2022 NFL Draft - Wide Receiver - Ranking & Analysis
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Disclaimer - wide receivers are split into multiple roles (outside WR1 possession"X", outside WR2 speed "X", slot WR possession "Z", & slot WR speed "Z") & fall into a many different possible categories (intermediate strength/possession/above the rim threats; length/speed/deep threats; short area/gadget threats - all which can be either oriented inside or out). I put ( * ) next to players that are likely Saints targets & scheme fits. I put (+) next to players that are scheme fits, but not necessarily players I think we'll target.
Drake London (+) USC
Had some 'wowing' performances like a 5 game stretch as a JR where he averaged 10 to 15 catches per game for like a 150 yards each. His game in 1 word: fighter. He is so competitive when fighting for the ball and after the catch. On his YAC, he'll need to pick his battles in order to stay healthy. As far as tape alone, London's is the best in this class. If you put aside all measurables and simply go based on what you see, London's performances are incredible. He has so many examples of average throws that turn into quality plays because he brings in tough catches: above the rim, 1 handed, any kind of catch. Even some of his YAC catches like taking bubble screens the distance. He has better agility than you'd expect for his height. He's not the fastest when it comes to long speed, but his tracking, route running, hands, competitiveness, and agility are all really awesome. There's a little bit of Keenan Allen here. Allen was highly regarded when he came out but fell because he ran a slow 40. Even at the time, it was widely understood that his 40 didn't really matter and it would be value for the team who selected him. London should be drafted at the latest where Michael Thomas was picked (early 2nd round) and frankly his tape should warrant a 1st round selection. This is a player who will immediately be a fan favorite. Lack of long speed might limit him to the intermediate, but he's a red zone nightmare who could fit into a lot of different offenses. Physicality makes him very easy to pull for. Just needs to be smart about picking those fights in order to mitigate damage. As far as pro comps, he's built most like Brandon Marshall and somewhat like Vincent Jackson. As far as production, he had 500 YD seasons as FR & SO than exploded as a JR with 1084 YD & 7 TD in just 8 games. There's Brandon Marshall type upside as a dominant WR1 in the intermediate.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
Scout Comp - Brandon Marshall
*Jameson Williams Alabama/Ohio State
Played for Ohio State with 3 other pro prospects (2 in this class w/ Wilson & Olave), transferred to Alabama, exploded with 1,445 YDs & 15 TDs plus had big kick & punt returns where proved he can take it the distance even against fast defenses. His deep speed jumps off the screen. As a pure speed/runner he looks a lot like DeSean Jackson. He can fly. Not necessarily the type of WR I expect to lead an offense as a WR1 or X who is going above the rim or catching contested in traffic.. He's more of a deep threat who will contribute in space. Fast enough to make you want to draft him top 10, but injury & thin frame could cause him to fall. Plays tougher brand of football than I initially realized. He's someone that I liked the more I saw. Initially thought late 1st/early 2nd but he's physical & that's not always the case with most "speed types." That's what puts him a tier ahead of prospects like DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, Jaylen Waddle. He's more nasty than those guys. At worst he'll stretch the field so there's some value even when not reeling in passes. I could see him developing into a quality deep ball WR2 who thrives on big plays, but I'm not sure I'd spend a top 10 pick on that type of player even if it's top tier like DeSean Jackson. Top 20 picks you'd hope for pro bowl potential & he has some Tyreke Hill type upside. The floor with this types of single dimensional speed WR is like Henry Ruggs (also from Alabama). Williams clearly has a high ceiling, but he's a hard evaluation because every play he's just wide open, and I'm not sure he'll get as clean of looks in the pros. As far as team fits, Williams is the kind of player that Andy Reid likes to target, but I think he'd also fit the Raiders, Chargers, Falcons, & Saints. As great as his speed is, the WR position requires other facets too and he might be more limited than people expect for a 1st round pick which is where he's likely to go. I'd be much more comfortable picking him in mid to late 1st, maybe even early 2nd, especially coming off of a torn ACL in the last game of the year but despite the risk, he's got game-breaking upside.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
Scout Grade - Desean Jackson
*Treylon Burks Arkansas
Treylon Burks is a really hard player to pulse his athleticism from tape alone. I think combine drills are designed for this type of prospect. Here's why. Not all 4.4 speed looks alike. Due to differences in height and stride, some players appear smooth like they're gliding and others speed is more obvious like they appear shot out of a cannon. Burks is the former. He doesn't seem fast at first, yet there are times where he'll separate from everyone on the field and take it 90 yards to the house. So his long speed may be better than it appears. Possible 4.4 speed here yet so graceful you might not realize it. Which at his height of 6'3 he should shoot up draft boards into the early to mid 1st round. It's not just height with Burks, but he's girthy and thick for a WR. Built similar to DK Metcalf. Burks has moments that flash insane size adjusted acceleration. He'll appear to be at top speed, yet can absolutely kick it into another gear. That makes me think he will be able to separate. He's not the most agile laterally, and he could pay more attention to detail in and out of his breaks but there's enough here to be a WR1. His ball tracking skills deep are nice & has some contested catches 'above the rim' that are really top tier. Most of his work will be on the outside. He'll do his best stuff deep. His hands aren't the most natural, but they're huge and he makes some insane high level catches. On a play by play basis, he doesn't secure the ball as naturally as you'd hope and has a few too many head-scratching drops. There's room to improve his consistency with hands. The best of his catches makes you lean towards upside though. There's not too many WRs who are this strong, yet explosive. He could step in as a really good WR2 early (think Mike Williams type impact) that if he's able to improve his agility in route running and show consistency in his hands, he could have WR1 upside pretty early in his career. The closest comps I could think of are the other Mike Williams (from Syracuse who played for Tampa Bay) and Kenny Britt. Comping to Britt is not an insult either. Britt was a big time talented prospect but career got cut short by injury.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
Scout Comp - Kenny Britt/Mike Williams
*George Pickens Georgia
Whoa. You know how some guys are referred to as "athletic freaks?" In this WR class, George Pickens deserves a category of his own. It's pretty amazing actually. He is immensely explosive, and big. Size and explosion don't often go together. He's naturally chiseled, plays strong, and simply explosive. It's not necessarily one trait like speed, agility, or acceleration - rather, he's just a beautiful blend of all 3...and he's long. He makes some top tapping full extension sideline catches that I haven't seen since Chad Johnson. Most of his work will be done in the intermediate, and he has the ability to get deep. Despite having the traits of a WR1, the lack of college production does make you wonder if he'll be more equipped for a dynamic WR2 role as a pro. UGA ran a pro style run heavy offense so he didn't have the opportunity share he may have had in more pass heavy programs. However, he did have over 700 yards as a true FR (500 as a SO, injured as a JR). He is competitive and the type of player who could help a young QB. He's my favorite style of player we used to 'pick 1st' as kids when we'd play 5 on 5 at the playground; Pickens is the guy who you can throw the ball in his general area, and there's a good chance he'll go up and get it. Drake London has that ability too in this class, but Pickens has that Garrett Wilson level of athleticism that's noticeable and enticing. On traits alone, he's 1st in this class hands down. I could see him becoming a better pro than collegiate too. He's the most "talented" player in this class when it comes to raw tools. Upside is through the roof. That said, he's high risk, high reward. Some teams will have him 1st on their board. I was very tempted to put him as the top WR in this class. On tools alone, he'd be first. The sporadic production is why he falls slightly though. I wouldn't be surprised if Pickens measures great and climbs into late round 1or early round 2 at the latest. Teams will hope he can develop into a Tee Higgins or Marvin Jones type contributor. He'll be best utilized as a deep threat. His catch radius is insane. Caught up to some overthrows and made some insane diving catches. As far as pro comps I think his floor is Jerome Simpson; he reminds me most of lengthy, speedy deep threats like Ashley Lelie and Martavis Bryant. Human highlight reel.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
