I think the Bears would jump all over the top wide receiver prospect in the class if they have the ability to obtain him. Kevin White has been a bust thus far, while Cameron Meredith's long-term status is unclear because of the brutal injury he suffered in the preseason. The Bears need to give Mitchell Trubisky a viable No. 1 receiver.
Rd. 1, Pk. 15
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Terrelle Pryor was a major free agent bust signing, but the good news for the Redskins is that they obtained him for just one year. They can try to find another No. 1 receiver this upcoming offseason.
Courtland Sutton would be a nice option for the Redskins, as he has improved his stock tremendously this year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 20
Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
The Cowboys could use another threat in the receiving corps, and they've shown that they're willing to take chances on troubled players. Antonio Callway has some major off-the-field issues, but some team could give him a shot in the second round.
This is the Rams' pick that Tennessee received in the trade back from No. 1 to No. 15 in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Titans need a No. 1 wide receiver for Marcus Mariota, and Williams is a great fit. General manager Jon Robinson was with Tampa Bay in 2014 when they took Mike Evans with the seventh pick. Williams is remarkably similar to Evans. In that same draft, Robinson and the Bucs took Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Round 2. This is a deep tight end class, so I think Robinson would lean toward Williams. O.J. Howard is in the running for this pick though.
In 2016, Williams hauled in 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. It was an impressive return to college football after missing most of 2015 due to injury. In that season's opener, Williams fractured his neck when he ran into the goalpost while catching a touchdown. That ended his year.
With Sammy Watkins in the NFL, Williams took over as Clemson's lead receiver in 2014 and caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns. In his freshman season, he had 20 catches for 316 yards and three scores.
Williams is a dynamic big receiver who is tremendous at using his size and leaping ability to make catches over defensive backs. He is a phenomenal red-zone weapon and is superb on back-shoulder sideline throws. While Williams made a lot of excellent leaping grabs, he does need to cut down on some dropped passes. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder has a real combination of size and leaping ability.
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
John Ross, WR, Washington
Cincinnati needs an edge rusher to pair with Carlos Dunlap. I think the Bengals would be very happy to have Solomon Thomas here, but he's off the board. There is a lot of chatter that the Bengals love John Ross, and he would make sense as their offense.
Ross (5-11, 188) was a very productive wideout for Washington in 2016 with 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns. For the NFL, he will have to fit as a speedy, shifty slot receiver as he is very undersized. If Ross can add some weight, he could be a Brandin Cooks-type receiver. Otherwise, Ross might be more similar to Sterling Shepard or Tavon Austin. Ross has good hands, route-running, and is fast. He could be a mismatch weapon as a slot receiver.
As a sophomore (17-371-4) and freshman (16-208-1) Ross contributed some, but the junior took on a bigger role in 2016.
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Chiefs grab a third play-maker to team with Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill.
As a senior, Davis amassed 97 receptions for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. Sources say the 6-foot-3, 209-pounder is long and athletic. He has impressed evaluators with good route-running, hands, and deceptive speed. They also like his run-after-the-catch skills and size.
Davis was banged up somewhat in 2015, but still produced, totaling 90 receptions for 1,436 yards with 12 touchdowns. In 2014, Davis was excellent with 78 catches for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had quality production as a freshman as well (67-941-6).
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
Cleveland could use more weapons for its young quarterback.
Scouting sources compare Samuel to Percy Harvin and think Samuel could be a special play-maker in the NFL. The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder would probably fit better as primarily a receiver in the pros given his build. In 2016, Samuel had 74 receptions for 865 yards with seven touchdowns. On the ground, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry for 771 yards and eight scores. Samuel has explosive vertical speed and is a play-maker with the ball in his hands.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
The Rams signed Robert Woods, but he isn't enough to upgrade their weak receiving corps. Here's a legit weapon.
Jones had video game-like production playing in a college offense that inflates numbers. As a senior, he totaled 158 receptions for 1,746 yards with eight touchdowns. Jones had other quality production as a junior (98-1,099-5), sophomore (81-830-5) and freshman (62-604-5). The senior set an NCAA record for receptions, breaking the total previously held by former teammate Justin Hardy.
