Top 15 Wide Receivers in the 2018 NFL Draft

Top Wide Receivers in the NFL Draft!

 

1. Michael Gallup – Colorado State – 6’1” 205

Michael Gallup had 176 receptions for 1,418 yards and 21 touchdowns over the last two seasons for the Rams.

Gallup has all the requisites to be a quality wide receiver in the NFL.  He has is big enough and has the speed and burst to be successful as an outside wide receiver.  He also has excellent hands. He makes some tough catches and can win jump ball situations. He makes a lot of plays by breaking tackles in the open field.  His ability to do so is unique amongst wide receivers. His route running has improved and will need to continue to improve for him to reach his full potential.  He seems to have lapses in effort at time, particularly when his number isn’t called. He also seems to get frustrated when his initial release or an attempt at a cut is thwarted by the defense.

Strengths:

  • Good combination of size and speed

  • Does not go down easily

  • Excellent hands

  • Started to show some nuance in his route running in 2017

Weaknesses:

  • Releases and routes in general aren’t great

  • Seems easily frustrated

 

2. Anthony Miller – Memphis – 5’11” 190

Anthony Miller was had 95 receptions for 1,434 yarda and 14 touchdowns in 2016 and followed up that performance with 96 receptions for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017.

Due to his size Miller is seen largely as a slot wide receiver, but he has the speed and ability to play inside or out.  His quickness is his greatest asset and Memphis made use of this by getting the ball in his hands on screen and short passes.  He also runs excellent routes and can defeat man coverage. Miller reminds me a bit of Julian Edelman. Like Edelman he has the quickness to be a major contributor from the slot and just the right combination of speed, size, and intricacy in his route running to be effective on the outside.

Strengths:

  • Runs good routes and understands how to influence defenders

  • Extremely fast in and out of cuts

  • Makes plays in space

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks ideal size to play on the outside

  • Has some lapses in concentration leading to drops on short passes

  • Quicker than fast

 

3. Christian Kirk – Texas A&M – 5’10” 200

Christian Kirk had 234 receptions for 2,856 yards and 26 touchdowns in three years with the Aggies.

Kirk is an extremely skilled receiver who does his best work from the slot.  He shorter than you would like, but he had a good frame. He is extremely quick and makes great cuts on routes or with the ball i his hands.  He has excellent hands and has show the ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls. His long speed is not great. He can also contribute as a kick returner or a punt returner.

Strengths:

  • Super shifty

  • Great hands

  • Runs good routes

Weaknesses:

  • Limited size

  • More quick than fast

  • Size makes it difficult to win in jump ball situations

 

4. Calvin Ridley – Alabama – 6’ 189

Calvin Ridley had 224 receptions for 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns in three years at Alabama.

Ridley’s entrance into the NFL has been long anticipated.  He has been the most notable wide receiver on one of the best teams in the nation for three years.  His best year at Alabama was actually his first, and his numbers have declined a bit since then. He runs good routes and does a lot of the small things right, but one big thing he has a problem with is catching the ball.  He has speed and decent height, but his build causes him to have problems against physical defenders. This hurts him the most in press,where he fails to use his hands. Ridley makes headlines because he makes big plays. This will likely get him drafted in the first round.

Strengths:

  • Excellent feet releases

  • Willing blocker

  • Stems routes well

  • Makes plays

Weaknesses:

  • Too many dropped passes

  • Thin and can be pushed around

  • Does not use hands well against press

 

5. Jaleel Scott – New Mexico State – 6’5” 215

Jaleel Scott had 76 receptions for 1,079 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2017.

Scott is an excellent deep threat who has great size.  He is a long strider who builds up his speed, but doesn’t quite have enough to run by defenders.  He also struggles on cuts and is much more effective as a deep threat than underneath. He has great hands and the size and athletic ability to win in contested situations.  Excellent in the red zone. Scott has potential to be a big-time playmaker in this league.

