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2022 NFL Draft Odds: How Many Wide Receivers Will Be Selected in the First Round?

While this year's draft is lacking in terms of quarterback promise, one thing it's not short on is wide receiver skill. Of the handful of top prospects, who will hear their name called during the opening round?
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2022 NFL Draft Odds: How Many Wide Receivers Will Be Selected in the First Round?

If the last week has taught us anything about the wide receiver position, it's that NFL teams are valuing it more and more by the day. Only six days after Davante Adams landed a record-high deal with the Raiders, Tyreek Hill departed the Chiefs to join the Dolphins and reset the market for elite pass-catchers. A $30 million per year salary and a quarterback-like trade haul says it all.

The thing is, not all teams possess the cap space or assets to acquire an established number-one option like Adams or Hill. However, those teams can take heart in the fact that the 2022 draft class is flush with pass-catching standouts. So much so that FanDuel Sportsbook has set the line at over (+118) or under (-158) 5.5 receivers to be selected in the first round. Could we really see a half-dozen go in the first 32 picks?

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The Prospects

According to NFL.com and NextGen Stats, there are 16 receivers who grade out as either good or elite prospects in this class. Here are the 10 with grades of 80 or above.

Top WR Player Grades
Top players and player grades for 2022 WRs
PlayerProspect Grade
Jameson Williams, Alabama92
Treylon Burks, Arkansas88
Drake London, USC87
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State87
Chris Olave, Ohio State84
Jahan Dotson, Penn State82
David Bell, Purdue81
Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama81
John Metchie, Alabama80
Wan'Dale Robinson, Kentucky80

Alabama's Jameson Williams may have had his final collegiate end abruptly when he suffered an ACL injury in the college football playoff back in January, but he's still considered the lone elite prospect in this group. Given his injury, though, he's not likely to be the top guy off the list of available options. Instead, the consensus among mock drafters is that Ohio State's Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, as well USC's Drake London, will be the first three names called. The next one is a toss-up between Williams and former Razorback Treylon Burks.

These five are all expected to go within the top 22 picks, and decidedly so. Essentially, it comes down to whether or not anyone else will join them.

Penn State's Jahan Dotson isn't talked about in the same group, but he shows up fairly often in the final three to four picks in recent mock drafts. He's also the 46th-ranked player on Pro Football Focus' big board.

Of the others, Western Michigan speedster Skyy Moore rates 33rd, according to PFF, while Pickens and Tolbert are 57th and 61st.

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The Script

The great news is that, in addition to the core five, only one of the others need to be targeted by either a team with an existing first round pick or one that could decide to acquire one late in the game on opening night. How could that transpire exactly?

Assuming the top five names land with their respective teams in order and by pick 22 (owned by the Packers), that leaves 10 potential suitors for Dotson, Moore or anyone else they would please. Those teams (in order) are the: Cardinals, Cowboys, Bills, Titans, Buccaneers, Packers, Chiefs (back-to-back picks), Bengals and Lions.

Of these 10, the Buccaneers and Bengals are the only two teams that should opt for a much more evident need, as they have two well established receiving corps. The other eight are certainly in play, and chief among them are the Cardinals, Packers, and Chiefs. The final two, as we know, just recently shipped their elite number-ones elsewhere, so they could look to add young and cheap talent. And as for Arizona, they watched Christian Kirk leave in free agency and are set to be without A.J. Green. They need a second outside option to help take some pressure off Deandre Hopkins.

It's hard to imagine a situation in which these three teams all pass on someone with an all-around skillset like Dotson, or even a fast-twitch weapon like Moore. Six receivers is almost a done-deal by pick 30 with an outside chance at seven when the curtains close on April 27th. Take the over at a return of $218 on a $100 bet.

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Brett Oswalt has been writing about sports for five years, has covered everything from the NBA to College Football DFS, and previously served as an editor at numberFire. He is a Senior Workforce Planning Analyst at Highmark by day, and an avid sports fan and girl-dad by night. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Marley, daughter, Aria, and goldendoodle, Braun.


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