With the NFL Draft just over 2 months away, the countdown has officially begun for teams to start mending their weaknesses before the start of the 2022 season. If your team needs a WR this offseason, you’re in luck, because this draft class is littered with some great ones. Here’s a look at the top 10 wide receiver prospects entering this year’s Draft.
Top 10 Wide Receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft
1) Chris Olave
Height: 6-1 Weight: 189lbs 40 Time: 4.41s
Few draft boards have Chris Olave as the top receiver in this year’s draft because he doesn’t have the physical measurables of a Drake London or Treylon Burks. As we’ve seen through the emergence of Julian Edelman and Cooper Kupp over the last half decade, though, this position is as much about getting open at the right time and having natural hands as it is about having Dez Bryant-level size. No one in this draft finds soft spots in coverage better than Olave. As a great route runner who can line up both in the slot and on the perimeter, Olave’s route tree is limitless. He’s great at making himself open to the QB on broken plays, using his great spatial awareness. He’s likely going to fall to the mid-to-late first round, and if he gets drafted by a team with a steady quarterback situation, he could very well be a sleeper for Rookie of the Year.
2) Drake London
Height: 6-5 Weight: 210lbs 40 Time: 4.48s
Similar to Olave, London is a great route runner with tremendous bodily awareness. He does a great job of high pointing the ball and making in-air adjustments that are simply hard to teach. So many times USC QB Kedon Slovis would throw the ball up for grabs and rely on London to use his length and athleticism to make the play. He’s also a deceptively strong player at the position that doesn’t shy away from contact. His intelligence is highlighted against zone coverages where he’s able to manipulate soft spots in coverage. He’s not the most dynamic player in the open field, but is capable of making a move or two in the open field.
3) Garrett Wilson
Height: 6-0 Weight: 188lbs 40 Time: 4.43s
Perhaps the best pure athlete at the WR position in this class, Wilson’s highlight tape is second to none. He has a catch radius that would make Calvin Johnson proud and an ability to take any 10 yard slant to the house. He doesn’t quite have the height that other guys on this board do, but makes up for it with his length and vertical awareness. He’s also got great hands that allow him to win contested balls. Wilson can improve his route running a bit, where he has a tendency to do a little too much. If he can bring his game under control and look to play smarter not harder, his athleticism alone will make him worth it.
4) Treylon Burks
Height: 6-3 Weight: 225lbs 40 Time: 4.34s
Treylon Burks gives you the rare combination of size, speed, and physicality.His college tape as an SEC WR is reminiscent of Ja’Marr Chase from one year ago — someone you can get the ball to around the line of scrimmage and watch him take care of the rest. He makes greatin air adjustments, and rarely loses one on one battles. His size also makes him a great blocker. Burks has, however, been known to give up on routes at times. He isn’t as much of a threat without the ball when the play breaks, signaling that he doesn’t quite have the awareness of an Olave or London.
5) Jameson Williams
Height: 6-2 Weight: 189lbs 40 Time: 4.25s
The deep ball is becoming a more integral part of football with time — both the Rams and Bengals finished the season 1 and 2 in yards per play in 2021 — and no receiver in this draft class is better at it than Jameson Williams. Averaging 19.9 yards per catch this past season, Williams has the best downfield speed of any guy on this list and strong hands to complement it. His vision in the open field makes him a great special teams player as well. He’s also not afraid to be physical and showcase his strength as a runner. He hasn’t shown an ability to win contested balls at a high clip and likes to make body catches, causing many to question his hands. He also tends to rely on his speed to create space and isn’t as effective of a pass catcher on broken plays.
6) Jahan Dotson
Height: 5-11 Weight: 184lbs 40 Time: 4.33s
Despite being the only real receiver of note on a solid Penn State team, Dotson was able to put up 1,182 yards on 91 receptions in 2021. At only 5’11”, he’s one of the shorter guys in this WR class but his ability to get open in coverage and run routes to perfection catapults him up to number 6 on the board. He’s got particularly nice hands that make catching the ball look easy and great field awareness. He’s a good blocker, making him an asset on the field even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. Perhaps most impressively, he’s able to win battles in tight windows despite his size.
7) Jalen Tolbert
Height: 6-3 Weight: 195lbs 40 Time: 4.43s
There’s a bit of separation between Williams and Dotson and the rest of this field moving forward. While there’s no chance 6 WR’s go in the first round, any one of the aforementioned guys could be taken if the right team sees something. Moving down the list we get into solid 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round prospects. One of the guys that sticks out amongst this is Jalen Tolbert. Tolbert’s speed and physicality make him a threat in the open field and his ability to locate the ball in the air allows him to catch just about any kind of pass. He isn’t the best route runner, though, often relying on his own speed to get open.Coming out of Southern Alabama, his ability to create space against high caliber CB’s still remains to be seen, though his above average size and strength certainly have him on a lot of people’s radar.
8) George Pickens
Height: 6-3 Weight: 200lbs 40 Time: 4.59s
Pickens’ bodily awareness makes him a threat on contested passes. He does a great job of high pointing the ball and always knowing where he is on the field, particularly in relation to the sideline. He doesn’t have “jump off the TV” speed, but is quicker than most and able to get open. His biggest asset is definitely his ball skills especially as it pertains to his ability to win one-on-ones. The biggest concern for Pickens heading into the draft is health concerns as he had to sit out chunks of the last two seasons with an ACL injury that’s seemingly ongoing.
9) David Bell
Height: 6-2 Weight: 205lbs 40 Time: 4.51s
With 232 receptions over his career at Purdue, Bell made a name for himself as one of the best collegiate receivers in short yardage situations. His ability to line up all over the field made him a sort of swiss army knife in Jeff Brohm’s offensive scheme where he was often left to find pockets of space himself. Bell’s lateral quickness is a step or two behind a lot of the other guys on the board, limiting his ability to make plays after the catch. He also struggles to create separation sometimes, which will be even further compounded at the nex level.
10) Christian Watson
Height: 6-5 Weight: 211lbs 40 Time: 4.38s
Finally, rounding out the top 10 is NDSU receiver Christian Watson. Despite playing in the FCS, he has the clear physical traits of a Division I WR from height to hand size. In his junior season, he racked up an impressive 2,140 yards on a 20.6 yards a catch average. His size and speed make him a threat as a runner where he also had a lot of success in college. He’s great off the line of scrimmage and incredibly elusive in the open field. Given his college background, however, there are some uncertainties with Watson. He rarely faced press coverage in college and many question whether or not he’ll be able to create separation at the next level given his incredibly long strides. Moreover, he’s not a natural hands catcher and lacks a lot of the short area quickness that many of the others on the board possess.