2020 NFL Draft Pre: Sizing Up Second-Tier WRs
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
With the NFL Draft approaching, Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher worked their NFL sources to get the inside dish on the top prospects of this historic class of wide receivers. Caplan and Mosher gave breakdowns of the upper tier of receivers in this Inside the Birds podcast, and followed up with scouting reports on the next tier in this Inside the Birds podcast. But for those who prefer their content delivered in story form, we're providing a break down of the receivers on InsideTheBirds.com. Part 2 focuses on the second tier. Read here to get Part 1.
(TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor, son of former Eagles defensive lineman Montae Reagor, plays "angry with the ball," per an NFL personnel source.).
Tee Higgins, Clemson 6-3 5/8/216/DNR (did not run at NFL Combine) Draft projection: Late First Round/Early Second (25-39) From Adam’s personnel sources: "Contested catches, just about always wins, hands, body control good. Great at attacking ball in the air, catches everything. Needs to work on releases, does not win against press despite his size. Can be taught. He needs to get stronger. Going to have some challenges right away like some of these guys who need to fill out a little." “He'll be an X for sure down the line. But needs to put on 10 pounds of mass, needs upper body strength. Not having offseason work (post-draft) will hurt him because he needs to work on releases and beating press. A lot to like...just need to be a little patient here." From Geoff’s personnel sources: “His catch-point radius is big time. It might be the best of the group. His tape is good, he just doesn’t run that well." Jalen Reagor, TCU 5-10 5/8/206/4.47 Draft projection: First Round (19-31) From Adam’s personnel sources: "Our guys loved his formal (interview at the combine). Really interesting kid. Very serious and diligent. Like that his dad played (in NFL). Had he played with a better guy throwing to him....I'd say he would never make it out of the first. Not as tall as would like and don't know what to make of his weight (at the combine). No history of him being too heavy, though. Amazing punt returner. They used a bunch of trick plays to get him some space. You'll see that up here for sure." "Physical player and won't be deterred from making the play. Watch that play against Kansas St. where he takes it away (from the DB). Love that about him. That's not something that you can always teach. You can show it to him but not every kid will get it. There are a few physical kids early like him in this draft. Difference is you can give this kid a lot of different responsibilities and he should be able to handle it. Not a hammer (burner)....will win on outside with his hands and tenacity and urgency." "Great body control, fast as hell in open space, one of the best returners. His QB was terrible, player was a little frustrated with body language because passes were so bad, so you need to find out if he understands that it's not going to always go his way. But he got open repeatedly and QB missed him." “See him as movement Z and he'll beat up small guys (CBs) since he's so strong. Can play X." From Geoff’s personnel sources: “Wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the back end (of the first round). He’s angry with the ball. Drop-off from ’19 to ’18 was a big conversation … Big return guy, but a lot of fumbles … Explosive, like a running back with the ball in his hands. He could go inside or outside if he wanted to … He’s got to have the mind-set to put it all together.” Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona St. 5-11 5/8/205/4.50 Draft projection: Top-40 (19-19) From Adam’s personnel sources: "Love this kid!! We knew about him just from watching on some weekends (last Fall). Just wish he had more than the one big year. His acceleration is perhaps best I've seen this year other than the Alabama kid (Henry Ruggs). No, he's not even close to Ruggs when you talk about speed. Just great in open space. For someone who hasn't played this position too long he's really advanced. Doesn't run every route...did do a good job of selling on some. Will return punts. Really good at it." "Yeah, not an X, really. See him as a Z or slot. Like the TCU kid (Jalen Reagor), very strong with ball in his hands though that kid is built more compact. What's also important for us is that he tracks the ball so well. It's almost hard to believe he's that good at it since he hasn't been at wide receiver as long as the other guys. Wired really well which will