The Square Pigeon’s 2019 NFL Draft Coverage – Wide Receivers
The Square Pigeon’s 2019 NFL Draft Coverage - Wide Receivers
The Square Pigeon Pipeline is in its third year here at the Spooky Express. Jason delivers his thoughts and picks this year for the NFL Draft!
Top 5 Wide Receivers
Like the running backs this year, I don’t think there is a for sure stud receiver.
I will say, it isn’t DK Metcalf. Again, I’m not just being a contrarian here.
Metcalf is a spectacular athlete who may have a long career in the NFL, but I see a very stiff runner without any route running ability.
At the combine, he put on a show; however, I don’t see it translating to the NFL.
For the record, I have him as the ninth-best receiver (but three through nine are very close).
1) Parris Campbell Ohio State
Parris Campbell caught 90 balls this year at Ohio State which led the team. If he had a quarterback that could get the ball down the field, his yards per catch average would be significantly higher than 11.8. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if puts up more yards next year than he did this year.
At the combine, Campbell ran a 4.31 forty which was the fastest of the wide receivers. Unlike Metcalf who ran a 4.33, Campbell can do much more than run in a straight line. He might not be a great route runner, but he manages to find the soft spot in the zone and has amazing vision as a runner. He spent most of last year catching short passes from Dwayne Haskins and turning it into a big play. He’ll benefit from a better quarterback.
Urban Meyer doesn’t ask a whole lot from his wide receivers, so much of Campbell’s ability is yet to be seen. It’s pretty clear that he can run after the catch and that he needs to make his routes crisper. After that, it is a ton of uncertainty. I think he will transition pretty easily. He is always working on the field whether it’s finding the spot in zone or finishing the block during a run play.
2) Marquise Brown Oklahoma
Is there a receiver in college football that was more fun to watch last year? Marquise Brown is clearly small for a football player at 5’9”, 166 pounds. Short and skinny is rarely a good combination for an NFL wide receiver; however, Brown can take it to the house on every play.
Despite his size, Brown had the versatility to line up anywhere at Oklahoma, but I believe he will mostly be in the slot next year. He is a solid route runner who creates separation. This allows him to turn short routes into big plays. He didn’t run at the combine, so I am not sure of his exact top end speed; however, he pulls away from people nearly every game. He is pretty fast.
The speed and separation are absolutely necessary because Brown drops nearly every contested ball. His lack of size doesn’t help since he can’t out physical defenders for the ball. It also brings up concerns about long term durability, but his playmaking potential makes him well worth a high pick.
3) Deebo Samuel South Carolina
South Carolina’s game against Clemson sold me on Deebo Samuel. Clemson is a quality defense, and Samuel put ten catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns. His frame makes him look like a running back lining up at wide receiver.
That bigger frame also makes him difficult for defensive backs to take down. Much like Campbell and Brown, Samuel is dangerous after the catch. He runs through tackles and fights for every yard. He really looks like a running back with the ball in his hands. The physicality that he brings will only get better at the next level.
Durability might be the biggest concern for Samuel. This season was the only year that he managed to stay healthy all year. He also struggles off the line. Various issues like lack of burst off the line or ability to beat press coverage are also there. With a little time, Samuel might become the top receiver in this class.
4) Emanuel Hall Missouri
As a receiver in Missouri, Emanuel Hall pretty much ran a bunch of short routes. Hall also failed to make a huge impact from game to game. He may need to put on a little weight, but he has the height to play outside. Also, his quickness should allow him to be a bigger slot receiver.
The biggest thing with Hall is to ignore the lack of production at Missouri. There are so many receivers going out on every play, it is tough to be the focus of the offense. Despite that, I can’t wait to see what a guy that averaged over 20 yards per catch in his career (while catching most of them five yards past the line of scrimmage) will do when he is the number two option on the field. His ability to make moves is super impressive. He gets off press coverage with feet alone, and that translates to juking defenders out of their shoes once he has the ball.
The biggest thing that kills me is his inconsistency of route running. He makes defenders look dumb on some plays as he plants his foot and goes. Other plays, he looks like he was going barely going through the motions. There is also an injury concern. He didn’t stay healthy any season in college. If he can manage it in the NFL, he will make a much bigger impact.
5) AJ Brown Ole Miss
Like I said earlier, DK Metcalf isn’t on my list, but his teammate makes the last spot. While Metcalf missed the end of the season, AJ Brown led the Rebels in receptions and yards. He is a prototypical possession receiver who will be a consistent security blanket for a quarterback in the NFL next year.
Brown has great hands, and he always seems to come up with the catch when he needs to. Unfortunately, his route running ability is overrated. He has flashes of greatness, but there are so many plays where he seems lazy. Once he has the ball, he fights for every yard he can get.
Nothing flashes off the screen with Brown. He does a ton of things good, but nothing really gets you excited to watch him. This doesn’t mean he can’t have a quality career, but it might mean he never reaches the level that he expects. Skill set isn’t quite the same, but AJ Brown might end up like Henry Ellard, a great player but underappreciated.