Brad Kelly’s full 2020 NFL Draft wide receiver rankings

Pro Football Network analyst Brad Kelly details his 2020 NFL Draft wide receiver rankings.

Early day three grades

25. Hasise Dubois, Virginia (6-3, 215)

Strengths: Hasise Dubois’ calling card is how reliable he is while catching the ball, as he shows natural extension and finished the 2019 season with no dropped passes. He finishes with consistency through contact while tightly covered. Dubois makes easy adjustments along the boundary to expand his catch radius. When it comes to route running, he’s technically sound and understands when to sit down against zone coverage.

Weaknesses: There are athletic concerns with Dubois, as he’s not especially explosive through his route breaks or when he needs to rise towards the catch point. His lack of speed limits his ability to stretch the defense and his elusiveness after the catch. He needs extra time to build up, as his acceleration leaves a bit to be desired and he doesn’t consistently vertically threaten defensive backs.

Summary: Dubois has the technique and physicality to play on the outside of the formation, and his steady hands and ball tracking make him a reliable target even when he’s covered. On top of his strength, his slot reps showed a player that makes himself available and offers the size to help his quarterback. He projects as a complementary receiver with inside/outside versatility, but limited upside due to his uninspiring athleticism.

Position: X

24. Isaiah Coulter, Rhode Island (6-2, 198, 4.45s)

Strengths: Isaiah Coulter was the rare FCS prospect to declare early for the NFL Draft, and for good reason. He’s full of burst out his route breaks, and pairs that with straight line speed that projects well even against pro cornerbacks. He’s fluid and showed better development against press coverage than expected. His natural acceleration out of his stance and out of route breaks projects well into a full tree, and he finds separation at all three levels.

Weaknesses: Coulter has multiple concerns at the catch point, failing to properly extend from his frame on a consistent basis. Due to his uneasy ball skills and occasionally shaky hands, he struggles while contested. He’ll need a season to continue developing physically, as his play strength won’t hold up at its current level.

Summary: Coulter has surprising athletic traits and explosiveness, which gives him a notable ceiling as a route runner. Entering the NFL a year early should prove beneficial, as he still needs to progress in the weight room. If he’s able to add strength, he becomes a potential starter at either the “X” or “Z” receiver, but his variance as a prospect will be higher than others in this range.

Position: X/Z

23. James Proche, SMU (5-11, 201)

Strengths: If you want a chain mover, James Proche is your man. Capable of breaking horizontally with ease, he consistently creates passing windows with nuanced stems and fluidity. Proche has sublime ball skills and body control, getting the absolute most out of his limited length and catch radius. Proche does a good job of remaining available for his quarterback and making late adjustments, showing soft and consistent hands to finish the catch process.

Weaknesses: Proche won’t be mistaken for a slot receiver that can stretch the seam, as his athletic concerns will limit his vertical route tree. To go along with that, Proche won’t break into the open field and produce explosive plays after the catch. Despite showing quickness on his film, his times were poor in the agility tests, possibly limiting his projection when he goes from the Group of 5 to the NFL at an advanced age.

Summary: Proche has a natural projection and noticeable floor, as he’ll be relied upon as a possession style slot receiver. Simply put, he finds separation and there are few receivers who are as consistent within their catch radius. He should be a security blanket early in his NFL career and will stick for multiple contracts, but he won’t ascend into anything more than a complementary role during his career.

Position: Slot

Pro Comparison: Cole Beasley

22. Jauan Jennings, Tennessee (6-3, 215, 4.72s)

Strengths: Jauan Jennings’ trademark is his power as a ball carrier, as his contact balance and strength leads to regular broken tackles. Teams will want to get him involved on short passes or in the screen game and let him go to work after the catch. For his size, he’s surprisingly adept with his start-stop in order to create passing windows. There is a level of nuance to his route running, and he creates space well for his size and athletic traits.

Weaknesses: Jennings’ lack of speed is concerning, and he struggles to find much vertical separation. On top of that, his downfield ball tracking can be awkward at times. His projection to the boundary will be limited because of a lack of experience there and entering the NFL at an advanced age.