Jones was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl and really helped his draft stock. He showed a quick burst off the line with the speed to get separation. Jones also ran good routes and displayed excellent hands. He plays bigger than his listed numbers and has functional size for the NFL.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Buffalo needs a No. 2 wide receiver to pair with Sammy Watkins. This would be a perfect complement.
In 2016, Smith-Schuster totaled 90 receptions for 914 yards and 10 scores. He was completely shut down in the 2016 season opener by Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick, two future NFL cornerbacks. In 2015, Smith-Schuster took over as the No. 1 receiver with Nelson Agholor in the NFL and was excellent with 89 receptions for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder had an impressive freshman season in 2014, totaling 54 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns.
For the NFL, Smith-Schuster is more of a possession receiver, but he runs good routes and has size, generally quality hands, yards-after-the-catch skills, and enough quickness to produce in the short to intermediate part of the field. He is good at winning 50-50 passes and should be valuable in the red zone. Smith-Schuster could be a quality starter quickly in his NFL career, but may never become an elite No. 1 receiver as a pro.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
The Cardinals cut Michael Floyd, John Brown is in the last year of his contract, and Larry Fitzgerald is aging. Thus, Arizona could target some receiver help.
Dupre totaled 41 receptions for 593 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, but LSU's receivers were generally held back by the program's quarterback play. In 2015, Dupre had 43 receptions for 698 yards and six touchdowns despite poor quarterback play in a ground-based scheme. As a freshman in 2014, he recorded 14 catches for 318 yards for five scores. Dupre (6-2, 196) has a lot of potential and could have produced more if he had played in a passing offense.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
The Ravens could grab a receiving upgrade for Joe Flacco.
In 2016, Brown had just 32 receptions for 402 yards, but there were seven touchdowns among those catches. The 6-foot-2, 222-pounder racked up four scores against Oklahoma and victimized Jordan Thomas. Brown had a lot of talent to break out in 2017, but he decided to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
The Titans could use multiple receiver upgrades.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Kupp was massively productive during his collegiate career. He combines quickness, toughness, excellent route-running and great hands. The senior totaled 91 receptions for 1,297 yards with 12 touchdowns on the year. He had huge seasons as a junior (114-1,642-19), sophomore (104-1,431-16) and freshman (93-1,691-21). Kupp is a natural football player.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
The Bucs grab a speed receiver to team with Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.
Gibson notched 43 receptions for 951 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. Sources say that Gibson has some real speed to him, but isn't the biggest of receivers and needs to improve his route-running. That latter point was an issue for the Bears' 2015 first-round pick, Kevin White, coming out West Virginia because of the Mountaineers' spread offense. Some sources think Gibson (5-11, 191) should've returned for his senior year to improve on that before going pro.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
Philadelphia could use more long-term receiving talent and has shown interest in Godwin.
Godwin had an electric end to the 2016 season with a tremendous Rose Bowl performance against USC. He made nine catches for 187 yards with two touchdowns - both scores came against Trojans cornerback Adoree' Jackson. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Godwin is a smooth receiver who has some quickness while not being undersized. The junior totaled 59 receptions for 982 yards with 11 touchdowns in 2016 and decided to skip his senior year on those numbers. After a blazing fast 40 time at the combine, Godwin should end up being a second-day pick.
The Saints grab a receiver to help replace Brandin Cooks.
Stewart (5-11, 204) is a sleeper receiver who could be a nice value pick. He totaled 54 receptions for 864 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. Stewart is tough recevier with functional speed. Teams are grading Stewart as a late second-round to early third-round pick.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Chad Hansen, WR, California
The Bears could use more wide receiver talent for their young quarterback.
Hansen (6-2, 202) was a wide receiver who impressed evaluators in 2016. California quarterback Davis Webb has second-day potential for the 2017 NFL Draft, and Hansen was his No. 1 receiver. In 2016, Hansen had 92 receptions for 1,249 yards with 11 touchdowns. It was a huge jump in production as Hansen made 19 catches for 249 yards and a score as a sophomore. Hansen has good size, but isn't the most explosive receiver. He could be a mid-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Chad Williams, WR, Grambling
The Redskins could use some receiver depth as Terrelle Pryor only signed a 1-year contract. They've also shown interest in Williams.
