NFL Draft 2017 - The Wide Receivers

Let's now review some of the receivers in this year's draft. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, so please share analysis, commentary and gifs of your favorite prospects in the comments section.

Jets Needs: Wide Receivers

The Jets probably have more young talent at the wide receiver position than anywhere on the roster. However, with Brandon Marshall's departure and Eric Decker coming off an injury, it wouldn't be surprising to see them use a high pick on a future starter.

However, based on their performances last year, both Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa showed that they have the potential to develop into thousand-yard receivers and Charone Peake and Jalin Marshall both showed promise as rookies so perhaps the Jets will give this group another year to prove themselves.

Assuming Decker sticks around, he should be a good mentor for the young talent around him, but that would mean there's probably only room to add one more rookie or two at most.

First round prospects

We've long considered this to be a strong wide receiver class so it was surprising to hear these comments from an NFC executive:

“It’s the worst wide receiver draft at the top I’ve seen in a long time,”

It does seem like each of the prospects who were initially thought to be possible options for the Jets with the sixth pick have fallen off a little. For example, there are no wide receivers in the top 13 of CBS' current draft rankings.

The three players widely considered as likely first round picks are Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis and Washington's John Ross.

Williams has good size with long arms and can make it look so easy when going up and over a defender. In theory he could replace an element of the offense that will be lost due to Marshall's departure.


Ross made headlines when he ran a record 4.22 40-yard dash at the combine, having already established himself as a quality deep threat during the season. He injured his knee in both 2014 and 2015 though, which may concern teams, even though he proved it obviously hasn't slowed him down.

Davis didn't play against the same level of competition as Williams and Ross, but is regarded as perhaps the best all-round receiver in the draft. He caught 19 touchdown passes last year, although he did also have double figures in drops.

Non-first rounders

Some of the top players expected to go outside the first round include Curtis Samuel from Ohio State, East Carolina's Zay Jones, USC's Juju Smith-Schuster and Penn State's Chris Godwin.

Samuel, who raised his stock with a 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine, played the same H-back role as Jalin Marshall in Ohio State's offense. Rather than the traditional definition of H-back (ie a move TE), this means he's was running end-arounds and jet sweeps out of the slot, so could lead to him being a package player (like a Percy Harvin) or a hybrid running back at the NFL level.

Jones is a player whose stunning statistical production (a record 158 receptions last year) drew skepticism at first. While it's true a lot of these were dump-offs, his film shows he runs the full route tree and is a downfield threat. He combines size, great athletic numbers and good technical route-running skills and would perhaps be a first round pick if he'd played against a higher level of competition. He looked great in the senior bowl though:


Smith-Schuster is another prospect about whom there is a lot to like. He's got solid hands, runs excellent routes, gives a great effort as a blocker and has tremendous character. He's been banged-up a bit and his athletic numbers weren't outstanding, but otherwise brings everything to the table you'd hope to see out of a day two pick.


Godwin is another big play threat who posted good agility and strength numbers at the combine. He played almost exclusively on the outside last year, but with a 4.05 short shuttle time perhaps he can adjust to an inside role to get on the field more as a rookie.

Louisiana Tech's Carlos Henderson is another player who didn't play much in the slot but when he did he was extremely productive. Henderson is another big-play receiver who racked up 19 receiving touchdowns last year and adds value in the return game. He broke more tackles than any receiver in this year's class, by some margin, according to PFF.

In terms of guys that can and do play in the slot, Jones is one of the best, but Cooper Kupp from Eastern Washington is also a good option. He caught 117 passes last year, posted excellent agility numbers at the combine and showcased his great hands at the senior bowl:


One more good option in the middle rounds is Western Kentucky's Taywan Taylor. He was one of the top deep threats in the country and posted some great numbers at the combine, but can also be a good possession option:


Late round sleepers

In the later rounds, the real value is in terms of the slot receiver position. There seem to be a ton of great options that are expected to go late or may even be undrafted.

UNC's Ryan Switzer (4.00 short shuttle), Louisiana Tech's Trent Taylor (137 receptions) and Tulsa's Keevan Lucas (led this year's class in terms of touchdowns from in the slot) are all good options. Here's a good snag by Taylor:


It doesn't stop there though. There's a few other slot/possession guys who could be available as undrafted free agents. Northwestern's Austin Carr has drawn comparisons with Wayne Chrebet and - although he's coming off an injury - River Cracraft from Washington State has amazing hands:

Finally, in terms of an outside receiver, one possible sleeper is Grambling State's Chad Williams. He caught 13 passes for 150 yards in his only game against top division opposition (Arizona) in 2016. Here he picks up a first down against Desmond King in the senior bowl with a nifty move:


Let's have your views in the comments! Who is overrated, who is underrated and who did we not mention that interests you?