Recently rookie Wide Receivers have had a difficult time being productive during their first season. John Ross got on the field once and fumbled. Mike Williams barely played because of injury and when he did he struggled with drops. Although those guys were drafted high in the first round they still struggled. I thought the Wide Receiver class from the 2018 class was pretty weak but this 2019 class looks much better. Obviously, there are more than just five good WRs in this year’s class but I am gonna make it easy and narrow it down to five. Overall I was impressed with a lot of these dudes and they can all make a good case to go in the first round come April. Let’s dive into one of the most vital positions in today’s passing dominant league.
- AJ Brown/ Ole Miss
I spent most of that top paragraph talking up this class because it is better than the one we saw last year. A big reason for that improvement has to do with AJ Brown. In the first game of his sophomore year, he racked up 233 yards! I will repeat that, 233 yards! It is crazy to think about a sophomore getting that many yards. Brown is the complete package as far as Wide Receivers come. He can run the route tree, he can high point the ball with the best of them, and he can make people miss in the open field. Something else that really jumped out to me was his ability to track the ball over his shoulder. He makes the hard catches look really easy. Brown does not really have any glaring weaknesses that should keep him from being the number one Wide Receiver taken come April.
- N’Keal Harry/ Arizona State
I am going, to be honest, I had no idea who this Harry kid was until I started doing research for this article. The second I turned on the tape he popped off the screen with his big play ability. Harry has shown the ability to be productive despite some bad QB play which is important in my book. He has some awesome concentration when the ball is in the air. This leads him to make many one-handed catches as well as insane juggling catches. Harry runs a decent route although I think some of his footwork could be cleaned up. Coming from the Pac 12 conference also worries me to some extent because nobody in that conference plays any defense. Overall Harry is an above average athlete who can make any catch if you give him a realistic chance. He has positioned himself to be a real break out star this season if Herm Edwards does not screw him up first.
- David Sills V/ West Virginia
Fun fact about David Stills V, he was actually recruited to play quarterback before he became a WR. Sills has come a long way since the days of being a quarterback as last year he lead the FBS in touchdown catches. Sills is a big body receiver who does a fantastic job of using his body to shield defenders from the ball. Sills will often go up and high point passes that other guys can’t get to. His release off the line is also very impressive which will serve him well at the next level. My very early comp for him is a faster version of Courtland Sutton (Number 40 Pick last year). My issues with Sills are mostly with the fact that he doesn’t run the full route tree at West Virginia. It is something a lot of young wideouts have to adapt to at the NFL level. No matter what though Sills will bring immediate value as a Red Zone threat.
- Deebo Samuel/ South Carolina
Samuel and fellow wideout Bryan Edwards both have the potential to be top 50 picks but I think Samuel is the better player so far. Samuel’s calling card is his speed which is definitely up there in terms of fastest among this class. Samuel makes most of his catches from the slot position which makes sense because he is a smaller guy. Almost every good NFL offense has a guy who can dominate in the slot these days and Samuel is someone with that potential. If you want to line up Samuel on the outside and have just run by a corner that will work too. He can run jet sweeps and be a huge factor in the return game (watch his opening kickoff touchdown run against NC State). While Samuel can give you some versatility I do have questions about his ability to be an every-down wideout. He reminds me a lot of Tavon Austin (drafted 8th overall in 2013) who has not had a great career. Samuel needs to show better route running and more variety in his routes to have a chance of getting higher in the WR rankings.
- Ahmmon Richards/ Miami
Richards is another guy who was not really on my radar before I started doing tape research for this article. Last season Miami had a good group of pass catchers which helped them back into football relevance. Richards got overshadowed at times but I was really impressed with his tape. He is a great boundary receiver who often makes catches on the sideline look easy. Richards also had to deal with bad QB play last season (his QB was the worst of the ones I had to watch for this article) and he was still productive. He made some big plays on big stages like against Notre Dame on Saturday Night Football. That is something I love to see with young Wide Receiver prospects. My problem with Richards is if he can consistently separate from his corner at the NFL level. He does not look very fast on tape so that could be an issue.