Williams (6-0, 204) had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl and flashed some speed to push defenses vertically. In 2016, he totaled 89 receptions for 1,334 yards with 10 touchdowns. Williams also had a strong junior season with 64 receptions for 1,012 yards with 11 touchdowns.
Williams could be a sleeper prospect who ends up being a nice value pick. There are sources who are impressed with him.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Travin Dural, WR, LSU
The Panthers grab some wide receiver depth.
Sources say that Dural had early round potential before a torn hamstring injury. Perhaps he will recover his speed and suddenness after getting further from the injury. In 2016, Dural had 28 receptions for 280 yards with one touchdown. He totaled 28 receptions for 533 yards and three touchdowns in 2015, but also had two long touchdowns against Mississippi State called back on penalties. Even with inconsistent quarterback play in 2014, Dural was one of the SEC's breakout performers. He averaged 21 yards per catch with 37 receptions for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.
The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder plays larger than his size, yet has the quickness to make an impact downfield. Dural had the potential to produce more over his career, but LSU had awful quarterback play and kept the ball on the ground a lot.
The Broncos could use receiving competition and a speedy slot candidate.
Westbrook was a clutch receiver for Oklahoma in 2016 with 80 receptions for 1,524 yards with 17 touchdowns. The 6-foot, 178-pounder is very slight for the NFL and needs to add weight in order to hold up. He could fit as a speedy slot receiver. As a junior, Westbrook had 46 catches for 743 yards and four scores.
The Steelers could use some wide receiver depth and have shown interest in Reynolds.
Reynolds totaled 61 receptions for 1,039 yards and 12 scores in 2016. He was a reliable receiver for the Aggies. Reynolds (6-2, 187) put together a quality week at the Senior Bowl, too. He showed the ability to get some late separation and is excellent on 50-50 contested catches. In 2015, Reynolds caught 51 passes for 907 yards and five touchdowns. He had a quality 2014 season with 52 receptions for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
The Eagles could take multiple wide receivers from this class as there is good mid-round depth.
Ford totaled 79 receptions for 1,094 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder had a breakout sophomore season with 75 receptions for 1,156 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also contributed as a freshman with 56 catches for 709 yards and six scores.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Damore'ea Stringefellow, WR, Ole Miss
The Rams grab more receiving talent for Jared Goff.
In 2016, Stringefellow totaled 46 receptions for 716 yards with six touchdowns. As a sophomore (36-503-5) and freshman (20-259-1) Stringefellow contributed behind Treadwell and Evan Engram. Stringefellow (6-2, 219) has a special combination of size and speed. He likely would have benefited by returning for his senior year to produce more as the No. 1 target before going pro. Stringefellow has some off-the-field issues, too, which prevented him from working out at the combine. Team sources say that Stringefellow has the skill set of a No. 1 receiver, but his off-the-field issues really sink his draft stock well into Day 3 on team's draft boards.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
K.D. Cannon, WR, Baylor
The Ravens could use a couple of receivers after losing Steve Smith to retirement.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee
The Bills add more wide receiver depth.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State
The Falcons go with the best player available and add some wide receiver competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
The Browns grab more receiving competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Deangelo Yancey, WR, Purdue
The Bengals could target multiple receivers in the 2017 NFL Draft and have shown interest in Yancey.
