NFL Draft: Best Rookie Wide Receiver Prospects
Laquon Treadwell has been preordained the best rookie wide receiver of the 2016 draft class. But what if I were to tell you that’s not actually the case? Treadwell was a minimal participant at the NFL Combine, which means scouts will have to wait until his pro day to truly assess his athletic profile. Many will brush this off as common practice, but a part of me thinks it could be a rise for concern. Treadwell is obviously delaying the process in hopes of a better showing in a few weeks. 40 times are historically better at pro days (among other drills), so that’s something to keep in mind when we assess Laquon in a few weeks.[the_ad id=”61343″]Don’t get me wrong. Laquon passes the eye test with flying colors. He was a standout receiver at Ole Miss and could have a great NFL career. But I would advise you draft scouts to remove your blinders and consider the fact there could be some better fantasy talent out there.
Here are the five best rookie wide receiver hopefuls (strictly based on the NFL Combine) in my opinion.
5. Trevor Davis (California)
Entering the Combine, Trevor Davis was expected to go undrafted. That may no longer be the case. Davis submitted the third fastest time in the 40 at 4.42 (albeit among a slow draft class). He also showcased his agility with a 6.6 second 3-cone drill and his leaping ability with the fourth highest vertical jump (38.5”).
At 6’1” 185 lbs, Davis could use some muscle, but he did impress in a lot of the metrics scout’s weigh favorably. Adding to the allure of Davis, is his impressive resume as a kick returner at Cal. The likes of Antonio Brown and Tyler Lockett have shown us recently that the ability to return kicks could be an indicator of NFL success for smaller receivers otherwise possessing a lackluster athletic profile.
4. Keyarris Garrett (Tulsa)
Garrett boasted impressive measurables at the combine (6’3”, 220 lbs, 34.5 inch arms), drawing comparisons to Dez Bryant. He also showed good speed for his size, running a 4.53 40.[the_ad id=”58837″]Garrett’s agility and quickness left something to be desired (which is expected at his size), but there’s still reason to believe he could find success at the NFL level. In 13 games for Tulsa, he caught an astounding 96 balls for 1,588 yards and 18 TDs. His competition may not have been fierce in the AAC, but all in all, Garrett could be worth a flier in standard leagues (depending on his landing spot) and should be highly considered in keeper and especially dynasty formats.
NFL Combine Recap -Written By Jody Smith
3. Corey Coleman (Baylor)
Corey Coleman barely participated in any combine drills, but I saw everything I needed to see. His numbers at Baylor were for lack of a better word: stupid. Much like Brandin Cooks though, he’s a Biletnikoff winner being overlooked by the likes of others. Coleman caught 64 passes for 1,119 yards and 11 TDs as a sophomore. He followed that up with 74 catches for 1,363 yards and 20 TDs (no, that’s not a typo) in 2015.
Coleman was one of the premiere vertical threats at Baylor, showing great burst and game speed to create separation against opposing DBs. His explosiveness was on full display at the combine with a 129” broad jump and 40.5” vertical. Coleman fans will have to wait until his pro day on March 16th to see him perform the 40-yard dash (among other drills), but with an impressive showing he’s a strong first round draft candidate for a team in need of an impact wide receiver. His return skills should put him on the field early and often as a rookie as well. Coleman could very easily be the best rookie wide receiver in this class, although where he lands will have a huge fantasy impact.[the_ad id=”58919″]
2. Ricardo Louis (Auburn)[the_ad id=”58882″]I am probably in the minority here, but I absolutely love Ricardo Louis. Coming into the combine, Louis was projected, at best, to get nabbed on the last day of the draft. Now, some analysts say he could go as early as the third round. All thanks in part to an exceptional effort at the combine last weekend. Louis didn’t participate in every event, but he made the most of the ones he participated in. He finished top-5 for wide receivers in the 40 (4.43), vertical leap (38”) and broad jump (132” – best in his class). Analysts with a flair for metrics will tell you the broad and vertical jumps can be pretty indicative of a wide receiver’s burst. Louis’ numbers put him in the same class as Julio Jones (B: 135, V: 38.5), Dez Bryant (B: 133, V: 38) and Andre Johnson (B: 132, V: 39). At 6’2”, 215 lbs, he’s built like them as well. With only 46 receptions for 716 yards and 3 TDs in 2015, Louis’ statistics don’t jump off the page, but his metrics do.
The tape is impressive as well. Auburn might not have maximized his potential, but the right NFL system could. I’ll be paying very close attention to where he falls on draft day.
2016 NFL Combine Results -Put together By Mike Rigz
1. Josh Doctson (TCU)
Josh was the wide receiver I was most excited about coming into the Combine. He wasn’t at the top of any wide receiver rankings, so he struck me as a great second round value for teams in need of wide receiver help that couldn’t afford to use a first round pick on the position. Did I mention I’m a Giants fan? Doctson may not have blazing speed, but he makes up for it in every other category. At 6’2” 202 lbs he has a little more size than anticipated as well. Doctson finished ninth in the 3-cone drill (6.84), third in the 20-yard shuttle (4.08), second in the broad jump (131”) and first in the vertical jump (41”). Translation: he’s a physical freak.
Doctson’s 4.50 40-yard dash was not elite by any means, but it wasn’t terrible for his size. He also showed a good ability to create separation on the field. Amassing 79 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 TDs during his senior season at TCU, the consensus All-American left no doubt his athleticism translates to the football field. Look for Doctson to emerge as a first round dynasty target this summer. Rightfully so too.
Other notable combine efforts: MarQuez North (Tennesse), Michael Thomas (Ohio State), Will Fuller (Notre Dame), Charone Peake (Clemson), Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma) & Braxton Miller (Ohio State). Don’t sleep on Leonte Carroo (Rutgers) either. He was a limited participant, but his offensive production in college can’t be overlooked.
Bob, a Quinnipiac grad, is an avid sports fan and fantasy enthusiast. Currently resides in the professional sport-less state of Connecticut, but will never forget his roots in the great state of New Jersey.