By Seth Megginson
The deepest position group in the 2020 NFL Draft is wide receiver. We could see guys who are fifth, sixth, even seventh round picks in this draft contribute to teams.
Yes, it’s that deep. There are some big names out there at the WR position, but there are maybe some guys you don’t know about that will surprise you when they enter the league.
Here is a look at some of the best wideouts in this year’s draft.
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: Overall #9
Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is the best of this deep class of wideouts. He has great hands, is a terrific route runner, great at YAC, and unbelievably good body control. Lamb should be an impact player right away in the NFL and can be lined up on the outside or in the slot and can contribute. His biggest flaw would be he doesn’t have the top speed that some of these other WR in this class has, but that is made up with the fact he probably Is the best in this class at every other trait you would want from a WR.
Denzel Mims, Baylor: Overall #14
This projection is probably going to shock some people, but no, it is not a misprint. I truly believe Denzel Mims is the second best WR in this class. He doesn’t have the overall speed as, say, the Alabama WR Henry Ruggs, but he still is very fast, and his route running will need to improve, but this guy’s catch radius is insane, and he catches everything thrown near him. A big physical WR that is also not afraid to get in and block, Mims has a high ceiling, and I feel like the right team could turn him into a superstar in this league. Again, he will have to improve his route running, but if he can, he’ll be a top WR for an NFL team.
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama: Overall #15
Ruggs is going to be nightmare for NFL corners for years to come, that’s a given. He is lighting fast, has great body control, and can-do real damage with YAC. Ruggs is a game-changer type WR who should be able to fit in and play with any of the 32 teams in the NFL. My concerns with him are DBs being physical with him at the line, will he have the toughness to get by with his lean frame, and he does not have a big catch radius at all. All those concerns are small, though, and I love watching Ruggs play. He should be an impactful player week 1 of this season.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: Overall #16
I feel like some people will say its blasphemy for me to have Jeudy as my fourth best WR on the board, but I will state why I have my concerns for him in a second. What Jeudy does well, though, is he may best route runner in this class, and maybe one of the best I’ve seen in college ever. He also will be dangerous with YAC, and he should have no problem quickly becoming a number 1 WR for a team. Now here is why I am lower on him than most. There were some bad drops on his film when he was not contested at all. People who know me know I call this Mike Wallace syndrome, where a WR can do great at getting up and then for whatever reason cannot make the catch, and Jeudy has those moments in his film. I also worry, like his WR partner at Alabama, Ruggs, if he will respond well to the physicalness of NFL DBs. Jeudy concerns, though, are not bad enough to make me think he is not worth a top 15 pick, but enough for me to slightly move him down in my projections.
Tee Higgins, Clemson: Overall #22
Tee Higgins is very much built like a number 1 WR in the NFL. He is long and has a very big catch radius that will make him a QB’s dream to throw to. A good route runner, but not the greatest, Higgins will have to work on that part of his game, but the film shows he is totally capable of more when it comes to his route tree. Higgins is not overall fast, but again he makes up for it by being able to catch tons of balls while he is contested. Love his effort when it comes to blocking, and can make big plays down the field. He will have to fall into the right system. However, he is not a WR that has shown much in the short quick pass game, but overall Higgins has the makeup to be a top NFL WR in the future.
Justin Jefferson, LSU: Overall #23
Jefferson really emerged at LSU in 2019 with Joe Burrow throwing him the ball. Jefferson, I think is a top 3 WR hands-wise in this draft as he seems to catch just about everything and has great body control. Jefferson will be a great slot receiver for an NFL team, but I can also see him lining up in other places on the field and still finding success. His overall burst off the line is not the greatest, and I was surprised to watch him get tracked down by defenders a few times in college. Other than that, there really isn’t anything that concerns me with Jefferson, and he should be a great WR in the NFL.
Laviskia Shenault Jr., Colorado: Overall #51
After the top 6 WRs in this class, there is a little bit of a dip talent-wise, but make no mistake, Shenault could be a number 1 WR in the NFL if everything goes right. One of my biggest beefs with Shenault is something that was totally out of his control during his time at Colorado, and that was just how little production he had, because the Colorado staff could never seem to get him the ball. When they did, though, you saw glimpses of a WR who is well-rounded and could possibly be a number 1 WR in the future. He has great RAC ability, and you can line him up just about anywhere, and he will find a way to make a play. While I do like his hands, he will need a little more work on body control, and again the production was very little in college, so there are question marks. However, if someone was to take Shenault late first, I wouldn’t see that as a reach at all based on his talent.
Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State: Overall #58
Like Shenault, Brandon Aiyuk of Arizona State might not be as good as the top 6 WRs in this draft, but he has the skill sets to make him a dangerous weapon in an NFL offense. Aiyuk will be a matchup nightmare at points for NFL DBs, as he has great speed and some of the best YAC ability in this class. I do have the same concerns with him as I do with Ruggs and Jeudy, though, when it comes to DBs being physical with him at the line, and his route tree is likely going to have to grow for him to be more successful in the NFL, but Aiyuk has big play ability that will make him a dangerous pickup for the right team.
Jalen Reagor, TCU: Overall #61
Jalen Reagor of TCU is a tough one for me crack. I see his appeal. He has unbelievable speed, and I think he is a good route runner with good YAC ability, so the characteristics of a future star at WR are all there. I also have watched him struggle catching the ball when he is contested by a DB, and he has had some bad drops in his college career. His catch radius is also small, so there are a lot of concerns, as well as positives, when it comes to Reagor. I think Reagor has shown potential, though, and think if someone spent a second round pick on him, it wouldn’t be a bad choice if they can develop him.
K.J Hamler, Penn State: Overall #64
Hamler, like Reagor, has many things that I like and dislike when I watch him on film. Hamler is going to be a slot receiver with his size, and he is great route running. Hamler is also strong at YAC, and while his speed doesn’t blow you away, like some of the WRs that are higher than him, he is still quick and a hard tackle because of that quickness. He also for his size can be physical; watching film you can tell he is not afraid to get in there and throw a block. His main problems in the NFL will be the contested catch and the fact that he has had some bad drops, and though he can be physical, like I mentioned earlier, his overall size will play against him, and he may be able to be jammed up at the line of scrimmage. Overall, Hamler is an intriguing prospect who could contribute in the slot for an NFL team.
Other WRs to Watch For:
- Michael Pittman Jr., USC #70
- Bryan Edwards, South Carolina #79
- Devin Duvernay, Texas #82
- Van Jefferson, Florida #83
- Donavan People-Jones, #94
- Antonio-Gandy Golden, Liberty #110
- Collin Johnson, Texas #122
- James Proche, SMU #124
- Tyler Johnson, Minnesota #130
- Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State #139
- K.J. Hill, Ohio State #142
- Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky #143
- Chase Claypool, Notre Dame #146
- Quartney Davis, Texas A&M #149
- Darnell Mooney, Tulane #150
- Gabriel Davis, UCF #162
- John Hightower, Boise State #169
- Quez Watkins, Southern Miss #171
- Juan Jennings, Tennessee #185
- Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin #199
- Kalija Lipscomb Vanderbilt #235
- Isaiah Coulter Rhode Island #244
- Tyrie Cleveland Florida #250
- Stephen Guidry Mississippi State #251
- Joe Reed UVA #255
- Omar Bayless Arkansas State #258
- Jeff Thomas Miami (FL) #263
- Aaron Parker Rhode Island #264
- Trishton Jackson Syracuse #266
- Maurice Ffrench Pitt #272
- Dezman Patom Washington State #278
- Kendrick Rodgers Texas A&M #279
- Binjimen Victor Ohio State #289
- Lawrence Cager Georgia #291
- Tony Brown Colorado #294
- Isaiah Wright Temple #297
- Kendall Hinton Wake Forest #300
- Juwan Johnson Oregon #302
- Freddie Swian Florida #309
- Aaron Fuller Washington #315
- Darrell Stewart Jr. Michigan State #318
- Austin Mack Ohio State #321
- Easop Winston Washington State #330
- K.J. Osburn Miami (FL) #333
- Marquez Callaway Tennessee #335
- Tyler Simmons Georgia #349
- Malcolm Perry Navy #360
- Jonathan Johnson Missouri #381
- Josh Pearson Jacksonville Sr #393
- Ja’Marcus Bradley Louisana #400