The 2020 NFL Draft Class is loaded at wide receiver, rivaling the amazing crop of out wideouts we saw come out back in 2014. Here are some names to monitor in the upcoming draft at the position.
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CREAM OF THE CROP
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: Lamb is a very special talent. He was fourth in yards per route run (3.99) and was among the leaders in yards per target (14.3) last season according to PFF and was one of the best in college football at using his speed and acceleration to get separation. More than one scout has compared this guy to DeAndre Hopkins. He’ll become an immediate starter in the NFL regardless of where he lands.
CeeDee Lamb’s explosive play ability in 2019:
▫️42% of his catches went for 20+ yards (1st amongst all draft prospects)
▫️31 forced missed tackles (led all FBS WR)
▫️11.1 yards after the catch (1st amongst draft WR)
▫️26 catches of 20+ yards (Chris Godwin led NFL with 25)
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 6, 2020
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: There wasn’t much more Jeudy could’ve done during his final year of college football as he finished with 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns on 77 catches. He averaged 17.2 yards per catch and 7.3 yards after catch in his three seasons at Alabama. An impressive combine showing only added fuel to the fire. Jeudy is a great route runner with the speed to make big plays.
Tee Higgins, Clemson: Higgins is tall (6-4) and that makes him a red-zone threat. He finished 2019 with 1,167 yards and 13 scores on 59 catches. He was a prototypical X receiver on the outside as a Vol. His 14.6 average depth of target indicates he should be a good down-field threat at the pro level. He pulled in 65.2 percent of his deep-ball targets (20 or more yards), showing he can track down the ball well.
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama: You cannot teach speed and few in this class offer the speed Ruggs brings to the table. He makes all other receivers around him better due to attention that speed draws. His 4.27 40-time ranks in the 100th percentile at Playerprofiler.com. His 13.6 yards per target and 10.5 yards after catch marks also opened some eyes. This guy is a special player and he will be drafted accordingly.
Justin Jefferson, LSU: Jefferson pulled in 82.8 percent of his targets and finished with 111 receptions (4th in nation) for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns after being moved to the slot last season. The sure-handed target quickly became a favorite target of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. He works the middle of the field well and possesses the quickness and physicality to make plays after the catch.
Denzel Mims, Baylor: During his three years at Baylor he commanded over 20 percent of the target share and turned that volume into production. A physical freak, Mims never had the benefit of steady quarterback play during college, but still managed to approach 3,000 yards and score 30 touchdowns.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado: He is very raw, but Shenault Jr. possesses a tantalizing skill set. Durability is the biggest concern and it didn’t help matters he was less than 100 percent at the combine. He averaged 10.8 yards after the catch per reception in 2019 and broke 26 of his 44 tackles on screens / sweeps per PFF.
Jalen Reagor, TCU: A true home-run hitter, Reagor’s numbers were restricted by TCU’s terrible quarterback play, but don’t let that fool you. He’s going to make a splash in the NFL, if nothing else as a punt returner. Expect much more though.
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame: Claypool has the speed of a wideout, but in a tight end body. He turned in a better 40-time (4.42) than some were expecting and has the size (6-4) to be a force. With several scouts comparing him to Mike Evans, it’s not surprising that he saw 28 percent of Notre Dame’s air targets in 2019.
Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State: Aiyuk made the most of being the top target last year for the Sun Devils, netting 11.5 yards per target and 3.2 yards per route run while posting an impressive state line (65-1192-8). He also was a stellar punt returner, finishing third in the NCAA with 16.1 yards per punt return.
Brandon Aiyuk has never dropped a deep pass (20+ yards) in his career at Arizona State. pic.twitter.com/FPaIzTJU8f
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 3, 2020
Tyler Johnson, Minnesota: Johnson knows how to go up and get as evidenced by the fact he has 39 catches on 76 career contested targets.He pulled in 81 percent of his targets last year, finishing with 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Michael Pittman Jr., USC: Pittman is a big-bodied receiver, but his speed limitations diminish his upside. Still the fact he pulled in 101 balls for 1,275 yards and 11 scores show his potential to make plays.
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BEST OF THE REST
KJ Hamler, Penn State: Size (5-9, 178) is the biggest concern with Hamler, but the former Nittany Lion has speed that kills. He didn’t run at the combine, but would likely have timed out in the 4.3 range. If he can get matched up with the right playcaller Hamler would make a big splash.
Bryan Edwards, South Carolina: He’s not known for his quickness, but offers some deceptive vertical speed. During his time as a Gamecock Edwards lined up both outside and in the slot and was a strong route runner. The four-year starter leaves South Carolina as the school’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty: Just watch the highlights and you will see why he has garnered some buzz with some of the outstanding catches in tight coverage he’s able to make. He’s big and physical, but still a bit raw.
Hunter Bryant, Washington: No wideout in the country had more deep-ball targets (18) and Bryant also finished sixth in yards per route run (2.71) during a breakout 2019 campaign.
Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky: If there was an athlete position on a team Bowden Jr. would be the guy to play it. He did a little of everything at UK, including playing quarterback, wide receiver and returner. He still needs work on learning to run routes, but few in this draft have the ability to make people miss in the open field as well as Bowden Jr.
The most versatile player in college football: @LynnBowden_1 🔥@UKAthletics | #SECNTakeover pic.twitter.com/uEsCjlMwhn
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 21, 2020
Gabriel Davis, UCF: Davis has a nice mix of traits that make him above average in nearly every facet of his game. With three years under his belt at UCF he’s shown great growth. He finished 2019 with 72 receptions for 1,241 yards with 12 touchdowns.
Van Jefferson, Florida: He’s not flashy, but Jefferson is a polished receiver and could get involved right away at the NFL level because. His route-running is exceptional and at times his tape shows some explosion off the ball that shows he might have another level.
Devin Duvernay, Texas: The Longhorn was very smooth in the slot and had a knack of finding openings in the zone while working out of the slot. Duvernay was the sexiest of performers, but was a steady performer and that showed with his 106 / 1,386 / 9 statline in 2019.
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