2020 NFL Draft Wide Receivers Watch: The rise of Michael Pittman and Denzel Mims
In a receiver class with plenty of quick separators, Pittman and Mims are productive rebounder types
Michael Pittman has been on fire of late for the USC Trojans, and the big-bodied wideout with NFL bloodlines has worked his way into the top 10 of my wideout rankings. And it's time to start considering Baylor's Denzel Mims a legitimate prospect too. He's another large target with good speed who plays to his size.
Where does he currently stack up in the loaded 2020 class of receivers?
Here's the latest Wide Receivers Watch.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: Stock Down, Slightly
A November game against Western Carolina probably should've been an outing for Jeudy to pad his statistical output. Instead, he had two grabs for 66 yards. It's not as though the Crimson Tide even remotely needed Jeudy to have a big game in this one, but instead, it was Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith who did.
2. Tee Higgins, Clemson: Stock Steady
Higgins and the Tigers were idle and have their rivalry showdown with South Carolina on the road this Saturday.
3. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: Stock Down, Slightly
Lamb had a touchdown on a back-shoulder throw from the outside receiver spot against TCU, a fine display of his press-beating skills and tracking abilities. But he didn't record another reception in the win. Strange.
4. Ty Johnson, Minnesota: Stock Up
Johnson had seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's cruise to victory over Northwestern. He made an awesome leaping grab -- in which he was blasted as he caught the ball -- on a sharp post-corner late in the first quarter, then, a few plays later, showcased his tremendous ball-tracking skills as he made a beautiful over-the-shoulder grab near the sideline on a slot fade. Johnson also worked the middle of the field game awesomely, as he does seemingly every week. I will say, though, I think #DraftTwitter is higher on Johnson than the NFL is, but all that does it make for a wonderful opportunity at a value pick later in the draft.
5. Henry Ruggs, Alabama: Stock Steady
Ruggs didn't play against Western Carolina after suffering bruised ribs against Mississippi State.
6. Laviska Shenault, Colorado: Stock Up
We saw Shenault in the backfield against Washington, and the junior scored a touchdown on a pass he had no business reeling in down the field. The ball was slightly underthrown and to the inside as Shenault had outside leverage on the corner. But he undercut the Washington defender and snatched the ball before it could be intercepted. He finished the day with seven grabs for 100 yards in the win over the Huskies and had 17 yards and three carries.
7. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina: Stock Steady
South Carolina was off and hosts Clemson Saturday. If he's healthy ... big opportunity for Edwards.
8. Jalen Reagor, TCU: Stock Stock Down
Reagor has the talent to be an elite receiver prospect, and his quarterback play isn't great. But the latter fact doesn't excuse him from barely showing up on the stat sheet some weeks. He had one grab for nine yards against Oklahoma, his third one-catch game of the year.
9. Michael Pittman, USC: Stock Up
After an honorable mention nod a week ago, Pittman jumps into the top 10. He's been damn good this season and has three-straight games of 100-plus receiving yards, including a 13-grab, 104-yard, two-touchdown masterpiece in the rivalry win over UCLA. Early in the second quarter, he demonstrated the luxuries afforded by his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame and plus ball skills on a high-point grab down the sideline.
In the fourth, Pittman's suddenness was on display on an outside screen in which he planted his foot in the ground and accelerated up the field for a first down. Of course Pittman isn't the twitchiest receiver in the class, but he has good quicks for a wideout his size and plays to every inch of his 6-4 frame in contested-catch situations.
10. Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty: Stock Up
Despite only finishing with 60 yards on six grabs, AGG had another strong showing, this time against an ACC opponent. He caught two comebacks early in the game and a slant in the second quarter. The first two receptions showcased his ability to stop on a dime. Later in the first half, he made a ridiculous diving grab on a wayward pass near the sideline for a first down. Then, he one-upped himself on a third quarter touchdown. On the score, AGG ran a quick out-breaking route. When he snapped his head around in the end zone, the ball was well above his head and near the sideline. In classic AGG form, he reached up with one hand, and pulled it in while getting his feet in bounds.
Honorable Mention: Denzel Mims, Baylor
After a 1,000-plus yard, nearly 18-yards-per-catch 2017, Mims was on the draft radar heading into 2018. He had somewhat of a down year a season ago, and has already eclipsed his production from last year. Against Texas, the 6-3, 215-pound wideout hit a big play on a slant, high-pointed a slant for a touchdown then, in a critical situation in the fourth quarter, displayed his athleticism on a back-shoulder grab down the field in tight coverage as the safety flew down from center field. In the third quarter, on a fourth and five, Mims made a stupid reception near the boundary on a low and away throw that was forced, a fine demonstration of his awareness and the strength in his hands. Oh, and this performance against Texas came after he scored two touchdowns against Oklahoma last week. Mims is a baller.
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