Early look at the 2019 WR class
The 2019 WR class projects to be something special – full of size, talent, depth and potential first-round NFL Draft picks.
2019 WR class rankings
|1)||N’Keal Harry||Top 15||Arizona State||6’4||213||JR|
|2)||A.J. Brown||R1||Ole Miss||6’1||230||JR|
|4)||Kelvin Harmon||R1||NC State||6’3||214||JR|
|5)||Deebo Samuel||R2||South Carolina||6’0||210||rSR|
|9)||D.K. Metcalf||R3||Ole Miss||6’4||230||rSO|
|10)||Juwan Johnson||R3||Penn State||6’4||225||rJR|
|11)||Bryan Edwards||R3||South Carolina||6’3||220||JR|
|12)||Felton Davis III||R3||Michigan State||6’4||200||SR|
|13)||David Sills V||R3||West Virginia||6’4||210||SR|
|14)||Parris Campbell||R3||Ohio State||6’1||208||rSR|
|16)||Hakeem Butler||Iowa State||6’6||225||rJR|
|17)||Stanley Morgan Jr.||Nebraska||6’1||200||SR|
|19)||Jakobi Meyers||NC State||6’2||203||rJR|
|22)||Scotty Washington||Wake Forest||6’5||225||rJR|
|29)||Greg Jennings Jr.||West Virginia||6’1||215||SR|
2019 WR class – Player Profiles
N’Keal Harry | Arizona State, JR
- Former top WR recruit who immediately produced as a freshman in 2016, then blossomed into ASU’s go-to guy last year. Caught 82 passes for 1142 yards (13.9 avg) and 8 TDs in 2017.
- Lines up all over the formation – left, right, slot, wildcat, end-around, etc.
- Tremendous size and coordination at 6’4, 213 lbs. Uses it to win in both the short and deep areas of the field. Explosive.
- Not a speedster & lacks great burst. However, he’s still a downfield threat with his huge catch radius. Tracks & adjusts to the ball in the air like a pro, high points, and makes phenomenal grabs away from his body. Capably uses his hands to create late separation.
- Effortful blocker with high upside in that area once he gets a bit stronger.
- Runs limited route-tree for ASU, and needs to sharpen his routes to overcome mediocre burst & quickness. That said, he does a nice job of sinking his hips at the top of in/out routes to separate.
- Still learning the nuances of the WR position, but he’s got special upside. Profiles as a potential upper-first round draft pick.
A.J. Brown | Ole Miss, JR
- Beastly production as a true sophomore in the SEC – 75 receptions for 1252 yards (16.7 avg) and 11 TDs in only 11 games. Though a lot of the damage came vs. weak competition, including nearly 600 yards & 6 TDs vs. South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin & the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Only 45 combined yards vs. Alabama & LSU, but posted good numbers vs. Miss. State, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Kentucky.
- Burly slot receiver for Ole Miss with exceptional strength, length & overall build – has the physical traits to handle press coverage on the boundary, though lacks that experience.
- Physically, he’s a man amongst boys. Built more like a RB than WR at 6’1, 225 lbs, and plays with toughness. Also has deceptively good speed for his size, making him a load to handle after the catch. Forced 23 missed tackles on 75 catches, averaging 9.0 YAC.
- Lacks standout explosiveness or suddenness, but plays within himself and runs relatively smooth routes for such a bulky WR. Routinely sells head fakes at the top of his routes.
- Not one to leap up and snag over top, but knows how to shield the defender with his body, and his hands are titan-strong in traffic. Occasional concentration-drops when open.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside | Stanford, SR
- On the surface, his Junior year production of 48/781/9 doesn’t scream “early-round prospect.” It looks a lot better with added context however. Stanford’s run-heavy approach limited opportunities, and JJ missed two games due to injury. His market share in games played includes a whopping 45% of passing TDs & 38% of passing yards.
- Lines up on both sides of the formation, primarily outside. Ran a ton of deep routes (& deserved more targets), but otherwise they run a relatively pro-style offense.
- Excellent size & length at 6’3, 225 lbs. That’s a lot of bulk for a WR, but it doesn’t slow him down. On the contrary, his movement skills stand out compared to some of the other big WR’s at the top of this class.