Strengths:

  • Smooth long stride

  • Excellent size/speed

  • Goes up in the air and makes great catches

Weaknesses:

  • Played at a mid-major and saw limited competition

  • Not terribly quick in cuts or off the line

  • Lacks true breakaway speed

 

6. Equanimeous St. Brown – Notre Dame – 6’5” 214

Equanimeous St. Brown had 91 receptions for 1,472 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons for the Irish.

St. Brown has tremendous size and uses it effectively to win in contested situations.  Although he has speed, he does not tend to get great separation. He a bit of a long strider, who takes some time to get going.  He is not very quick, so shape cutting routes are not his forte. He has good straight line speed and can bend or cut best while moving vertically.  He is a willing block, but is not as physical in any aspect of his game as you would like a man of his size to be.

Strengths:

  • Elite size

  • Great speed – gets separation

  • Excellent hands

Weaknesses:

  • Uses size at catch point, but does not play physical like a big man

  • Lacks quickness to in cuts and double moves

 

7. Simmie Cobbs – Indiana – 6’4” 220

Simmie Cobbs had 60 receptions for 1,035 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2016 and 72 receptions for 841 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2017.

Cobbs is an exceptional route runner with great size.  He is limited athletically, but his route running ability opens up holes in zones for him and allows him to win in man coverage situations.  He had great hands and uses his size well to win jump ball situations. He is good with the ball in his hands and makes defenders miss. He does not have great speed vertically or quickness out of cuts, but has managed to overcome this so far do to his size and skill as a route runner.

Strengths:

  • Has some nuance to his route running

  • Elusive for a big man

  • Excellent hands

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks speed to breakaway on deep routes

  • Cuts are slow and laborious

 

8. DaeSean Hamilton – Penn State – 6’1’ 205

DaeSean Hamilton has been a consistent performer for Penn State over the last four years and totalled 214 receptions for 2,842 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career.

Hamilton is a well developed receiver who overcomes his athletic limitations with excellent route running.  He has great hands and can win in contested situations. He is excellent in the red zone. He seems to be on the same page with his quarterback and knows exactly when to make his cut and go up for the ball.  He adjusts well to poorly thrown balls.

Strengths:

  • Adjusts to the ball well

  • Good size

  • Makes tough catches

  • Runs good routes

Weaknesses:

  • Has technique as a route runner, but can be a bit stiff

  • Not very quick out of breaks

 

9. Braxton Berrios – Miami – 5’9” 186

Braxton Berrios had 55 receptions for 679 yards and 9 touchdowns for the U in 2017.

Berrios projects well as a slot wide receiver in the NFL. He is undersized, but quick and runs good routes.  He has reliable hands, but is not the most nature pass catcher. He is more quick than fast, which combined with his size means he is not a threat vertically.  He has limitations, but could find a role with an NFL team.

Strengths:

  • Quick in and out of breaks

  • Adjusts well to poorly thrown balls

  • Runs good routes

Weaknesses:

  • Very undersized

  • Does not always catch with hands

  • Does not create separation

 

10. D.J. Chark – LSU – 6’3” 199

D.J. Chark had 40 receptions for 874 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2017.

Chark is an excellent size/speed prospect who lacks volume in his on the field production.  He was an excellent deep threat for the Tigers and also contributed as a punt returner. He has great linear speed, but very little wiggle.  He can win on vertical routes, but his underneath routes are lacking due to his lack of suddenness. He has some tools that will give him a role in the NFL, but they may not be enough to make him the centerpiece of an offense.

Strengths:

  • Excellent size/speed prospect

  • Great deep threat

  • Seems reasonably physical

Weaknesses:

  • Does not always catch with his hands

  • Not overly quick on breaks

  • Was not featured as heavily in his college offense as you might expect

 

11. D.J. Moore – Maryland – 6’ 210

2017 was D.J. Moore’s breakout season as he posted 80 receptions for 1,033 yards and 8 touchdowns for the Terps.

