Meet The Top-5 Wide Receivers Of The 2019 Draft

According to me, of course. *Watches as half of you leave without reading any further*

Wide receiver is always a fun position group to finish film on, because there's so damn many of them. I've scouted 36 wide receiver prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft and to be quite frank with you I don't care to do any more. So apologies to the Jaylen Smiths and Shawn Poindexters of the world, but my work here (this year) is done.

How did the rankings come out? As I'd have expected? Not necessarily. Watching a single player in a vacuum can leave you feeling as though they'll rank in a certain range. It's a very similar phenomenon to Twitter telling you that 50 different players are "first round locks". At some point, it's just a numbers game.

But the numbers are run, the film is ground (into the finest of dusts, which I'll go plant in the back yard to prep cultivating 2020 tape) and the results are in. Without further delay, allow me to introduce you to the (read: my) top-5 wide receiver prospects of the 2019 NFL Draft.

1. D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss

D.K. Metcalf's full name is DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf. More like DeBAElin, am I right? (Editor's note: I was hacked.) The detractors will point to the poor agility times ran by Metcalf at the 2019 NFL Combine. I would counter with this: if your expectation for Metcalf's usage requires that level of lateral redirection, then you're not playing Metcalf to his strengths as a player. Metcalf is actually quite nice defeating press coverage, his explosiveness and functional strength can allow him to play through contact on the boundary and press up the field.

There are no sure things in this year's wide receiver class but putting Metcalf in a vertical oriented offense and asking him to attack up the sideline and use that freakish size certainly moves the needle for me. I suspect he will be the first wide receiver off of the board in real life, as well.

Round Grade: First Round

2. N'Keal Harry, Arizona State

My friends, you are more than welcome to overthink Arizona State's N'Keal Harry if you'd like. Plenty of people do. COULDN'T BE ME, THOUGH. Harry has the right blend of open field slipperiness, hands, physical strength and ball skills to give me confidence that his play will translate to the next level, even if he isn't the most polished route runner and he's going to have to continue to hone his craft in that regard. Harry wins in contested situations, which helps to soften the prospect of him having bodies on his hip at the next level (he Moss'd Michigan State's Justin Layne this season in that exact scenario, by the way).

He won't be for everyone and that's fine. He is for me.

Round Grade: First Round

3. Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State

Meanwhile, I know a lot of folks were high on Kelvin Harmon leading up to the NFL Combine. My advice is this: if you were, don't change your grade at all. We knew Kelvin wasn't a dynamic receiver and he tested about what I thought he would. He's a little more savvy than N'Keal to separate but he's also a little more athletically limited. I like Harmon's play in high point situations and back shoulder throws, he'll develop really nice chemistry as a possession receiver for whatever team invests in him next month.

Round Grade: Early Second Round

4. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

Rising above what could have been a potentially crippling set of injuries during his time at South Carolina, it's hard not to love what Deebo Samuel brings to the table. He's well built and strong, but he's also quite bursty out of his breaks. Samuel is the best "gadget" prospect in this year's draft and is the top player who I feel projects most favorably in the slot. Samuel has the footwork and change of direction skills to tear up man coverage underneath and by giving him quick hitting plays, you increase the odds that he can turn something into a kick return situation: break one tackle and off to the races.

Round Grade: Second Round

5. A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

A.J. Brown was a dude I expected would be lower on this list. But he's all-around solid. His film is solid (not great). His production is solid (not great). His athletic testing and size? Solid (not great). Brown has the frame to really punish defensive backs after the catch, and while I don't want him playing on the boundary at all (while Deebo can), Brown has the needed size and mass to roam the middle and bang on linebackers as well. Brown grew on me the I watched him, too. He's got a little more nuance than I think I first gave him credit for.

Round Grade: Second Round

Just missed: Hakeem Butler, Iowa State; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford; Hollywood Brown, Oklahoma

Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Chief Brand Officer

CBO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Former NDT Scouting Overlord.

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