- He accelerates with solid burst & deep speed, and has enough explosiveness to go skyward for jump balls. Of all his athletic traits though, my favorite is the suddenness for his size. The other big, highly-rated receivers can’t match his quick cuts & ability to change direction.
- From the Doug Baldwin school of gorgeous releases (literally – Stanford), and even uses Dougie’s lethal stutter-step on occasion. It all starts at the release off the line for receivers, and JJ’s is a thing of beauty. Along with the ever-present size advantage over CBs, his pristine & rapid footwork help to consistently create instant separation.
- Always seems open – slick & sudden route runner who can cut on a dime. Not targeted often enough on short patterns, yet shows a natural ability to evade tacklers and gain extra yards after the catch.
- Creates separation with his size downfield and/or late in routes as well. Box-out artist who bullies smaller corners in 1-on-1 situations.
- Textbook blocker. Balanced/choppy feet in space, high IQ, + the size/length to drive/sustain.
Kelvin Harmon | N.C. State, JR
- Early producer for the Wolfpack during his true freshman (27/462/5, 10 games) and sophomore (69/1017/4) years.
- Inconsistent production – Only 13/111/0 in 5 games vs. Furman, FSU, Syracuse, UNC & ASU. While other 8 games yielded a healthy line of: 56/906/4.
- Great frame for a receiver at 6’3, 214 lbs with a powerful & athletic build. His size, athleticism & well-rounded skillset is appealing, as he excels as both a downfield target and possession receiver.
- Good acceleration to eat up cushion off the line, with the footwork & agility to separate on a curl or cut. Terrific target for back shoulder throws. Considerable leg drive after the catch to tack on additional yards.
- Releases off the line on balance with quick feet and occasionally violent hands.
- Primarily lines up on the right side. Unnecessarily lets the ball into his body on some catches, though his hands don’t appear to be a problem. On the contrary really – they’re quite strong in traffic, while drops seem few & far between.
- Makes some acrobatic catches, benefitting from his height & explosiveness. Effortlessly high points the ball with impressive coordination and hauls it in with one hand if necessary.
- One of only five power-5 sophomores to surpass 1000 receiving yards last year. Profiles as a potential first-rounder with his size, athletic-ability and early production.
Deebo Samuel | South Carolina, rSR
- Injury-riddled college career includes recurring hamstring issues and a broken leg suffered last year. Should be fully recovered by fall.
- 2016-2017 (13 games): 74 catches, 1033 yards (14.0 avg), 4 TD receptions. Playmaker with 7 career rushing TDs as well (7.5 ypc). Electric kick returner – 34.2 career average, 3 TDs.
- Good athlete – not an elite burner but he’s got short-area burst and plenty of deep speed. Appeared very quick & explosive prior to leg injury. Well-built for a 6-foot WR at 210 lbs.
- Physical player whether he’s blocking, hand-fighting, or grinding for YAC. Combo of sharp cuts, power on contact & instant acceleration make him a weapon after the catch.
- Clear upside to tap into if he can stay healthy. Quick & active footwork to fool CB’s on his release, runs crisp routes, and his hands are both strong & reliable. His best work is in the short/intermediate areas of the field, and I love how he positions himself to attack contested balls.
Anthony Johnson | Buffalo, rSR
- Unusual path for a potential early round guy – 2 years of Community College followed by a redshirt in 2016. Came out of nowhere to dominate the MAC in 2017, with 76 catches, 1356 yards and 14 TDs. Massive market share of the Bulls’ passing attack. Obviously, he feasted on weak competition for pretty much all of it.
- Lines up on both sides of the formation for Buffalo, including the slot. No real elite traits or skills, but he’s well-rounded for a Group-of-5 receiver with only 1 year of FBS experience.
- Good size at 6’2, 210 lbs, with decent speed, athleticism & some shiftiness after the catch.
- Not fast enough to consistently take the top off a defense, yet he still managed a whopping 599 receiving yards on passes targeted 20+ yards downfield. Solid combo of body-control and ball skills.
- No frills route-runner, with clean footwork in both his release & at the route stem. Swats away the hands of the DB to win on release vs. press most of the time.
Ahmmon Richards | Miami, JR
- Exceptional freshman year in 2016: 49 catches, 934 yards (19.1 avg) & 3 TDs. 2017 season thwarted by injuries, starting with a nagging hamstring throughout the fall and ending with a torn meniscus. True breakout opportunity in 2018.
