- Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
- Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans
- Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Board
of Selectors since 1999
INDIANAPOLIS — When it comes to the highly anticipated, much-hyped, possibly historic class of wide receivers who are available in the 2020 NFL draft, it might be time to defer to Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, who played his first three seasons at Alabama.
Over the last four years, at two of the best programs in the nation, Hurts has thrown 1,047 passes with 80 touchdowns to several of the best receivers on this year’s draft board. His assessment:
“They’re all dogs, great players, catch the ball, they can all run — great players.”
Or as Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said last week at the NFL combine:
“I’ve seen all these numbers about guys that are going to go in the first three rounds. Here’s what I’ll tell ya, the average over the last five years for wide receivers going in the first three rounds is 12, between 12 and 13 a year. You can easily make an argument, from a grade perspective, that there are 20, 25 of those guys out there this year. … So there’s depth throughout, and there’s quality up top.”
We polled scouts, pro personnel executives, coaches and general managers — and rolled the tape — to help us put this receivers class into tiers, showing off the elite talent at the top and good players all the way through the end of the third round. We included top traits, best fits and notable quotes for each wideout. Here’s how the bounty of pass-catchers looks right now (with a general ranking in each tier):
TIER 1 (TOP-10 TALENT)
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 193 pounds
Top trait: The total package with speed, body control and quality routes. Take a look at his six-catch, 204-yard effort against Michigan to end the season for a few of the many reasons that teams have him as the top receiver on the board — and in a tier all by himself.
Where he fits best: He has the versatility to line up outside, depending on the scheme, but plenty of offensive coaches see a slot receiver who can consistently do damage. He can challenge a defense sideline-to-sideline from the slot with his ability to create immediate separation, keeping defenders away from the ball and winning with explosiveness vertically.
What they’re saying: “He had some drops at times, but for me, he’s the top guy and there’s even a little gap after him. Not much, but a little one.” — AFC area scout
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