If you need help at wide receiver, the 2020 NFL Draft is you friend. This year’s draft pool is insanely deep, with anywhere from four to seven receivers in play to be taken in round one.
While there will be some teams who are willing to wait until the later rounds for a receiver, plenty of teams will be interested in the top three options at the top: Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III.
Today, we’ll tell you who we think is will be the first wide receiver drafted, based on each player’s skill set and the teams who may select them.
Jerry Jeudy – Alabama
Before the season started, Jeudy was the consensus top wide receiver to possibly declare for the 2020 draft. Now just a week away, the Alabama junior is still very much in the conversation for best receiver in the class. After three years with the Crimson Tide and two as the starter, Jeudy caught 159 passes for 2,742 yards and 26 touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award his sophomore year and has been a first team All-American each of the last two years. Currently, he is the slight favorite at -105 to be the first wide receiver drafted according to MyBookie.
Jeudy has what is considered “game-altering” play speed, shifting gears and accelerating during his routes. He has excellent foot-work and is an elite route-runner, and also has a knack for finding open areas down the field. He recently passed Falcons WR and former Alabama star Julio Jones for fourth all-time in school history in receiving yards. As for weaknesses, Jeudy lacks the prototypical size that NFL teams love. He also struggled with drops over the middle of the field, where seven of his eight total drops from last season occurred.
Right now, there are three teams early in the first round who all need, and have been linked to, wide receivers. The Jets, Raiders, and 49ers own picks 11, 12, and 13 respectively, with Jeudy expected by many to go in this range. However, if a team like the Broncos at No. 15 has their eyes set on Jeudy, they could trade up to select him ahead of those three teams.
CeeDee Lamb – Oklahoma
Whether it was Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, or Jalen Hurts under center, Lamb was the go-to receiver for the Sooners. The junior started all three years at Oklahoma, racking up 173 catches for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns. In his final college season, Lamb led the Big 12 with 14 touchdown catches, and was also named a consensus All-American. And according to MyBookie, he is a slight underdog to be the first receiver off the board, currently listed at +100.
Lamb is a tall, long receiver with phenomenal ball skills and play-making instincts. He is one of only two FBS receivers with 40 or more catches to average more than 11 YAC per reception. Additionally, he has shown great ability to play along the outside or attack the middle of the field. As far as weaknesses, the 21-year old Lamb doesn’t have immediate speed, finishing with the slowest 40-yard dash (4.50) among these three receivers. He also has sloppy technique as a blocker.
Of course, the three teams just outside the top-10 (Jets, Raiders, 49ers) will all be on the hunt for a receiver and have shown interest in Lamb. Perhaps a team like the Raiders, who have a good amount of draft picks including a pair of first rounders, can trade ahead of the Jets and select Lamb over the other receivers.
Henry Ruggs III
Another Alabama receiver, Ruggs was overshadowed the last two years by Jeudy. But the junior was still a weapon for the Crimson Tide, ending up with 98 catches for 1,716 yards and 24 touchdowns over three seasons. He also showed potential out of the backfield, taking a backwards pass for a 75-yard rushing touchdown this past fall. Ruggs has the third-highest odds to be the top receiver off of the board on MyBookie at +200.
Speed is the name of the game for Ruggs, who ran a blazing fast 4.27 40-yard dash at the combine. His elite speed pair well with a quick twitch to help him change routes and earn big yards, evident by 11 catches last year that went for 25 yards or more. He also has great hands and was actually a strong player on special teams as well. However, his smaller size will not allow him to break many tackles if he does get caught. There are also durability concerns due to a couple minor injuries he suffered in school.
It’s the same group of teams who will be interested in Ruggs, as well as the Broncos and perhaps even the Cowboys at No. 17. However, according to some reports, the Jets have been watching him very closely, and if he’s their favorite of the bunch, he could be there for them to start the wide receiver push in the draft.
As you can see, Jeudy, Lamb and Ruggs each offer unique skill sets, and there should be no question that all of the, will be first round picks. It really is a toss-up right now as to who of these three will go first, but I’ll say Lamb. Based on a number of reports, Lamb may actually be ahead of Jeudy on many team’s draft boards, so the idea of someone trading up to land him seems plausible. If that’s the case, Lamb +100 is where I’m going.