Rankings, scouting profiles, film, and an analytical model for the 2022 NFL Draft WR class. My RBs are here.
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A dual-sport recruit (4-star in football), London (6’4/219) played basketball at USC in addition to being a first-round NFL prospect. As a junior, London averaged 135.5 yards per game with 98th percentile PPR per game production. USC threw him 3.75 screens per game (way more than players of his size) because he is fluid, physical, and has more agility than given credit for. While not a speedster downfield, London separates on underneath routes as a player who threatens at all three levels, specifically on jump balls downfield. In total, he averaged 3.7 yards vs. man coverage and had 110 yards per game on passes beyond the line of scrimmage. Both are very good. I don’t directly see the Mike Evans comparisons (fewer deep crossing routes and more screens), but I do see paths to being a top-15 NFL receiver as he develops. London will be 20 years old on draft night. My model: 95th percentile prospect. Comp = Michael Thomas.
The 5-star recruit was a 3-year contributor and junior season standout at Ohio State. Wilson (6’0/183) could line up all over the formation but played out wide on 82% of snaps in 2021, a year where he averaged 3.0 yards per route run versus man coverage en route to 70-1058-12 receiving. He is a fantastic athlete with incredible burst (4.38 forty), jumping ability (123 broad), and massive hands (9 7/8 inches). Wilson is a yards after the catch threat on screens and crossing routes, plus can get vertical. Sometimes Wilson can oversell routes with choppy footwork and chaotic rhythm, but as a 21-year-old early declare, it seems like a very fixable issue long term. Overall, Wilson has an Odell Beckham-like ceiling as an undersized outside receiver with tons of juice. My model: 97th percentile prospect. Comp = Odell Beckham with a little development.
A 4-star recruit to Ohio State, Williams transferred to Alabama ahead of his junior season and immediately became the Tide’s best skill player. Williams averaged 105 receiving yards and 1.0 touchdowns (96th percentile adjusted production) with 3.3 yards per route run versus man coverage. Even among SEC players, his speed stood out. Like legit track speed. Although slightly slender (6’2/190ish) for a receiver who lined up out wide on 76% of snaps, Williams can press vertically against man and has the yards of the catch skills underneath to be a No. 1 NFL receiver. If not for a torn ACL in the National Championship, Williams could’ve been labeled as the top receiver in this loaded draft class. He could be a lengthier version of Brandin Cooks. My model: 95th percentile prospect. Comp = Bigger Brandin Cooks.
Olave (6’0/187) was a 3-star recruit and 3-year starter for Ohio State who set career highs (65-936-13) as a senior in 2021. The smoothest receiver in the class, Olave mostly played Z receiver (82% wide) and operated as a downfield target. His no-wasted movement skillset and speed make him an ideal No. 2 target for an aggressive passing offense. Because of his size, Olave had some issues against press man coverage, resulting in a below-average 1.3 yards per route run versus man coverage according to Sports Info Solutions (though target competition worked against him). That’s fine because he won’t be placed on the line of scrimmage that often. Olave is on the Will Fuller spectrum (and that’s a good thing) as a high-end No. 2 receiver. My model: 93rd percentile prospect. Comp = Tyler Lockett.
A highly touted 5-star recruit, Pickens (6’3/195) broke out as a true freshman (60.5 yards and 0.67 touchdowns per game, both Georgia highs in 2019) before injuries, including a torn ACL, derailed his college career. Pickens was at least able to return for the Bulldogs’ National Championship run as a Junior before declaring early. He’s a physical X receiver, who lined up out wide on 99% of snaps in 2021. Pickens can win at all three levels and faced a ton of press man coverage in the SEC with mixed results because he invites contact (leading to some on-field brawls and wild blocks), but he has my ball mentality in the air and fights for yards after the catch underneath. To reach his 5-star ceiling, Pickens needs to stay healthy, regain some of his athleticism post-surgery (52nd percentile adjusted SPARQ athlete), and clean things up (like knowing where the first-down marker is). If he hits, Pickens is a No. 1 X receiver. My model: 86th percentile prospect. Comp = SEC DeVante Parker.
Burks (6’2/225) was a 4-star recruit and 2-year starter at Arkansas before declaring early on 86th percentile adjusted production. Despite a massive build, Burks was used all over the field (74% slot, 18% wide, 8% everywhere else), including in the backfield and as a motion player to get him in space at all costs. He faced press as an X receiver only on occasion but handled it very well, averaging 3.6 yards per route run versus man coverage in 2021 with 20 receptions on 37 routes as the isolated receiver. Burks has room for improvement out wide, however, as he currently relies on bullying defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. That won’t translate cleanly against NFL CBs. Adding a release package out wide would send him to the moon but leaves his floor lower than other SEC first-round prospects. His 41st percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.55 forty and 7.28 three cone) was disappointing, too, especially on a fast turf in Indianapolis. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler noted that Burks was close to 240 pounds during his 2021 season. Not sure I like that at 6’2” flat, so I view him as the most boom-bust prospect in the class. My model: 90th percentile prospect. Comp = SEC Laviska Shenault.
