As we approach the end of the season, I’ll be releasing my early top-five players at each position, along with some brief notes on each player. Keep in mind, these are early rankings and subject to change as we gather more information and take a closer look at each prospect during the pre-draft process.
For this installment let’s take a look at the wide receiver position. Many have said this class does not contain a true number one wide out, I believe there are two candidates that have that potential.
1. Courtland Sutton, Junior, SMU
Courtland Sutton has the most potential of any of the WR in this year’s draft class. The 6’4″ imposing athlete has excellent speed to go along with is huge frame. He is also an excellent leaper, capable of getting the ball at its highest point making him an excellent red zone target. Sutton may have the most potential, but is very raw and will need to continue to work on his route running ability and using his frame to his advantage even more than he already does.
2. Deon Cain, Junior, Clemson
Deon Cain is just the most recent highly talented receiver out of Clemson. Like the players before him, Cain is a deep ball specialist who can win in the air, and uses his length and athleticism to get the ball at its highest point. Cain will need to refine his route running in order to gain more separation. Right now Cain can win because of his incredible catch radius, but with NFL defensive backs being bigger and more athletic, Cain will have to rely less on his athleticism and more on his technique.
3. Christian Kirk, Junior, Texas A&M
Christian Kirk is an excellent shifty receiver who is great after the catch. One of the quicker receivers in the draft, Kirk is a nightmare in the open field, and is a threat to take it the distance on any play. Kirk would transition into a wonderful slot WR in the NFL, and could make an impact on day one.
4. James Washington, Senior, Oklahoma State
The senior James Washington is a receiver that excels at all facets of the game. Washington has elite foot quickness that enable him to create separation from the defenders and make him an excellent playmaker after the catch. Washington is not only a great playmaker but is also an excellent deep threat with elite speed and ball tracking skills. Washington does not have the biggest frame or catch radius, and would benefit from having a more accurate passer at quarterback.
5. Calvin Ridley, Junior, Alabama
Underutilized at Alabama, I expect Calivn Ridley to have a better pro career than his collegiate one. Already a savvy route runner, Ridley is able to create plenty of separation coming in and out of his breaks. Not only is he a wonderful route runner, but he possess speed to burn and his a home run threat on any play. Ridley is already 24 and may not have the upside that the other prospects possess.