Moore has excellent speed and makes plays when he gets the ball in his hands.  He needs to improve as a route runner. He does not get out of his breaks as quickly as he should and doesn’t get as much separation on deep balls as you might expect.  Improving his route running will allow his athletic ability to shine before the catch the way it does after. He has very good hands and can make some impressive catches.

Strengths:

  • Excellent speed

  • Makes tough catches

  • Can make plays with the ball in his hands

Weaknesses:

  • Does not get the separation that he he should

  • Route running is underdeveloped and lackadaisical

  • Was shut down by talented Ohio State secondary

 

12. Richie James – Middle Tennessee State – 5’9” 178

Richie James had 107 receptions for 1,334 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2015 and 105 receptions for 1,625 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2016.  Injuries limited him to five games in 2017.

James is one of the more intriguely prospects in this draft class.  He has obvious size limitations, but is a tremendous athlete. He was extremely productive in college, but was hampered by injury in his final season.  His athletic ability makes him a threat with the ball in his hands. Despite this, he needs to develop as a route runner if he is going to have success as a slot receiver in the NFL.  He will need the right coordinator, who can figure out how to create touches for him on screens, reverses, or wildcat plays.

Strengths:

  • Playmaker with the ball in his hands

  • Extremely quick feet

  • Smooth, fluid hips

  • Willing blocker

Weaknesses:

  • Very much undersize, limiting him to the slot

  • Has gone a long way with athletic ability, but needs to develop his route running ability

  • Durability is a concern

 

13. Courtland Sutton – Southern Methodist – 6’3” 218

Courtland Sutton was over 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past two seasons.  He had 76 receptions for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016 and 68 receptions for 1,085 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2017.

Sutton is an impressive goal line threat.  He can go up and get the ball, winning contested situations.  He does not run great routes, nor does he do anything special with the ball in his hands.  He is a good blocker. Combing his ability to block with his ability to catch fade balls in the endzone, he could have a role as a goal line player in the NFL.  Until an offense hits the red zone, what he can contribute is limited.

Strengths:

  • Impressive size

  • Good jump ball player

Weaknesses:

  • Speed is limited

  • Not a particularly impressive route runner

  • Does not do much after the catch

 

14. James Washington – Oklahoma State – 5’11” 213

Over the past three seasons James Washington has combined for 198 receptions, 4,016 yards, and 33 touchdowns.

Washington is a bit of a polarizing player.  He has been credited for creating Mason Rudolph, but Rudolph has also been credited for creating him. He was once mentioned as a top three wide receiver in this class even though people believed his speed was limited, but when testing proved his speed was limited, he fell off the map.  He was an extremely talented vertical threat in college who played outside and in the slot. His lack of speed will make it difficult for him to become and vertical threat in the NFL and his lack of quickness makes it hard to project him as a slot. Washington does have good hands and gets good releases.

Strengths:

  • Great production on vertical routes in college

  • Good hands

  • Excellent releases

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks speed to be a true vertical threat in the NFL

  • May not translate well as an NFL slot due to size and lack of burst

  • Runs pretty basic route tree

 

15. Keke Coutee – Texas Tech – 5’11” 180

In 2017 Keke Coutee had 93 receptions for 1,429 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Coutee is an extremely fast athlete who can make big time plays.  He was limited in what he was asked to do in college. The Red Raider offense did a great job of getting the ball in his hands and he used his speed to make short passes into long gains.  He will need to develop as a route runner in order to become a successful slot receiver in the NFL. He lacks ideal size and is thin. Coutee has a lot of upside, but is probably not someone who would make an immediate impact on an NFL offense.  He could however contribute as a kick-returner while he develops as a route runner.

Strengths:

  • Incredible speed

  • Makes plays with the ball in his hands

  • Reliable hands

Weaknesses:

  • Limited route tree

  • It may be an act of self-preservation, but he seems to go out of bounds or go down on the first tackle attempt, when he might have been able to fight through it

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