The Eagles enjoyed a strong year from their receiving corps in 2017. Nelson Agholor took a massive step forward while Alshon Jeffrey seized the role of a number one passing option despite playing the season with an injured shoulder. The Eagles added a veteran this offseason in Mike Wallace, solidifying a group that also has Mack Hollins in the wings waiting to prove himself.
It is doubtful at this point the Eagles target a wide receiver high, but that actually might be a good thing. This class is a bit more lackluster at the top than recent classes at the wide receiver position, and the Eagles may be better suited to grab some late round guys who could develop. Even in a weaker class, there is still some intrigue and he are the ten best wide receivers in this draft.
10. Daesean Hamilton, Penn State
After many years being an integral part of the Penn State offense, Daesean Hamilton is finally onto the NFL. At 6’1” and a bit over 200 pounds, Hamilton only has an average build and is not the best athlete. However, he makes up for it with a refined technical skill set and impressive toughness. Hamilton is a polished route runner who has no fear making catches in traffic or going over the middle. He will be a great option in the slot at the NFL level.
Key Stat: Almost 80% of his catches in 2017 went for first downs (Per NFL.com)
NFL Comparison: Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles
9. Antonio Callaway, Florida
Antonio Callaway missed the entire 2017 season after involvement with a credit card fraud scandal at the University of Florida. Unfortunately it was not his first time running into trouble while at college. He had gotten into hot water with some drug related incidents and was implicated in a sexual assault case a few years ago but was later cleared due to him saying, in court, he was too high to participate in any other activities. Needless to say, there is some well documented baggage with Callaway but that will not stop NFL teams from going after his talent. Callaway is a very impressive athlete and runs crisp, precise routes. He also plays well above the rim despite only being 5’10”. Teams will need to do their homework but Callaway has a load of potential if he can keep himself out of trouble going forward.
Key Stat: Accounted for 25% of Florida’s receiving yardage in 2016
NFL Comparison: Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
8. DJ Chark, LSU
LSU is basically purgatory for pass catchers considering they haven’t fielded a decent quarterback, seemingly, in this decade. However, the school will still attract great athletes at the wide receiver positions and that’s how you get prospects like DJ Chark. Chark checks a lot of boxes with his nearly 6’3” frame and an absurd combine that featured a 4.32 40 yard dash, a 40 inch vertical and a 129 inch broad jump. Chark could add some weight to his frame but there is no doubt he is an incredibly gifted player. His lack of bulk tends to hurt him against corners who are unafraid of his speed and willing to press him, but there is a lot his speed was able to accomplish in college. He needs to refine his routes a bit more since pure athleticism won’t be enough to get by in the NFL. However, he does bring desired toughness to the position that, paired with his athletic ability, will make him very enticing for a lot of teams. God knows what he could do with his talents once he has an NFL level quarterback throwing to him.
Key Stat: 10 Career Touchdowns despite 86 Career Touches (Per NFL.com)
NFL Comparison: Robbie Anderson, New York Jets
7. Michael Gallup, Colorado State
After spending the first two years of his college career at the community college level, Michael Gallup burst onto the scene with the Rams. At 6’1” and 205 pounds, Gallup has a solid frame that he uses well as a receiver. He is a physical player with advanced technique and solid athleticism to boot. He is dependable catching the football and runs with a chip on his shoulder after the catch. Gallup is the classic case of the “jack of all trades, ace of none” at the position but his well rounded game should translate to a productive NFL career.
Key Stats: 176 Catches in two years at CSU
NFL Comparison: Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
6. Anthony Miller, Memphis
With 191 catches and 32 touchdowns over the last two years; it is pretty fair to say that few receivers have been as productive at the college level than Anthony Miller in recent years. The 5’11”, 200 pound senior played an integral part in Memphis’ 18 wins in the last two seasons and he is poised to be a big part of an NFL team. Miller is a tough player with incredibly advanced route running ability. He is very savvy and has speed to threaten down the field. As an older prospect with some injury history, teams will be wary of Miller as a top prospect; but there is no doubt that a healthy Anthony Miller can help an NFL team as a slot or outside receiver almost immediately.
Key Stat: 16% of his catches since 2016 went for touchdowns.
