The 2019 draft class of wide receivers is the best since the famed 2014 collection that featured Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Davante Adams, and Jarvis Landry.
While there isn't a receiver prospect clearly standing above the rest, the top-end depth is staggering, and there's an awesome amount of mid-round talent capable of becoming quality contributors at the next level.
This is the third installment in a position-by-position breakdown of the rankings of prospects you need to know in the 2019 NFL Draft.
*Important note: These rankings are subject to change somewhat after the combine.
No. 1 WRs / high-caliber No. 2s
1. A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
2. N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
3. Kelvin Harmon, NC State
4. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
5. Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
6. D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
Brown dazzles with running-back-like yards-after-the-catch ability, and he's a smooth route runner at over 6-foot and 220 pounds. He flashes stellar high-pointing skills too. Harry may look clunky at times but possesses natural ball skills -- and can make circus grabs. At what looks like a legit 6-4 and 215 pounds, he's a linearly explosive player who can box out and make the occasional defender miss. Reliable, perimeter chain-mover.
Harmon has the body type of an outside No. 1, he works the back-shoulder game outstandingly and can go up and get it. Fluid athlete as well. Arcega-Whiteside rebounds with his arms extended better than any receiver in his class. In the red zone, he shines. There's some build-up speed to his game but not much wiggle. Butler looks like a tall, freaky athlete with a frightening "my ball" mentality when the ball is in the air and a massive catch radius thanks to his height, long arms, and leaping ability. He's not as stiff as you'd think for a lanky-ish wideout.
Speaking of freaks, Metcalf is downright scary at around 6-4 and 225 pounds. I'm sure you'veby now. Nightmare fuel for cornerbacks. He's raw as a receiver, and there are some easy drops on film. There are also amazing moments of elite explosiveness, downfield speed, and even ideal high-point skills.
Before the combine, there's not much difference in my grades between Harry at No. 2 and Metcalf at No. 6.
Reliable No. 2 WRs / high-end No. 3s
7. Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
8. Anthony Johnson, Buffalo
9. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
10. Dillon Mitchell, Oregon
11. Jakobi Meyers, NC State
12. Emanuel Hall, Missouri
13. Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech
14. Andy Isabella, UMass
15. Riley Ridley, Georgia
16. Stanley Morgan, Nebraska
17. Preston Williams, Colorado State
18. DaMarkus Lodge, Ole Miss
For all the receivers listed in this category through the end of the rankings, there are many close grades. Team situations will obviously play a major factor in the ultimate success or lack thereof for each player.
Brown flies, can line up on the outside -- if need be -- and run a myriad of routes. He's tiny though. Johnson has strengths in just about all areas of playing the receiver spot. Requisite size. Check. Ball-tracking skills. Check. Plus yards-after-the-catch ability. Generates separation routinely. Check. I need to see how fast he is at the combine. That's the only legitimate question mark.
Samuel has a running back's body at under 6-0 and over 210 pounds and is a master at selling his routes to create separation from cornerbacks. Soft hands too. I wonder about his elusiveness and speed after the catch. Mitchell has some Keenan Allen to his game. He's a flexible slot receiver with reliable hands and deceptive downfield speed. His measureables and explosiveness at the combine will really be key to his draft stock.
Meyers played second fiddle to Harmon in most of his games at NC State and had a small collection of outings in which he looked like the Wolfpack's best receiver. Hall is a downfield blazer with jagged athleticism after the catch and great size for that role at over 6-2. Wesley is one of the lankiest receivers in his class at around 6-4 and 200 pounds. I love his concentration and seemingly effortless ability to make hand catches away from his body. He's a smooth mover too and has build-up speed downfield. Isabella is a ultra crafty route runner with borderline elite speed, some issues with drops, and a small, slot receiver frame.
Ridley has NFL bloodlines with his brother, Calvin, going in Round 1 to the Falcons in 2018 after an illustrious career at Alabama. Riley is bigger and lankier than Calvin, but he's a receiver I needed to see more consistency from while in college. He looks the part of a size-athleticism specimen who can move the chains and, in some instances, get downfield. Morgan is a tightly-wound, high-energy wideout who can win in short areas, down the field, and when you throw it up to him in traffic. He seems like a top-level athlete. Williams was a major producer at Colorado State in 2018 and is a smooth athlete at around 6-4 and 210 pounds. He has some wiggle in space and showed the ability to effortlessly catch the ball away from his frame. Not sure he has a true trump card though. Lodge, the other other receiver at Ole Miss has great downfield speed, decent separation ability, and moments of awesome snags with his arms extended. There's not a true trump card to his game, and his hands fail him in critical situations at times.
