Rookie WR Pre-draft Preview

Just some quick takes on some of the top WR’s in this year’s NFL draft, which is justifiably considered one of the deepest WR drafts in recent memory. Rankings based on the ECR from Fantasy Pros.

  1. Garrett Wilson: He is over-rated here, which is not to say he doesn’t deserve first round status. He’s a small but quick and fast WR who seems to find ways to get open, even against superior defenders (of which Ohio State didn’t play many, with a pretty cake schedule). He also can play a lot of different WR positions, which gives him immediate value. It doesn’t hurt his value to be playing alongside Chris Olave. I just don’t see Wilson as worth more than Treylon Burks…

  2. Treylon Burks: He’s a load. Small DB’s have a tough time tackling him, but bigger slower DB’s have a hard time covering him. He may not be the fastest, but he’s plenty fast enough to burn people. But he is also one of those bigger body WR’s, like an Antonio Brown or DK Metcalf, who can go over the middle without fear. He is easily a day 1 starter. He looks like an NFL receiver already. He was even a mismatch for Alabama.

  3. Drake London: One thing I like to see is a wideout who is matched with a bad QB, but can still make things happen. When London was hit in stride, he could make big things happen after the catch, but what you see is London constantly having to reach for balls, but he also gets them constantly. With London’s somewhat lanky build, is it any wonder he got hurt? There is some fight in London, which can serve him well at the next level.
    (NOTE: Good article on London’s injury:
    2022 NFL Draft: Drake London Injury Overview (Fantasy Football) | FantasyPros
    The comparisons to Alshon Jeffrey and Kenny Golladay don’t give me encouragement here, especially for dynasty. Being able to pull a good season or 2 out of London isn’t exciting. Count me out on this pick.)

  4. Jameson Williams: Speed. This is your field-stretcher, right here. The problem with field stretchers is they lose some value in PPR leagues, because they are all about the big plays. But then they have that one big game that will blow away your opponent. Repeat after me: Low floor, high ceiling.

  5. Chris Olave: He is all about fluid motion. Sure, he has good speed too, but it is all about his moves between/before speed bursts. Definitely one of the more under-rated talents. For dynasty, Olave is the kind of guy who might be good enough to give many years of productivity. but there is also a risk that he is just a merely average WR. I lean more towards the first possibility than the second, even though most of Ohio State’s games were against severely weak opponents (Akron, anyone?).

  6. George Pickens: A good, but not great WR. Pickens is the first guy I see who is totally dependent on his landing spot. Give him a good QB, and he could make some noise in fantasy. Stick him with a lesser QB, and he will be the WR you take in the 10th round and pray.

  7. Jahan Dotson: Watching his highlights, the first thing I see is hands. He’s fast and runs good routes, but his hands reaching out for balls and pulling them into his body. His big flaw is his size, at 5’10" and below 180 pounds. He can still be a good slot receiver for somebody, with WR2 upside.

  8. Christian Watson: There is an injury history here, which is concerning when you consider he played for North Dakota State. But if you watch his film, Watson absurdly dominates that weak competition, as you’d expect a good WR to do. I have heard favorable comparisons to him being better than George Pickens, and I must admit that is a strong possibility. Watson is big and fast. Add in a 4.36 40-yard dash at 6’4" and 208 pounds, and this guy is a beast you don’t want to confront. Before you scream “small school”, just remember the GOAT WR Jerry Rice played at Mississippi Valley State. Keep an eye on Watson and grab him later in your rookie drafts.

  9. Skyy Moore: Not much film footage available on Skyy, who has arguably the best WR name in NFL history. But he is another small school standout, from Western Michigan (let me guess, that’s west of Michigan?). He did ok at the combine, but not enough to put him above this ECR. He is very landing spot dependent, but he does have some potential, although most likely as a slot receiver since he is on the small side.

  10. David Bell: There’s a lot of flaws in his game. Lack of speed (although not slow), less than average separation, and not really a great contested catch guy. His upside is his downfield blocking, but that isn’t strictly the reason you get WR’s, is it? He has decent size, and seems to take on defenders well at the line. Beyond that, just not sold on his game.

Beyond this you have guys with potential, but lots of negative checkmarks. There could be some winners in this group, but picking them out is a dart throw.

HONORABLE MENTION: If you want a deep sleeper, like a 4th round pick in a rookie draft, look at Calvin Austin from Memphis. He is small (5’8" and 170 pounds) but also extremely fast (4.32 40 speed). In watching his film, when he got past the defender and caught the ball and then turned on the afterburners, it was over. Nobody would catch him. Granted, Memphis wasn’t playing top notch schools, but he has undeniable speed which translates to the NFL level. He is a nice pickup in late rounds.

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Thanks! I have to admit I did very little scouting so far. Last year, I had scouted around 30 players before the NFL draft. This year, it’s been 3 - Breece Hall, Treylon Burks and Malik Willis.

This post will be very helpful for my dynasty rookie draft strategy.

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Bump this with my edit on Drake London.

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