NFL Draft: Top Five Wide Receivers
The NFL draft is less than a month away and this year’s crop of receivers is less star-studded than recent years but there is a good deal of depth at the position. These are my top five wide receivers in the 2018 draft.
1. Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is the one player that has separated himself from the rest of the wide receivers in this class. Ridley’s combination of speed and crisp route running have separated him from his fellow receivers. If there was one receiver that has a chance of going early day 1 it’s Ridley.
But like all of the prospects at his position he does come with flaws, Ridley’s skinny 6’0”, 189lb frame doesn’t allow him to beat the press easily and he also has had problems catching the ball in traffic. But Riley’s already polished route tree and ability to create separation has him at the top of this year’s wide receiver class.
2. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Out of all of the wide receivers in this year’s class, Christian Kirk may have the greatest ability to break a play wide open. Although he is an undersized receiver at 5’10,” when Kirk gets the ball in his hands he looks like a running back.
Kirk also is one of the most experienced slot receivers in this draft. His prowess as a slot receiver and his ability to catch touchdowns in the red zone has led to him being compared to Randall Cobb.
3. D.J. Chark, LSU
D.J. Chark has the type of breakaway speed that opposing secondaries and defensive coordinators fear. Chark ran a 4.34 40-yard-dash at the combine and will pose a deep threat from day one in the league.
Because of Chark’s speed, he has not had to develop into a quality route runner as he could just run past defenders. Combine that with his lack of skill as a hand fighter which is necessary to beat press coverage at the next level makes Chark a project. But if Chark can fit the pieces together he has the potential to be one of the deadlier deep threats in the NFL.
4. Courtland Sutton, SMU
Courtland Sutton’s draft stock is predicated on his size and catch radius at 6’3” and 218lbs. Sutton’s stature will give whatever quarterback throwing to him a wide target. Last year Sutton was able to go over 1,000 yards and catch 12 touchdowns even though he had mediocre at best quarterback play.
The biggest knock on Sutton is his ability to create separation. Sutton was able to use his big body at the collegiate level to make catches. But at the next level, he’s going to have to fine-tune his route running to maximize his potential.
5. D.J. Moore, Maryland
D.J. Moore was an essential part of Maryland’s offense last year and became a reliable target for all four of the quarterbacks that threw to him last year. Moore set the school record for receptions last year with 80. His ability after the catch is another reason why he is so highly touted.
At the next level, Moore will have to become as focused on what he does prior to the catch as he is focused on what he does after it. Moore’s route tree was very simplistic in college and that will have to change at the next level
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.