The NFL Draft is just around the corner and there are plenty of anonymous scout quotes and rumors floating around NFL media as teams try to jockey for trades. This draft is also strange in that teams couldn’t have individual workouts with players, instead, needing to do interviews remotely due to coronavirus. But, in the end, teams will have their draft boards and likely do just as well as they would in a normal year.
Below, I’ll take us through the top wide receivers in the draft and where I believe they’ll go and why.
CeeDee Lamb, Las Vegas Raiders, 12th overall
There seems to be a consensus that Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb are the two best receivers in the draft, but after that, there isn’t much consensus as to who will choose whom. Lamb is my favorite receiver of the group and he appears to be Mike Mayock’s as well. The question is, will he be there at 12th overall?
With the ninth pick, the Jaguars could go in many directions, defensive line, cornerback, quarterback and receiver are just some of the positions mocked to the team. They also have Yannick Ngakoue on the trade block, which could come into play for the draft as well. For now, I think they end up going with a defensive lineman, but I don’t have a strong feeling either way. But, the Jets are the most likely to grab a receiver before the Raiders at 11th overall. They could easily go with Jeudy or Lamb, but their true need is at offensive line, as receiver is much deeper than OL in the draft. I expect them to grab their lineman and then grab a receiver at 48th. So the Raiders could have their choice of receivers and I think they go with Lamb.
Jerry Jeudy, San Francisco 49ers, 13th overall
Jeudy is ready to play in the NFL now and the 49ers need someone to take Emmanuel Sanders’ role now that he’s in New Orleans. If he falls to them, they would likely feel lucky and grab him up post haste. A great route runner with refined skills across the board, Jeudy would be a big part of the 49ers run to return to the Super Bowl.
Henry Ruggs, Denver Broncos, 15th overall
Ruggs is the third receiver off the board on the majority of mock drafts floating around the internet and it seems more than likely the will be drafted in the Top-4. In Peter King’s latest article, he writes, “craziest rumor of the first round: Chiefs want to trade up for Henry Ruggs if he falls into the twenties.” Just imagine Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Ruggs, all players who ran a 40 time under 4.33 seconds. Of course, Ruggs is likely to get drafted before he gets into the 20th pick or higher and the Broncos are a team who has the need. The tandem of Courtland Sutton and Ruggs could be dynamic.
Justin Jefferson, Philadelphia Eagles, 21st overall
Many mock drafters are sending Jefferson to the Eagles and it makes plenty of sense. The Eagles can’t seem to keep a receiver healthy and haven’t had a true No. 1 receiver since Terrell Owens. Jefferson could end up going ahead of Ruggs, but I think the Broncos want that speed element that Ruggs brings to every touch paired with Sutton’s deep receiving ability. Jefferson would be a great get by the Eagles at this point in the draft and they have a good chance of landing him.
Denzel Mims, Minnesota Vikings, 25th overall
I don’t have a good feel for what the Vikings end up doing with their two first round picks, but there is little doubt that Stefon Diggs absence leaves a big hole in their passing game. Adam Thielen is still there and we’ll likely see tight end Irv Smith get more work, but an upgrade at No. 2 receiver would go a long way toward keeping the team in playoff contention. If a player like Jefferson or Ruggs were to fall to them, I’d expect them to grab him with their 22nd pick, but that isn’t likely and after their 25th overall pick, their next pick at 58th overall and their receiver choices will have taken a big hit. That leads me to believe they’ll go after a receiver here and Mims is my fifth receiver off the board. Brandon Aiyuk, Laviska Shenault, Michael Pittman, Jalen Reagor and Tee Higgins should all be on the radar here, but Mims would give the team an added dimension that they need.
Michael Pittman, Green Bay Packers, 30th overall
If the Vikings skip on a wide receiver in the first round, I think Mims has a good shot to go to Green Bay, but I also like Pittman’s ability to quickly get on the same page with Aaron Rodgers. He’s one of the most well-rounded players in the draft and should quickly make a contribution, which Rodgers and the Packers need badly in their passing game.
Chase Claypool, Indianapolis Colts, 34th overall
The Colts could possibly wait until the 44th pick to grab Claypool but the run on wide receivers could be hot. Claypool was a late bloomer in college and could be moved to tight end, which is a favorite position for coach Frank Reich and one where they just lost Eric Ebron. But, even if they keep Claypool as a wide receiver, he should be a mismatch out of the slot and a strong underneath receiver for Philip Rivers and his old arm. Pittman is another receiver I could see them going after if he is still on the board here. We’re in a place where wide receiver evaluation is all over the place, but still in the heart of wide receiver depth, giving teams a good chance to luck into the right pick.
Brandon Aiyuk, Miami Dolphins, 39th overall
The Dolphins might use this pick to trade down but if they don’t, early in the second round is a prime spot to grab a wide receiver. The Dolphins got a boost from Davante Parker breaking out last season but still need receivers. Aiyuk has been rising on draft boards this offseason and could end up going earlier than this, but there’s no doubt he still needs to prove himself against man coverage to be a true No. 1 in this league.
Laviska Shenault Jr., New York Jets, 43rd overall
If the Jets go with an offensive linemen in the first, they should take a wide receiver in the second. Shenault Jr. can do about everything while also having high upside. His injury history is somewhat concerning but that’s also probably why he isn’t a first-rounder in this year’s draft. He’s a value at this spot and the Jets need playmakers.
Jalen Reagor, Chicago Bears, 50th overall
The Bears are in win now mode, kind of, as they have a strong defense and are grabbing veteran pieces like Nick Foles and Jimmy Graham. With Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller in tow, a speedy field stretcher should be a perfect addition to the offense.