Scout Comp - Tee Higgins/Martavis Bryant
*Garrett Wilson Ohio State
Explosive route runner with outstanding coordination. Shows ability to pluck away from body. Agile and emphatic in and out of breaks, some of his cuts on his routes are as beautiful as you'll see. Stylistically, he's an agility player who fits the mold of OBJ. I'm not sure he's that level of prospect because OBJ has such great hands but Wilson is that type of athlete. More agile than fast. More explosive than he is long speed. That doesn't mean he's slow, because he's not, but his speed is more lateral than straightline. It wouldn't surprise me if he runs a moderate forty like 4.5 but measures best in jump traits like broad jump and vertical leap. He may be faster than he looks; smooth runners can be deceptive. Regardless of long speed, Wilson definitely flashes a nice blend of athletic traits to have 1st round upside. Body control may be his best attribute. Add in the ball tracking, hands, and agility - he's a player that should be able to separate and catch. Due to size and slight frame, he's not going to be a physical player necessarily. As far as pro comps, his agility reminds me of Peter Warrick and his overall game reminds me of Mark Clayton (former 1st round pick for Baltimore), but I think he might have more production upside. I could see him having similar rookie impact to Jaylen Waddle (1st round pick from last year's class). Best fit for him I think would be the Bears or Browns who need an injection of athleticism to their WR core. My favorite attribute of Wilson's is his ability to extend and pluck. He attacks the ball instead of letting the ball come to him. Production increased each year. As a FR had 432 YD & 5 TD. As a SO had 723 YD & 6 TD. As a JR had 1058 YD & 12 TD in a deep 3 headed WR core at Ohio State.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
Scout Comp - Mark Clayton (Baltimore, not Miami)
*Jahan Dotson Penn State
I trust Dotson to get open. He fits the mold of smaller jitterbug type WRs & his athleticism blends all 3 type of explosive traits (speed, agility, acceleration). When the ball is in the air, he can kick it into an extra gear to catch up to overthrows. He also has the ball tracking and body control to adjust to underthrown passes and bring it in. His hands are fast and reliable. He can extend at the very last second and still catch it, so that reaction time makes it harder for DBs to cover him. Overall, his last second 'reaction time' may be best in this class. That's also the type of trait that can't really be measured, so some of Dotson's value is in non-measurables. I think he's going to climb draft boards as we get closer to the draft. With the recent success of smaller WRs (Antonio Brown for example), I think size is less of concern and teams will just want Dotson to measure well in speed drills. I expect he will. The agility, body control, hands...all that is good. He's just not big. However, he can make plays at all 3 levels of the field and is not afraid to go over the middle. There's enough savvy that might allow him to stay durable too. At 1st glance I had him ranked lower, but Dotson really jumped off the screen when I was scouting defenders. Even versus SEC level pro caliber DBs (like vs Auburn's McCreary & Pritchert) he just looked like the best player on the field. As far as pro comps, I think his floor is a clutch big play WR2 like Eddie Royal and his ceiling is a reliable undersized WR1 like Doug Baldwin or Greg Jennings. He's very competitive and plays bigger than his size so I tend to lean towards his upside comps like Baldwin. Most small WRs are limited in their ability to catch contested or catch in traffic over the middle, but not Dotson. Dotson is so competitive that he will still make "big" receiver type catches. Had 1182 YDs & 12 TDs as a SR. 884 YD & 8 TD as a JR. He's this year's offensive version of Asante Samuel Jr (a CB from FSU in last year's class)...played outside his whole life but most analysts assumed he'd have to move to the slot as a pro (including me, incorrectly). He fell in the draft but when it came time to play on Sundays, he was an outside corner...just a smaller one. Dotson has similar vibes. Many people project him as a slot WR but I think he may be versatile enough to play inside and out. He may not be Antonio Brown but he is a good player that offers more than 1st meets the eye.
Scout Grade - Early 2nd Round
Scout Comp - Lee Evans (w less long speed but more diverse route tree)
*Alec Pierce Cincinnati
Played inside and outside. Most project him to be a big slot receiver as a pro but he may have enough dynamic traits to play outside as a possession receiver. Reliable and productive, he's one of the toughest WRs in the class. Outstanding physicality & strength. May not have super explosion but I think he's more athletic than people realize. There were so many surprising athletic moments like on deep balls where he'd separate enough to make me think he'll run a good size adjusted 40 yard dash (maybe even high 4.4s which at 6'3 would be outstanding). At the beginning of this process, universally, Pierce was shown as undrafted projection. It was one of the biggest gaps between what my eyes tell me vs what other people's grades said. As I scouted defense in this class 1st as well as other players on Cincy (like Ford at RB & Ridder at QB), and Pierce kept jumping off of the screen in those games. He has Michael Thomas type flashes like an early 2nd round inside/out competitive possession receiver (an X). His ball tracking is great and he flashes ability to bring in deep passes as well as contested balls in the intermediate. As far as toughness, he's near top of the class. Even if he doesn't measure well, I could see him being a Willie Snead type producer who could get 1,000 yards on grit & hands alone. His upside is possibly developing into more than that like a Jordy Nelson type WR1. The big question will be "can he separate?" Pro teams will look to his 40 yard dash as an indicator of that potential and it's more important for Pierce than nearly any other WR in this class. I'm not as concerned with his speed, but more so I think improving as a route runner would help him most. He's not bad, but I'd like to see him become great. Flashes ability to bring in tough catches deep. You wouldn't expect it to be his m.o. by the way he's built, but he has tracking and hands built for all 3 levels of the field. As far as pro comps, he's similar to Jordy Nelson when he came out of Kansas State, but might be more strength oriented and not as fluid. He's built like Bryan Edwards in size/frame, but his overall game is most similar to Dwayne Bowe. I think he's that type of ceiling, a high floor and is one of the most underrated in this class. He made some insanely acrobatic catches on the outside, with DBs draped on him, that are just very hard to overlook (my favorite was on the right sideline vs. Tulane). Next to Drake London, Pierce may have the strongest hands in this class. As far as team fits, I could see him being a good fit for the Lions who need reliability at WR plus have a tough TE as their head coach who might value toughness over explosion; plus the Lions used to face Jordy Nelson a lot and would value his type of skill set. If the Saints plan on trading Michael Thomas, he'd fit their offense too as a tough X. Finished SR seasons with 884 YD & 8 TD at 17 YPC. Was better than stats indicate.
