2016 NFL Draft: Top 5 WRs
For one of the most intriguing position groups on the gridiron year after year, things will be no different in the green room come April 28. Here is a look at my top five wideouts as well as the round they will end up being taken in.
1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss—Projected Round: 1
Treadwell is the comfortable favorite to be the first wide receiver taken in this year’s draft due in large part to his strong build, standing at 6-foot-2, 221 lbs. He totaled 82 catches for 1153 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final year with the Rebels, most of his damage coming after the catch because he has the strength to break some tackles in the secondary. Treadwell lacks elite speed or agility, running a modest 4.65 40-yard-dash at his pro day, so expect him to start as a No. 2 receiver and possibly fight his way into the top tier of receivers later on in his career. Treadwell is a fantastic run blocker and most draft boards have him going in the later stages of the first round, but a team like the New York Giants or Chicago may be willing to take a risk in the top 15.
2. Corey Coleman, Baylor---Projected Round: 2
Similar to Treadwell, Coleman lacks NFL explosiveness off the line of scrimmage and he only ran four routes in college in the simplistic Baylor offensive system. Questions linger about his sure handedness as well, but he did rack up 74 catches for 1363 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015. Coleman’s biggest threat is his vertical route running, racking up huge chunks of yards during the Bryce Petty-led gun slinging offense of 2014. Coleman will likely hear his name called early on Day 2, but don’t be surprised if he sneaks into the first round conversation.
3. Will Fuller, Notre Dame---Projected Round 3
Will Fuller is arguably the most complete receiver in this year’s class, and he is at a coin toss with Corey Coleman for the second and third picks among wide receivers. What isn’t debatable is his speed, turning in a 4.35 40 time and proving his explosiveness as a deep threat at the combine. Concerns include his slight build (6’0”, 186 lbs.) and his susceptibility for dropped passes, but we’ve seen similar-style players come in and succeed at the highest level (e.g. Odell Beckham, Jr.). Fuller will fall to either late in the first round or early in the second.
4. Josh Doctson, TCU---Projected Round: 2-3
Doctson’s speed may not be at a level at which he can outrun NFL defensive backs, but the first team All-American could be a slick under-the-radar find for a team looking for a tough, athletic receiver. Doctson missed some time in 2015 with a wrist injury, but he’s still played a large part in the rise of the Horned Frogs under Gary Patterson’s watch. Doctson totaled 65 receptions for 1018 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 (all school records), and he’s going to be a matchup nightmare for any defensive coordinator.
5. Braxton Miller, Ohio State---Projected Round: 3
Perhaps more known for his days as a quarterback, Miller proved he can bring it from the outside as well in 2015, grabbing 26 receptions for 341 yards and three touchdowns. It was Miller’s first year as a wide receiver, and questions still remain about the development he still has to undertake and his ability to adjust to the NFL style of play. Nonetheless, Miller possesses game-changing speed and is prime to pull off an explosive play at any time, whether it be a deep ball, end around, or screen.
Tom Shively is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @t_shives.