Top Rookie WRs - 2019 NFL Draft Prospects (Post NFL Combine)

by Nick Ercolano March 08, 2019

Top Rookie WRs - 2019 NFL Draft Prospects (Post NFL Combine)

This is one of the better WR classes the NFL has seen in quite some time. And I'd bet more than a few of these 2019 top rookie wide receivers are difference makers in fantasy football. The last few years has been a funnel of top RBs finding their way to a starting role, quickly, while the young WRs continue to struggle to develop and become their team's primary option. This class will change that. If you're in a dynasty league, and you're hurting at WR, this is the class to move up in the draft for. The 2020 class is going to be very top-heavy again with RBs. This class has a bunch of guys that are size/speed freaks, the 6'3, 6'4 types, not Spaghetti Anderson style, these dudes are built, 220-230. There are a legit 3-5 guys that will be top WR prospects built that way. Usually, you have one guy like that, maybe two, but the second is just that and not actually a good WR, this year, the class is legit.

1. N'Keal Harry - Arizona State

N'Keal Harry 40 time

n'keal harry

Player Comp: Jarvis Landry/Keenan Allen

Harry, like every WR in this class, is a monster, standing at 6-4, 214lb, with back-to-back 70-catch, 1,100 total-yard seasons. I say total yard, because unlike other 6-4, 215lb WRs... he also runs the ball quite a bit, 20 times over the previous two years.

  • Screens, very quick-footed
  • Makes OBJ type catches on the sideline
  • An alpha version of Jarvis Landry
  • Returns punts too, had return TD in 2018
  • guys who watch film and the analytics guys like him

2. A.J. Brown - Ole Miss

A.J. Brown 40 timea.j. brown college stats

While y'all are basking in the glory of the widest receiver 1, D.K. Metcalf, I'll gladly roll with his better, more productive teammate, A.J. Breezy Brown.

Player Comp:

  • not devastating speed, down the field - but size gives him big advantage on contested catches.
  • most of his catches are intermediate, middle of the field
  • played mainly slot - if he can end up on a team that needs/or will use him like a slot WR (kupp/juju/thielen) - ^^^^ - ****might need to end up a slot WR to succeed - played outside a bit at the end of 2018, wasn't great, especially against bigger CBs.
  • great YAC because of vision (not explosiveness - Keenan Allen?)
  • catches with hands, strong hands - makes him good at contested catches
  • combine will tell a LOT about Brown.a.j. brown ole miss rookie

3. Hakeem Butler - Iowa State

Hakeem Butler 40 timehakeem butler college stats

Player Comp: Dez Bryant/Brandon Marshall

I was blown away watching Hakeem Butler. His size, of course. Came in at 6'5, 227 lbs. He's going to be 35% of receptions corn 25+ yards
34th oldest WR - almost 24 years old for rookie (not good)
lines up everywhere - slot, outside left, right

    4. D.K. Metcalf - Ole Miss

    D.K. Metcalf 40 timed.k. metcalf college stats

    The widest receiver 1. Not the wide receiver 1. A whole buncha y'all will have D.K. Metcalf as your WR1 this year, literally because of this picture.d.k. metcalf fantasy footballd.k. metcalf fantasy football

    I promise, chief, this ain't it. Width of back, and width of success as an NFL WR have zero correlation, and tbh, I'd be willing to bet they probably have a negative correlation. I mean, I get it, 6'3-228. He ran a 4.33 40, which put him in the 99th percentile for WASS. 97th % Burst and Catch Radius, a 99th % SPARQ athlete. My absolute favorite part of this, is that a lot of you guys will get mad, mad that he's not number one, because he's your number one, but 90% of you guys have never watched a single down from him, but will take this personally for some reason. Maybe you watched like 3 highlight plays and that was it.

    I've found SPARQ score to be highly unpredictive. Nothing about having a top SPARQ score means good NFL player.

    • Y'all remember a guy named Kevin White? Sammies Coates. Breshad Perriman?
    • Here is my problem with D.K. Metcalf. Or here are my problems:
    • Metcalf ran all of his routes from the left side, exclusively. Didn't move in the slot, didn't run routes from the right side. ~70% of his routes were either go, curl, comeback. All based off his downhill speed, almost nothing over the middle. All of his routes were based on his downfield speed, which is fine, but that doesn't make you a good receiver in the NFL.
    • Didn't run many in-breaking routes, or comeback/hitch routes (change-of-direction, short-area quickness - which I would take in an NFL WR over just long speed 9/10 times).
    • His 3-cone and 20-yard short shuttle, were bottom-3 and bottom-5 among his position. What these numbers did, along with his ridiculous speed/size/strength scores, is give him comparables to Stephen Hill, Sammie Coates.
    • he wasn't asked to run more than that, but that makes it a concern. A big problem with a lot of people's analysis is "he wasn't asked to run those routes" WHY DOES THAT DOES EQUAL HIM BEING GOOD AT THOSE ROUTES??? The problem comes with those 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle times. He's not going to be great on quick cuts, quick change of direction, so yeah maybe they didn't ask him to run those routes, but it's looking like, based on his testing, if they did he might struggle doing so.
    • he has very, very fast feet, and can get off the line very quickly, and will run very fast which looks so impressive given his size, but I don't think he's an all-around great receiver. ok, he's amazing off the line of scrimmage, but not good at running routes.
    • my concern is that he disappears at times, and people will get more mesmerized by his flashy, SC top-10 plays, which are part of the repetiteur, but not the norm.
    • His game vs. Alabama, huge play off the rip, like the first play of the game, 75-yard TD, 11 seconds in. the remainder of the game: 1-catch, 17 yards. vs. LSU (3-37). His biggest games were against Louisiana Monroe and Kent State.
    • Drops are an issue too
    • Finished season after seven games due to neck injury
    • Not much production, for how "amazing" he is. Redshirt, injured, guys like A.J. Brown, eventually maybe you can ask yourself, how many excuses are we going to make and are we ever going to be practical and say something might be missing here? I mean most people have an overwhelming ability not to be practical and just see what they want, but this is one of these situations. 

    5. Kelvin Harmon - North Carolina State

    kelvin harmon 40 time

    kelvin harmon college stats

    Another monster in this class (6-3, 215), Harmon is ready to change the WR landscape of the NFL along with the rest of this class.

    • strong/physical on LOS, wins that way.
    • strong hands, helps him win in contested catches.
    • amazing with contested catches.
    • has build-up speed, but won't regularly burn secondary, will be big for draft stock how he does in the 40.
    • bad YAC, not elusive/fast enough
    • very polished, great routes, great ball skills
    • typical X-receiver

    5. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - Stanfordj.j. arcega whiteside 40 timej.j. arcega-whiteside college stats

    • Arcega-Whiteside led the entire draft class with 19 contested catches this past season on only 32 contested opportunities.

    Bryan Edwards - South Carolina

    Tyler Johnson - Minnesota

     

     



    Nick Ercolano
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