Scout Grade - 2nd Round
Scout Comp - Dwayne Bowe (ceiling)/Bryan Edwards (floor)
*Wan'Dale Robinson Kentucky/Nebraska
Highlight reel is better than many WRs who'll be drafted ahead of him. He's small, shaped similar to Tyler Lockett, but makes some crazy acrobatic catches. Outstanding body control and ball tracking. Very instinctive. Finds the ball and brings in tough catches. Best in the short game, where he can show off his YAC ability. Was used a lot as a runner especially at Nebraska where he had 691 YD & 4 TD at 4.9 YPC. He's really shifty after the catch, agile enough to make you miss, and surprisingly tough enough to break through arm tackles. One of those "if only he was bigger..." prospects. Very fun player to watch play. My initial instinct was "we might have a John Brown situation here." Brown was small when he entered the draft so he fell, but made big plays immediately as a rookie. Robinson could have a similar impact and contribute beyond his draft position and earlier than expected. At 1st glance, people might think of him as a short game only gadget player, but the more you watch, the more you see flashes of great downfield catches too. He flashes some outstanding body control and hands deep where he can contort his body completely in order to bring in errant throws. Robinson has everything you look for except size. At some point when the production is so highly stylized like this, you have to put size aside and just enjoy the end result. The lack of strength will cap his ceiling, but he may have a higher floor than people realize. I wouldn't be mad if a team drafted him as early as 2nd round. He's very dynamic. Explosive, YAC, agile, instinctive, hands, & competitive. A lot to like here. As far as pro comps, his build is similar to Jaylen Waddle and his frame/traits similar to Diontae Johnson but his game is more short to intermediate like Christian Kirk. Picture Christian Kirk style game in a Darnell Mooney style athlete. Huge JR year for Kentucky with 104 CTH for 1334 YD & 7 TD. He could measure really well and climb by draft day.
Scout Grade - 2nd Round
Scout Comp - Russell Gage
*Jalen Tolbert South Alabama 6'3 190
Tough, competitive deep threat who isn't rattled by contact. Limited tape available, mostly highlights so I'll have to find more game tape as draft gets closer. Initial impressions are that he plays a bit tall which limits his agility and side to side mobility but that his straightline speed and deep ball potential are top tier. His role was mostly deep catches so there's not a very expansive route tree but still as a SR had 1474 YD & 8 TD on 82 CTH averaging 18.0 YPC. A few too many drops and double catches (especially over the middle) for me to trust his hands completely on all 3 levels but there are also flashes on crazy one handed catches deep down the sideline so he flashes good and bad moments with his hands. Long strider that can track the ball and catch it deep. Need more tape to assess but 1st impressions are that he's slightly overrated (most projections show him as a 2nd rounder) but it's hard to bet against speed. He's 6'3 and probably going to run a 4.4 so he'll be drafted on those type of tools which means 3rd round at the latest. As far as comps, he's similar to Breshad Perriman (former 1st round pick). Perriman contributed and stuck around in the league, but never developed into a consistent WR1 or WR2. Tolbert might simply because of how competitive he is at the catch point. He's not a tough hard nosed player, but he is so tough when it comes to deep 50/50 balls. Made some of the best pure deep ball catches that I can remember. May be single dimensional deep threat but has some absolutely wowing catches where you think "how the heck did he catch that?" At some point when he's making so many of them, even in the same game (against good competition too like vs. Tennessee) it becomes harder to bet against him and he might present more than meets the eye. Pretty simple prospect. He's a speed and length deep threat with outstanding tracking ability. Can he become more than that? Even if not, he could develop into one of the better deep threats in this class. I'd like to see him bring in more "tough" catches in the intermediate and expand his route tree. At his size you also worry about pro defenders ability to possibly out-physical him. May go higher than I have him ranked. Has WR2 type ceiling. There's not as much of a gap between Tolbert and a player like Jameson Williams from Alabama. They're considered very different but they're not. Tolbert has a similar ceiling/style yet will be available later. He's not as lateral in his agility, but he's also tougher at the catchpoint. Don't think he's WR1 but still a lot of value if you need length, speed and big play ability. He'll score some flashy TDs. Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Scout Comp - Breshad Perriman (traits w/ higher ceiling)
*Christian Watson North Dakota State
Christian Watson is intriguing. Talk about size adjusted agility. When I 1st watched his highlights, I thought "he looks pretty good." Than I saw he's 6'5 and had to go back to re-watch because I couldn't believe it. He is insanely smooth for that height. The fact he's coming from NDSU is the only reason he could fall. Currently, he's projected late in the draft like 6th round or even undrafted (PFF for example doesn't even have him listed in their top 300 prospects) but I expect him to climb quite a bit by the draft. It's possible athletic big WRs can fall though. Tyrell Williams went undrafted; Marquez Colston went 7th round. So it happens. But there's enough here athletically and production-wise to warrant a mid round selection and possibly as high as round 2 or 3 if he times well. He looks like a 3rd round pick. If not, someone may still find a 1,000 yard deep threat WR2 late (like Tyrell Williams). Watson has some fantastic high effort blocks. He really takes pride in physicality on run blocking, very active. May be the best run blocking WR in the class. He could benefit from adding strength because he's got a thin frame. It shows when he's confronted with contact. But, he's tough and plays durable in the sense that he's fearless yet smart. NDSU would use him on end arounds and reverses and he flashed some great acceleration to separate from tacklers. NDSU's level of competition has to be accounted for but still you like the flashes of having "another gear." He's also shockingly agile, smooth for his height. Still needs development as a route runner but agility gives him promise and potential upside to become a top tier WR2. All things considered, he's a 6'5 player with speed, blocking effort, toughness, agility, and acceleration who needs to improve his strength and route running. Things like route running, bringing in higher catch % and strength can improve in time though so I think all of his weaknesses are coachable. Christian Watson is a player I would rather take a chance on developing mid to late than drafting some of the guys who'll go much earlier like Chris Olave for example. NDSU was a run heavy program. His QB (last year) Trey Lance wasn't what I considered accurate either. In a different program, I could've seen Watson being 1,000 yard player easily. He has more upside than people think. Production-wise he had 700+ yards on 39 catches, similar stats as a SO, and 400 yards as a JR. Averaged 150 yards rushing yards all 3 seasons. As far as pro scouting, I'd argue playing at NDSU refined him in other ways that may be a net positive i.e., run blocking and less potential damage on his body. As far as pro comps, his upside is similar to Tyrell Williams early days with the Chargers and his floor is similar to TreQuan Smith (length, speed, run blocking) but I lean towards his upside especially as a deep threat like Tyrell Williams. Very interesting player who's easy to like and criminally underrated. If he somehow goes after round 3, I think someone may get a steal. He may not break games open and be a dominant WR1, but I could see him being a reliable valuable part of a quality rotation and good team. He's a team 1st player who made a lot of sacrifices to help his team win and it shouldn't be overlooked.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Scout Comp - Tyrell Williams