Moore (5’10/195) was a 3-star recruit and 3-year contributor before declaring early after averaging 107 yards per game as a junior at Western Michigan. The 21-year-old had 96th percentile adjusted production on 96th percentile yards per team pass attempt. He did so lining up out wide on 65% of snaps after playing in the slot on 88% of snaps the year prior. Moore has inside/outside versatility with plenty of burst (4.41 forty and 125-inch broad) for his stocky frame. Unlike other potential slot receivers, Moore doesn’t have elite bend (63rd percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism), which means he has a vertical slot projection at the very worst. His upside is hidden with wild releases at the line of scrimmage, arguably the best in the class. It’s possible Moore is a slot in 3-WR sets while still playing in 2-WR sets like Golden Tate. My model: 89th percentile prospect. Comp = Golden Tate.
Dotson (5’10/178) was a 4-star recruit and 2-year starter at Penn State, setting career highs (91-1182-12) as a senior. He played out wide on 79% of his senior snaps but might mix into the slot more at the next level because of his size. When outside, Dotson stresses defenses vertically with quality speed (4.43 forty) and jumping ability (36-inch vert). He’s much longer than his height/weight suggests, possessing fantastic plucking skills away from his body. Dotson will be an asset in the schemed touch game (backfield opportunities and screens) a la Darnell Mooney, but he could fade against more physical corners. His 2.2 yards per route run versus man coverage is on my radar. Ultimately, Dotson has some Emmanuel Sanders like upside as a No. 2 receiver but probably needs to be a No. 3 target to start his NFL career. My model: 82nd percentile prospect. Comp = Big 10 Darnell Mooney.
Shakir (6’0/196) was a 4-star recruit and 3-year contributor at Boise State, ultimately averaging 111 total yards per game in his junior and senior seasons (64th percentile adjusted production). He was a versatile receiver, lining up in the slot on 67% of his senior snaps after playing out wide on 61% of his junior plays. Shakir is a tough receiver capable of seeing snaps in the backfield, in the screen game, and as a bunch-set blocker a la Robert Woods. He has more highlight reel grabs, more burst (4.44 forty and 124-inch broad), and better ball tracking than the traditional slot player, an all-around skillset that led to a solid 3.2 yards per route run versus man coverage. His lack of size, including bottom 1st percentile arms, is his biggest physical limitation, along with below-average elusiveness (7.28 three cone). He also needs to clean up his drops. Ultimately, Shakir is a low-ceiling No. 2 or No. 3 receiver that can be a vertical slot or rotational Z receiver. He has the character of someone who will hang in the league longer than expected. My model: 62nd percentile prospect. Comp = Group of 5 Sterling Shepard.
The Purdue early declare was a 4-star recruit and Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year as a state champion basketball and football player. In college, Bell (6’1/212) lined up out wide on 83% of his snaps, primarily player X receiver as a physical contested catch player. He averaged 101 receiving yards per game over his career (88th percentile adjusted production) with 3.2 yards per route run versus man coverage in 2021. Both are rock solid. Bell is an 11th percentile athlete (4.65 forty and 7.14 three cone) and had a tough game against first-round CB Greg Newsome in 2020, however. His lack of burst may make him more of a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in the NFL, but his production at a Power 5 school makes him a worthy late Day 2 selection, probably as a power slot. My model: 71st percentile prospect. Comp = Mohamed Sanu.
Pierce (6’3/211) was a 3-star recruit and track/volleyball/basketball standout before signing with Cincinnati. He was a late breakout and stayed through his senior season (52-884-8) because he’s a raw, toolsy player still learning how to use his hands and fight off more physical corners. Pierce had 51st percentile adjusted production (41st percentile yards per team pass attempt), but there is a ceiling to chase because of his 83rd percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism. Pierce mosses dudes with a 40.5-inch vertical and can stack press man corners with impressive long speed (4.41 forty). He’s currently a vertical route and jump ball specialist, but he can sink his hips, so a full route tree is at least possible long term. Pierce can get manhandled in press (forgettable 2.7 YPRR vs. man coverage) because he’s slender, ultimately leaving him on the backup or fringe starter tier as a lower-volume X or Z receiver in the NFL. My model: 63rd percentile prospect. Comp = Group of 5 Martavis Bryant.
Tolbert (6'1/194) was a 2-star recruit and 3-year contributor at South Alabama, who really broke out (82-1,474-12) as a redshirt junior in 2021. His 113 yards per game on passes beyond the line of scrimmage led all of college football. Tolbert's route tree is predicated on double moves and jump balls on the perimeter (69% out wide). He's a contested catch player who plays bigger than his size and has above-average ball tracking. Those traits led to an efficient 3.6 yards per route run versus man coverage. Tolbert only is a 44th percentile adjusted SPARQ athlete, however, with 4.49 speed and below-average agility. He struggled on in-breaking routes with a handful of drops due to inconsistent hand placement. Tolbert, unfortunately a 23-year-old prospect, will compete for X & Z receiver snaps in 3-WR sets in the NFL as a downfield threat (career 17.6 YPR). My model: 55th percentile prospect. Comp = Group of 5 Marvin Jones.
