Much like last season, we should be treated to a brilliant 2022 wide receiver class. While it could be difficult to match the impacts that last year’s receivers have already had on the league, the depth could match 2021’s. Last season, we had five first-round receivers. This year, we could very likely see that number matched or broken, as there are six receivers who have a legitimate shot at being taken in the first round.
Overview of the 2022 Wide Receiver Class
Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Despite inconsistent quarterback play, Burks was able to catch 66 receptions for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. Burks projects as an outside receiver in the NFL, despite having played all across the board at Arkansas.
His strengths are evident when looking at him. His height, strength, and speed combination are lethal and are traits that have worked very well in the league so far (case and point AJ Brown). His physical presence is only part of what makes him brilliant. He is a very good catcher of the ball and can move his body well to extend his catch radius. However, he can be a bit loose with his route running and not break quick enough.
Drake London, USC
London was on course for an extremely good season, having caught 88 passes for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. After having a good career at USC, he could play as a big-bodied slot (Y) receiver or as an outside receiver.
His primary strength is his contested-catch ability, which is among the best in college and could already be one of the best in the league when he gets drafted. He has a good route running ability and has good hands. He has alright speed after the catch, but he struggles a bit on his lateral quickness, especially when compared to the rest of the receiver class.
He should be taken in the first round. His size and catching ability should be enough for a team in the 20s to take a shot on him.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
The first of the two Ohio State receivers, Wilson performed extremely well at Ohio State racking up over 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns, and even one rushing touchdown. Wilson could play as a slot receiver and should play as one in the league given his small(er) frame.
His main strength is his separation ability, as he is able to get open at all levels of the field. His speed and burst off the line are also useful for screens and other plays that use him more as a gadget/hybrid player as opposed to an out-and-out receiver. He is also able to create good yards after the catch. However, he struggled a bit with drops but has looked to improve them for the most part and struggles a bit against press coverage.
Jameson Williams, Alabama
Jameson Williams transferred from Ohio State to Alabama before this season and had an immediate impact on this team, becoming their #1 receiver overnight. He ranked in the top five for both touchdowns and receiving yards in college last season, catching almost 80 passes for the Crimson Tide.
Williams is the fastest and most explosive receiver in this draft class, with people predicting his 40-yard dash to be sub 4.3 seconds. He also is a good route runner and can find the weak spots in coverage. He is also a fantastic athlete and could be used in a Deebo Samuel-like role. He does have quite a slender body frame though and could run into difficulty against more physical cornerbacks.
While he is not the consensus #1 receiver in this draft class, I would not be surprised if he ends up being the first receiver taken as it is almost certain that a team will fall in love with his physical traits and swing the bat on him.
Chris Olave, Ohio State
The second Ohio State receiver, Olave could have declared last season but chose to return and was able to boost his stock alongside Garrett Wilson, catching 65 passes for just shy of 950 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Olave is arguably the best all-around receiver in this class. He possesses above-average qualities in all dimensions of his game. He has extremely crisp route running, he has excellent hands, and has good speed on and off the ball. His only concern is his size and how that will fare against more physical cornerbacks in press coverage.
He has the chance of falling to the second round, but it is very unlikely that that ends up happening and it would be more likely that he is a late first-round pick and goes to a good roster to provide a #2 option to an established superstar wide receiver.
Jahan Dotson, Penn State
After having two great seasons back-to-back for Penn State, Dotson declares after having an excellent college career for the Nittany Lions, having caught over 140 passes for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final two years in Pennsylvania.
Dotson has the best hands of any receiver in this class, capable of catching any pass sent in his direction. He also has a very advanced route tree and has enough speed to play the position at a high level. He, also, has some size concerns that could be a worry in the NFL, but his separation ability should make up for it. He also has the ability to return punts, something he did frequently at the collegiate level.
Despite his performances at Penn State, Dotson has the highest chance of being selected outside the first round and could hear his name getting called on day two, and could be picked up by a team using their second pick of the draft.