2018 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Watch List

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June 2, 2017
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June 5, 2017

2018 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Watch List

Justis Mosqueda

We don’t know how many watch lists we’re going to post this summer, but we do value saving time. As we mentioned in our pass-rusher watch list, there’s right, wrong and reality. The reality of the situation is that no matter how much you like a specific prospect, the NFL is fairly consistent in terms of what types of bodies they like to draft early.

Since 2014, there have been 34 receivers drafted in the first two rounds of the draft. 30 of those receivers (88.24%) have come from Power Five teams, with the exceptions being Corey Davis of Western Michigan, Zay Jones of East Carolina, Breshad Perriman of Central Florida and Davante Adams of Fresno State. 24 of those receivers (79.41%) ran at least a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, with the exceptions being Laquon Treadwell, Devin Funchess, Kelvin Benjamin, Adams, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry. 33 of those receivers (97.06%) weighed at least 180 pounds, with the exception being Paul Richardson.

So we can conclude that NFL teams value:

  • Power Five production
  • Speed
  • Weight

None of that is surprising, but having tangible numbers to link to those thoughts is important. If you were looking at college football to attempt to pull up the relevant 10 or so names that the draft community is going to argue about for the next year, how would you filter every name in the sport into a watch list?

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Excluded all Power Five players who didn’t record at least 25 receptions last season. This checks off the Power Five production box for teams.
  2. Exclude every receiver who doesn’t have at least a 4.52-second 40-yard dash (assuming numbers slightly lean in favor for prospects) on NFL Draft Scout’s database. This checks off the speed box for teams.
  3. Exclude every receiver who doesn’t weigh at least 180 pounds on NFL Draft Scout’s database. This checks off the weight box for teams.

From there, we’ll list off players based on how impactful the individual players were to their passing offense. How do we measure this? We’ll account for what percentage of their team’s receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns they account for.

Here is the senior class:

Here is the junior class:

Here is the redshirt sophomore class:

Note: Jonathan Giles transferred out of Texas Tech and landed at LSU this offseason. He will have to sit out a year due to the transfer, which makes him a member of the 2020 class, despite playing as a true sophomore last season like many from the 2019 draft class.

Here is the overall pool of relevant college football receivers:

Here’s the breakdown by conference:

  • SEC: 6
  • Pac 12: 6
  • Big 12: 4 (including Giles)
  • ACC: 2
  • Big 10: 2

Let’s save some time this summer.