2017 NFL Draft: Top Five WRs
The emphasis on the NFL passing game has continued to increase as the years go on, placing an even greater focus on the guys catching the pigskin. At the top of this year’s receiver class are a host of young men who are all very capable of making an immediate impact on the teams they are drafted to.
1. Mike Williams, Clemson
After starting two years at Clemson and being the number one target for Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams has established himself as the best wide receiver in this draft. Williams possess elite size with an ability to go up and get a ball with his 32.5 inch vertical. He also showed off fairly good speed with his 4.54 second 40 at his pro day.
Williams would also add to a team’s running game as he proved to be a good blocker on the outside during his time at Clemson. The only real knocks against Williams are that his speed is not elite, can sometimes fumble trying to fight for extra yardage, and has some room to improve his footwork. But after watching him play in the National Championship against the best defense in college football, Williams cemented himself as the best wideout in this year’s draft.
2. John Ross, Washington
Many might not agree with John Ross being ranked at number two, but after his performance at the combine, Ross showed he has all of the skills to be an impact NFL player. For one, his record breaking 40 time shows that he can blow the top off of any defense. He also possesses a 37 inch vertical, so despite only being 5’11”, he can still go up and get the ball. This is all without mentioning the number of times fans saw Ross make ridiculous one-handed catches, showing he has the hands NFL teams are looking for.
There are some concerns with Ross, however, as he has had two knee surgeries and as mentioned earlier is not the biggest guy. If he has to make catches in traffic, that could spell trouble for the small receiver. If he is used correctly on offense though, he could safety help over the top, which will create space for other receivers on a team.
3. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
The FBS record holder for career receiving yards checks in at number three and him being here has everything to do with a lack of time seen. When he played against high level competition, such as the Big Ten, who he faced off with nine times, Davis put up solid numbers. He has the size teams look for in an NFL receiver and is a very good route runner. He also, like Williams, is a very good blocker on the outside.
Davis has no jump out trait, however, which keeps him from separating himself from the pack. He is good at many things, but exceptional at none of them. He also at times loses focus when he hears defenders creeping on him, which leads to more drops than you want to see out of a player of Davis’ caliber. Despite that, whoever drafts Davis will be getting a four-year starter that can be plugged into your offense on day one.
4. Chris Godwin, Penn State
During his time at Penn State, Chris Godwin showed an ability to consistently make big plays. In his junior year, fans saw him constantly rise above cornerbacks and bring the ball down in key situations. There were questions about his speed, but a 4.42 40 at the combine quieted that down immensely. His hands are very good and Godwin often showed good body control in his ability to make difficult catches.
Godwin has, at least when you watch him play, very few things to complain about. Ranked fourth here, it would not be surprising if Godwin ended up being the best receiver out of this draft.
5. Zay Jones, East Carolina
Another FBS record holder, this one for receptions, Jones has been slowly rising up draft boards as the buzz around him has risen. Jones is a good route runner and is good at reading a defense to find the open space. You can also be confident that if you hit Jones in the hands, he is going to come down with that ball.
Jones is only average athletically and does not have real separation speed to break away from coverage. Also, do not expect him to get past the defense after the catch as he lacks a fifth gear. Jones though, in the second or third round, represents a high production player that would work well for a team looking for a solid number two receiver.
David Arroyo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.