NFL Comparison: Kendall Wright, Chicago Bears
5. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Christian Kirk was a star the moment he stepped on the field for the Aggies. Not only did he kick his career off with a thousand yard season; he made a major impact as a returner as well. Kirk did not measure or test well, but the 5’10”, 200 pounder has plenty of tape outrunning SEC athletes for me not to be worried about his speed. Kirk has great vision with the ball in his hands and has running back toughness, making him a dangerous player after the catch. Teams will be surprised how big he plays catching the ball in traffic, but he is not the type to posterize defenders with an impressive vertical. Kirk seems like a very good slot option in the NFL with potential to develop into an outside receiver and his added special teams ability will make him hard to pass up in the first two rounds of the draft.
Key Stat: 7 Return touchdowns in three years.
NFL Comparison: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
4. Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is one of the more polarizing prospects this year. The Alabama product was putting up numbers the moment he took the field for the Tide, but questions about his age and athletic ability have tamped down some of the hype. At six foot and not even 190 pounds, Ridley did not exactly blow people away at the combine. However, he is an incredibly advanced route runner and produced despite being in a run heavy Alabama offense. His lack of size made him easy to bully for more physical corners who could initiate contact at the line. While Ridley has good vision with the ball, he has little ability to fight through contact at his size. Ridley is very much an “on the ground” type of player who will thrive getting open as a skilled route runner but won’t provide much in the way of a red zone threat. Ridley will turn 24 during his rookie year and his advanced age definitely skews how he will be evaluated. However, teams will like how pro-ready he is, even if he is already maxed out as a player.
Key Stats: Broke Alabama’s freshman receiving record.
NFL Comparison: Pierre Garcon, San Fransisco 49ers
3. DJ Moore, Maryland
DJ Moore is basically the inverse prospect of Calvin Ridley. While Ridley was older, less athletic but more advanced a prospect; Moore is younger (youngest receiver in the class) and incredibly athletic, but is a much more raw prospect. Moore had an insane amount of Maryland’s production in 2017 but the team basically force fed him the ball due to quarterback deficiencies. Moore saw lot of catches on screens, drags and slants but made the most of his targets; using his athletic ability to pick up yards after the catch. He is a bit of project, but it is hard not to love a highly productive, athletic and young prospect. Moore has the highest ceiling of any receiver in this class.
Key Stat: Had over half of Maryland’s receiving yards in 2017
NFL Comparison: Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
2. James Washington, Oklahoma State
James Washington might be the official “my guy” of the 2017 class. Other draft folks seem not to be sold on him, and that’s fine, but he does a lot of key things well. While he did not have a great combine and measures in a bit short at 5’11”, he has been dominating college football for the last three years. Not only has he scored 33 touchdowns through the air during that time, but he averaged over 20 yards per catch in that three year span as well. Washington was highly explosive at Oklahoma State and made Mason Rudolph look a lot better than he was. Washington, despite being on the short end, played with a “my ball mentality”. He dominated a lot of cornerbacks at the catch point and ran through, past and over a lot more with the ball in his hands. Oklahoma State used him primarily as a vertical threat, but that is because he was so damn good at it. Teams will get caught up in the measurables, likely underrating Washington; but whoever drafts him is getting one hell of a competitor.
Key Stat: Averaged 20.2 Yards per catch over his last 198 receptions.
NFL Comparison: Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
1. Courtland Sutton, SMU
Courtland Sutton has put some great tape out there over the last two years but he cemented his status, for me, as the draft’s top receiver after he blew up at the combine. Not only does he measure up well at over 6’3” and 218 pounds with long arms and big hands; but Sutton tested incredibly well. A 4.54 40 yard dash is great for his size and he killed the agility drills with a mind-blowing 6.57 second three-cone. Sutton was the key player in the SMU offense over the last three years and dominated the competition with his size, physicality and athleticism. He needs to improve as a route runner, but he is a well rounded player who can run away from defenders after the catch, go up in traffic to make plays in tight spaces and get open deep down the field. On top of that, Sutton is notably a player of very high character. Coming from a smaller school might hurt Sutton’s draft position; but it would not shock me to see him be the most productive player from this class almost right off the bat.
Key Stat: Averaged over 16 yards per catch in the last two years.
NFL comparison: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Your turn: Who does your top 10 look like?