On this week’s Bucs Briefing, I launch my 2022 NFL Draft large receiver rankings and spherical grades. There are a number of professional days left, so a pair issues should shift earlier than the draft. However that is more likely to be my ultimate rating of the category. Take into accout, my spherical grades are handed out in a vacuum. Every spherical grade is tied to the caliber of participant I imagine every prospect will likely be within the NFL. It’s NOT a projection of the place I imagine they will and even ought to be drafted within the precise draft. As an alternative it’s a stage of valuation I’ve tied to every participant’s outlook for the NFL.
Listed here are the 2022 NFL Draft large receivers I nonetheless want to finish evaluations for.
John Metchie, Alabama
Khalil Shakur, Boise State
Calvin Austin, Memphis
Justyn Ross, Clemson
Romeo Doubs, Nevada
Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
Josh Johnson, Tulsa
Kyle Phillips, UCLA
12. Alec Pierce, Cincinnati – Spherical 4 (Spot Starter/High quality Depth)
Pierce proved on the Mix that he has the lengthy pace (4.41) and leaping capability (40.5 vertical) for his model of play to achieve the NFL. However I nonetheless have considerations. Pierce is a giant, stiff route runner who struggled to separate on the line of scrimmage or in his route breaks in opposition to man protection. He additionally didn’t impress a lot on the Senior Bowl. Nevertheless, he does flash superior ball abilities and late pace to drag away vertically. However I don’t assume any of Pierce’s traits are ok to constantly make up for his lack of separation. Pierce may very well be a strong massive slot with inside/outdoors potential and particular groups worth within the NFL. The prototype of a really perfect No. 4-5 receiver.
11. Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama – Early Spherical 4 (Spot Starter/High quality Depth)
Tolbert may very well be higher than among the gamers forward of him, however a number of issues are giving me pause. First, the extent of competitors he confronted in faculty was very low in high quality. I may dwell with that if he had A) lit up the Senior Bowl or B) lit up the Mix. However Tolbert was up-and-down in Cellular, and was good, not nice on the Mix. Additionally, he’ll be a 23-year previous rookie who wants so as to add muscle. Nonetheless, his ball abilities and acceleration on tape give me sufficient hope to swing on him in the course of the draft. Tolbert may very well be a legit deep menace within the NFL.
10. David Bell, Purdue – Early Spherical 4 (Spot Starter/High quality Depth)
To achieve the NFL, Bell will must be the outlier of all outliers. At 6-1, 212 kilos, Bell ran a 4.65 40 on the Mix and examined within the twenty sixth percentile or decrease in each different train. However how do you succeed as a bottom-tier athlete large receiver within the NFL? With excellent palms, elite soccer IQ, distinctive work ethic and willingness to do all of the soiled work. Bell has all of that. I see numerous Jarvis Landry once I watch Bell. He’s an influence slot/No. 3-No.4 choice within the NFL. He could also be a disappointing athlete, however I nonetheless assume he’ll carve out a profession someplace on the Landry to Jason Avant scale of success.
9. George Pickens, Georgia – Late Spherical 3 (Strong Starter)
Pickens has expertise, however we simply haven’t seen any development since his freshman yr. He’s a strong athlete with flashes of nice ball abilities. The bodily and athletic traits are there to be a very good X-receiver within the NFL, however he wants numerous polish to his routes and releases. He’s fairly harking back to Devante Parker as a prospect.
8. Jahan Dotson, Penn State – Spherical 3 Grade (Strong Starter)
My spouse Brittany is a Penn State graduate and a diehard fan of the Nittany Lions. So I noticed extra of Dotson over his profession than in all probability some other receiver on the record. He’s an superior faculty participant who I believe will wrestle to search out the identical stage of success within the NFL. Merely put, there aren’t numerous 178-pound outdoors receivers within the NFL. And those who succeed there sometimes have extra juice out of the blocks than Dotson.
