Who are the wide receivers who’ll matter in the 2020 NFL Draft, and what’s the college perspective on all of the top prospects?
2020 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Rankings
The last four years have been a big nothing-burger for highly drafted wide receivers.
There wasn’t a lot of sizzle in last year’s draft – the first receiver off the board was Hollywood Brown to Baltimore with the 25th pick – and DJ Moore was the first one taken with the 24th overall pick to Carolina in 2018. They’re fine, but receiver wasn’t really a thing over the last two years.
Corey Davis, Mike Williams, John Ross. Those three went in the top nine overall of the 2017 draft – the value came later on, at least a little bit – and Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell were first rounders in 2016. Michael Thomas, though, went in the second round.
This year should make up for the ugh.
It’s one of the best receiver drafts in a long, long time going deep with a lot of speed, a lot of value, and a whole lot of high-end talent up top to get fired up over.
From the college perspective, here are the top wide receivers in your 2020 NFL Draft, starting with the ones who’ll be in the mix, and then diving into the five who’ll actually matter over the next ten years of the pro football world.
15. Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
Size: 6-1, 206
The Good: A physical powerhouse – even though he doesn’t have the size of some of the other top targets in the draft – he battles for everything that comes his way. He was fantastic over the last three seasons with 32 touchdown grabs, but it was the last two years that took him to a whole other level with 164 catches for almost 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns.
The Not-So-Good: There’s little flash to his style. He averaged over 15 yards per catch and made his share of deep plays, but he’s not going to blow past anyone. Yeah, he’s got power and pop, but he doesn’t have the big body type to do it on a regular basis at the next level.
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Surround him with speed and use him as an ultra-reliable playmaker on midrange plays and around the goal line. He’s not going to have any problems battling for anything that comes his way, and he’ll do everything he needs to for a play.
Projected Round: Third
14. Van Jefferson, Florida
Size: 6-1, 200
The Good: Ultra-reliable for a passing game that wasn’t exactly the Fun ‘n’ Gun days, he spread out 175 catches over his four years with 16 touchdowns as a terrific midrange man. He battles for plays, will always be where he needs to be, and he can work just about anywhere in any style.
The Not-So-Good: The okay numbers in his four seasons weren’t necessarily his fault, but he never did bust out and do anything amazing. He’s not a deep threat and will be seen mostly as a possession receiver.
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Not everyone can be DeAndre Hopkins. Jefferson will fall outside of the top 100 because there’s no flash, but the coaching staff and starting quarterback who get him will fall in mad, deep love. He’s a professional route-running wide receiver who’ll fit in right away as a No. 3 guy you don’t have to worry about.
Projected Round: Fourth
CFN in 60: 2020 1st Overall Draft Pick Odds
13. KJ Hamler, Penn State
Size: 5-9, 178
The Good: A fun playmaker who seemed to always do something fun whenever he gets the ball in his hands. Hiccup-quick with elite deep speed, he’s a great fit for the modern NFL averaging 17 yards per catch in college on his 98 grabs and 13 scores.
The Not-So-Good: He’ll get erased from a play when anyone applies a pop. He’s a wispy player who’s just an okay pass catcher and offers nothing in the way of power or blast.
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There are way too many dangerous and athletic traits not to get him on the field in some way. Use him as a return man, and running back, a deep threat, or anything else that can get the ball in his hands on the move.
Projected Round: Second
12. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
Size: 6-4, 238
The Good: The darling of the post-season scouting circuit, he’s a good veteran with incredible size, rising skills, and a 4.42 40 to go along with all of his upside and explosion. His athleticism is off the charts for a player with his frame, and he learned how to use it last year with 66 catches for well over 1,000 yards and 13 scores. He’ll hit, too, as a terrific factor for the running game.
The Not-So-Good: For all of his tools and traits, he’s a relatively straight-forward receiver. He’s a good route runner, but he’s not as open as he should be considering his tremendous speed. He’ll have to battle for pass after pass at the next level against far tougher defensive backs than he usually saw in college.
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: It’ll be interesting to see what the draft market thinks about him. He’s got so many good parts to his game that are missing from the rest of the receivers in this draft that he might just slip into the late first round. The quarterback who gets to throw his way will be ecstatic.
Projected Round: Third
11. Denzel Mims, Baylor
Size: 6-3, 207
The Good: 6-3 wide receiver prospects who run a 4.38 tend to get a whole lot of love. He’s got all the NFL upside and tools to possibly slip into the first round as a mismatch nightmare of a deep threat. He caught 182 passes for 2,901 yards and 28 touchdowns over the last three seasons – he’s a durable veteran.
The Not-So-Good: For all he brings, he’s just an okay deep threat once he gets shoved off his stride, He was able to blow up at times in the wide open Big 12, but he doesn’t play up to his body type physical-wise, and he might not necessarily be a full route tree guy at the next level.
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: You give a long, long look to anyone with his combination of size, length and speed. There’s a chance he could be just scratching the surface, and at the absolute worst, he’s going to be a killer of a second or third option if he gets a quarterback with a live arm throwing his way.
Projected Round: Second