I went through and scouted many NFL Draft wide receiver prospects for this cycle. Each player I studied in-depth and really explored their potential abilities. However, the grades more so reflect where each prospect is now based on their current ability. In the event of a tie, I insert my opinions on who I would prefer over others based on upside and their chances of improving in those abilities.

I decided to break this into three parts based on the three basic types of wide receivers; the “X,” or the number one receiver, the “Z,” or the number two receiver, and the slot receiver.

A little bit about my grades and how to read them:

87 and over is considered a first-round grade. After that, anyone from 86-80 is considered a day two grade. 79 and under is considered a day three grade.

The “Z” receiver is oftentimes the number two option in the offense – someone who lacks some sort of trait or has a lack of physical ability to be the number one. Here are my “Z” receiver rankings:

Here are my overall grades and rankings for the wide receiver position:

  1. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (87)
  2. Rashod Bateman, Minnesota (83)
  3. Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (82)
  4. Frank Darby, Arizona State (81)
  5. Jhamon Ausbon, Texas A&M (81)
  6. Dynami Brown, North Carolina (80)
  7. Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (79)
  8. Shi Smith, South Carolina (78)
  9. Tamorrion Terry, Florida State (77)
  10. Terrace Marshall, LSU (76)
  11. Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State (75)
  12. Warren Jackson, Colorado State (75)
  13. Nico Collins, Michigan (75)
  14. Ben Skowronek, Notre Dame (73)
  15. Simi Fehoko, Stanford (73)
  16. Eli Stove, Auburn (72)
  17. Jalen Camp, Georgia Tech (71)
  18. Damon Hazelton, Missouri (67)

Here are my notes on the “Z” receiver rankings:

  • Frank Darby was placed ahead of Jhamon Ausbon due to Darby’s explosive ability and wingspan. I think that Ausbon is a little bit more refined but limited in his upside. With the athleticism that Darby displays, his underdog mentality, and his passion and craft for the game, I like Darby over Ausbon.
  • If I had to point to one man who becomes significantly better than his grade on this list, I’m putting my money on Shi Smith. The South Carolina product is an explosive mismatch who was excellent in space as the X receiver in the Gamecocks offense. However, his explosive ability lacks straight-line speed which is why he projects better as a Z at the next level. His catch radius is incredible, and if he learns to absorb contact while making the catch, I think Smith has tremendous upside at the next level.
  • The last guy I want to make sure I mention is Jalen Camp, who tested athletically as one of the best receivers to enter the NFL over the last 30 years. According to MathBomb’s Relative Athletic Score, Camp tested 30th all-time – these going back to the 1990s. Camp is very raw technically and didn’t have a solid quarterback talent throwing to him at Georgia Tech. This has limited his development tremendously. If he can find a team that’s patient with him and lets him stay around on special teams, he has the work ethic and drives to become a special late-blooming talent.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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