That doesn’t imply he can’t assist a workforce, nevertheless. Dotson has numerous nice traits to be a slot receiver, together with the smarts to learn coverages and the toughness to make performs over the center of the sphere. He’s exceptionally sure-handed, with simply two drops on 138 targets final yr! Dotson has sufficient athleticism and wiggle to be okay after the catch, though he gained’t break many tackles. He’ll compete within the air too, with superior ball abilities and monitoring capability.
The issue with Dotson is that it’s painfully apparent on his tape that issues change when he faces press man protection. Michigan was bodily with him on the line of scrimmage, and it impacted his efficiency. Dotson is hard, however simply slight and never explosive sufficient to constantly evade jams. Cornerbacks who have been bodily with him all through the route introduced far more important challenges than zone protection seems to be. Dotson is probably going a slot-only within the NFL, however in the correct offense he may very well be superior in that position (Patriots?).
7. Christian Watson, North Dakota State – Spherical 3 Grade (Strong Starter)
I don’t actually need to jot down that a lot about Watson. Should you’ve adopted the draft in any respect, you possible know who he’s as a prospect. Following Mix testing, Watson is now some of the athletic large receiver prospects in draft historical past. And he stands 6-4, 208 kilos of muscle too. Oh, and he tore up the Senior Bowl, placing a mile between him and the subsequent greatest receiver there.
So why isn’t he a Spherical 1 lock? Nicely, as a result of Watson hails from run-heavy North Dakota State, the place he merely ran previous opposing corners to get open. And Watson acquired open so much, averaging over 20 yards per catch with the Bison. Actually, Watson had 59 performs of 20 yards or extra in his faculty profession! Contemplating he had simply 164 touches, that’s completely nuts.
The query is, what occurs with Watson within the NFL? He dropped too many passes in faculty, and isn’t as constant as you’d like in contested spots. He solely ran a pair routes at North Dakota State, so he’s underdeveloped there too. There are undoubtedly some pink flags with Watson on tape, when he simply merely out-athleted everybody else on the sphere.
However his flashes of capability on the Senior Bowl have me enthusiastic about his potential. Watson has an unbelievable mixture of measurement, size and athletic capability. Sure, there’s room for Watson to get higher. However by all accounts he’s teachable, robust and works exhausting. His competitiveness as a blocker in faculty exhibits his physicality. Within the draft, there are a number of unknowns yearly due to how the participant was utilized in faculty. Watson is one I’m taking an opportunity on in 2022. His ceiling is the very best receiver within the draft, however his flooring might be Mack Hollins. He’ll be a transparent threat for NFL groups, however the payoff may very well be large.
6. Skyy Moore, Western Michigan – Spherical 3 Grade (Strong Starter)
It’s fairly straightforward to love Moore’s tape. He separates from everybody, makes robust catches and bounces round like loopy after the catch. Actually, per PFF, Moore made 26 tacklers miss final season. That’s greater than each different FBS receiver!
If there’s a knock on Moore, it’s his measurement. Nevertheless, a 5-10, 195-pound weigh-in on the Mix was a giant win for him. And Moore’s palms are 10 1/4 inches – greater than some other receiver within the draft. That exhibits up on his tape, as Moore catches every thing thrown his method, together with quite a lot of contested grabs. His ball abilities are strong, and it’s uncommon to see him drop the soccer.
What’s most encouraging about Moore is that you simply don’t see him get pushed round fairly often. That’s essential contemplating I don’t assume he at all times performs fairly to his 4.41 pace. Nonetheless, Moore wins vertically sufficient to be accounted for in that space of the sphere. And his capability to play inside and out of doors, in addition to decide up manufactured touches and produce with them, ought to enable him to contribute in numerous methods. He’s a pleasant piece to an offense with 1-2 established choices already.
