NFL Futures Picks: Which Wide Receiver Will Be The First Drafted?
- In 2018, Jeudy totaled the fourth most receiving touchdowns in the nation with 14.
- Jeudy had five or more receptions in 10 of 13 games this season.
The reason we’re backing Jerry Jeudy.
Jeudy is the odds-on favorite to be the first wide receiver taken, and it’s deservingly so. Jeudy put together his second consecutive season with over 1,000 yards after totaling 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In 2018, Jeudy led the Crimson Tide in receiving with 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In the last collegiate game of his career, he showed exactly why he is more than deserving of being the top wide receiver taken in the 2020 Draft class. Jeudy put together the best game of his junior season in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan, and wasted no time getting started. He scored an 85-yard touchdown on Alabama’s first play from scrimmage, and would go on to finish with six receptions for 204 yards.
Jeudy is the complete package from route running to size and speed, and if you don’t believe me just turn on the tape. Not only does he show up on gameday, but he put together a solid NFL Combine. Jeudy had a 4.45 seconds 40-yard dash, 35 inch vertical, 10 foot broad jump, and 4.53 shuttle run. I’m leaning strongly towards Jeudy being taken first.
- Lamb ranked sixth in the nation with 1,327 receiving yards.
The reason we’re backing CeeDee Lamb.
Lamb put together his second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season for the Oklahoma Sooners, and added the fifth most reception touchdowns in the nation with 14.
Lamb’s best game of the season came in Week 4 at home against Texas Tech where he scored three touchdowns with a season-high 185 yards and seven receptions.
Lamb made his case stronger with a sound outing at the NFL Combine. Lamb made some of the most impressive catches in the newly-added goalline fade and jump ball drills, as well as running a 4.5 seconds 40-yard dash with 34.5 inch vertical, and 10.3 foot broad jump. If there were anyone to outduel Jeudy for the top spot it would most likely be Lamb.
- Ruggs III ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine which ranks in the top five of all time.
The reason we’re backing Henry Ruggs III.
Ruggs III was the talk of the town in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine as there was excitement he would break the 40-yard dash record. Ruggs III fell short of the record and was held out of the remaining drills with an undisclosed injury.
Yet, despite not participating in any other drills at the combine, Ruggs III is far from just speed. Ruggs scored six or more touchdowns in three consecutive seasons for Alabama, and totaled more than 40 receptions and 740 yards in two consecutive seasons.
The trend of players turning into NFL busts after posting a strong 40-yard dash is a stigma that could end up hurting Ruggs’ draft stock. For example, John Ross holds the all-time record and was drafted #9 overall in 2017 (#3 WR), yet has had a poor start to his NFL career thus far. My expectation is Ruggs III will be taken early on, but I’m not certain he’ll be the first off the board.
- Jefferson ranked second in the nation with 18 receiving touchdowns.
The reason we’re backing Justin Jefferson.
The LSU Tigers won the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship on the heels of the best offense in the nation. Projected #1 pick Joe Burrow led the nation in passing with 5,671 yards, and a bulk of that production came from Jefferson.
Jefferson caught the most receptions in the nation with 111, totaled the third most receiving yards with 1,540 yards, and added the second most receiving touchdowns.
Jefferson saved the best game of his junior season for the College Football Semifinals when he caught 14 passes for 227 yards and scored a bowl game-record four first-half touchdowns.
Although it may seem Jefferson was a product of his explosive offense behind the Heisman Trophy winner, I beg to differ. Jefferson is the real deal and is very underrated for his talent level. Jefferson has the longest odds out of anyone on this list, and I’ll sprinkle half a unit on his potential to produce a large payout.
- Higgins ranked sixth best in the nation with 13 touchdowns scored.
The reason we’re backing Tee Higgins.
Clemson’s leading receiver didn’t do himself any favors sitting out of the NFL Combine, but may have done enough over his three-year college career to convince a team to draft him first amongst wide outs.
Higgins caught over 59 passes for the second consecutive season and totaled 1,167 receiving yards, marking the first time he reached over 1,000 yards in his college career. The junior added 13 reception touchdowns which was the sixth most in the nation.
His best game of the season spanned over a three-game period between Week 11 to the ACC Championship. He started by scoring three touchdowns against Wake Forest, followed with 101 yards and two touchdowns at South Carolina, then put together his overall best game with nine receptions, 182 yards and two touchdowns in the ACC title game against Virginia.
Higgins being taken first would be unlikely after missing the NFL Combine, but there may be a team out there willing to take the chance on him - and he may be worth the gamble at +5000.