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 slot receiver is the newest breed of NFL receiver – really utilized effectively first by the New England Patriots with Wes Welker. Now, it’s a necessity in an NFL offense as most offenses play in three receiver sets. Slot receivers are generally quick and agile, and are mostly used as underneath targets in space.
Here are my overall slot receiver rankings and grades:
- Elijah Moore, Ole Miss (84)
- D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan (84)
- Kadarius Toney, Florida (83)
- Rondale Moore, Purdue (83)
- Amari Rodgers, Clemson (83)
- Anthony Schwartz, Auburn (80)
- Cade Johnson, South Dakota State (78)
- TuTu Atwell, Louisville (77)
- Marquez Stevenson, Houston (76)
- Jaelon Darden, North Texas (76)
- DJ Turner, Pittsburgh (75)
- Demetric Felton, UCLA (74)
- Kawaan Baker, South Alabama (67)
Here are my notes on the slot receiver rankings:
- D’Wayne Eskridge is more athletic than Elijah Moore, but Moore has the most reliable hands in the class. His ability to catch through contact and make things happen after the catch makes him a very valuable target indeed. I love Eskridge for the speed, but Moore is the better and more complete receiver.
- Between Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore, and Amari Rodgers, all three are incredibly athletic and do what they do well. I honestly wouldn’t have any problem having any of them over the other. Toney has been the most productive, and I think injuries somewhat dampen Moore’s chances as there is some uncertainty there. The same with Rodgers, but he was incredibly productive last season and had an excellent Senior Bowl week.
- DJ Turner is my sleeper in this group. Injuries really hindered Turner in his college career, but his transfer from the Maryland program to Pittsburgh really helped his NFL prospectus. I think at the very least, he carves himself a special team’s role in the league and can develop into a solid playmaker from the perimeter.