2020 NFL Draft Wide Receivers Watch: DeVonta Smith erupts again, CeeDee Lamb and Tyler Johnson flourish
It was a banner day for what is becoming the deepest wide receiver draft class in a long time
In the firework-filled LSU-Alabama clash, DeVonta Smith went over 200 yards with two long touchdown grabs. And he's the sometimes overlooked Crimson Tide wideout.
In a one-point win over Iowa State, CeeDee Lamb scored twice and accumulated 167 yards on eight catches. In Minnesota's statement win against Penn State, Tyler Johnson really came to play and put a highlight-reel touchdown on film.
Where do these wideouts currently stack up in the loaded 2020 class of receivers?
Here's the latest Wide Receivers Watch.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: Stock Up, Slightly
Jeudy's outing in the legendary game against LSU was more impressive than the five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown he had. His first grab was of ridiculous shoestring variety in which he somehow planted a split second later and actually got up the field despite having to slow his momentum to essentially take the turf off the top of the grass.
On a third and 13 reception just beyond the sticks, Jeudy deployed a deadly cut on future first-round safety Grant Delpit that left the defensive back grasping at air. Another snag came on a nasty in-and-out on third and 10 that generated an amazing amount of separation. Jeudy was extra supercharged with his movements against LSU. There was play in the third deep down the field against tight coverage in which the ball hit Jeudy's hands, but he wasn't able to reel it in, although it would've been an outstanding grab for a long score. He redeemed himself with a diving grab in the front corner of the end zone -- through a tiny window -- on fourth down late in the game to cut it to a one-score contest. Jeudy was impressive against the Tigers.
2. Tee Higgins, Clemson: Stock Steady
Higgins had four grabs for 73 yards and a touchdown in Clemson's rout of NC State. While not the greatest attempt to reroute a receiver, Higgins demonstrated his polished fluidity with a subtle swim move to get outside leverage against the corner initially in coverage on his touchdown before Trevor Lawrence found him down the sideline for the score. This game got out of hand in a hurry.
3. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: Stock Up
Lamb was ubiquitous against Iowa State. He showcased his entire, flashy skill set in his eight-catch, 167-yard, two-touchdown performance. His first score was a long ball between defenders. His speed got him behind the defense. In the second quarter, he had another highlight-reel YAC touchdown in which he caught a comeback route and cut across the field, weaving through traffic before squeezing into the front right corner of the end zone. Lamb did fumble in the fourth quarter on a catch and run, but overall, he was dominant as usual.
4. Henry Ruggs, Alabama: Stock Down, Slightly
Ruggs had three catches for 68 yards against LSU on Saturday, including the first reception of the game, a deep cross in which he got his feet in bounds while being contacted by the sideline. He had another catch on an in-breaking route late but wasn't much of a factor down the field.
5. Ty Johnson, Minnesota: Stock Up
Johnson and the Golden Gophers offense cruised as Minnesota secured its biggest win in a very long time at home over Penn State on Saturday. The senior wideout -- who's been producing at a high rate since his sophomore year -- had seven grabs for 104 yards with an awesome left-hand only, full-concentration touchdown down the sideline.
He was narrowly missed on a slot fade into the end zone later in the game on a play which featured a nasty release to the outside toward the back right pylon. Johnson flashed his innate YAC abilities and natural ball skills throughout the contest too. He does everything well.
6. Laviska Shenault, Colorado: Stock Steady
Shenault had eight receptions for 91 yards in the win over Stanford, and he steamrolled a defender on a jet sweep, a fine demonstration of the power he has behind his pads. One of his receptions was a deep dig in which he continued upfield for a sizable gain.
7. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina: Stock Up
The Gamecocks lost to upstart App State but Edwards had one of his classic, chain-moving games. Although he did drop a pass on a third down early in the game but finished with nine catches for 90 yards, including an awesome toe-tap grab on fourth and 15 late in the game. Edwards also scored a touchdown on a quick slant in which he absorbed contact and cut against the grain before heading into the end zone.
8. Jalen Reagor, TCU: Stock Down
Reagor was slippery on his lone catch -- for eight yards -- against Baylor, and he fell forward for a first down. And as usual, his quarterback play hindered his production. There was an in-breaking route in the end zone in which Reagor created some separation. Low throw. Incomplete. He was open on a deep comeback earlier in the game too but an underneath defender intercepted the pass. This Baylor-TCU game was out of the twilight zone as a defensive battle that was 9-9 at the end of regulation. However, Reagor cooled off in a big way after a solid two-game stretch.
9. Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty: Stock Up, Slightly
Although Liberty lost to BYU, AGG had an awesome game until the final drive, which featured two difficult drops. He had a bananas catch near the sideline as two defenders converged on him earlier in the fourth quarter. He would've converted a fourth and 21 but let the pass fall to the turf after he was hit. There was a similar drop earlier in the drive. On his touchdown, Gandy-Golden ran by everyone down the field as part of his 10-grab, 162-yard effort.
10. Devonta Smith, Alabama: Stock Up
Smith is, at times, the fourth option in Alabama's offense, which is flabbergasting. He's a spindly athlete but has refined ability to beat press at the line, is smooth building speed down the field and has impeccable ball-tracking skills. There was a drop on a shallow cross but otherwise he was reliable at the intermediate portions of the field and had two long-ball touchdowns in his 213-yard game.
11. Justin Jefferson, LSU: Stock Steady
Jefferson was overshadowed by his sophomore teammate Ja'Marr Chase, who had six catches for 140 yards and a score but did have 79 yards on seven snags of his own, including a few on critical third downs. There was a drop on a pass toward the sideline, and his typical YAC specialty wasn't there against Alabama's defense.
12. KJ Hamler, Penn State
Hamler was a gamer in Penn State's narrow loss to Minnesota, and his movements are different. He is one of the most explosive receivers in college football and his change-of-direction ability pops on film. Plus, he has awesome ball skills, which he showed on a really difficult grab that looked like an interception initially on Saturday. On the game-sealing interception for Minnesota, Hamler beat his man to the inside in the end zone, but the pass wasn't out in front of him. The vast majority of the time, when Penn State needed a big play, it got it from Hamler in this contest. He's unreal on slants. Super-sharp cut and dynamic burst once the ball is in his hands.
The redshirt sophomore had seven catches for 119 yards in defeat and looks like someone who's ready for the NFL.
Honorable Mention: Collin Johnson, Texas
After a highly touted senior campaign fizzled early due to injury, a healthy Johnson has played up to expectations the past two weeks, with consecutive seven-catch, 100-plus yard outings. In the three-point win over Kansas State, Johnson's score came on a flea-flicker, but he was a steady, move-the-chains target for Sam Ehlinger. His releases off the line were impressive against the Wildcats, and that element of his game is a vital component of succeeding as a big wideout in the NFL.
In a draft class mostly featuring smaller, separation-based wideouts, the 6-6, 220-pound Johnson could be high on the board for a team in need of size at the receiver spot.
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