*Justyn Ross Clemson
Ross broke 1,000 yards receiving as a true freshman and helped Clemson win a National Championship. At 6'4 with that resume, you're normally talking 1st rounder maybe even the next AJ Green. But, Ross sustained a major injury (I think to his neck) thus missing an entire season and still recovering/adjusting as a rsJR. So he's fallen from early potential expectations. I think that creates value the further he falls down draft boards. Obviously he'll have to pass medicals, but if his injury recovery both mentally and physically can be resolved, I do get excited about the potential. It's not often you see true FR step on the scene and carry a team to a national title, so I pull for Ross. Aside from pedigree, what's the tape say? His best catches are in the intermediate to deep parts of the field, normally on the outside near the sidelines. He can highpoint the ball and extends his arms beautifully to snag balls away from his body showcasing a big catch radius. Flashes great tracking deep where he can beat everyone to the ball in "3 flies in." His Hail Mary catch at the end of the 1st half vs Louisville was gorgeous. In that one play you can see why Ross is an enticing prospect. He's tall and fast with tracking and soft hands deep. In just his release off the LOS, in how he moves, in how his body control adjusts to his speed, in how acrobatic some of his best catches are, you can see that Ross is an uber athlete that's hard not to like. He needs refinement but the raw tools are so enticing. Randy Moss' rookie year is what got me into football as a child, so I'm always going to like a 6'4 WR who looks like he can run a 4.4. Ross flashes moments that remind me of AJ Green. His upside is high. But his production still waned over 4 year period which makes me think he's still recovering (mentally, at least) from his injury. Physically he looked healthy, but overall a change of environment with pro level coaching and strength & conditioning program could really help him develop into a dynamic deep threat as a pro. Clemson's track record is good so you like the program he's coming from. Ross could fall in the draft because of medicals but I could see a team taking him as high as the 2nd or 3rd round if they're confident about maximizing his potential and rehabilitating his game. Had 1000 YD & 9 TD on just 46 CTH at 21 YPC as a FR. As a SO had 865 YD & 8 TD. Redshirted a year. Than as a rsJR had 514 YD & 3 TD. Obviously, teams will hope they can retain his earliest form and get him back to progressing instead of regressing. As far as team fits, if the Saints lose TreQuan Smith, he'd be a possible fit as a replacement. I could also see a team like the Jaguars liking him to replace DJ Chark as well as Browns or Falcons because he could stretch the field and open up the middle for their respective slot WRs (Jarvis Landry & Kyle Pitts). As far as pro comps, his ceiling is similar to DJ Chark and his floor is similar to Marquez Valdez Scantling. Those comps are if healthy. Obviously if health doesn't hold up, floor could mean out of the league pretty quickly. High risk, high reward type prospect.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
Scout Comp - DJ Chark
*John Metchie III Alabama
Metchie is very coordinated and smoothly explosive. He has a nice blend of speed and agility where you see short space agility to separate through route running and long speed to take it the distance. Need to do a deeper dive as we approach draft time, but I'll want to see if he can attack the ball. On most plays he's more of a timing WR that needs the ball to hit him in the right spot. There aren't any examples of him attacking the football to make the play or having to catch contested. For him, he'll be best utilized on bubble screens and deep, but there enough tools to see potential to develop into an intermediate threat too. Still in the intermediate, you expect he'll be the type to get open through speed and route running, not necessarily the guy who can bring in tough ones. Even though stylistically, I tend to prefer the tough "my ball" type WRs, Metchie's a good prospect for another type of role that utilizes speed in space. Had 916 YD & 6 TD as a SO and 1142 YD & 9 TD as a JR.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
Scout Comp - Cecil Shorts
Reliable slot receiver. Can work in traffic, great hands. Boise lined him up at RB a lot, on both sides the formation, in the slot and outside. They moved him and played him everywhere. His bread and butter is catching passes over the middle. He's a slot receiver at the pro level for sure. Physical enough though to get carries out of the backfield which is unique. Had 71 carries for 414 yards rushing which is 5.8 YPC. I really like his route running as a receiver. Overall he reminds me of a more physical, bigger version of Lance Moore. It's really crazy, they're very similar players. Moore was such a reliable player with fantastic hands. The guy never dropped the ball. I saw only one drop from Shakir. I get that same feeling of reliability from Shakir that I did from Lance Moore. He's not an uber athlete, but he makes plays. He's agile, pays attention to detail & is uber tough. The one concern is lack of size allows him to be overpowered. There were missed plays from "hearing footsteps" but generally he catches the ball well in traffic. He's not necessarily an explosive player with deep ball traits either. He made some big plays but he needs to do a better job attacking the ball earlier on deep passes. His tracking seems more suited for the short and intermediate. Production was good as SO & JR but really burst as a SR with 1117 YD & 7 TD. Shakir's projections vary widely and will depend on how he times at the 40. Regardless, you'd love to get a slot WR like this in the 3rd or 4th round and might even picking him in the mid to late 2nd if he times well.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
Scout Comp - Mike Furrey (with opportunity to peak earlier)
Chris Olave (+) Ohio State
Smooth player who wins on savvy and high IQ. Not necessarily any 1 particular attribute that jumps off the screen. He's not exceptionally big or fast or agile or bursty, but he's got enough blend of those traits to make it work and develop into a WR2, possibly early in his career. Currently, he's ranked as the top WR prospect in this class and most outlets have him projected top 15. My initial impression is that he should probably go mid 2nd or even early 3rd round. There's nothing jumping off the tape to justify a top 15 pick or even 1st round pick. He'll probably run a fast 40 because once he hits top speed, he looks fast, yet it takes time for him to get to top speed so his speed is built more for a 40 than it is for football type short area quickness. He's explosive enough off the line of scrimmage with flashes down the seem where he's untouched so he'll likely time well but a fast 40 wouldn't make me like his game much differently. He's not as explosive in short space which I might prefer over long speed. He brings in passes (even when covered) usually via traits that you can't measure like body control. It's hard for me to imagine that he'll maintain his pre-draft grade. He's one of the most refined route runners in the class, so that works in his favor, but I think there are a lot of others with more potential to become WR1s. I went through successful WRs who were similar to Olave in the sense of "not 1 particular attribute" jumping off the screen, and there are good players who were similar. Van Jefferson is a recent example: a smooth route runner who wasn't necessarily big or a burner, yet he got open via savvy and has reliable hands. Still, I think Olave might be slightly overrated as a potential pro because Van Jefferson isn't the type of prospect I'd want to pick in round 1; more like late round 2 or even round 3. If teams are picking him in the 1st round fans will be expecting a WR1, but I think Olave is a WR2 or WR3 with a lower floor than hype indicates. Maybe I'm missing it, but I just don't see the same upside that others do and I don't see the same value. He performed well though especially in the red zone. As a SR he had 936 YD & 13 TDs. His 32 TDs over SO, JR, & SR seasons definitely catches your eye. That red zone consistency is what may be pushing him up draft boards, more so than traits at least. As far as comps, I he reminds me of guys like Van Jefferson and Nate Washington and I think his production expectations are similar to a player like Kendrick Bourne for the Patriots.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