- Vertical weapon with 4.3 – 4.4 speed. 6’1 yet plays even taller with long, lanky frame. Long strider & smooth athlete who accelerates quickly and separates at all levels of the field. The fast-twitch fluidity displayed throughout his routes is a work of art.
- Synced-up lower & upper body on release, with incredibly nimble & polished footwork.
- Impressive burst & elusiveness after the catch – excels at making tacklers miss. Plays with physicality despite relatively thin frame.
- Along with his ability to take the top off the defense with tremendous speed/ball-tracking, his YAC-prowess makes him a massive big-play threat.
- Perhaps the most talented WR in college, with clear WR1 upside in 2019. However, he needs to stay healthy, build on his freshman form, and consistently produce this year.
D.K. Metcalf | Ole Miss, rSO
- Summer 2017 workout numbers: 4.46 forty, 37.5” vertical, 11’1” broad jump. Also rumored to have 34+ inch arms.
- Raw physical specimen. Jacked 225 lbs on 6’4 frame, with explosive athletic ability. Decent speed & quickness as well for a man his size.
- Plays with physicality throughout his routes, hand-fighting to beat press and attack contested balls. Primarily used in that capacity, where he can make truly spectacular catches. An elite athletic profile + strong releases + contested catch talent can get you pretty far in the NFL, yet he could easily blossom into something more over the next 1-2 years.
Juwan Johnson | Penn State, rJR
- Receiving line was only 54/701/1 last year. Penn State was loaded with passing game weapons (Barkley, Gesicki, Hamilton), and it was likely easier for weak-armed QB Trace McSorley to target those respective RB/TE/slot receivers than Johnson on the outside. He wasn’t a full-time player either – plenty of snaps on the sideline given PSU’s deep receiving corps. Huge opportunity in 2018 with Barkley, Gesicki & Hamilton off to the NFL.
- Physical specimen at 6’4, 229 lbs with ball skills, fluid athleticism and YAC-prowess. Played a possession role last year, yet has the look of a potential downfield threat. First round upside if everything clicks this season.
Bryan Edwards | South Carolina, JR
- Solid 2-year production, starting at age 17 and going through his 19th birthday last November: 108/1383/9 in 25 games. One-side WR in the SC offense.
- Promising young receiver with smooth movement skills & route-running ability. Great size at 6’3, 220 lbs + elite explosiveness – rises way above DB’s to make contested catches downfield.
- May not see a huge bump in targets this year with Deebo Samuel returning from injury. Given that and his age, he might not come out in 2019.
Felton Davis | Michigan State, SR
- Tall, lanky receiver who broke out for MSU last year – 55 catches for 776 yards (14.1 avg) and 9 TD’s in only 11 games. Healthy share of passing offense: 29% of yards, 45% of TDs in his games played. Used primarily on the outside (both sides) with some slot snaps.
- Explosive and agile for such a tall WR. Separates at the top of his routes with swift footwork. His height + exceptional leaping ability & body control = a large catch radius. And not just vertically – also snags the ball inches off the turf with great hands.
- Film is littered with spectacular catches. Red zone weapon who would truly blossom in contested situations with added strength & weight. Gets open at will on comebacks & out routes, and comfortable working the middle of the field as well.
- Too thin for the NFL as of last year. Can be physically taken out of his routes if DBs get their hands on him early, and not always able to explode through contact at the catch point.
- Average speed – WR Coach says 4.4’s, but he looks more like a 4.5 guy.
- Early round upside if he can fill out his frame and naturally progress/polish his game.
Parris Campbell | Ohio State, rSR
- 3 speed. Summer ’17 elite testing numbers: 39” vert, 11’1” broad, 4.02 SS, 6.89 cone.
- Unrefined receiver who technically plays H-Back role in Urban Meyer’s offense, previously manned by the likes of Curtis Samuel, Braxton Miller & Percy Harvin.
- Crude route runner almost exclusively used on screens, hand-offs and short passes, where he can use his athleticism to wreak havoc with the ball in his hands. Averaged a whopping 13.0 YAC in 2017, or nearly 90% of his total yardage.
- Those skills with the ball in the open field make him a devastating kick returner as well.
- Numbers are limited in part due to usage and OSU’s WR rotation.