Watson (6’2/208) was a 2-star recruit and 3-year contributor at North Dakota State. He had a 32% yardage share as a redshirt senior, operating as a schemed touch and vertical threat No. 1 receiver. The Bisons’ 2-TE heavy, efficient passing offense gave Watson clear 1-on-1s on the perimeter, and Watson’s athleticism (94th percentile adjusted SPARQ) led to multiple big plays (18.6 yards per catch). His development, especially for an incoming 23-year-old rookie, is lacking. He plays smaller than his size, is sometimes late out of his breaks, and had lots of key drops. A bet on Watson is mostly a bet on athleticism. My model: NA due to non-Division I. Comp = FCS Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Metchie (5’11/195ish) was a 4-star recruit and 2-year starter at Alabama. He averaged 87.8 yards per game on 2.6 yards per route run versus man coverage in 2021, lining up across the formation but primarily out wide (69%). Metchie is a headsy player with good technique and hand usage, but he’s an average (maybe below-average) athlete even before his torn ACL. Against SEC corners, Metchie didn’t separate at a difference-making level or have play-making body control at the catch point, so his ceiling is capped. Overall, Metchie projects as a long-time pro as a No. 3 capable of playing at multiple spots. The caveat is clearing medicals examinations. Dr. David Chao is at least moderately concerned about Metchie missing an entire high school season because of an enlarged heart. My model: 72nd percentile prospect. Comp = Brian Hartline.
Thornton (6'2.5/184) was a 4-star recruit and 4-year contributor at Baylor, who led a top-5 Bears team in receiving yards by 375 in 2021. The 21.7-year-old is a very explosive deep threat (career 15.7 YPR) who must avoid press man coverage to be effective. Thornton had a well below-average 1.7 yards per route run versus man coverage in a conference not exactly known for their physicality. With that said, Thornton's role is easy to see. He'll be a rotational deep threat with 4.28 speed and an explosive 130-inch broad jump (87th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism). His 75th percentile college dominator and 65th percentile yards per team pass attempt are enough to leave the light on despite his concerning strength. Out of 501 drafted WRs in my database, Thornton's 23.0 BMI is the second-lowest only trailing J.J. Nelson. My model: 66th percentile prospect. Comp = Power 5 Quez Watkins.
A 4-star recruit, Robinson played two seasons at Nebraska as an RB/WR hybrid before transferring to Kentucky in 2021 to play slot receiver (67% snaps). He averaged 102.6 yards per game (97th percentile adjusted production) and 3.4 yards per route run versus man coverage before declaring early. 34-of-104 receptions came on screens or jet sweeps as one of the more explosive (4.44 forty) schemed touch players in the country. His best “real” route is a slot fade against off coverage because he struggles to play through contact and has too many body catches/drops over the middle in traffic. Legitimately too tiny (5’8/175) for a full-time role in the NFL, Robinson is best suited for a rotational No. 3 or No. 4 role as a schemed touch changeup. His coach needs to have a tailored plan for him. My model: 77th percentile prospect. Comp = Less explosive Jakeem Grant.
Ross (6’4/205) was a 4-star recruit and freshman year standout (1,000 yards) at Clemson with Trevor Lawrence alongside alpha Tee Higgins. He was injured in 2020 and underperformed as a redshirt junior (51.4 yards per game and 2.8 yards per route run versus man coverage) in a suddenly struggling offense, while playing in the slot 51% of the time. Ross was most productive as an outside receiver capable of winning vertical with contested catches and size-adjusted speed. Perhaps this was injury related, but Ross wasn’t good after the catch and didn’t show short area burst or agility (3rd percentile athleticism). If his medicals check out, Ross has some low-end starter-level upside on the perimeter. My model: 21st percentile prospect. Comp = Less athletic Courtland Sutton.
The following had at least 20th percentile projections in my model, but I haven't watched their tape:
Kevin Austin (42nd percentile prospect on 52nd percentile production and 88th percentile athleticism)
Kyle Philips (37th % on 55th % production & 28th % athleticism)
Romeo Doubs (36th % on 48th % production & 28th % athleticism)
Calvin Austin III (34th % on 21st % production & 86th % athleticism)
Makai Polk (32nd % on 63rd % production & 16th % athleticism)
Erik Ezukanma (30th % on 28th % production & 59th % athleticism)
Danny Gray (28th % on 21st % production & 73rd % athleticism)
Devon Williams (26th % on 65th % production & 3rd % athleticism)
Jalen Nailor (23rd % on 42nd % production & 24th % athleticism)
Charleston Rambo (21st % on 47th % production & 7th % athleticism)