Summary: Jennings proved to be a unique evaluation, as he projects as a slot receiver without much speed or notable quickness. Whichever team that drafts him will look to get him involved because of his power, but those route limitations in his skill set could prevent him from becoming a full-time starter. Jennings will be a weapon that provides value, albeit through an oddly specific role.

Position: Big slot

Pro Comparison: Hakeem Nicks

21. Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State (6-4, 210, 4.61s)

Strengths: It’s easy to appreciate Isaiah Hodgins’ body control, as he’s as fluid as they come for 6’4 wide receivers. He’s a natural mover with lateral agility, crisp footwork and a rare ability to adjust in the air. He’s strong in tight spaces because of his length and ball skills, making him a dynamic threat in the redzone. Paints a route picture throughout the game, forcing defensive backs to be constantly uncomfortable.

Weaknesses: While fluid, Hodgins won’t be mistaken for the quickest or fastest receiver. He struggles to find downfield separation, and won’t demand extra help from safeties despite his catch radius. Hodgins didn’t produce much of note after the catch, failing to show elusiveness or strength through tackles.

Summary: Hodgins has starter potential as an “X” receiver with proper development, but without the alpha traits to be a top-two option. He’s best utilized in the redzone or in tight spaces, as he’ll adjust his route to create a window and finish at extension. His catch radius and consistent hands are admirable, but his mediocre athleticism and strength puts a ceiling on his production upside.

Position: X

20. Devin Duvernay, Texas (5-10, 200, 4.39s)

Strengths: Devin Duvernay shows excellent straight line speed, going back to his days as a decorated track and field athlete. He’s one of the more exciting YAC players in the class, as he combines strength and bulk with explosiveness and speed. Duvernay limited drops throughout his career and finished while contested despite his limited length. He’s a developed route runner on vertical stems, showing the strength to disengage from the jam.

Weaknesses: Duvernay has more stiffness than you’d expect from a slot receiver, and his route breaks lack definition and quickness. Separation will be an issue when projecting him into the full route tree, which will limit his route tree while playing from the slot.

Summary: Duvernay is a tough, sturdy player who provides consistent hands and yards after the catch. Texas made an effort to get him involved in the screen game because of his speed and strength with the ball in his hands. With that said, he’s a below average route runner and that puts a dent into his ceiling. He’s a future starter as a slot receiver, but teams will have to design his role around his skill set.

Position: Slot

Pro Comparison: Albert Wilson

19. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina (6’3, 212)

Strengths: Bryan Edwards was productive over four years in the SEC, and he offers good size for the position. He’s a strong, talented ball carrier who will drop his pads and pick up yards through contact. Shows adept field vision in space and has the juice to not get run down. Edwards has the frame to box-out defenders when he’s between them and the catch point, and he’ll be a presence in the intermediate early in his career. Profiles as a strong blocker who can clamp defensive backs at full extension. 

Weaknesses: Edwards tries to be an explosive mover at the line of scrimmage but struggles to fully clear his pads, gets unnecessarily slowed up in his stem. Doesn’t have the vertical speed to consistently uncover or stretch safeties, cornerbacks can attach to his hip. Despite his size, he doesn’t adjust his body at the proper angle to work back to the ball and rip it down from the catch point when he’s contested.

Summary: Edwards has seen increased production each year of his collegiate career, which actually started when he was just 17 years old. With 50 games played and 234 career receptions, he brings experience and a certain savviness as a prospect. Edwards projects as an “X” receiver, but he doesn’t have the requisite speed to demand double coverage or safety help to his size. He’ll be a solid option on third downs, but projects as a possession style receiver with only average overall upside.

Position: X

Third round grades

18. Tyler Johnson, Minnesota (6-1, 206)

Strengths: Tyler Johnson has been a productive receiver from different alignments during his collegiate career. He’s a sound, technical route runner especially in tight spaces. Does an excellent job of closing the cushion and breaking across the face of defensive backs. Naturally sets the pace of his routes, understands the weaknesses of coverage. Johnson is a lateral athlete who can finish through contact, showing plus ball skills and the ability to extend towards passes above his head. 