Scout Comp - Nate Washington/Van Jefferson
David Bell (+) Purdue
Agile, competitive player who wins with savvy route running. Has great balance and reliable hands. Can start/stop "on a dime." It's hard to explain, but in one word I'd define Bell as "reliable." There are moments that flash really high IQ like how he toys with defenders in space and uses their angles against them. He's smart. I think he'll be durable too. There were plays where defenders would come crashing towards his knees and 99% of guys would take the hit, yet Bell is able to diagnose their angle early and react quick enough to position his body to protect himself, in some cases even avoiding contact completely as the defender whiffs on the tackle attempt. What you like is he is equally effective at all 3 levels. He may do his best work in the short to intermediate game and could play outside or in the slot. He's the kind of guy I just picture making big plays for a good team. I don't get the impression he'll lead your division in yards, but I do get the feeling he might make the game clinching play that helps your team get a playoff upset. I could see the Patriots or Saints targeting him. Teams like Pats that have had bad drafts at WR, may like Bell because he seems high floor. 1,000 yards as a FR doesn't hurt his case. He's been productive with almost 3,000 yards in his 3 seasons at Purdue. I would not have thought he was 6'2 because his feet move really quickly for his height. I think his best fit is a team that can get him the ball in space and on timing routes more so than asking him to catch contested, go above the rim, or have to fight for catches.10 years from now if he's the most successful of this class, it wouldn't surprise me. He's well rounded and does a lot right. Quick feet off the LOS, good route runner, reliable hands, dynamic overall receiver that can make plays inside or out. Production was really solid from day 1. As a FR had 1035 YD & 7 TDs. In 6 games as a SO had 625 YD & 8 TD. As a JR had 1286 YD & 6 TD. I don't know if Bell's quite a WR1 as a NFL player, but man you get the feeling you're watching a guy who's going to have a long successful NFL career, even if it's as a WR2. There is WR1 upside though. As far as pro comps he's similar in size to TJ Houshmandzadeh and has similar game to Stevie Johnson.
Scout Grade - 4th Round
Scout Comp - Stevie Johnson
*Kevin Austin Jr
Only one year of production but flashed some really good stuff deep for ND. After not playing much in his 1st 3 years Austin had 888 YDs & 7 TDs at 18.5 YPC as a SR. Most of his best plays were deep downfield where he made some incredibly acrobatic catches. He didn't have tons of separation on most catches, but he showed that he can bring in tough catches even with defenders in tight coverage. He tracks the ball well and has good hands even when the pass requires last minute adjustments or extending away from his body. For a deep threat, he has average to above average deep speed (similar to players like Marquez Callaway). I think what separates him is his agility for his height and thick frame. There were some moments in open field where he really flashed some awesome jukes especially for his height. He can kick his speed into a 2nd gear and might be more 4.4 speed instead of 4.5. A good pro day or combine could push him up draft boards as high as 4th or 5th rounds. He's likely a day 3 pick though because of the 1 year wonder type production. Has some upside as a deep threat with upside to develop a versatile game.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Scout Comp - Marquez Callaway (but slightly bigger)
*Ty Fryfogle Indiana
Big slot receiver who shows good toughness after the catch. Looks like he'll actually run a good 40 for his height. I could see him climbing as high as 5th round despite most outlets showing him 7th rd/undrafted. He has pretty quick feet, but I'd like to see him use his feet better off the line of scrimmage in order to get his defender off balance. I think the better footwork off the LOS, the better the chance of getting open throughout the rest of his route. What you like most is for a big slot WR, he still makes some downfield catches in traffic even with bodies draped on him. I like that he was able to bring in contested catches. He's a tough WR. Didn't have tons of production at Indiana, but they spread the ball around quite a bit. In other systems or for other teams, he could've been 1,000 yard guy. Fryfogle has some upside. As far as pro cops, he may measure similar to Austin Collie but his production ceiling could be similar to a player like Brian Hartline who overperformed based on toughness and IQ.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Scout Comp - Austin Collie w/ Brian Hartline (ceiling)
Not listed on any draft outlets as a draftable prospect, however as a priority undrafted free agent, I think he presents some value as a potential slot WR. He's very thin, but he plays tough, produced well for Tulsa with over 1,100 YDs last year. He's not burner fast, but in the slot agility will be more important. I think he's tougher than his size and showed a willingness to catch in traffic. It remains to be seen if he could do the same vs pro level size and strength, but it's worth a camp invite to see how he performs in preseason. What I like is he had some moments where he really shook defenders out of their shoes. That flashes some potential in my opinion as a developmental prospect that might develop into a slot WR4. As far as pro comps, his ceiling reminds me of former Falcons WR Harry Douglas. Douglas was about 5 pounds heavier, and Johnson might benefit from gaining a little bit of strength in order to hold up. 171 may end up too light to work the middle for very long. The closer he gets to 180, the better his chances.
Scout Grade - 5th Round
Scout Comp - Harry Douglas
Skyy Moore (+)
Pff has Moore ranked as 43rd overall prospect on the draft board, and I just don't see that type of upside. On tape alone, he looks similar to Christian Kirk, a slot tough shifty slot WR that can contribute deep (at least as a collegiate). I don't see blazing speed but he's shifty. Looks more 4.5 or 4.6. Marquez Callaway type floor. Fast enough to be deep threats at the collegiate level, but once they go pro have to adjust their games because they can't burn pro defenses. I think you also have to factor QB Kaleb Eleby is a pro prospect in this class. That can inflate Moore's perceived value. I'm not saying Moore is a bad player, but he looks more like a day 3 pick than day 1 or 2 pick. As far as pro comps, there's some floor risk of being more like Austin Carr from Northwestern or Tre Nixon from UCF than Christian Kirk. I worry about the lack of length. Both Carr & Nixon were players I liked as undrafted prospects, but Moore appears slightly slower and smaller than say Nixon for example (Nixon hasn't even caught an NFL pass yet). The one thing that might separate him or give him an advantage over his lack of athletic traits or size, he's really a tough player that can track the ball well, and he is extremely competitive at the catch point. He has made many catches deep down the sideline that he probably has no business making at his size. He won't overpower anyone, but he'll chip in the blocking game. This guy really looks like a Patriot. Picture Wes Welker type slot at the absolute highest end of possible ceiling. An overachiever so it's possible teams think he can continue that vs pro competition. I'd have to see it to believe it, which is why I'd rather target him late. The idea of taking him top 50 seems insane. Frankly, round 5 seems more appropriate. Best thing Moore could do is bench press really well for his size. That could justify potential as an undersized developmental possession receiver in the intermediate.