5. Jameson Williams, Alabama – Late Spherical 2 Grade (Good Starter)
I’m actually stunned that Williams’ recreation hasn’t been picked aside just a little extra over the previous few months. It’s like folks noticed that he’s absurdly quick and didn’t care about the rest. Sure, Williams has elite pace. It’s why I imagine he’ll be a very good starter within the NFL. However past his capability to make performs down the sphere, what else does he supply proper now?
Williams has a protracted technique to go to turn out to be an entire NFL receiver. His route-running is rudimentary, and bodily press man protection may very well be a difficulty within the NFL. Williams’ slight body has room to bulk up, however coming off a torn ACL it should take a while. To be a premier vertical menace, extra than simply pace is required. You need to win on the line of scrimmage constantly and alter to the ball down the sphere. That’s what separates Tyreek Hill and Desean Jackson from Will Fuller. Which receiver is Williams probably to be within the NFL?
He has the pace, acceleration and measurement to be Jackson. However there’s much more to it. I believe there’s so much higher likelihood that Williams finally ends up like Mike Wallace, who had a number of nice years within the NFL. There have been flashes of robust catches outdoors his body and even some good YAC performs. However proper now, Williams’ success is primarily tied to Alabama’s scheme and his capability to run previous folks. Within the NFL, he’ll have to diversify his ability set or good his greatest trick with a view to attain the ceiling many challenge for him.
4. Drake London, USC – Late Spherical 2 Grade (Good Starter)
I’ve watched virtually each recreation of London’s 2021 season. My opinion on him has elevated from early in draft season, once I was certain I’d be the bottom analyst on him. London’s faculty tape is nice, however I’ve some questions on how he’ll win within the NFL. Bounce ball receivers have not often turn out to be high quality No. 1 choices within the league, and London has been thought-about a high 10-15 decide all through the draft course of. Not often are receivers along with his measurement and lack of pace high choices for an NFL workforce’s passing assault within the NFL.
However what London lacks in pace and quickness, he does his greatest to make up for with terrific execution. Though his route tree may very well be extra expansive, London is nice at dropping his hips on the high of the route and exploding again to the ball. Technically, he’s a really clear receiver. He’s incredible at taking part in the soccer within the air, he doesn’t surrender his palms early and he finds area in opposition to zone protection like a professional. All of these issues will enable London to play early and sometimes within the NFL.
So what’s the ceiling? I believe folks have to cease with the Mike Evans’ comparability. Evans had 10-15 kilos on London and was a lot sooner. He ran by guys in faculty, and he’s finished the identical factor his complete professional profession. London’s lack of pace will likely be a difficulty within the NFL. You may’t back-shoulder catch all recreation lengthy in opposition to each nook on the professional stage.
Nonetheless, London’s physicality and consciousness make him exhausting to utterly wager in opposition to. His recreation will must be dirty on the subsequent stage, and I believe he’ll embrace that. London’s capability to play as an influence slot possession receiver may make him a enjoyable mis-match choice in the correct offense. And he’s robust sufficient after the catch to put on a number of totally different hats within the NFL too. London’s limitations will present up extra within the NFL, however to not the purpose the place he can’t assist an offense with some good items round him.
3. Chris Olave, Ohio State – Early Spherical 2 Grade (Very Good Starter)
Clearly Olave and Garrett Wilson are going to be in contrast as faculty teammates. However actually, they’re very totally different gamers. I believe Wilson is extra versatile and wins in additional methods, so I’ve him a tiny bit greater. But when an NFL workforce wants an out of doors vertical menace of their offense, Olave is a superb choice. And he’s extra polished than Jameson Williams, even when he isn’t as quick.
What you’re getting in Olave is just about a completed product. He’s able to successful by means of the complete route tree in opposition to most cornerbacks, however I don’t know if he’ll ever have the scale and explosiveness to defeat high defenders in man protection. Once I watch Olave, I see a surefire contributor to a workforce’s passing recreation that will likely be at his greatest if he’s not the primary focus of the offense.
