One of the storylines of the 2020 NFL draft, which will run April 23-25, is how deep the wide receiver class is. Many in the league think it is among the best in recent history.
There could be seven or eight receivers taken in the first round and up to 25 selected in the first three rounds. If you need a receiver, this is the year to fill that void.
But how top heavy is this class, really? CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma and Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III of Alabama are considered the top of the class. All three of them are expected to be gone in the first 15 picks or so.
But none are widely considered to be a for certain top 10 pick. The Raiders are considered likely to take one of the three receivers at No. 12.
“Honestly, I’ve thought about that,” former NFL scout and longtime draft analyst Matt Williamson wrote in a message. “I think the top guys are hurt a little in that regard because of the amazing depth of the WR class.
“To me, Jeudy is clearly the top guy and not dissimilar to Stefon Diggs or even Odell Beckham Jr. Also, I think there are 16 really strong prospects in this draft and four of them are OTs, three are QBs and one is an edge ... those positions are more premium than at receiver. So, that goes into consideration.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com told us he doesn’t think any receiver in the 2020 draft is in the class of the likes of Julio Jones and other superstars, but it is strong at the top and filled with good depth.
“None of these guys are Julio or Calvin Johnson or Andre Johnson,” Zierlein wrote in a message. “On a scale of 1-10, we have a couple of 9s, and 8.5, a few 8s and a lot of 7s. There is good depth with speed, size or possession depending on what you need. There will be more WR2/WR3 types coming out of this draft than in most other years. That’s really what we are looking at.”
The last time any receivers were taken in the top 10 picks was in 2017 when Corey Davis (5), Mike Williams (7) and John Ross (9) were taken. Prior to that, the Raiders took Amari Cooper (4) and the Bears took Kevin White (7) in 2015. Cooper, who the Raiders traded to the Cowboys, is the best of the group. Even if a receiver is taken high, there are no sure things. It’s a high bust position.
Still, scouts are bullish on this group.
Longtime draft expert Rob Rang does think one of these players is worthy a being taken in the top 10.
“I can’t speak for others’ rankings but I have Jeudy ranked 6th, Lamb 11th and Ruggs III 13th,” Rang wrote in a message. “(But) it isn’t just the top-end talent at wide receiver which makes this class so special, however, it is the number of likely NFL starters. There will almost certainly be more receivers selected than any other position group over the top 100 picks, an indication of the quality and quantity of this group.”
It will be fascinating to see if the top-rated receivers in this class end up being the best players at the position.
History tells us that it may not exactly play out that way.