Scout Grade - 5th Round
Scout Comp - Tre Nixon (floor)/Christian Kirk (ceiling)
Charleston Rambo (+)
Rambo is an interesting receiver because he started at Oklahoma where he didn't get much usage, but when he transferred to Miami for his SR season, he really exploded for 79 CTH, 1172 YD & 7 TD. He was mainly a downfield threat, but he also showed that he can contribute in the short to intermediate game as well, so he's not just single dimensional like some of the other Z receiver prospects in this class. Rambo tracks the ball well and does a great job extending his arms to pluck the ball in contested situations. He doesn't get rattled too badly in traffic and is generally pretty competitive. As far as pro comps, he looks a little like Quez Watkins from So Miss who now plays for the Eagles, but Quez ran a 4.35 so I'm not sure that Rambo is as fast. He has better body control though with some flashes of really savvy mid air adjustments. Good balance and some explosive traits beyond just long speed. That's part of why I have him ranked slightly higher than others similar style prospects. There's a lot of mid to late round thin Z WRs in this class and it's really hard to differentiate between them to be frank. Worst case scenario it's possible Rambo's above 4.5 speed on the 40, but even if that were the case, I think there's enough flashes of other traits (like hands, tracking, toughness, body control) to warrant a mid to late round selection as a developmental intermediate threat. Rambo's best moments are getting both feet in and toe tapping the sidelines or the back corners of the end zone. He's very nimble where it counts most. That gives him a shot to contribute to a rotation early and possibly develop into a long term WR2...maybe even potential WR1. He's an outside WR in a class with a lot of slot options so that helps. With only 1 year of tape, he's someone who will be helped immensely if he runs under 4.5. As an example, his pro comp Quez Watkins I was really high on coming out of Southern Miss. Watkins was the 200th pick in his class but in his 2nd season at only 23 years old he beat out 1st round pick Jalen Reagor in Philly (a player I wasn't as high on in his class) to be WR2 with 650 yards receiving and 788 all purpose. I could see Rambo having a similarly unexpected outcome. Granted if he times well, he could climb as high as rounds 3 or 4. If not, he could be available undrafted. He has a wide range of potential outcomes, but I like the value of his best potential outcome relative to likely draft position.
Scout Grade - 5th Round
Scout Comp - Quez Watkins (with a hair less speed + better body control)
Romeo Doubs (+) Nevada
Doesn't have the explosion in 1st few yards off the LOS for me to consider him a top prospect or target. He was very productive with two 1,000 yard seasons as JR & SR, and he did catch some beautiful deep passes. However, he does seem to athletically be built more for college than pro game. He was productive enough to maybe warrant a late round flier to develop, but he's not necessarily someone I would target earlier than round 4 or 5 or have expectations that he'd start or become WR1 or even WR2. The one thing that helps his case is he can catch in traffic. There are some catches where he's draped by multiple defenders yet still brings the ball in. I think that gives some flexibility to make up for lack of explosive attributes. When I say "lack of explosive attributes" I'm not talking long speed because Doubs looks like the type of player who might time well on a track. I worry more about lack of explosion off the snap and short area agility. How will that translate? Probably as a single dimensional deep threat vying to become a Z. There are some trait though and it's reminiscent of players like Gabriel Davis when he came out of UCF. Doesn't flash WR1 but flashes pro level tools to develop into a big play threat and contributing member of a rotation. Might benefit from adding strength so he can box out in the short to intermediate. Needs to improve lateral agility. At this point he's so very straightline. His best attribute is ball tracking deep. He tends to push off at the top of his deep routes and will benefit from being less "handsy" because the pro refs won't tolerate it like collegiates. My other concern with Doubs is: how much of his production and draft grades might be inflated by his QB Carson Strong (2nd/3rd round QB prospect in this class)? With a lesser QB, what would he have been? That has to be factored. There's also the argument that he was the one making Strong better though. I may do a deeper dive on both to try and navigate who makes who in this case.
Scout Grade - 5th Round
Scout Comp - Tyrie Cleveland w/ Tajae Sharpe (ceiling)
(edit: profile added 4/24)
Quick player built like a gadget guy who can contribute on hand offs, special teams, out the slot and mostly in the short game. Runs fast but is somewhat stiff, nothing glaring but in flashes. Has smooth moments too. Could be underrated and climb as high as 5th round. There's pro athleticism and some toughness. You wish he had more length but he made some catches in traffic that surprised me. Best type of player to get open looks in space. Can take it the distance with some surprising breakaway speed and agility. His toughness helps. He's a willing blocker and more physical than you'd expect for his size. Somewhat of a one speed player where there are moments I wish he had just a touch more burst like trying to catch up to overthrows for example. Likely competing for a rotational role as a WR3/4. Might have some upside because his system and surrounding cast missed him on quite a few open looks. Fast but not as fast as his timed speed.
Scout Grade - 5th/6th Round
*Danny Gray SMU
Has pro long speed plus some burst. Definitely capable of exploding into a 2nd gear. Wasn't overtly productive in college, but as a deep threat had 800 YD & 9 TD for SMU as a SR. Not all of his big plays were downfield either. Many were drag routes and short passes that he was able to turn into long plays with speed YAC. Could be low 4.4 speed with good vertical leap traits and arm length. Gray would benefit from expanding his route tree and from adding strength. There's not much on tape other than fly routes and drag routes. He also needs to limit 'pushing off' of defenders in order to separate, which he'd do on occasion. You'd like to see a little more production earlier in his collegiate career, but he may get drafted near the end of day 3, on speed alone. As far as pro comps, I think his ceiling could be Byron Pringle type player and production.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Comp - Bobby Shaw
Has some long speed, but needs to develop a more well rounded game. Looks like a 4.5 type prospect vying for a role as a deep threat, and for him to really get that chance you'd look for better production in college. First instincts are he's a Joe Morgan (from Walsh) type prospect at best, but teams will want to see him run 4.4s considering his production in college wasn't top tier. He may run fast enough to compete for a developmental role at Z receiver as a potential field stretcher, but he's right on the line. I think his chances are make or break based on whether he runs under 4.5 or not. Over that, and it'd be hard to stick around. Under it and he's got a shot to compete for a role at Z. Best way for him to make a roster would be to defend well on a special teams unit.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Comp - Stanley Morgan
Calvin Austin III (+)
(edit: profile added 4/24) Tiny dynamic speedy gadget threat who lacks pro size. Explosive off the line of scrimmage. Decent hands. Best in the short game. I worry about lack of catch radius. There were passes in his direction that it seemed like others would've hauled in. I see rankings like PFF as high as 87th overall (3rd rd) and that seems way too high risk. His hands downfield aren't bad but similar players like Deonte Harris were undrafted. Granted Harris' success might move Austin into draftable range, but I couldn't pick a player this small earlier than 6th or 7th round. Last year TuTu Atwell was the same way where I didn't understand it. Austin is quick, but he really isn't a burner either. Frankly, I was expecting him to play faster. He's fast, but I'd want to see Jameson Williams type speed at this size. Has some special teams value as a returner. Really just a size/durability issue. Could contribute as a WR4 gadget type w/ return value.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Grade - poorman's Deonte Harris (not as fast)
Dontario Drummond (+) Ole Miss
Not a ton of tape available, only 1 games and some highlights available. Based on what I can find, Drummond seems very underrated. He's very smooth and a solid athlete. Most outlets show him projected to go late or undrafted, but I expect him to climb by draft time. Built like a RB, there is a wide gap from what I see on film vs his draft grade. He's athletic, especially in space. He's built thick, plays tough and could be a good YAC player. He's the type of player you aim to get the ball in space rather than the guy you throw 50/50 balls & contested. In the right role, I could see him developing into a WR2 or WR3. I could also see him running a faster 40 than expected and rising up draft boards to as high as round 3 or 4. At worst he seems like a 5th round pick. After round 4 would be great value. He needs refinement in his route tree, but has raw tools to warrant a day 2 or 3 pick and develop. Even if his speed was mid 4.5s, I'd still like him because of his physicality and high IQ. He's so natural with the ball in his hands. As far as pro comps, he's built thick like Deebo Samuel or Laviska Shenault. You hope he goes to a team where his OC or WR coach can really teach him the nuances of route running. In that regard he's still raw. Early in his career he still could present value with "easy" touches like bubble screens, reverses, and drag routes. Anything to get him in space and let him navigate for YAC. Not much production early, but finished strong with 1028 YD & 8 TD as a SR.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Comp - poorman's Laviska Shenault
Kyle Philips (+) UCLA
Slot receiver who operates well in traffic and doesn't get rattled by closing defenders. Made a lot of catches in traffic. Similar style player to Cole Beasley or Adam Humphries. Didn't have much tape available to make complete assessment. Need more tape to really assess.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Scout Comp - Dax Milne w/ Adam Humphries (ceiling)
Erik Ezukanma (+)
Big, tough WR who utilizes his long arms well. He's quicker than he is fast. Mostly a possession receiver. Navigates traffic really well and not afraid to go over the middle. He's just a tough dude. Makes some awesome fearless plays. Will go above the rim and highpoint. May have some issues separating at the pro level, but I think he's athletic enough to warrant a pick and have potential. Could see him moving to the slot and being a big slot target. He may not run a great 40 yard dash time, so it's possible he falls or even goes undrafted, however he has pretty reliable hands and can catch in traffic. Because of that I like his chances in the slot. Reminds me a little bit of Lil Jordan Humphrey in build and athleticism, maybe Brandon Lafell if he times under 4.6 at the 40.
Scout Grade - 7th Round
Scout Comp - Brandon Lafell
(edit: profile added 4/24/22) Polk is a highly productive SEC outside WR who wins on savvy and good hands rather than blazing speed. Most outlets project him undrafted because he is not a burner, however he has so many other positive attributes like balance and quite possibly the best body control in the class that it's hard not to want to see him try out. There are some concerns in traffic, and lack of explosion, but I think it's possible he could develop into a contributing player on the outside especially in the intermediate. He reminds me of old Mike McCarthy WRs like Donald Driver who didn't have speed but won with other traits. Might go undrafted, but has enough production and smoothness to warrant a day 3 flier. Decent possession traits.
Scout Grade - 7th Round
Andre Miller Maine
Stats don't jump off the page (684 YD & 3 TD), but his best moments on tape do. Projected by most outlets to go undrafted, yet his size and physicality make him a possible late round pick come draft day. He's big and really physical. He can go above the rim and can catch in traffic. He's not an uber athlete, but he has smooth athleticism. He also makes some beautiful catches downfield. I'm not sure what his role will be as a pro. Likely he'll get moved to the slot, but at Maine he was mainly a deep threat. He might be a bigger target type Z where he can run deep out of the slot (similar to Robert Meacham). Meachem isn't a bad overall comp as far as potential production ceiling, except Miller is a lesser version of that comp athletically because he doesn't have the pure speed or burst traits. Might only have mid to low 4.5 type speed and he could have trouble separating at the pro level. However because of his length and toughness, he may be tough enough (especially above the rim) to possibly develop into a rotational player that can give value in the red zone (think similar to a player like Juwan Johnson out of ORE). He'll have to show he can use that physicality to contribute on special teams first in order to really make a roster. As far as pro comps, his frame and body is similar to Ben Skowronek, but his game and overall upside is similar to a player like Zach Pascal when he came out of Old Dominion.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Scout Comp - Zach Pascal
Zakhari Franklin (+)
Franklin is interesting because he flashes a potential 2nd gear on deep routes where he separates from DBs which you like, but it was against lesser competition so you wonder how it will translate against pro level DBs. He looks explosive, however playing vs lesser competition like UTEP can make it hard to pulse. If you forced me to guess, I'd estimate good long speed like mid 4.4s but lower on other explosion traits like broad jump + average to above average vertical leap. Overall he's a developmental speed/length prospect vying for a vertical role. I don't rule him out because anyone over 6'0 that can run 4.4 has a shot to contribute, and he is more explosive/fast than many of the other similar length/speed Z types in this class (Doubs & Heileigh for example). It's just does he have any upside beyond a deep role? Likely not too much. He flashed some intermediate game on a few slant routes, but his m.o. is vertical only. With that in mind, as just a deep threat, he has some 4th or 5th round traits. He made some nice 1 handed catches and did 1,000 YD + and 12 TDs of damage deep. One thing that would help is developing (or displaying) more strength. In college he had a lot of free release down the field, and at the NFL level I expect DBs will press him with real strength at the line. Will he have the strength to overcome that? It's hard to say. There's not too many examples at UTSA to really pulse his strength. One thing I like about Franklin is his boundary IQ. His deep routes typically leave space for him to get two feet down and allow space for his QB to give him backshoulder throws without squeezing the sideline too tight and running out of room. Even at the college level, he was clearly trying to get 2 feet down on every play instead of just one. That tells me he's working towards being a pro. There are so many length/speed Z type WRs in this class that may measure similarly, that it may devalue the entire crop and push those types down the board. Franklin could present late round value to the teams who miss on the top tier Zs (like George Pickens & Justyn Ross), but he's not someone who jumps off the screen as "must have." Than again he's 6'1, might run 4.4, and had over 1,000 yards, so it's not a bad option for a developmental speed threat late in the draft.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Scout Comp - Bernard Berrian (ceiling)
Jaivon Heiligh (+) Coastal Carolina
Productive player with over 2,000 YD & 17 TD over last 2 seasons. It's always hard to grade WRs like this who's play may have been slightly bumped by their top tier QB play (in this case Grayson McCall who'll be drafted next year). Heiligh is long with reliable hands. He makes some beautiful catches in the intermediate, mostly on the outside, and flashes reliable hands. But he doesn't have much burst. He's more long speed type athlete. He may run well, but a 40 yard dash can be deceiving with a player like this because although you like the potential long speed and production, I'm not sure he has the burst, agility, or explosion needed to develop into a starter. He does have hands though to develop into a contributor to a rotation. Will need to go to a team with a good downfield passer. His best work comes in the intermediate to deep part of the field and typically on the outside. As far as pro comps, I think his ceiling is someone like Rod Streater and floor is more like Courtney Roby (as a WR, not special teamer). Despite lack of short area explosion, the one attribute he has that some of the other speed/length Z WRs don't have is balance which helps him at the top of his routes. Some outlets like PFF show his as a 4th round player, however he looks more like a very late round or even undrafted prospect when you consider that he'll be vying for a role as a deep threat but lacks top tier explosion.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Scout Comp - Isaiah Ford
