The idea started with a joke, “Brad’s next mock draft is probably just going to be 32 wide receivers.”
I decided to match a wide receiver to every NFL team. Not necessarily in the form of a first-round mock draft, but figuring out the style of wide receiver each team will be looking for and which round they may be targeting one in the NFL Draft.
Cowboys – N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Without a first-round pick, this would require Harry to fall into the second round. I think after the Combine, this will be a possibility as the NFL could value him similar to Courtland Sutton from the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys added Amari Cooper, but still lack an outside receiving presence with size. While some have compared Harry’s ceiling to that of Dez Bryant, I think his game will become more similar to Demaryius Thomas. Dynamic after the catch with some flashes yet inconsistencies down the field, Harry would provide a unique skillset to the Cowboys receiving core.
Redskins – Riley Ridley, Georgia
Looking at the Redskins current depth chart, they lack a starting-caliber Z receiver. While Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Trey Quinn are a decent enough group, they need a presence on the outside who can win in all levels.
Riley Ridley projects perfectly in that role with his combination of size and refined route running. His refinement would work well with the capabilities of quarterback Alex Smith, as Ridley does his best work in the intermediate.
Riley Ridley hits the “Dino” to perfection. Sells the corner with head and eyes, and an efficient break + drive phase. pic.twitter.com/sZF3Z7kU7I
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) October 13, 2018
Eagles – Mecole Hardman, Georgia
We’ll keep the Bulldog train rolling, as the Eagles could use a receiver with the explosiveness of Hardman.
A receiver who can stretch the field from the slot with his quickness, the Eagles are still looking for a player to fill that role since the departure of Torrey Smith.
Giants – Preston Williams, Colorado State
The Giants likely won’t target a wide receiver early in the NFL Draft because of the strength of their current depth chart. Looking at their skillsets, a developmental receiver for the outside of the offense will likely be their desired route.
Preston Williams is a physical freak with a track and field background, who has the necessary size to hold up against bigger cornerbacks. With just one year of collegiate production and some off the field issues, he will likely fall to Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
Packers – Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
Green Bay did a good job of getting younger at the wide receiver position in the 2018 NFL Draft, drafting three players with excellent size for the position. With Randall Cobb’s future with the franchise in question, they will likely look for a replacement in a similar mold in 2019. Enter Marquise Brown.
Brown is a vertical threat with his elite long speed and quickness, and is a homerun threat when given space. He plays a similar style to Randall Cobb with even more shiftiness, and would upgrade that spot for Aaron Rodgers.
I love this route from Marquise Brown. Inside stem to start, threatens space beneath the CB to widen his path, seamlessly snap back inside: pic.twitter.com/wcRXWoz5D5
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) November 24, 2018
Bears – Emanuel Hall, Missouri
Hall is a dynamic athlete with some inconsistencies to his game, but flashes of brilliance. Productive when healthy this season, he could be what the Bears hoped they were getting with Kevin White.
With young receivers Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson already in the fold, Hall would fit nicely as a complimentary piece with upside and a different skillset than already on the roster.
Vikings – Kelvin McKnight, Samford
The Vikings don’t need much addition to their receiver depth chart, as Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are one of the best duos in football. Laquon Treadwell provides size and some contested ability as a role player.
Kelvin McKnight is a late round prospect from FCS school Samford, who has upside as an electric piece in the slot. Undersized but quick, he has tore up FBS defenses with his vertical ability throughout his collegiate career.
Lions – AJ Brown, Ole Miss
With the departure of Golden Tate, the Lions will likely look into a player with a similar skillset in the 2019 NFL Draft. The closest to him? AJ Brown.
Brown mostly operates in the slot, but has a similar size and build to Tate. His ability after the catch and how he can win up the seam will remind evaluators of Tate, and the Lions will likely be looking into a wide receiver early to round out their depth chart.
49ers – JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
Even past the Bay Area connection, the 49ers need a player of JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s skillset. With the quickness of Marquise Goodwin and the route running and versatility of Dante Pettis, the missing piece to their depth chart is an outside presence with size.
Arcega-Whiteside is an elite redzone presence with his ability to box-out defensive backs and win above the rim. With that skillset not currently on the roster, expect the 49ers to target similar players in the NFL Draft.
Seahawks – Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska
Doug Baldwin is now 30 years old and has dealt with multiple injuries over the past few years. Seattle may be looking for a potential replacement in the NFL Draft, and could find one in Stanley Morgan Jr.
The Nebraska product is a refined, nuanced route runner not unlike Baldwin. His fluidity and athleticism puts his ceiling at a high-level.
Cardinals – Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech
Arizona needs to continue adding wide receiver talent for their young franchise quarterback Josh Rosen. With Christian Kirk firmly planted in their depth chart, the Cardinals could be looking to add size to compliment Kirk’s skillset.
