The receivers this year are top heavy, many believe that there are 3 potential superstars in the making. Read below and see if we agree with that theory.
- Mike Williams (Clemson)
- Height: 6’4, Weight: 218 lbs.
- 98 Receptions, 1,361 Yards, 11 TDs
- 40 Time: 4.49, Bench: 15 Reps, Vertical: 32’5
- 2 Year Starter
Strengths: Mike Williams has the best build of any receiver in the draft. His sheer height and strength is something any GM would love. When the ball is in the air you can count on Williams to come down with the catch (see video below). The chemistry he had with Deshaun Watson was impressive, the 15 yard comeback with a back shoulder throw was their bread and butter. It was clear that he valued having chemistry with his quarterback, which is crucial in the NFL.
Weaknesses: The one thing Williams won’t wow you with is his speed. With that being said, he isn’t slow, but also won’t blow by a defender like John Ross will. At Clemson he mainly lined up as the outside receiver, so will he able to be successful in the slot if a team moves him there?
Overall: He is the clear favorite to be the first receiver of the board next thursday. Whichever team calls his name will be thoroughly pleased. He a potential star in the making and will have an impact from day one. One day in the future there will be a debate on who is the best receiver out of Clemson: Williams or Hopkins.
- John Ross (Washington)
- Height: 5’11, Weight: 188 lbs.
- 81 Receptions, 1,150 Yards, 17 TDs
- 40 Time: 4.22, Bench: DNP, Vertical: 37
- 1st Year Starter
Strengths: Ross finished the 2016 season with 1,150 yards and 17 TDs and quickly became a household name in college football. His speed, agility, and route running make him very dangerous in the open field. Ross’ ability to make the first man miss is impressive, as is his ability to get behind the secondary. It is evident that Ross is fast, he broke Chris Johnson’s official 40 yard dash time at this year’s combine. That feat alone makes him 1st round worthy to some teams, he is now the fastest NFL player. Every corner has to respect his speed, and when they do so, his hitches and comeback routes are wide open. He has the ability to line up inside or out and stress the secondary. Anywhere you line him up causes issues for the opposing team. He also has shown that he is a talented kick returner.
Weaknesses: Even though Ross won’t be doing much blocking in the NFL, it is still an area that needs to improve. He does not play very strong; physicality can give him issues, and his ball skills are questionable (see film below). Also, there is not much film on Ross making the tough catch. He has to show that he can do that at the next level.
Overall: Ross is a playmaking machine that will help your team put up points. He averaged 15 yards per catch during his collegiate career and it doesn’t seem like that will slow down. He seems very Desean Jackson-esque in his playing style, which as we can all see has been successful. Look for Ross to be a playmaker at the next level as a receiver and returner.
- Corey Davis (Western Michigan)
- Height: 6’3, Weight: 209 lbs.
- 97 Receptions, 1,500 Yards, 19 TDs
- DNP in any Combine or Pro Day drills due to injury
- 4 Year Starter
- Strong hands
- Versatile WR (Inside or Outside)
- Smooth route runner
- Great Footwork
- Big Time Playmaker
- Getting separation in red zone with press coverage
- Level of competition
- Physicality in the slot
- Adjusting to underthrown balls
Overall: Corey Davis was unable to workout at the NFL combine or Pro Day due to ankle surgery, but when he’s healthy the only thing on his film is raw talent and athleticism. Also, the film clarifies the big time player maker and game changer he is.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster (USC)
- Height: 6’1, Weight: 215 lbs.
- 70 Receptions, 914 Yards, 10 TDs
- 40 Time: 4.54, Bench: 15 Reps, Vertical: 32’5
- 3 Year Starter
Strengths: JuJu is one of the most explosive receivers in this year’s draft. After watching him in 3 games this past season, I don’t recall him being jammed at the line once. His understanding of the coverages and their weak spots is impressive. This is a guy you want to get the ball to in the open field and watch him go (see video below).
Weaknesses: JuJu tends to take plays off. He has the ability to block, however he isn’t always interested in using that capability. Although he played both slot and outside receiver, his route tree isn’t very complex. JuJu has the potential to be a great number 2 receiver, but won’t succeed as the number one guy.
Overall: Outside of the top three receivers, I believe JuJu will be the most impactful receiver from year one in this years draft class. Over the past 3 years he has faced some tough competition in the PAC-12 and has stepped up in the big game. He has raw skills that are hard to teach that I can’t wait to watch on sunday.
5, Zay Jones (East Carolina)
- Height: 6’2, Weight: 201 lbs.
- 158 Receptions, 1,746 Yards, 8 TDs
- 40 Time: 4.45, Bench: 15 Reps, Vertical: 36’5
- 4 Year Starter
- D1(FBS) Leader in Career Receptions
- Great feet
- Sure hands
- Great Speed
- Good route runner
- Thin Frame
Overall: Zay Jones is a complete wide receiver with great speed and instincts. He really increased his draft stock at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Also, he impressed teams and scouts at the 2017 NFL Combine. He’s a competitor and has great hands. He’s a game changer and I see him being a huge impact to an NFL offense.
- Curtis Samuel (Ohio State)
- Height: 5’11, Weight: 196 lbs.
- 74 Receptions, 865 Yards, 7 TDs
- 97 Attempts, 771 Yards, 8 TDs
- 40 Time: 4.31, Bench: 18 Reps, Vertical: 37’
- 2 Year Starter
Strengths: Samuel played “H-Back” at Ohio State and was the versatile piece that they moved wherever they wanted to produce a mismatch. He has experience running the ball out of the backfield, blocking out of the backfield, and running routes and blocking as a receiver. He displays great vision and suddenness with his runs. He was an All-American as an all-purpose threat last season. Samuel averaged 12 yards per catch and 8 yards per carry and picked up a total of 1,636 yards last season. He has shown that he can kick return as well, Ohio State did not have him doing it in 2016 though.
Weaknesses: Samuel really does not excel in any category, he is more of a swiss army knife. He would have to improve on his routes to play receiver or he would have to gain a weight to play running back (see video below). A lot of his yards came off of jet sweeps this past season.
Overall: Samuel is an athlete. Point blank. He has the ability to make plays, his issue will be finding the right offense to do it in. Seeing time in exotic offensive packages will be his way of staying in the league, unless he improves his skills as a receiver. However, he found the endzone often and that is always a good attribute to have.
Darkhorse: Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington)
- Height: 6’2, Weight: 204 lbs.
- 117 Receptions, 1,700 yards, 17 TDs
- 40 Time: 4.62, Bench: DNP, Vertical: 31
- 4 Year Starter
Strengths: Kupp has arguably more experience at receiver than any other receiver in this draft class. He’s fun to watch with electric ability in the open field, great hands, and hard working blocker. One asset of his that goes under the radar is his strength as a runner. When he has the ball in his hands he rarely goes down at first contact (see video below). He could develop to be just like Julian Edelman.
Weaknesses: His forty time is concerning. No GM wants to see a potential receiver run a 4.6 or higher. With that being said, he won’t blow by anyone with speed. The other concern is the FCS competition he faced weekly. He played well against Washington State and Oregon, but can he do that every week?
Overall: He’s one of the top FCS players in this years draft for a reason. Not only did he play well against Washington State and Oregon, but he showed out at the Senior Bowl. He has all the tools to be a successful slot receiver, especially at 6’2. Don’t be surprised if he is the first FCS player off the board.
All stats included are from the 2016 season. Highlights included are from both the 2015 and 2016 season.
I encourage you to comment below and share your thoughts and feelings on who you think the top receivers are. Also, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to discuss the playoff in more detail or talk about any sports topics you would like for me write about in the future.