DaiJean Dixon (+)
Dixon is a tall, long receiver who produced well for Nicholls. Production totals throughout career were 753 & 7 TD as a FR, 1013 & 8 TD as a SO, 514 & 7 TD as a JR, 1002 & 8 TD as a SR. Despite the size and production, there is very little game film or even highlights available from Dixon. From the few plays I can find, he does not look like he has much burst or even long speed. He has size but his athleticism as far as speed type traits seems more like a TE than WR. You wish he were 25 pounds heavier and you could convert him to TE. At best maybe he's Lil Jordan Humphrey type upside where he can contribute despite lack of speed, but based on few plays I can find, he doesn't appear to have pro level athletic traits. Might run high 4.6 type forty.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Bug Howard
Tre Turner (+) Virginia Tech
It feels like I'm watching Charleston Rambo's tape from Miami again here except a hair less physical. Turner has decent balance, agility and length. He didn't have the production throughout college that you'd hope for, especially TDs so I do wonder why there wasn't more production. Athletically looks a little like Dax Milne from Boise St last year, which means "middle of the pack" type collegiate and low level pro barely able to make the cut. Seems like practice squad player who'll need to develop more of a route tree. Most of Turner's games seem average, however in his defense I will say that his best stuff, like his best plays do show some potential. He displayed some nice moments of body control that could set him apart. His best role would be out of the slot and working the intermediate part of the field especially working out towards the sidelines.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Tandon Doss
Emeka Emezie (+) NC State
Because this draft class has a lot more Z WRs than X WRs, I could see guys like Emezie getting overdrafted and possibly going late in the draft to a team in need of size. He doesn't have the explosive traits you'd look for in a pro WR, but he does have the size and physicality to warrant a 7th round pick or camp invite. He uses his length well and made some highlight reel catches for the wolfpack. I also like that he did damage near the sideline, over the middle. in the short game, in the intermediate, and on both sides of the formation. As a pro his best bet could be in the slot. You wish a guy like Emezie was more explosive, because as it stands he's got a long road to try to prove himself, however you can't teach size and length.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Emmanuel Butler
Reggie Roberson Jr. (+) SMU/WVU
Has some agility and decent long speed. My issue with Roberson is we've seen much more productive players come out of SMU (like James Proche for example) that haven't produced at the pro level, so it's hard to imagine a lesser version from their program really excelling. Those things happen in the NFL so it's possible, but not likely. Roberson's contributions in the return game and potential on special teams will be his best chance. He flashed some good moments deep for SMU but he'll have to show he can do it against pro level speed. His game reminds of Isaiah McKoy from Kent State last year who didn't quite have the tools to make the transition from college to pro. Like I said though, Roberson has the special teams background that might get him additional looks or consideration depending on how well he contributes to your return game and coverage unit.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Isaiah McKoy
Jaquarii Roberson (+) Wake Forest
Roberson had a productive season for Wake with 71 CTH for 1078 YD & 8 TD. Had a 900 YD year prior. So you like the WR1 production for his team in college. He is a really thin frame, and he doesn't have breakaway speed, so teams will worry about his lack of speed/strength traits. He does have above average agility which he utilizes well when running routes and in space when trying to make defenders miss. I worry about the lack of long speed though for his size. His best work may be limited to the collegiate level. The one thing that gives him a chance is he has long arms and can highpoint on the sidelines. Looks like a practice squad player at best, and someone that would have to add strength and develop as a route runner pretty dramatically in order to really compete for pro reps. The one player Roberson would want to study would be Mario Manningham. I'm not saying that's his comp, but Manningham was the same very thin size, and he nearly ran a 4.6 forty. It's pretty rare to have someone lack size and strength and speed be able to contribute as an NFL WR, however Manningham is one of the few in recent years. Athletically, Roberson mirrors Manningham's traits.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Scout Comp - Quincy Jackson (Alabama)
DIDN'T DECLARE EARLY (Will be in next year's class)
*Joseph Ngata Clemson
Early entrant JR with limited production (23 CTH, 438 YD, 1 TD in 8 starts) and 1st round athletic traits. Ngata is the type of player who really 'looks the part' of a starting NFL WR1. Athletically, he has all the tools but he's still very raw and he didn't produce like fans and scouts had hoped. As a high upside developmental project, he has as much value as anyone in this class. In fact, in the entire class, he's one of the only "1st round traits" type prospects that could fall until late or undrafted so he's very unique in this class. Some outlets don't even have him listed as a prospect, and the outlets that are highest on him project him in rounds 5/6. When you watch Ngata, he's athletically close to George Pickens from UGA where you see flashes of top tier size, strength, speed, physicality, plus some ability to make tough contested catches in traffic. It just only happened in flashes. Needs to improve explosion off the snap. He's agile enough but often a hair late (fractionally) off the snap. Could time it better. I don't know a ton about him but I'd want to know why Ngata's production didn't match his physical tools. He definitely could develop into an NFL X and WR1 but 400 YDs in college is way below ideal. It's happened. In fact Joe Montana's guy Dwight Clark I think had under 100 yards in college if I remember correctly. But, those kind of meteoric statistical rises from college to pro are rare. Still, Ngata's worth a mid round flier to develop and try to tap into the upside. Pro teams may wonder if he'll separate at the next level, which is usually the hardest part for taller/bigger WRs. As far as pro comps, Ngata has big time traits like JJ Stokes type possession WR who's best flashes might make his ceiling closer to a player like Javon Walker. He's just got to put it together and develop sooner than later. Pro teams won't be as patient as Clemson was. He'll need to really hit the ground running and have a good rookie preseason.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Scout Comp - Javon Walker (ceiling)/Seth Williams (floor)
*Zay Flowers Boston College
Dontay Demus Jr. Maryland
Nimble feet for 6'3. Not a YAC monster but will get more YAC than you expect. His top tier highlights, like his best moments, look like a potential WR2. He makes some great deep catches and plays in traffic. Looks best when play breaks down and has to make plays off script. Will come back to his QB and open opportunities. Has decent long speed but lacks burst/acceleration in tight space. May need to prove he can separate against pro speed. Not necessarily a burner so it's possible he goes undrafted, but he has the size and production (771 YDs as JR, 953 as SR) to warrant a late round flier. Flashes some toughness and not afraid to go over the middle or fight through traffic.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/Priority UDFA
Chris Autman-Bell Minnesota
Jalen Cropper Fresno State