Like the rest of this draft class besides QB and OT, the receiver position is loaded. There are a number of players that have the potential to be a number 1 target as well as a countless prospects that can work as complementary pieces and flourish in the role of number 2. Any receiver-needy team should be able to add at least a decent piece through the first three rounds and could develop some of the later round players into real weapons given the right fit.
5. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington: I’m a big fan of Cooper Kupp and the way he plays. He’s a very smart player that worked just as well on the outside as he did in the slot, and he has great size at 6’2” 205lbs. Kupp recognizes the soft spots in zone defenses and knows when to sit or find grass. He also has a relentless motor and refuses to give up on plays. He’s a good route runner with great hands and concentration. On film, he looks like a very good athlete, but at the Combine he proved that was because of competition level. His 4.6 causes concern, as he he won’t create great separation from NFL defenders but in the right scheme that won’t matter. Kupp would fit best in a west coast style offense working short routes across the middle. He looks the part of a number 2 receiver and could become a quarterback’s security blanket because of how sure handed he is. Kupp will most likely go rounds 3-4 especially because of his Combine numbers but I would have no problem taking him in the second.
4. Zay Jones, ECU: Zay Jones sneaky has one of the greatest careers of a college receiver. He’s number in FBS history with 399 receptions and also added 4,279 yards and 23 TDs throughout his career. He’s also thrown a couple TD’s while playing for the Pirates. Following a great senior year and Combine, Jones shut up critics that thought he wasn’t an NFL level athlete. He ran a 4.45 40 and at the senior bowl showed great deep threat potential consistently separating from the secondary. His game and route tree isn’t extremely complex but he’s shown full understanding of the complete route tree and had great feet at the combine. He has great potential and can develop into a number 1 receiver given time. I think he’s an early to mid-second rounder and should start of next season as a team’s number 2 option. Teams like Tennessee or Philly could get away with him at as the primary option, but they would have to deal with his growing pains. His best fit would be a team like Tampa Bay that already has Mike Evans but needs is in dire need of giving him a running mate.
3.Mike Williams, Clemson: I think Mike Williams has been overrated as a prospect due to his National Championship performance. That being said, he’s still a first round prospect that looks like a future number 1 receiver. Williams is a big body at 6’4” 220 lbs and he’s the best blocker in the class. He’s at his best in the red zone where his size normally makes him the best matchup on the field. His long arms and leaping ability added onto his height make it almost impossible for corners to disrupt a catch when he goes up for it but he’s also a very good route runner and knows how to use his strength to work through corners for the ball. My biggest concern with him is his lack of top end speed. Williams is by no means a burner and he will struggle to create separation against NFL corners which could hurt him early in his career as he tries to work past concentration issues that lead to drops. Williams should produce in year one and make life for his qb easy, especially in the red zone, but he will have moments that frustrates both teammates and fans as he adjusts to the speed and physicality of NFL corners. He won’t fall out of the top 25 and could be the first receiver taken in the draft.
2. John Ross, Washington: John Ross is the fastest player to ever enter the NFL based off his 4.22 in the 40. For those of you that only know him because of that please at the least go on youtube and watch one of his highlight tapes. He was the most electric player at the receiver position and was a threat to score every single play. Ross averaged a touchdown for every 4.7 catches and had an impressive 14.2 yards per catch. He’s a great route runner that becomes impossible to catch once he finds open space and will blow the top off defenses from day one. His biggest concern is size coming in at only 5’11” 188 lbs but recent receiver trends have proved that this could cause no problems. He’s still working on intermediate routes but his short and long game are great to begin with and will allow him to play both slot and wideout. Ross can put up big numbers but he’s not a high reception player, much like Desean Jackson. It’ll be rare for him to have 9-12 receptions in a game but he only needs 4-6 so he can find the endzone. He’s not the prototypical number one receiver but because he can do so much without requiring a high number of targets he can completely change an offense’s results without changing its gameplan. Ross was projected as a mid to late first rounder but his 40 may change let him creep up a couple spots.
1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan: I absolutely love Corey Davis. He’s my second favorite college receiver of all time (you’ll always be #1 Sammy <3) and nothing short of a savage. He was without a doubt the most complete receiver in college and during his 4 years in school became the NCAA’s all time leading receiver with 5,285 yards. Davis has the size to play against the NFL’s biggest coverage men coming in at 6’3” 208 lbs, and the footwork to go against the quicker players on defense. He’s an extremely refined route runner with the best hands in the draft, an excellent deep threat, and a phenomenal red zone target. What separates him from someone like Mike Williams is what he does after the catch. Davis can run through corners like Dez Bryant and then start making defenders miss and takeoff 60 yards like Odell. He has serious potential, I’m talking top 5 receiver in the league. He can work all level of the fields, has handled being a team’s primary option, and has shown consistent improvement each year in college. My favorite part of his game though is the way Davis manipulates his speed. He’s fast enough to blow by corners but depending on the route he doesn’t tap into that speed right away making defenders feel uncomfortable and more likely to make a mistake. He has a great understanding of different coverages and techniques, which is rare to find among college receivers these days. Corey Davis is gonna be something special and there’s no doubt in my mind. Any team that needs a number one receiver should look straight to Davis and nowhere else. I have him as my top receiver and see him going from 10-15 but he could slide into the 20’s if teams prefer Ross or Williams (which would stoopid).