Wesley is as long as they come, with body control and high-point potential for the next level. He can drop his hips and change direction at an outstanding rate considering his size. He could be what Arizona hoped they were getting when they signed Brice Butler this offseason.
Antoine Wesley may be a “one-year wonder,” but he has some traits that are reminiscent of Mike Evans at Texas A&M. Legit NFL prospect if he decides to declare. pic.twitter.com/EHDUj7DNPR
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) November 16, 2018
Rams – TJ Vasher, Texas Tech
Keeping it at Texas Tech, TJ Vasher has a similar skillset to Wesley, but is a but more pigeon-holed into a jump ball role in college. Los Angeles really doesn’t need much in the form of wide receivers, so they will likely be looking at the position in the later portions of the NFL Draft.
With dynamic, quick threats as the majority of their wide receiver depth chart, Los Angeles could look into Vasher as a high-point redzone threat.
Saints – Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Texas
New Orleans is pretty set at the wide receiver position, but Humphrey provides a unique skillset that they do not currently roster. A bigger-bodied slot guy who offers a ton of versatility after the catch, he can fit into the depth chart around their current pieces.
New Orleans likely won’t be looking at the position early in the NFL Draft, but Humphrey will likely be a mid round pick if he decides to enter this offseason.
Falcons – Andy Isabella, Massachusetts
Another team that already has a loaded wide receiver depth chart, Atlanta’s only “need” is a player that could replicate the short-area quickness and zone route running of Taylor Gabriel.
With players like Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley having the versatility to play all across the formation, Isabella’s reliability could make him a permanent slot fixture in Atlanta for years to come.
Panthers – Anthony Johnson, Buffalo
Carolina has come a long way with their wide receiver group with the development of Devin Funchess and drafting of DJ Moore, so they likely won’t be looking into a wide receiver until Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
Anthony Johnson is a well-rounded and athletic receiver who has route running and YAC potential. He would provide value late in the Draft, and give Carolina a different skillset than Funchess, Moore, and slot receiver Curtis Samuel.
Buccaneers – Parris Campbell, Ohio State
Tampa Bay will be looking to upgrade their defense in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft, and looking for dynamic offensive talent later on. Campbell is a space player who can rack up yards after the catch in a flash.
With his burst, Campbell could develop into a vertical threat, and eventually replace what DeSean Jackson currently offers the Buccaneers offense.
Patriots – KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State
New England has some issues defensively, and likely won’t look for a wide receiver until late in the NFL Draft. Recently when the Patriots have looked for receivers, they’ve targeted soft-handed route runners.
Johnson fits that mold perfectly, as he has arguably the best hands in the class and offers refinement as a route runner. Though he isn’t the most dynamic athlete, New England has shown to value tape over athletic testing. Johnson seemingly fits exactly what the Patriots look for.
Dolphins – Collin Johnson, Texas
Miami’s depth chart includes complimentary slot receivers and a deep threat in Kenny Stills, but lack a size presence as Davante Parker has failed to develop into a viable option. While Miami drafted Mike Gesicki to help in the redzone, another above the rim threat is needed.
Collin Johnson has an expanded catch radius because of his length and body control, and is developing into an all-around wide receiver this season at Texas. As he continues to progress as a route runner, he has WR1 upside in the NFL.
Bills – DK Metcalf, Ole Miss
The Bills badly need offensive skill talent to compliment Josh Allen at quarterback. DK Metcalf is the favorite to be WR1, and his size and athleticism give him a rare ability.
Buffalo will target receivers early, and likely in round 1 of the Draft. Metcalf’s frame and catch radius can help alleviate the accuracy concerns surrounding Allen, and he would be their top receiving target for the next 10 years.
Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf (6’4 225) stretches press coverage laterally. Hand usage striking CB’s elbow knocks hands away + swim assures clean frame. Stack CB + long speed to generate separation
Key: Timing on release to brush hands away/re-release inside as soon as CB opens hips pic.twitter.com/5Gz70AzEbE
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) May 3, 2018
Jets – Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Similar to Buffalo, the Jets need to target offensive talent early in the Draft to help out their young quarterback Sam Darnold. I believe Deebo has shown the traits of an early Day 2 selection, would could be the perfect range for the Jets to pull the trigger.
Samuel is an ideal fit to replace Jermaine Kearse in the slot, and his electrifying ability with the ball in the hands would provide some much needed juice to the Jets offense.
Steelers – Damarkus Lodge, Ole Miss
Pittsburgh selected James Washington be a vertical threat this season, but he has struggled to produce to this point. Washington entered the league a little raw, so Pittsburgh may look into a more refined vertical player in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Lodge dominates press coverage, and has otherworldly body control down the field and along the boundary. His route running is already nuanced, and his flexibility allows for smooth breaks.
