2020 NFL Draft Pre: Sizing Up Top Wide Receivers
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 1 focuses on the top tier.
(Former Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy one of the draft's highest-rated wide receiver prospects.) Jerry Jeudy, Alabama 6-1/193/4.45 Draft Projection: Top-15 From Adam’s personnel sources: “Good interviews, very lean, route-running best by far for this year." "Best route runner at creating separation. That's very important and not easily taught.” “Nothing alarming or unusual (in terms of weaknesses). Will be challenged by harder, tougher coverage at our level because he wasn't challenged enough by defenses. Not many contested catches and didn't always win because he's not as strong. So we'll want him to get stronger.” From Geoff’s personnel sources: “He’s probably got the most twitch and separation, but a lot of uncontested drops.” “He lacks bulks … but talk about twitch, quickness, separation. He might be the top. Definitely a top-10 guy.” Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma 6-1 5/8/198/4.50 Draft Projection: Top-15 From Adam’s personnel sources: "So physical, so strong, and can get better, breaks tackles, very serious. Freakish talent. Bigger than (DeAndre) Hopkins, really good comp, close." "Best one, hands down. Knows where everyone is, knows where he's going. Smaller frame than you think but yet strong, that make sense?" From Geoff’s personnel sources: “He’d be in top 10 for me. Runs high vertically, but doesn’t miss a catch. He’s an alpha. He’s the whole package.” Henry Ruggs, Alabama 6-1 5/8/198/4.27 Draft Projection: Top-15 From Adam’s personnel sources: "RAC unbelievable. Needs work on route-running, would play him at Z if we drafted him. What I really like is he runs to daylight and knows where to go. While he does have to prove he can be the guy and was never asked to do that, he has so much explosiveness that you'll find a way to take advantage of what he's got. If he gets in open space, he's special. You'll probably have to scheme him a bit (to get open)." "Tape nothing special overall, but when you isolate some of his big plays, there aren't many guys who can do those things. Just wish he was involved more but you should know how deep [at receiver] they were last season.” "Really good FFI (functional football intelligence), good interview, energy and all that. I know there's that comp out there on (Chiefs WR Mecole) Hardman. He's bigger than him and (Chiefs WR Tyreek) Hill. “Would like to have seen him create more on his own like Jeudy, who I absolutely love. But they are two completely different players. This kid is one of the true burners we got for this draft."
From Geoff’s personnel sources: “You watch him and Jeudy together and there’s no question who’s the better route-runner (Jeudy). Ruggs is a little tight in his routes, but powerful and compact. Adds another dimension with (special) teams. His speed is real. Tough SOB. “I would take him over Jerry Jeudy, personally. Tougher-minded kid, fits our atmosphere better.” Justin Jefferson, LSU 6-1 1/4/202/4.43 Draft Projection: First Round (15-26) From Adam’s personnel sources: "Very mature kid, chip on shoulder, last guy to get scholarship in his class at LSU. 2019-slot, 2018-outside. Super smart. Good catch radius for slot. Timed speed didn't match speed. Would guess everyone you're talking to would tell you that, but man is he super smooth. Not your everyday slot. Not twitchy or explosive, but he just wins. Whoever drafts him; he's playing day one. He'll handle no offseason well." "Our coaches think he can only play inside. Long strider, but wins and is crafty. He's not really fast but moves better than you think. Slots are not long like him and their steps are short and a bit choppy in order to create space. Just different than you’re used to seeing inside. Want to see him get stronger." "2018 outside, rarely won even if you tried to help him just from what we observed. Hard to win for him on outside, which is why if he goes as early he'll play inside. He'll get it done at our level because he knows what he's doing. Love that he played in a Pro offense. Will help him matriculate fast. Just got to understand what you're getting here (positionally speaking)." From Geoff’s personnel sources: “He’s interesting. Played slot this year but played outside last year. If you go back and look, he was a pretty productive guy. Primary slot, but I still think he can win outside. He has 33-inch arms -- but definitely better underneath. You’ve got to have a plan for him. I can see him being able to play outside, but he’s an inside-outside flex.”