Low-end No. 3 WRs / contributing No. 4s
19. Diontae Johnson, Toledo
20. Greg Dortch, Wake Forest
21. David Sills, West Virginia
22. Keelan Doss, UC-Davis
23. Gary Jennings, West Virginia
24. Miles Boykin, Notre Dame
25. Darius Slayton, Auburn
26. Parris Campbell, Ohio State
27. Penny Hart, Georgia Southern
Johnson has serious jets and is a twitchy athlete who can sink his hips and change directions in a hurry. Small frame, though, lacking power and the ability to beat press coverage consistently. He reminds me of Paul Richardson, without the tendency to make acrobatic catches. Dortch is the consummate possession slot receiver. Serious crossover to beat press at the line, and he understands the importance of changing speeds while running his routes to establish separation. Not many body catches with him either.
Sills was incredibly productive at West Virginia, especially when it came to scoring touchdowns. Kinda important. He can be creative beating press at the line and demonstrates awesome concentration when coming down with a pass in traffic. At 6-3 and a little north of 200 pounds, he's not very physical and is decently stiff before and after the catch. Also, his small hands hurt him at times.
Doss is a smooth, possession receiver who played against a lower level of competition but dominated. Plus athleticism and requisite ball skills too. Jennings was Mr. Reliable for West Virginia from the slot and showed against Oklahoma that he has enough speed to stretch the defense. Boykin is an interesting sleeper because he didn't have eye-popping production at Notre Dame yet has a complete skill set with impressive hands, decent athleticism, and surprising downfield speed. With a strong showing at the combine, he'll fly up boards at over 6-2 and heavier than 215 pounds.
Slayton is a good-sized, well-built linear burner who can really sink his hips and explode up the field before flipping on his upper-level afterburners. The same is true of Campbell. Similar receivers. Slayton's a bit more polished right now. Hart is a twitchy, bendy slot receiver with some pop to his game after the catch but some catching concerns. He rocked the Senior Bowl.
Rosterable No. 5 WRs / super-specific niche pass-catchers
28. Jazz Ferguson, Northwestern State
29. Terry McLaurin, Ohio State
30. Ryan Davis, Auburn
31. Jalen Hurd, Baylor
32. Hunter Renfrow, Clemson
33. Mecole Hardman, Georgia
34. Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Texas
Ferguson started his career at LSU before transferring to Northwestern State and overwhelming small-school cornerbacks with his size, rebounding prowess, and smooth athleticism after the catch. Awesome size too. McLaurin reminds me a little bit of DaeSean Hamilton, who went in the fourth round to the Broncos last year. Smart, efficient route runner with a good frame and some downfield speed.
You want to get Davis the ball in space on screens. He's a dynamic, more-quick-than-fast athlete with impressive vision. He can dance too much. Hurd is the ultimate project, a former Tennessee running back turned Baylor receiver with serious athleticism and major size.
Renfrow does not look like an NFL receiver nor does he appear to have standard NFL athleticism. But he catches EVERYTHING and will make defenders miss after the catch despite his athletic limitations. Amazing vision and feel for the slot position.
Hardman is another linear rocket with moments that showcase good hands. There's kick/punt return value with him as well. Humphrey should get drafted because of his size -- 6-4ish and 225 pounds -- and a few stellar high-point grabs in his Texas career. He's only adequately fast and lacks in the lateral agility/explosiveness departments.
35. Ashton Dulin, Malone
I'll throw Dulin here for now, the Division II superstar invited to the combine after scorching opponents down the field and in jump-ball situations. At this point, as you can probably imagine, his film is not easy to come by, but if he's as fast in Indy as he looks on limited footage I've watched ... look out. We could be talking about him as a Round 3 or Round 4 pick. He flew by everyone at Malone and displayed smooth athleticism to beat press and gain leverage down the field. Natural hands too.