The Bears could use a play-maker and a scoring weapon for Mitch Trubisky. We have a long way to go before the 2018 NFL Draft, and right now, there isn't a clear-cut top wide receiver. I've heard scouts gush over Christian Kirk, while others have soured on him. Also, some scouts haven't been as enthusiastic about Calvin Ridley as the media is. I know some scouts who love the skill set and potential of Equanimeous St. Brown, but Notre Dame's quarterback play is hurting him, and some think of him as a second-day pick. I think of the receivers, Ridley might be the safest projection to go first from the group. <br> <br>
Ridley has 44 catches for 584 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. He totaled 82 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown against Florida State and its NFL-level secondary. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder Ridley is capable of producing a lot more, but Alabama's ground-based offense and running quarterback limit his opportunities. If Ridley were playing at a school like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or pretty much any Big XII school, his production would be off the charts. Ridley has quality height, speed and upside for the NFL. He does have a thinner frame though, and will need to add weight. <br> <br>
In 2016, Ridley made 72 catches for 769 yards with seven touchdowns. He had a tremendous freshman season for the Crimson Tide as the replacement for Amari Cooper. Ridley was very effective in that role with 89 receptions for 1,045 yards with seven touchdowns. He finished the 2015 season with impressive performances against Florida and Michigan State to help push Alabama to the National Championship.
The Bears could use a play-maker and a scoring weapon for Mitch Trubisky. We have a long ways to go before the 2018 NFL Draft, but right now, I've heard more positive buzz on Christian Kirk than any other receiver. Also, some scouts haven't been as enthusiastic on Calvin Ridley as the media is. Scouts love the skill set and potential of Equanimeous St. Brown, but Notre Dame's quarterback play is hurting him. Thus right now, I think Kirk is the top wide receiver prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
Kirk has 27 catches for 316 yards and five touchdowns in 2017. He also has produced some big kick and punt returns. Kirk is seeing a lot of double coverage his direction. <br> <br>
Kirk played well in 2016 despite inconsistent quarterback play from the Aggies. He had 83 receptions for 928 yards with nine touchdowns while splitting targets with wideouts like Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones. Kirk is a fast, explosive play-maker. Some scouting sources have said their nickname for Kirk is "Baby Beckham" in reference to Odell Beckham Jr. <br> <br>
Kirk (5-11, 200) had an outstanding freshman debut for Texas A&M and earned playing time over more veteran receivers who had previously produced for the Aggies. In 2015, Kirk caught 80 passes for 1,009 yards with seven touchdowns. He averaged only 19.3 yards per kick return, but averaged 24.4 yards per punt returns and took two for touchdowns.
Jacksonville has Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson entering free agency, and after Dave Caldwell vastly overpaid Allen Hurns, the Jaguars may only re-sign one of them. Considering Robinson's frustrations with Blake Bortles, I wouldn't be surprised if Robinson signs a 1-year "prove it" deal elsewhere and hopes to cash in on a big contract a year later. If the Jaguars lose one of Robinson or Lee, they are going to need another receiver for their offense. <br> <br>
Thus far in 2017, Sutton has 37 catches for 570 yards with nine touchdowns. He totaled 76 receptions in 2016 for 1,246 yards - a 16.5-yard average - with 10 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions. <br> <br>
Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them in 2016. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Docton, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars grab some receiving talent because Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson are both entering free agency.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Washington can stretch teams vertically with his speed. Some team sources told me they graded him as a mid-rounder. Washington has a running back-like build and is not really twitchy. He is still deceptively fast, but that is speed he builds up rather than quick explosiveness. They say that Washington has good hands, but doesn't really make players miss after the catch. One team source said they graded Washington as a late fourth-rounder. <br> <br>
In 2017, Washington has 52 receptions for 1,133 yards and nine touchdowns. He made 71 receptions for 1,380 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. As a sophomore, he snagged 53 passes for 1,087 yards with 10 scores.
Laquon Treadwell has continued to underwhelming in his second season. The Vikings could use a true No. 1 wide receiver to go with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.<br> <br>
St. Brown has 20 receptions for 253 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. His production and opportunities are getting killed by the lack passing talent with Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush. St. Brown also sees lots of double teams. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder had a quality 2016 season with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns with DeShone Kizer at quarterback. <br> <br>
Scouts who did advance work on the 2018 class told me they were really intrigued with St. Brown. They say he is a super-polished route runner with tremendous speed, athletic ability, body control, and hands. They still think that St. Brown could be a first-rounder even though he won't have significant production this season thanks to Wimbush playing quarterback. Other scouts aren't as high on St. Brown and grade him on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.