Wide Receivers are like the blood veins of an offense. The ball travels to them from the quarterback, and a big play threat can change an offense immediately. Think of greats like Jerry Rice, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Would the 49ers have been such a great team without Jerry Rice?
This year, the receiver class isn’t as full of top end talent as the previous years, but it has a lot of depth and value hidden within it. Without further adieu, here are the top ten receivers entering the 2018 NFL Draft.
10. Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
St. Brown is a speedy playmaker who dealt with poor quarterback play in 2017. It’s always hard to evaluate receivers who had a bad quarterback throwing to them because they won’t have that problem in the NFL. However, he did make the most of that situation, and played well. Flashed big play ability and looked like he can develop into a strong #1 receiver. Late third or early fourth round pick.
Grade – 78
9. Cedrick Wilson, Boise State
Cedrick Wilson produced at Boise State. Showed good speed, excellent hands and an ability to create separation. Played against lower level competition most of his career, and will need to transition to higher level competition. Smooth route runner but plays smaller then he really is. Doesn’t show much effort in blocking. Third round pick.
Grade – 79
8. Dante Pettis, Washington
Dante Pettis is one heck of a football player and a big playmaker. Has excellent speed, soft hands and a good route tree. Needs to refine his route running a little bit. Can contribute immediately on special teams as a punt or kick returner. Excellent field vision. Good blocker on the perimeter. Third round pick.
Grade – 79
7. James Washington, Oklahoma State
James Washington played his entire career as a deep threat in the Big 12, and has been highly regarded as one of the nations best receivers. He is a good blocker on the perimeter which is a skill becoming more important by the season. Ran a very limited route tree at OK State, and when not involved in the game he will loose focus. Bad gut feeling about this guy. Late second or early third round pick.
Grade – 79
6. Tre’Quan Smith, UCF
Tre’Quan Smith probably has the most upside out of anyone on this list. His ball skills are simply incredible. Makes contested catches with ease. Very soft hands and absorbs the ball. Has made a few concentration drops, that is a concern. Runs very smooth, crisp routes but ran a limited route tree. Second round pick.
Grade – 80
5. D.J. Chark, LSU
DJ Chark is the fastest receiver entering the draft. Fastest receiver out of LSU yet, beating out Odell Beckham Jr by a tenth of a second. Good hands and can contribute immediately as a return specialist. Needs to refine route running. Ball security is an issue as he did deal with some fumbles throughout the season. Second round pick.
Grade – 80
4. Courtland Sutton, SMU
Big bodied receiver blessed with loads of natural talent. Plays like Dez Bryant. Had terrible quarterback play last season making it difficult to truly grade his talent. Seems to struggle to get separation against better defensive backs. Runs good routes but ran a limited tree at SMU. Outstanding blocker on the perimeter.
Grade – 81
3. D.J. Moore, Maryland
Moore is a refined player who has the technique to make a deep impact in the league. Excellent route runner, second to only Alabama’s Calvin Ridley in his class. Gets separation and fights for contested balls. Only 5’11” so may be undersized to play the position. Could not get a good throw for the life of him, dealt with horrible quarterback play. Elusive in the open field. Early second round pick.
Grade – 81
2. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Explosive playmaker who happens to also be a swiss army knife for whoever picks him up. Extremely versatile and can be used in a multitude of ways. Excellent speed and field vision. Elusive and hard to bring down. Natural pass catcher. Needs to refine his route running to get to full potential. Ball security is a threat in the back of your mind. 1st round pick.
Grade – 84
1. Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley is the most polished receiver I have ever seen leaving school. Excellent release, route running is second to none, speed is there, elusiveness, creates separation with ease. Catches balls better then most. Ball security isn’t an issue. There isn’t much to knock this guy on other then he needs to gain about ten pounds. He can be an immediate #1 receiver, contribute big numbers almost immediately. Top 10 pick.
Grade – 88
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