2020 NFL Draft Prospects Preview: Wide Receivers
This year’s crop of wide receivers is arguably the best in NFL Draft history. Several receivers should expect to hear their names called in the first round next Thursday, and plenty more who will be joining the league throughout the weekend. When I wrote up quarterback and running back prospects earlier in the week, I highlighted eight at each position and added eight more names to watch at the end. In my estimation, those quarterbacks and running backs in the 9-16 range are Saturday picks (Rounds 4-7) at best. That is most definitely not the case with this group of wideouts. There might be 16 wide receivers selected before we even get to Saturday. This class will warrant plenty of attention in Redraft leagues, and Dynasty league owners needing help at the position should be licking their chops.
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2020 NFL Draft Prospects – Wide Receivers
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
CeeDee Lamb is a polished wide receiver who can do it all. He averaged nearly 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in his three seasons in Norman. He does not have top-end speed but makes up for it by consistently getting lightning-quick releases off of the line of scrimmage to beat coverage. Lamb is a terrific route runner with incredible ball skills who can attack the football. And once he has possession of the football, look out. Since 2018, he has averaged a whopping 3.42 yards per route run and 9.2 yards after the catch. Lamb broke 38 tackles in that span, including 26 last year. He has a nose for the end zone regardless of where he is on the football field. His highlights after the catch are the stuff of legend.
It really is a tossup between him and Jeudy for the top spot. I give the slightest of edges to Lamb because he has better hands and is more physical than Jeudy at this stage of their respective development. He has more experience going up against man coverage which will suit him well at the next level. But make no mistake – both should be standouts at their position for years to come. For what it’s worth, PlayerProfiler.com has Jerry Rice listed as Lamb’s closest comparable wideout. No pressure, kid. Even if he falls short of becoming the greatest wide receiver in the history of the sport, I have a feeling CeeDee Lamb will acquit himself to life in the National Football League just fine. I would not be surprised to see him post a top-20 fantasy campaign as a rookie.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Jerry Jeudy was one of the top high school recruits in the country when he committed to Alabama in 2017. He did not disappoint. Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award in 2018 as the nation’s top receiver. He finished his collegiate career with back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns. Jeudy is a superb route runner and is a threat to take it to the house whenever he touches the football. He shows great awareness once he has the ball in his hands. Jeudy is adept at avoiding open field tackles from defenders due to his knack for manipulating pursuit angles. All in all, Jeudy is on the fast track to NFL stardom. Oh, by the way, he will not turn 21 years old until the day after he is selected in the draft.
Jeudy played mostly from the slot in college, which may not be the case in the pros. He needs to get a bit stronger and be more physical, as he will likely see a bit more man/press coverage in the NFL. The 6’1”, 193-pound receiver dropped a few more passes than you would like to see from an elite wideout. But those are things I believe will improve with experience. He works hard to correct any bad behaviors and has a desire to be the very best, and I think it is just a matter of time before he is among the best receivers in the league. Jerry Jeudy is sure to be a hot commodity in Dynasty leagues and has a chance to be a threat in redraft leagues as soon as 2020.
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Tee Higgins, Clemson
After Ruggs (and perhaps some would argue before), the order really becomes one of preference. All these players are immensely talented and bring a diverse set of skills to the table. I am going with Tee Higgins as the next wideout on my list. Higgins enjoyed a terrific college career at Clemson. The 6’4” wide receiver posted 59 catches in each of his last two seasons. During that time, he caught 25 total touchdown passes and exceeded 2,100 receiving yards. He can get off press and make contested catches. Higgins was the only receiver in this class to post a two-year grade of 90.0 or above against tight coverage, per Pro Football Focus. He is quick off the line of scrimmage and possesses a wide catch radius with good body control. Those are traits that should translate to success at the next level.
Higgins has a wonderful blend of size, speed, and ball skills. He can beat defenders deep, as his 94.5 grade will attest. Higgins has shown a knack for creating yards after the catch as well. He has 10-plus broken tackles in each of the last two seasons. I believe that his well-rounded skillset will make him a solid contributor in the NFL. Depending on where he lands, he could be a team’s number-one receiver, or he can also be a third option. That variance will likely dictate his fantasy relevance. But I am confident that Higgins will put up solid fantasy numbers regardless of where he winds up. I would have no hesitation targeting him in Dynasty formats.
Denzel Mims, Baylor
Jalen Reagor, TCU
Justin Jefferson, LSU
Michael Pittman, USC
Best of the Rest
- Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
- Laviska Shenault, Colorado
- K.J. Hamler, Penn State
- Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
- Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
- Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
- Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
- John Hightower, Boise State
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