Merely put, there will likely be methods for defenses to take Olave out of the sport. He’s not that bodily, regardless of his refined approach. Olave is quick, however not a burner that may pressure a security to cap him. And he’s a non-factor after the catch. Additionally, I’m unsure how typically he’ll transfer inside within the NFL. Olave looks as if principally an out of doors receiver.
Due to his utilization limitations, I doubt Olave will ever be a high menace in a high-quality NFL passing assault. However as a No. 2 or 3, he may thrive. Olave’s capability to win vertically, coupled with certain palms and wonderful ball abilities, will give him an apparent early position within the NFL. He might by no means be far more than that, however in the correct scenario he’ll have a very good profession.
2. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State – Early Spherical 2 Grade (Very Good Starter)
I’ve questions on each receiver on this draft. I don’t view any 2022 move catcher on the extent of Ja’Marr Chase final yr. However with Wilson, my questions are extra about how excessive his ceiling will be. I believe he’ll not less than be a top quality No. 2 receiver within the NFL. Will he be Stefon Diggs, as many have prompt? He’s undoubtedly able to it. The peak of Wilson’s peak will virtually definitely be decided by how keen he’s to enhance as a route runner. Proper now, that’s his greatest query mark for the NFL.
Don’t get me fallacious – Wilson has nice separation capability. And when he runs a very good route, that separation quickness is on full show. The issue is that his route timing and motion continues to be in every single place. He can take too lengthy to get open, utilizing a bevy of strikes on a defender somewhat than being crisp and decisive. If Wilson’s cuts down on all of the gyrations and further jab steps, he may turn out to be a robust route runner somewhat shortly. The power is already there.
However what places Wilson on one other stage is his capability to make robust catches. He’s not only a finesse receiver, and also you see that when he’s requested to dam or win in a contested spot. There’s no query he has to get stronger, or not less than savvier along with his palms. However Wilson doesn’t thoughts taking part in in tight quarters when he has to. PFF has him with a 62 p.c contested catch win charge final season. That’s an impressive quantity.
Wilson is already good at virtually every thing, together with being a menace after the catch. However he’s in all probability by no means going to turn out to be a bodily dominant participant within the NFL like Treylon Burks will be. So Wilson might want to good his craft as a route runner. All of the instruments are there for him to take action. I’ll wager on him succeeding within the NFL.
1. Treylon Burks, Arkansas – Late Spherical 1 Grade (Excessive High quality Starter)
Burks’ Mix wasn’t nice, nevertheless it was nonetheless okay, particularly when you think about how massive he’s in comparison with a standard receiver. At 225 kilos, Burks is a uncommon construct with uncommon explosiveness for the place. He dominated high quality competitors within the SEC as an inside and out of doors receiver. His 4.55 40 time might not have impressed on the Mix, however on tape he runs by good cornerbacks. His “flying 20” acceleration is eye-popping. And he catches every thing.
Some have used D.Okay. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel as comparisons for Burks’ recreation. These aren’t fairly on the nostril to me. A.J. Brown is a extra possible comparability. Burks won’t be fairly as athletic as Brown, however stylistically they play very equally. Each receivers have been predominantly slots in faculty, and confirmed nice instincts after the catch. They speed up into area and decide up yards after contact.
Brown by no means actually impressed in his restricted reps outdoors in faculty, however has made an entire transition within the NFL. Burks solely performed outdoors in a handful of reps for Arkansas final yr, however his tape there was unbelievable. He blew by press protection at each alternative, then made again shoulder or over the top catches downfield. I’ve little or no considerations about his capability to play outdoors. He simply will get it.
To me, Burks is probably the most instinctive receiver within the draft. Sure, he would possibly by no means be an elite separator by means of the complete route tree. However he makes contested catches at an unbelievable charge, and he constantly wins down the sphere. He has the very best likelihood within the 2022 draft to turn out to be a real WR1.