effortless.
Here are my guys to look at in a year or two. They have some work to do but are still very solid football players:
- Miles Boykin, Notre Dame: 6’3” 220 lbs, 4.42 forty time – Long strider, which will make it hard for him to run certain routes on the route tree, but he is a playmaker. If he gets in with a good system he can make a lot of noise with some route work.
- Jazz Ferguson, Northwestern State: 6’4” 227 lbs, 4.46 forty time – Very raw as a wide receiver and needs to do a better job hiding his chest and running routes, but very physical after the ball is in his hands and is a good down-the-field blocker
- Emanuel Hall, Missouri: 6’1” 201 lbs, 4.39 forty time – Very smooth runner and needs to work on hiding his chest as well. I really like this young man, but just wish he had a little more intensity in him. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the NFL and we need him to stay healthy and go get it.
- N’keal Harry, Arizona State: 6’2” 228 lbs, 4.59 forty time – So I love what I’d heard about him: very smart and professional, a Larry Fitzgerald type, and I’d put him in my first category. That is, until I saw all the drops and failure to keep his feet inbounds. I still like him a lot, I just need him to be ready to shine when the lights are on. That might take some time, but hey, some of the greats need a year or two.
- Andy Isabella, UMass: 5’8” 188 lbs, 4.31 forty time – Really raw as a wide receiver, out of control running his routes, but man, he is quick and fast. He is going to have to make an impression on special teams, and take full advantage of his opportunity once he gets it. He really needs a lot of work but has a big upside if he gets it right.
- Gary Jennings, West Virginia: 6’1” 214 lbs, 4.47 forty time – Quick strider which is good for running routes, but he needs to get a Ph.D. in route running to be great. He had some dropped balls in the combine which didn’t work out too much in his favor, but his tape is pretty good. I hope he goes to a system with a good quarterback that allows him to show off his talents, but he has some work to do before all that.
- Hunter Renfrow, Clemson: 5’10” 185 lbs, 4.59 40 time – Good hands, had one drop at the combine. He’s a very balanced wideout who can catch and run routes and is ready for the big stage on and off the field. Reminds me of Danny Amendola–he’s not going to wow you but will get the job done.
- KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State: 6’1” 201 lbs, 4.61, 40 time – Good hands and did everything well, but not amazing. He reminds me of Reggie Wayne, and I am a Cane so that’s crazy. But that’s just way he runs; he has to put in the work to live up to that name.
- Damarkus Lodge, Ole Miss: 6’1” 202 lbs, 4.57 40 time – More quick than fast and will probably be an ideal slot at the next level; he just needs to improve his hands.
Now, that’s the first process in the fantasy offseason done–now it’s time to watch where all the free agents go. After that it’s the draft, then it’s time to do your Fantasy draft boards. Thanks so much for reading and see you again after the draft!