Weaknesses: Johnson has speed and athleticism concerns, which limits his overall projection. He failed to answer his questions by skipping athletic testing at the NFL Combine. Despite his technique, he’ll struggle to gain vertical separation from pro cornerbacks. With the ball in his hands, his lack of speed limits explosive plays. He’s inconsistent as a pass catcher, having dealt with drops throughout his entire time in college.

Summary: Johnson’s best work should come in the slot, as his pacing and ability to find intermediate windows will be best served there. He was a three-level winner in college, but his athletic traits could limit that projection in the NFL. He’s a high floor prospect with a clear professional role.

Position: Big slot

Pro Comparison: Mohamed Sanu

17. Collin Johnson, Texas (6-6, 222)

Strengths: The initial thing that sticks out about Collin Johnson is his massive catch radius. Pairs his 6’6 frame with fluid body control, able to extend to the high point or get horizontal with extension. Johnson has surprisingly developed technique against press coverage, gaining ground with shiftiness for a receiver his size, and preventing contact with his hands. His release and catch radius make him a constant vertical threat along the boundary, and he’ll make plays on the sideline with impressive ball tracking. Johnson is strong as a ball carrier who can drop his pads and deliver physical hits to smaller defensive backs. His length and motor make him an effective stalk blocker who can be schemed into the running game and overpower defenders. 

Weaknesses: Johnson is an upright route runner who fails to drop his hips through his route breaks. When he gets to the top of the route, he can be swift through vertical cuts, but there’s a lack of deception involved. He fails to create much separation on curl routes, as his vertical threaten and hip drop leave a lot to be desired.

Summary: Johnson’s skill set has developed during his time in college, as he’s improved his coverage processing and his press coverage releases look different now than when he first cracked the starting lineup. Johnson is a natural outside receiver in the NFL who projects as a starter, and could be one of the few day two picks with the potential to become a number one target. He needs to continue to improve his ability at the top of the route, but his vertical presence and catch radius will allow him to produce early in his NFL career.

Position: X

Pro Comparison: Malcom Floyd

16. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State (6-0, 205, 4.50s)

Strengths: Brandon Aiyuk has a knack for explosive plays, as he uncovers vertically with his route running. Aiyuk is a natural in how he attacks off coverage, moving defensive backs and gliding by them in space. He has the straight line speed and the length (6’8 wingspan) to expand his catch radius and sprint through grabs. Explosive post-catch, who can win in space with speed, acceleration or power. He’s able to adjust to passes thrown behind him or to the back shoulder, but he’s at his best when able to sprint through the catch point and out-run pursuit.

Weaknesses: Aiyuk has inconsistencies that could limit his ability to separate in the NFL, as he’s sluggish through complicated or intermediate routes. He struggles to get out of his stance with any quickness against press coverage, and doesn’t utilize his length to beat contact in his stem. Aiyuk’s ability to open his hips and attack downhill is lacking. He’ll allow the ball to get into his body when he’s coming back towards the quarterback, and there can be some drops or double catches on elementary throws.

Summary: Aiyuk is a scheme specific fit, and overall there are concerns about his projection. Vertical receiving and yards after the catch are valuable traits, but Aiyuk won’t find the same success if he doesn’t develop his releases against press coverage or acceleration out of his stance. He will produce explosive plays after the catch, but those can be harder to come by against NFL speed. Aiyuk is a potential starter but doesn’t project as more than a complimentary receiver.

Position: Z/Slot

15. Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky (5-11, 204)

Strengths: Lynn Bowden Jr. is a natural talent with the ball in his hands, regardless of the avenue in which he carries it. He finished his collegiate career with over 1,300 yards rushing, receiving and in the return game. Bowden has easy acceleration, elusiveness and underrated power, forcing missed tackles at an elite rate. He has the straight line speed to stretch defenses, especially when given a free release from the slot. He’s fluid through breaks and in the air, capable of running a full route tree and has the lateral quickness to find separation early in the route.

