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2022 NFL Draft: Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Jameson Williams and the wide receiver class | NFL News

Garrett Wilson, Drake London and Jameson Williams lead the way in the wide receiver class of the 2022 NFL Draft

The wide receiver class of the 2019 NFL Draft ushered in a new wave of young players, and we’ve been treated to some quality players in that position in recent years.

There were 11 wide outings taken on day two that year and among them Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, Diontae Johnson and Terry McLaurin particularly stood out.

The 2020 Special Draft class has been hailed as potentially the best ever, both in talent at the top and in depth. While he may not have proven himself in either category yet and the best player taken (Henry Ruggs) is out of the league, there has been success.

Justin Jefferson is simply sublime. CeeDee Lamb reached a Pro Bowl. Tee Higgins seems to be ascending. Jerry Jeudy, Brandon Aiyuk, Michael Pittman and Chase Claypool are the starting material.

Then 2021 added to the talent pool. Ja’Marr Chase is among the elite, while Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith have shown they are ready to compete at this level.

Ja'Marr Chase was the fifth overall pick in last year's NFL Draft and he immediately broke out for Cincinnati.

Ja’Marr Chase was the fifth overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft and he immediately broke out for Cincinnati.

We now turn our attention to the 2022 group, who praise their available talent. We have the possibility of five first rounds, maybe even six. There could be 12 receivers selected from the top 100 players, maybe even more.

So who are these players and what will they bring to the league?

The upper level

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

On his pro day, Wilson revealed what he thinks is his greatest skill as a wide receiver.

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On his pro day, Wilson revealed what he thinks is his greatest skill as a wide receiver.

On his pro day, Wilson revealed what he thinks is his greatest skill as a wide receiver.

When it comes to “clean” profiles, Wilson ticks the boxes. He was a five-star freshman out of high school, played college ball in a major program, produced there (19 starts, 143 receptions, 2,213 yards and 23 touchdowns) and impressed in the pre-draft process.

On the field, he draws comparisons to Stefon Diggs with his prowess on the road and his explosive athleticism (he ran a 4.38-second 40-yard sprint at the Scouting Combine to prove his speed). He competes hard and offers versatility, having played extensively both in the slot and away. Wilson could be a top 10 pick.

Drake London, USC

London missed time through injury at USC but stood out when he was on the pitch

London missed time through injury at USC but stood out when he was on the pitch

Many analysts rank London as their No. 1 receiver in the class, and had he had a full set of stats on his college career, he might have been there by consensus. He had a strong freshman year, but due to a Covid-shortened 2020 (only six games into the season) and a broken ankle-shortened 2021 (eight games played), he didn’t just not the “complete” profile coaches may want.

That said, you can’t take anything away from London’s performance on the pitch. He had 88 catches, 1,084 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games before that 2021 injury. His game is built around his waist, and if the ball is close, he’ll go down with it. Like Wilson, London could sneak into the top 10.

Jameson Williams, Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban recaps his team's pro day in 2022, which included top NFL Draft prospects such as Evan Neal, Jameson Williams and Christian Harris

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Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban recaps his team’s pro day in 2022, which included top NFL Draft prospects such as Evan Neal, Jameson Williams and Christian Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban recaps his team’s pro day in 2022, which included top NFL Draft prospects such as Evan Neal, Jameson Williams and Christian Harris

What do NFL offensive coaches want most? Speed ​​- and Williams has it all. After being stuck on the depth chart behind two other top receivers in this class (Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave) at Ohio State, Williams transferred to Alabama and enjoyed a supreme campaign in 2021. He averaged 19, 9 yards per reception with a 79-1,572-15 line and did it in style.

Although he has a smaller frame (6-foot-1, 179 pounds) and is recovering from a torn ACL sustained in his last college game in January, teams will simply fall in love with his gang. He’s exactly what the coordinators are looking for in terms of an offensive weapon – don’t be surprised if a team moves in to grab him in front of the two players mentioned above.

Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Watch Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Treylon Burks' 2022 NFL Scouting Combine workout

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Watch Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Treylon Burks’ 2022 NFL Scouting Combine workout

Watch Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Treylon Burks’ 2022 NFL Scouting Combine workout

Burks is unique in that he has the size of a big man on the outside (6-foot-2, 225 pounds), but the “YAC” ability (yards after catch) of a much smaller player and smarter. Deebo Samuel is the name thrown around for comparison.

In Arkansas, they made keys for Burks and he capitalized. In the NFL, he will only succeed if his coaches do the same. He was used in the slot machine and moved often, instead being left alone on an island outside and invited to win head-to-head. That said, with his physical ability, teams will believe he can win there too. It’s a first round.

Chris Olave, Ohio State

Chris Olave's best moments from his 2022 NFL Scouting Combine practice included a blazing 4.26-second 40-yard dash

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Chris Olave’s best moments from his 2022 NFL Scouting Combine practice included a blazing 4.26-second 40-yard dash

Chris Olave’s best moments from his 2022 NFL Scouting Combine practice included a blazing 4.26-second 40-yard dash

We’ve discussed some players with notable traits – size, speed, road running…Olave is the all-around player. He’s quick (4.39-second 40-yard dash), has an average daily receiver build (6-foot-0, 187 pounds), and is smooth on the move. He had a nose for the end zone in college, hitting an astonishing 35 touchdowns (a school record) over four years.

So if he has everything, why isn’t he the best option in the draft? Because teams are looking for remarkable traits. They want ‘unique’ and they want ‘special’. Olave might slip late in the first round, but make no mistake — he has every chance of being a day one starter and carving out a long career in the NFL.

potential stars

The five broads above are considered the first by consensus. But fear not if you’re an NFL general manager. Still need a starter on the outside but used your first choice on another position? There are plenty of great options later.

George Pickens has the potential to be an outside 'alpha' for an NFL team

George Pickens has the potential to be an outside ‘alpha’ for an NFL team

George Pickens is one of my favorites. A lanky lanky guy from Georgia…remind you of anyone? Pickens won’t end up being a top-four draft pick like AJ Green, but he could be a steal in the second round. His upside is huge, but he suffered a torn ACL in his senior season, so he lacks the production to justify a high pick. If he is in perfect health, he could make the difference.

Will be Christian Watson to be the next small-school receiver but burst onto the NFL scene? At North Dakota State, Watson was simply better than his opponents. For better or for worse, he’ll be outplayed due to the low level of his competition, and predictions of where he’ll land are all over the place – from the mid-20s to the end of the second round.

Then there is Jahan Dotson, Penn State’s productive prospect, who had 183 receptions, 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns in his four years in the Big Ten. However, he’s on the short side (5-foot-11, 178 pounds) and didn’t blast teams at the Scouting Combine. Where does he land?

Jahan Dotson discusses his pro training and what he's doing to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft

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Jahan Dotson discusses his pro training and what he’s doing to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft

Jahan Dotson discusses his pro training and what he’s doing to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft

Skyy Moore, Jalen Tolbert, David Bell… the list goes on. Whatever style you desire, there’s a receiver for you. Others like John Metchie, Khalil Chakirand Alec Pierce could all sneak into the top 100. Depth is strong this season, and you can expect a flurry of wide outings on Friday night. As our Cameron Hogwood says, it’s a wonderful time to need a receiver.

Watch the three days of the 2022 NFL Draft unfold on Sky Sports NFLApril 28-30, beginning with day one live prep from 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, with early picks to be made just after 1 a.m.