Wilson tops Pryor’s NFL Draft Top 10 Wide Receivers

by Pat Pryor
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In the 2022 NFL Draft, we have one of the deepest wide receivers classes in recent memory. The top isn’t quite as loaded as last year’s, but there is a real opportunity to get impact players well outside of the top few. Here, I take a look at who could be the best wide receivers coming out this year. 

1. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Ohio State built the best receiver corps in the country this year, headed up by Wilson, Chris Olave, and underclassmen Jaxson Smith-Njigba. Now, two of them head to the first round. Wilson is my top receiving prospect in the NFL draft. I believe he can be the best slot receiver in the league before anyone even thinks about an extension on his rookie contract. He’s not limited to just the slot though. If he can learn to work better against press coverage, he can be an All-Pro talent. He’s a good route runner, is capable of blocking, and brings great speed. If given any space, whether it be zone or off man in the slot, he’ll get open.

He’s a great player and can be the best receiver on a team day one. For where he’ll be selected, he’d fit on the Falcons or Commanders, but would be even better on teams like the Chiefs or Packers if they trade up. 

2. Jameson Williams, Alabama

Williams transferred to Alabama after not being able to get on the field at Ohio State. He flourished in Tuscaloosa. Williams possesses elite speed, but it doesn’t stop there. He’s got ball tracking, great separation, agility, and is a quality route runner. Unfortunately, Williams tore his ACL in the National Championship game against Alabama, so he’ll have to redshirt his first year. However, I’m not basing this list off draft position, but talent. Not to mention, that injury has knocked down his draft stock and will likely land him in a better spot with an established quarterback. Jameson brings plenty of talent, and is my second best receiver in the NFL draft. He’d be a very solid deep threat for the Patriots, Cardinals, or Packers. 

3. Drake London, USC

London is yet another physical specimen in this NFL draft class. Although he suffered an ankle injury midway through the season, he still played enough to showcase his incredible talents. He has route running, he can grab 50/50 balls, he’s fast, he can do almost anything the offense asks him to. London brings a good floor with his refined traits, and his size and athleticism open up a great ceiling. He could fit in a lot of places, including Atlanta, Washington, and Minnesota. 

4. Jahan Dotson, Penn State 

Dotson has been one of my favorite prospects through the draft process. He’s a quick slot receiver who brings surprising strength for his size. He’s got experience at every wide receiver spot, and is always able to make a big play. With a better quarterback, I think he could’ve been considered the top option at wide receiver in the NFL draft. He’s a polished receiver with a very high ceiling. Letting him fall to the Packers or Chiefs will be a mistake many teams regret. 

5. Chris Olave, Ohio State

Olave is a polished route runner who brings one of the best floors in the class. He returned to school last year to stay with the aforementioned top WR corps in the nation. He manipulates the field extremely well and will immediately be a WR2 on most teams, and could become a WR1 quickly. Now, he has a chance to be the first wide receiver off the board. Adding him to the Saints or Packers could bring that needed talent boost on offense right off the bat. 

6A. Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Burks is a large and athletic receiver who brings great contested catch abilities. However, his value will be decided on how much stock teams put into recent contested catch busts. He wasn’t a consistent separator, and didn’t have much of a route tree in college, but you can’t ignore his rare blend of size, speed, strength and agility. He also has little outside experience, so a team may want to have him learn there. He may have the highest ceiling in the class, but could be a significant gamble. For how much of a question mark his future is, he’s my WR6, but you can’t get a much better WR6 than Burks. 

6B. Christian Watson, NDSU

Watson is a large and athletic playmaker who shined at the combine and Senior Bowl. If he’s able to go up against the level of competition in the NFL, he can truly be a great X receiver. Watson brings nearly a similar blend of traits that London does, although he’s not at that level. It’s far from a knock on Watson though, he still does many of those things very well. He’s got all the tools to make a great X, but there’s a question on his game translating to the NFL. Sending him to the Packers or Chiefs would make that translation go very smoothly. I’m aware that going 6A and 6B is a cop out, but there’s just no way to really establish which of these players is better. They both bring unique skill sets and could be slam dunks in the NFL Draft. 

8. Alec Pierce, Cincinnati 

The first thing that stood out to me about Pierce is his high motor. On run plays, he’ll take his defender well downfield, and continues to try to get open when the quarterback is scrambling. He’s also a great athlete, with a large frame and very solid hands. He has a very good floor and should be a starting WR2 in no time. He could quickly evolve into a good wide receiver, and one that will be had with a value pick in the middle of day 2. He’d make a good pair with AJ Brown for the Titans, or a healthy Michael Thomas for the Saints. 

9. Skyy Moore, Western Michigan

Aside from a great name, one thing that Moore often displays is his incredible twitch. He’s a quick receiver who is very shifty and plays in both the slot and out wide. He doesn’t have the creativity of Dotson or the size of Burks, knocking him down to the 9th spot, but he’s a great WR9 in such a deep year. I really can’t overstate it, you will struggle to find a class as deep as this one. Despite being my 9th receiver, he can be a legitimate starting receiver on day one, and utilize his speed and agility to get even better. He could do well on the Colts or Bills in the second round.

10. Calvin Austin III, Memphis

While Austin may be undersized, he makes up for it in talent. He’s an agile and speedy receiver who routinely demonstrates great body control. His size will be limiting in the NFL, and he’ll likely have to translate to the slot, meaning a learning period with only 52 slot snaps in 2021. However, he has the tools needed to be a quality slot receiver and a significant impact player for a later day two pick. I’d like to see him on the Cardinals or Browns. 

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