Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5th annual post-draft rookie WR analysis and discussion.


2013 Predictions | Results
2014 Predictions | Results
2015 Predictions | Results
2016 Predictions | Results

The dialogue is always great on these posts and I love doing them, but please try not to just look for your team's WR on the list and react. I spend a lot of time on this and it's just my opinions/analyses. Let's save memes and low-level banter for another day.

Without further ado, my favorite wideouts in college this season were Keevan Lucas, Daikiel Shorts Jr., ArDarius Stewart and Artavis Scott. Easily my least favorite class since I've done this, and not big on next year's class (2018 draft) either, where I'll be looking out for Mizzou's J'Mon Moore and maybe FSU's Nyqwan Murray this fall.

Anyway, after the draft, this is how I see the top-10 rookie receivers, in descending order:

  1. 5th overall for Corey Davis was a reach. He's not Julio Jones, he's not even Sammy Watkins (as an NFL prospect). But he'll get many chances - easily most in the class as a rookie - so he's gotta be here. He absolutely killed it in college, but he beat up on nobodies for four years. He hasn't earned his draft spot, but the Titans needed a wideout, and they picked one. The first of many question-marks in this WR class.

  2. Mike Williams has ideal size, though I'd have liked to see him at 100% by the Combine. He was great in college (even as a true freshman), but suffered a very serious injury. Seems like there's no sure thing among WRs in this draft, but he's my best bet to top the list long-term; not in Year 1. 7th overall sounds too pricey, though. Will be interesting to see how Rivers handles a new toy among other big WRs.

  3. Three wideouts in the first nine picks and then none until Zay Jones at 37th? Just doesn't make sense. Great size and combine, incredible numbers for an admittedly weak program, seems absolutely NFL-ready to me. His playing speed was always questioned, but he simply wasn't challenged at the AAC, to be sure. Another guy who's season outlook is reliant on another talented WR on the depth chart.

  4. We all know John Ross is fast, but he also broke the hell out at Washington last year. If he was a little bigger and stronger, he'd be the top prospect. But if I was a little smarter and more handsome, I too would be better off overall. He's had injuries, but they seem behind him. Should be the great complement to Green that they've needed. Wasn't that supposed to be Boyd just last year? Sounds like a recording at this point.

  5. ArDarius Stewart is the 3rd Alabama WR taken in the top-100 this decade after Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. Take that for data. Of course, he's not them, and his college production was far weaker. But he should do well at the next level, though a bit unconventional and might not be great at creating separation. Easily the best bet as an NFL-ready WR outside of the first two rounds.

  6. JuJu Smith-Schuster should see a good amount of snaps; had he been drafted to a less crowded WR crew, he'd be a top-3 guy here. Where his chances will come is unclear, but he had great production in a real conference despite a less than stellar junior year. Solid size and NFL-ready (maybe most in class?), despite lacking true wheels.

  7. The Titans double-dip with Taywan Taylor, a great get in the 3rd round. He crushed the college scene in a weak conference, but he also showed up against Alabama. He has a chance of being a real "diamond in the rough" type guy. Just about as NFL-ready as a slot receiver can be.

  8. Curtis Samuel will man the slot alongside the Panthers' twin-towers. Athletic, small and fast; clearly a gadget player, but should be put to good use. Sorta did it all for Ohio State, remains to be seen if he can transition into something more traditional, as is typically expected in the NFL. I'm thinking a more handsome Tavon Austin. I should lay off the word 'handsome'.

  9. If the Rams had a functional WR-corps, Cooper Kupp wouldn't make my list, but the guy is gonna be given loads of opportunities to show that there's a reason he did so well in the FCS. Good size, not much else (excluding production). Might make for a solid slot guy.

  10. Chris Godwin was a solid selection - maybe his role will be unclear from the jump, but he had good production and stepped up in big games, has a solid frame and measured well. Could be one of the bigger surprises picked outside the top-80.

In all, I'm really lukewarm on this draft's receivers. To the point where this was painful to put together, unlike the last ones where I was fighting to find ways to include more guys. After the first six above, it was like pulling teeth. Anyway, I wouldn't have recommended drafting a wideout in the top-10 this year, possibly even the top-half unless desperately needed.

I like Carlos Henderson a lot, but it's unclear if he'll transition as more than a return-man. He's definitely the guy I most regret not including above, but I couldn't cut Godwin or Kupp, based on how much opportunity they'll have. He's gonna go for over 800 yards as a rookie now, so that I can look like a complete jackass.

If Dede Westbrook can keep his head on straight, the Jags could have themselves a major steal. Taken outside the top-100, he's flashed brilliance in his career. Will be interesting to see if he can figure it out. Either way, not as expensive as Justin Blackmon.

The Chiefs keep managing to find talented wideouts late in the draft (Chris Conley, Tyreek Hill and now Jehu Chesson), but it's not like they have a gunslinger at the helm to really put them to the test. Chesson was definitely a guy to watch this draft.

Amara Darboh is worth a mention, but not a standout in any particular way. Didn't do much in college (though not his fault), built well and has great measurables. Add in the fact that he'll have to fight for his opportunities with the Seahawks, and I just can't see a way for him to breakout in a meaningful way.

In terms of late-round project picks, former 5* stud Malachi Dupre is worth a shout; maybe someone can utilize that size and speed. Isaiah Ford could also be worthwhile; a bit thin like Dupre, but otherwise solid size and college production. Robert Davis probably deserves a shout off his measurements alone; whether he pans out is another question.



Submitted May 16, 2017 at 08:22AM by SharksFanAbroad
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