In an effort to get through all of the positions before the draft, I’ll be just shortly naming some of the prospects to watch in this draft class, as well as some potential sleepers and maybe busts. I wasn’t able to go as far in depth this year as I did last year, but enough to develop a feel for the class and compile my rankings.
This wide receiver class is very odd because it’s slow, like historically slow. Only 10 of the 37 receivers that ran the 40 yard dash in Indianapolis ran sub 4.49 or faster. There were receivers in the 4.7s and one ran a 4.90 and a 4.85. Whew. Don’t get me wrong, this class has a lot of talent, but this class has a lot more “possession” type receivers, or receivers that play with more nuance rather than sheer speed. There are some speed guys, like Will Fuller from Notre Dame, and TCU’s track star Kolby Listenbee, but as a general rule, don’t necessarily expect any of the receivers your team will draft this year to be burners.
Top WR Prospect: Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss 6’2″ 221
Treadwell is the exact example of what I was talking about in the previous paragraph. He’s a physically dominating receiver, but he isn’t a burner by any stretch of the imagination. He can be a deep threat, however. He’s elite at the catch point, he uses great physicality in contested catch situations, and he’s just an alpha on the field. He’s a guy that you want on your team. Not a make or break point for a receiver, but he’s a nasty blocker as well. He’s the most complete receiver in this class.
Biggest Bust Potential: Will Fuller Notre Dame 6’0″ 186
Okay, so Will Fuller is good, don’t get me wrong. He’s a bit like Devin Smith in last year’s draft, where he is one of the few receivers in the class who excels in the deep ball area. However: he’s a small framed one trick pony who struggles catching the football at times. He’s got short (30 1/4in) arms and very small hands (8 1/4in). The small hands especially don’t necessarily cast a ton of encouraging signs looking towards the future. He’ll be a nice piece to take the top off of the defense, but of all the top receivers in this class, Fuller scares me the most.
Biggest Sleeper: Marquez North Tennessee 6’2″ 223
Marquez North came to Knoxville amid a lot of fanfare and optimism, as the former four star recruit burst onto the scene with 68 catches in his first two seasons, and appeared poised for a breakout junior season for the Volunteers. Instead, he struggled with injuries, and caught 6 balls for 58 yards and declared for the draft. North has all of the upside in the world, as the plus sized receiver ran a 4.48 in Indianapolis, but he’s going to need to prove to NFL teams that he can improve his health and his consistency.
Small School Stud: Daniel Braverman Western Michigan 5’11” 177
An ultra productive slot receiver at Western Michigan, Braverman put on versus the Ohio State University. He’s very thin, and will benefit greatly from an NFL weight room, but he shimmies and shakes his way open consistently. He’s a bit of a project from the aspect of needing to add bulk so he’ll be limited to spread schemes initially, but he could work his way into a very good slot receiver in a couple of years. Super twitchy, he gets open, which is the name of the game for an interior receiver.
My Wide Receiver Rankings
1. Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss 1st Round
2. Josh Doctson TCU 1st Round
3. Sterling Shepherd Oklahoma 1st-2nd Round
4. Corey Coleman Baylor 1st-2nd Round
5. Michael Thomas Ohio State 1st-2nd Round
6. Will Fuller Notre Dame 2nd Round
7. Leonte Carroo Rutgers 2nd Round
8. Tyler Boyd Pittsburgh 2nd-3rd Round
9. Braxton Miller Ohio State 2nd-3rd Round
10. Pharoh Cooper South Carolina 3rd Round