Ravens – Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State
Baltimore has two nice slot threats in John Brown and Willie Snead, as well as technical-savvy Michael Crabtree. What they currently lack is a prototypical X receiver with potential, who will likely be taken early in the NFL Draft.
With Baltimore selecting Lamar Jackson, they could look to get younger at the skill positions to compliment Jackson, and Harmon’s physical profile and ball skills would fit nicely into their depth chart.
Browns – Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
Cleveland lacks size at the wide receiver position and will continue to add pieces around Baker Mayfield, making Hakeem Butler a perfect fit. With a talented roster already in the fold, Cleveland will likely be open to adding receivers in the early-to-mid rounds.
Butler is a high-point monster, who picks up yards after the catch with his balance and strength. He can win downfield and stretch the defense, as well as offer another redzone threat to pair with David Njoku.
Bengals – Gary Jennings Jr., West Virginia
Cincinnati has a well-rounded wide receiver room as Tyler Boyd and John Ross have started to develop around AJ Green. Though they’ve progressed into this, the Bengals are still looking for another outside receiving threat with some size. It’s possible that Auden Tate becomes this player, but Cody Core seems like a lost cause at this point.
Gary Jennings Jr. provides more athleticism than Tate, and his smooth ability vertically will entice teams on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, which is likely when Cincinnati would target the position.
Raiders – Denzel Mims, Baylor
Oakland desperately needs an influx of talent at the wide receiver position, and have the draft capital to pull the trigger early on. Denzel Mims is a tantalizing talent with incredible athleticism, seemingly making him the perfect guy for Jon Gruden to fall in love with.
With his vertical ability, ball skills, redzone potential and size, Mims could be what Oakland hoped it would get out of Martavis Bryant.
Denzel Mims has #elite traits
Play 1: Body Control/Catch Radius + immediate tuck
Play 2: Gettin in + out of horizontal break in 2 steps
Play 3: Changing pace + subtle hand fighting, balance and speed
Plays 4 and 5: RZ potential, Attacking leverage + vertical breaks to win inside pic.twitter.com/hOUMF88nSm
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) July 11, 2018
Broncos – Anthony Ratliff-Williams, North Carolina
Denver targeted the wide receiver position in the 2018 NFL Draft, taking Courtland Sutton and DeaSean Hamilton. With Emmanuel Sanders still in the fold, Denver has a nice group looking forward.
Anthony Ratliff-Williams is a developmental prospect as a converted quarterback, who has a solid combination of traits and athleticism. With different ability than Sutton and Hamilton, his skillset could compliment them moving forward.
Chiefs – Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
Talk about not needing much at the wide receiver position, Kansas City is loaded. However, if there is one player who is a bit replaceable on a talent-basis, it’s Chris Conley. Though he is a plus athlete, Edwards can offer the same athleticism with more natural wide receiving ability.
Edwards has been successful down the field through college, making him a natural fit with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Chargers – Hunter Renfrow, Clemson
The Chargers offer some versatility in their wide receiver room, with players such as Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. If they’re missing one piece, it would be a more reliable slot receiver who can operate over the middle finding soft spots in zone coverage.
Renfrow offers experience, soft hands and a ton of collegiate production.
Texans – Jalen Hurd, Baylor
Houston doesn’t need much when it comes to wide receivers, as their talent, versatility and depth is some of the best in the league. This leads me to believe that if anything, they’ll look into a developmental player to eventually take over for Demaryius Thomas.
Hurd offers a ton of ability as a ball carrier, whether that comes from catching passes or receiving hand-offs. His athleticism can stretch the defense horizontally as well as vertically, and he has upside as a receiver prospect.
Colts – David Sills V, West Virginia
Indianapolis has good speed at the receiver position, but lack a talented above the rim winner on the roster outside of the tight end group. Sills can offer similar ability outside of the numbers, as his combination of size and body control is some of the best in the class.
While his production is impressive, his redzone ability is easily his best trait.
David Sills V has 33 touchdowns (and counting) over the last two seasons. His body control and high-point ability is a big reason why: pic.twitter.com/VcL5SxIgPj
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) November 24, 2018
Jaguars – Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
Jacksonville has some nice pieces in their receiver room, but their overhaul of the depth chart isn’t quite finished. Johnson is a technically refined player with some explosiveness, and seemingly fits what wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell values in his players.
Johnson enters the league with more nuance to his game than guys like Donte Moncrief and DJ Chark, and offers vale to the Jaguars in that sense.
Titans – Miles Boykin, Notre Dame
Tennessee has some smooth young receivers who fit nicely into their offensive system, but Corey Davis is their only legitimate contested catch winner.
Miles Boykin could provide prowess in this regard, with his broad frame and strength at the catchpoint. His ability on the outside of a formation could help the Titans utilize Davis’ versatility in all areas of the field.