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2017 Draft: WR Prospects

The draft prospect series continues with wide receivers.

First Round Caliber
Mike Williams (Clemson)
Mike Williams is a big time playmaker for the National Champion Clemson Tigers. He stands 6’4 and 218 pounds and made huge catches the last few years for DeShaun Watson. He’s got a good catch radius and can win contested balls. He doesn’t have long speed (4.54 40) and must work on his foot work. He knows how to get separation though and flat out produces with size and athleticism. Williams had over 1,000 yards in 2014 and 2016 and was injured in Week 1 of 2015. He notched 21 TDs in his four year college career for the Tigers.

John Ross (Washington)
John Ross ran a blazing 4.22 at the combine which broke the official record. He is the fastest potential NFL player. Ross is not only fast but very productive for the Huskies in Washington. Ross is only 5’11 and 188 which causes durability and press coverage concerns. Ross missed all of the 2015 season due to knee injuries and was only a one year true starter. However, Ross gets great separation and runs very good routes. He knows how to track the ball and is deadly on double moves. Ross must learn to catch the ball better in traffic. He was productive with 17 TDs in the 2016 season. Ross is also an excellent kick but wasn’t used much on punts. He should be a big time weapon for whoever drafts him in Round 1. Ross compares to former Saint and new Patriot, Brandin Cooks.

Corey Davis (Western Michigan)
Davis is a highly productive possession receiver with incredible numbers at Western Michigan. Davis had over 1,400 yards in EACH of the last three seasons and 15, 12 and 19 TDS in 2014-2016 respectively. You can’t get more productive than Corey Davis. Davis is 6’4 and ran a 4.48 40. He runs great routes and gets separation. He wins contested balls with good concentration. He isn’t very sudden and has some drop issues at times. He will be a very productive possession WR in the NFL. Davis had an ankle injury that required surgery which may cause him to drop out of the top 10-15 spots.

Second TIER
Curtis Samuel (Ohio State)
Samuel is 5’11 and 194 pounds out of Ohio State. He is a great athlete and ran a 4.31 at the combine. He is naturally gifted and can play many route roles. He must add a little size but he can be a dangerous weapon with the right OC. Samuel notched 771 yards and 8 TDs in 2016 rushing and 856 yards and 7 TDs receiving in 2016. He is a dangerous multi-talented weapon to use.

Chris Godwin (Penn State)
Godwin is 6’1 and 209 pounds out of Penn State. He ran a 4.42 40 and is a boom or bust type of player. He has monster games but has disappeared in several others. Godwin produced 1,101 yards and 5 TDs in 2015 and 982 yards and 11 TDs in 2016. He is a good route runner with good releases and can block. He can track the ball deep and has good speed but not great deep speed.

Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington)
Kupp is 6’2 and 204 pounds out of Eastern Washington. He played lesser competition but was incredibly productive. He had 21, 16, 19 and 17 TDs the last four seasons. Yes those numbers are correct. Kupp earned 1,691, 1,431, 1,642 and 1,700 yards over four seasons. He blew away the weaker competition. Kupp is a good athlete and runs good routes but doesn’t have elite speed. Someone will be getting a productive player in Round 2 or 3.

Ardarius Stewart (Alabama)
Alabama churns out WRs. Stewart is 5’11 and 204 pounds with a 4.48 40 time. Stewart had 864 yards and 8 TDS in 2016 and 700 yards and 5 TDS in 2015. His athleticism hasn’t quite lived up to production but he is a solid day 2 pick.

Day 3
Zay Jones (East Carolina), Ju Ju Smith Schuster (USC), Carlos Henderson (Louisiana Tech), Amarah Darboh (Michigan), Chad Hensen (Cal), Taywan Taylor (Western Kentucky) are more solid day 3 prospects.

Team Needs
The Vikings need a number 1 WR despite taking Laquan Treadwell in Round 1 last season. However, the Vikings don’t have a first round pick and must either trade up or wait until day 2. Adam Thielen had a productive 2016 season and was given a long term deal. Diggs is a nice slot option with some speed. However, the Vikings really could use a true number 1 if Treadwell can’t be that guy. They might not find that on day 2 though.

Chicago has decent weapons but lack a true number 1 WR as well after losing Alshon Jeffrey to the Eagles in free agency. Kevin White was a top 10 pick but was injured in both of his two seasons. Cameron Meredith, Eddie Royal and new addition Kendell Wright (slot WR) are decent as the second and third options. Chicago may opt until early day 2 to take a WR or trade back into the first round. I doubt Chicago takes a WR at pick 3. They could trade down and add more picks and then nab Mike Williams, John Ross or Corey Davis.

The Packers don’t need a WR with Nelson, Cobb and Adams. However, Adams is a free agent next offseason and Cobb has had some down years so Thompson could still take a WR in Round 1 or Day 2 if Ross or Davis fell to him. The Packers GM could also trade out of the first round to gain picks.

The Lions could use a slot/3rd WR option unless Anquan Boldin returns. Detroit hasn’t taken a WR in the first round since Calvin Johnson (2007) but they did take Eric Ebron (TE) in 2014. Detroit has one DE, LB and work horse RB needs but John Ross or Corey Davis could be good options if they fell to pick 21. Tate, Jones and Ross (or Davis) would be a pretty sick receiving trio. The Lions would still have day 2 and 3 to add to the defense and running back.