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2017 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan

6-3, 209

Davis is the most rounded out receiver from this group. He offers you a little bit of everything, which makes him extremely tough to defend. His explosion, aggression and polish have won me over. I’d feel extremely comfortable taking him in the top ten.

Grade: Early 1st round 

2. John Ross, Washington

5-11, 188

Speed, speed and more speed. If you’re looking to stretch the field and get those safeties out of the box, Ross is your guy. He’s a Brandin Cooks clone. There are some issues with fighting through contact, but he’s so gifted you can live with it. He’s a game changer.

Grade: Late 1st Round

3. Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech

5-11, 199

Henderson might just be the most complete athlete at receiver in this class. He’s got everything you want minus the size, but he makes up for it. Henderson pulls down contested balls, he’ll out jump you, he’ll shake you with his routes — he does it all. I think he has a shot to be a legit number one at the next level on the outside, but he can help a team right off from the slot too.

Grade: Early 2nd round

4. Mike Williams, Clemson

6-4, 218

If you’re looking for a big, 50-50 jumpball winner, Williams is your guy. He’s not going to win win separation, but he is going to outfight you for the ball. He has a clear, defined role. I think he’s limited a bit — more so agility-wise than anything — but he can still be a very productive player. I think Williams’ best case scenario is a Plaxico Burress type career.

Grade: Early 2nd round

5. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

5-11, 196

Samuel gives you a really unique piece of offense. He’s a bit of a hybrid, actually splitting snaps at running back and slot receiver. He’s electric with or without the ball. His lateral agility and burst should allow him to blossom into a really nice route runner at the next level. His best fit is in the slot. I wouldn’t call him a natural catching the football, but he’s a guy you’re going to want to get the ball to in space. Samuel is an instant difference maker with upside.

Grade: 2nd round

6. JuJu Smith Schuster, USC

6-1, 215

Juju offers you with a different flavor than the guys around him. He’s probably the second most physical receiver behind Mike Williams. He doesn’t have that 4th gear to shift into down the field, but he makes plays on 50-50 jump balls. Smith-Schuster could use some polish on his routes, but I think the ability is there.

Grade: 2nd round

7. Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma

6-0, 177

Westbrook doesn’t weigh 180 pounds soaking wet, but he’ll make opposing secondaries look like fools. He won consistently on the outside at Oklahoma, despite being undersized. I think his best fit at the next level is in the slot, where he can really be dynamic and stretch the field. The main concern here is size. What happens when an NFL corner comes up and gets physical?

Grade: 2nd round

8. Chris Godwin, Penn State

6-1, 209

Godwin has enough speed to make you worry about him as a downfield threat. An average first gear sort of lulls you to sleep, but he can get going and make things happen deep. While he isn’t all that shifty, he can win with some shallow/intermediate routes. I see a top end number two type receiver in his future.

Grade: 2nd round

9. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M

6-3, 194

Reynolds isn’t a guy that is going to win in the short area, but he’s a go-getter down the field. His long frame allows him the ability to pluck the ball over defenders. I think he’s got good enough speed to make you respect him deep, but a thin frame could cause issues with physical defenders.

Grade: 3rd round

10. Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky

5-11, 203

With Taylor, you’re getting a smooth operator that can get through the gears quickly. He’s probably a slot at the next level, but he has a chance to be very effective from that spot. Taylor has enough speed to gain separation vertically and shows nice burst in and out of his breaks.

Grade: 3rd round

11. ArDarius Stewart, Alabama

5-11, 204

Little bit of a project here. Stewart’s athletic ability is obvious, but he’s a little rough around the edges. I think his speed and ability to create explosive plays gets him drafted on day two, however. I don’t think he’s a guy you can win with immediately on the outside as a route runner, but he’s at least a dynamic threat with the ball until he adds more polish.

Grade: 3rd round

12. Zay Jones, East Carolina

6-2, 201

Jones showed out in the Senior Bowl. He’s going to offer to a little bit of size a 6-1 with some wiggle. He plays with an attacking nature and made some insane catches along the sidelines going up and over defenders. The key with him is whether or not he can get by corners downfield. Long speed and separation are the main concerns here, despite an outstanding combine.

Grade: 3rd round

13. Amara Darboh, Michigan

6-2, 214

With Darboh, you’re getting a winner in the intermediate. He’s going to make his money beating man coverage on slants, digs and out routes. He doesn’t have the explosion to win consistently downfield, but surprised me at the combine with a 4.45. His size and ability to win with routes should give him a chance to be a decent number two option in the league.

Grade: 3rd round

14. Chad Hansen, Cal

6-2, 202

Hansen is a smooth operator that isn’t all that sudden, but just kinda finds ways to make things happen. He’s a guy that can really get up on tape and get after the ball. He has enough speed to make you respect him deep and he can win with his routes. Hansen should become a solid, productive possession guy in the NFL.

Grade: 3rd round

15. Ishmael Zamora, Baylor

6-4, 222

Lots of projection here, but Zamora offers you a 6-4, 220 pound frame. That’s always attractive, but almost everything with Ish is raw. The other problem is the baggage. Zamora was suspended three games for assaulting his dog. He wasn’t invited to the combine as a result. It’s not a lock that Zamora gets his name called in April by any means, but he’s one of the few big bodied receivers available in this class.

Grade: 4th round

16. Ryan Switzer, North Carolina

5-8, 181

If you’re taking Switzer, you need a slot guy. That’s his offensive role — and I think he’s potentially dominant there. I don’t think anyone in this class can match his ability in the short area. He’s so slick. Switzer is obviously limited on the outside, but he can be deadly in the right role. He’s limited as an athlete and doesn’t have a very large catch radius, which will knock him for sure, but don’t write him off.

Grade: 4th round

17. Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech

5-8, 181

Not all that different from Switzer, Taylor offers you a smaller, agile receiver that can make some plays from the slot for you. He’s not going to impress you with any measurables, but he’s tough as nails and is going to move the chains on 3rd downs.

Grade: 4th round

18. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

6-2, 204

Kupp is an interesting case. My immediate takeaway was that Kupp wasn’t all that quick or explosive, but then I watched him run by entire secondaries time and time again. He’s a momentum runner, which hurts him running routes. This is my primary concern. Does he have enough lateral agility to separate consistently as a receiver in the NFL?

Grade: 4th Round

19. KD Cannon, Baylor

5-11, 182

With Cannon, you’re getting a smaller but dynamic downfield threat. He put up huge production at Baylor and knows how to attack the football, despite some inconsistencies. Baylor receivers are a tough evaluation — and Cannon is no different. I think he’ll have to clean up his route running before he can be a full time player.

Grade: 4th round

20. Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

6-1, 194

Ford is a little inconsistent, which is why he finds himself so low here. He has an outstanding ability to make plays down the field, but leaves you wanting more with the rest of his game. His slender frame and inconsistent hands should keep him out of the first couple of tiers of receivers, but the flashes of talent are there.

Grade: 5th round

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