The 87th annual NFL Draft is fast approaching, so now is the perfect time to look ahead and get to know some of the top prospects in the class. I’ll break down each position and also take a look at some teams who may be in the market for that type of player. At the end, I’ll give you a look at my final mock draft. Next up: Wide Receivers
The NFL game becomes increasingly more pass-happy as the years go by. This has made the wide receiver position one of the most important. Gone are the days where a team can have one dominant receiver and get by. These days, the best receiving corps are three and even four guys deep. This year’s class is absolutely loaded at the position, so this time we’ll break down my top ten receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Drake London WR, USC 6’4 219 lb.
London is a big bodied, former basketball player at USC who uses his athleticism to turn 50-50 balls into 70-30s. He racked up 1,084 and seven touchdowns in eight games, en route to winning PAC 12 Offensive Player of the Year. While he lacks top end speed, his elite size will be a problem for anybody trying to cover him. London suffered a fractured ankle that cut his season short, but reports are he will be healthy in time for training camp.
Garrett Wilson WR, Ohio State 6’0 183 lb.
Wilson was part of an absolutely loaded receiver room at Ohio State and still managed to put up 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns, including six touchdowns in his last three games. While he doesn’t have the pure speed of his teammate Olave, he plays fast and has the strength to fight through press coverage. Wilson is a threat after the catch and has experience in the return game.
Jameson Williams WR, Alabama 6’2 179 lb.
Prior to his torn ACL in the national championship game, Jameson Williams was by far my number one receiver. The Ohio State transfer made the most of his one season with the Crimson Tide finishing the year with 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. Williams possesses elite speed and can be a nightmare in single coverage. His long, lanky frame gives him some problems in press coverage. However, it remains to be seen how well his ACL has healed and if he’ll be healthy in time for the start of the season.
Chris Olave WR, Ohio State 6’0 187 lb.
Opposite Garrett Wilson, Olave put up 936 yards and 13 touchdowns of his own. Olave has the ability to create separation at all three levels of the defense and has the ability to get up for 50/50 balls. He needs to improve his strength to be able to get off the line and is a liability when it comes to run blocking. Olave would fit best in a system similar to that which he played in at Ohio State.
Treylon Burks WR, Arkansas 6’2 225 lb.
Burks’ size and strength make him a mismatch for just about any corner that lines up across from him. He finished his final season for the Razorback with 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns, including eight catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns against the vaunted Crimson Tide defense. Questions remain about his ability to maintain playing weight and the limited number of routes he was asked to run at Arkansas.
6. Jahan Dotson WR, Penn State 5’11 178 lb.
Dotson is a smooth route runner with big, strong hands. He put up 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final campaign with the Nittany Lions. He has the big play ability that teams look for. However, his slight frame may cause problems with more physical corners. Dotson also has experience in the return game which makes him even more appealing.
7. Christian Watson WR, North Dakota State 6’4 208 lb.
The combination of size and speed with Watson is hard to ignore, clocking in at 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He is a threat in the receiving game with 800 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season. Also, Watson ran for 392 yards and two touchdowns in his career for the Bison.
8. George Pickens WR, Georgia 5’11 178 lb.
Pickens is viewed as a boom or bust prospect by a lot of analysts. He battled back from a torn ACL in spring practice to appear in four games for the Bulldogs, finishing with five catches for 107 yards. Prior to his injury, Pickens was viewed as a top prospect in the class so it will be interesting to see how he recovers.
9. John Metchie III WR, Alabama 5’11 187lb.
Like other prospects in the class, Metchie had his season impacted by an ACL tear. Prior to the December injury, Metchie racked up 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. It is yet to be seen how he recovers from his injury, but Metchie has average speed and plays smaller than listed.
10. Alec Pierce WR, Cincinnati 6’3 211lb.
Despite being number ten in my rankings, I find Alec Pierce to be one of the most intriguing players in the draft. At 6’3 211 pounds, Pierce ran a blazing 4.33 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Pierce has the size and speed teams want. He will be an instant red zone threat at the next level. Some scouts worry about his route limitations and his ability to create separation in coverage.
Teams Targeting WRs
Atlanta Falcons- After trading Matt Ryan to the Colts, the Falcons are in full rebuild mode. With this being a down year for quarterbacks and the team signing Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal, Atlanta may look to add one of the top receivers at pick 8 and opt to pursue a quarterback next year.
Cleveland Browns- The Browns made a huge splash trading for Deshaun Watson and signaled they are in win now mode. They added Amari Cooper via trade but have not re-signed Jarvis Landry, leaving a hole at the position. While they don’t pick until 44, look for Cleveland to take at least one receiver.
Green Bay Packers- It has been somewhat of a running joke about how the Packers refuse to draft a receiver for Aaron Rodgers but after losing Davante Adams to the Raiders, Green Bay will need to add to the position early.
Kansas City Chiefs- After sending Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins for five draft picks, the Chiefs suddenly have a void at the position. After signing Patrick Mahomes to such a large deal, the Chiefs will need to add cheaper talent through the draft.
New York Jets- The Jets took the young gunslinger Zach Wilson with the 2nd pick a year ago and should look to surround him with as many weapons as possible. New York has two picks in the top 10 and five of the first 70.
What are your thoughts? Any prospects you think I missed? Follow me on Twitter @devinlowe123 and let’s engage!
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