be important for what's ahead. If he had another year (of production), he's going in first for sure. Don't see weaknesses, per se. Just not in that first group. Surgery not a big deal. Will be good by June." "I'm sure you know this if you're talking to a lot of guys. Get him in space and he's gone. Think he played running back as a kid or something. That probably has something to do with the way he plays. Here's something you should know: Some plays that he had to wait for the ball to come down. You can see that on TV. Don't need what we get to see to understand. Think about that just for a minute: Best with RAC (run after the catch) and there were plays that he had to wait on from the QB. As for concerns? Just don't see him as a lead guy, but man he does have a chance to be REALLY good. Routes OK, not great. He's like a lot of these kids...just not going to run a ton of NFL routes. Very few of them come in right away and can run our routes. This takes time." Denzel Mims, Baylor 6-2 7/8/207/4.38 Projection: Late First Round/Early Second Round (22-36) From Adam’s personnel sources: "Probably going need to put on 10-15 pounds or so. Baylor doesn't ask their guys to run a lot of routes. So he's going to need to work on that. Love that he's long, fast, will win down field. You can work with that. Senior Bowl week gave us a pretty good glimpse of what he could be. Body control and balance very good. We're very intrigued for upside here. Could be third guy (3rd best WR from this draft) in a few years." "We've got a 2 on him. Good athletic body. Uses size real well. Want to see how he handles more physical play here (at NFL level). Good effort guy. Good interview." From Geoff’s personnel sources: “Mims is interesting, man. Another guy who has (top) play speed, release. Contested situations is average to below, route-running is adequate … but on tape his release and speed are there. He’s gonna go high. You talk guys who could go back of the first, he could be that guy. He’s getting that much buzz. Mims has risen more than anybody when I think about it. Was probably a (Round) 3 before but … definitely a top-40 guy.” Catch Mims' appearance with Mosher and Caplan on ITB TV right here:
K.J. Hamler, Penn St. 5-9/178/DNR Projection: Second Round From Adam’s personnel sources: "Like him, good returner, but small. Quick-twitch kind of guy. If he was like about 10 more pounds or so heavier and had a bigger frame, would look at him higher up. Drops are a concern. We're not talking just a few of them. Only way you can use him on the outside is keep him on the move." "Great lateral quickness and at our level, will blow right by guys on the inside. Slot only and too many drops last season. Concerned because they weren't the same type. Needs to do a better job of adjusting to throws. Sure, his QB wasn't very good. But if the ball hits his hands he has to catch it. Hit hands and not sure why he dropped it. Usually you can tell what happened...not with him. We did enjoy talking with him. Has himself together, mature kid, edgy. Would want him inside with bigger guys on outside. That would work well." From Geoff’s personnel sources: “Very interesting … high ceiling/low floor, but drops (are concern). The high point with a guy like this might be T.Y. Hilton or fall point would be (Phillip) Dorsett. School sources say he’s a 4.3 guy but he didn’t run (at the combine). His speed’s on tape, you can tell it’s there... Extremely smart. Real soft spoken, but smart. To the point where you couldn’t hear him (at the start of the interview), but once the film starts rolling he’s an A on FBI (football intelligence). Probably goes second round.” Laviska Shenault, Colorado 6-0 5/8/227/4.58 Projection: Second Round From Adam’s personnel sources: "2018 tape was best out of all them (for every WR available this draft). 2019--tape not great, injuries, seemed to lose some juice. Body strong, big frame. Decent route-runner, strong hands, good body control. In fact, pretty damn good considering how big his frame is. Core (muscle) surgery after the combine. Pulled up on 40 in Indy. Didn't look right on tape. Second (rounder) because you have to be concerned about the injuries. He can play X for sure and you can use bubbles and other plays to free him up. There's a lot to love here...injuries concerning." "He's a bitch (for CBs to cover). He's like a RB after the catch and DBs will struggle to handle him because he's so damn broad. No one like him in this or recent drafts. Gotta sort out the injury stuff." Listen to the latest Inside the Birds podcast with Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan right here: