It is no secret that the NFL has become a passing league. Aside from drafting a top quarterback prospect, gaining a game-breaking talent at wide receiver can transform an offense’s aerial attack into a high-powered machine that can score in a flash.
Who are this year’s top wide receivers in the Draft?
Calvin Ridley, Alabama
At 6’0, 189 lbs., Ridley does not possess the physical traits of a big NFL receiver. Despite his relatively small frame, he does have great speed and quickness. His 40-yard dash time of 4.43 shows just that, and he uses this speed to often find the open holes in a defense. Ridley is considered the most pro-ready wide receiver in this year’s class, due to his great route-running skills and understanding of defensive coverages. Both of those skills put him in a position to succeed at the next level.
Courtland Sutton, SMU
Sutton is a big and physical wide receiver. He is a 6’4, 218 lbs. beast, who will be a challenge for most NFL defenses to cover. Sutton is known for his ability to win contested catches in traffic, providing his quarterback with a big-bodied target, who can extend drives and win in the red zone. Last season at SMU, Sutton hauled in 68 catches for 1,085 yards and 12 touchdowns.
While Sutton has great hands for such a big receiver, he also is able to strongly contribute in the running game as a blocker, which will put him on the field sooner rather than later at the next level. You can’t teach the size and leaping ability that Sutton brings to the table, and he is just barely behind Ridley as the top WR prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft.
D.J. Moore, Maryland
Moore was able to improve in every statistical category last season, putting up 80 catches for 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns, on his way to being named Big 10 receiver of the year. He was able to show his skills, despite having to deal with catching passes from four different quarterbacks on the year. Imagine what he will be able to do if he is drafted by a team with an elite QB.
Moore is praised for being able to create plays after the catch. He is also known for his abilities to take the top off of a defense at a moment’s notice, offering big play ability for whatever team drafts him. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, showing even greater speed than Calvin Ridley, who is currently projected as the top WR in this draft class. He is alternatively criticized for being unable to make contested catches in traffic.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Here is another player who is not a prototypical NFL WR when it comes to his physical traits. At just 5’10 and 201 lbs., he has the build of a defensive back. However, teams have been raving about this kid, who is extremely fast and is a strong contributor in the return game as well. Kirk had 71 catches last season, for a total of 919 yards and ten touchdowns. He has the ability to take over a game for this team, which he showed in a showdown with Arkansas, in which he tallied 110 receiving yards and two touchdowns, as well as another TD on a kickoff return. While it is easy to knock him for his lack of size, Kirk is a Swiss-army knife, ready to take his skills to the next level.