Weaknesses: For all of his athletic traits, Bowden doesn’t necessarily explode through his route breaks the way you’d imagine. While he has the speed to push vertically, he didn’t find much success beyond 10 yards as a receiver due to inconsistent separation and play strength concerns. Overall, there are limitations at the catch point.

Summary: Bowden will have an immediate role as a gadget type of player due to his natural traits with the football in his hands. However, there is potential to unlock with him as a receiver, as he could parlay that ability into explosive plays after the catch. Bowden will likely find his home at the slot in the NFL, but teams will look to manufacture touches for him in similar ways that the 49ers did with Deebo Samuel. He should compete to start immediately.

Position: Slot

Pro Comparison: Antwaan Randle El

14. Van Jefferson, Florida (6-1, 200)

Strengths: Van Jefferson projects as one of the best route runners in the NFL Draft class, especially for those receivers who project to the outside of the formation. He shows refined footwork on tape, as well as the flexibility to snap off his routes in the blink of an eye. He’s a developed lateral mover, able to create separation at the line of scrimmage against tight coverage. He’s smooth, and finds success on double moves as a result. Once he’s in space, he’s able to further separate due to his plus athleticism and strides, and is a reliable receiver when the ball is within his radius.

Weaknesses: Jefferson produced only a few explosive plays after the catch, not offering the same level of elusiveness with the ball in his hands. While he’s flexible and quick, he’s not a natural deep threat when not given time to orchestrate multiple moves in his stem, and fails to win contested catch points due to below average play strength.

Summary: Jefferson will be a short and intermediate threat in the NFL and should be a reliable target on third downs. There isn’t necessarily a coverage that limits his production but his average physical tools will limit his success beyond 15 yards. Whichever team that drafts him will likely prefer to deploy him on the boundary because of his crisp footwork against press coverage, but his skill-set should make him position versatile. He’ll get open and finish reps, and projects as an immediate contributor with starter potential.

Position: X/Z

Pro Comparison: Anthony Gonzalez

13. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan (6-2, 212, 4.48s)

Strengths: Donovan Peoples-Jones is a dynamic athlete and plays like it on the field. He’s quick, agile, has explosiveness, and above average speed. All of that within a sturdy frame. He’s an explosive lateral mover who utilizes his length to avoid the jam from defensive backs, consistently getting into his routes without being crowded. He’s efficient with his breaks, and has impressive adjustments to the ball both in the air or getting horizontal while diving. Uses an arm bar to maintain his separation, and subtle hand fighting to create space when covered tightly. Peoples-Jones found separation in all three levels of the defense, especially against man coverage.

Weaknesses: Despite strong physical tools and a knack for the explosive play, Peoples-Jones never found the consistent production he should have at Michigan. He takes an extra second to get out of his stance, and his technical issues need to be cleaned up in the NFL. Routes can be inconsistent at times, both in footwork and in timing.

Summary: Peoples-Jones is an intriguing talent as a former five-star recruit with one of the best athletic profiles at the position. Simply put, there just needed to be more production during his time at Michigan. His best football should be ahead of him, as he’s position versatile with all of the tools for more responsibility. There is number one target upside somewhere within “DPJ,” and he’s already a relatively refined receiver, but it’s going to take time and reps for him to get there. Early in his career, he’ll be an explosive play-maker and could be a starter by his second year.

Position: Z/Slot

12. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame (6’4, 238, 4.42s)

Strengths: The first thing that defenses will have to deal with in order to stop Chase Claypool will be his size and strength. He’s as physically imposing as they come at the position, and some teams could prefer to deploy him closer to a tight end than a wide receiver. When he builds up his speed, he’s a force and will run through tackles in space. He can flip his hips in the air and show off his catch radius, as well as expand the boundary with natural body control. Claypool utilizes his length to beat contact, he’s one of the more physical route runners in the class.

Weaknesses: Claypool has excellent tested athleticism, but isn’t as quick on the field and there are concerns over his ability to fully uncover at the next level. He fails to stack vertical routes against press coverage, and he’s not the most explosive route runner out of his breaks. While his body control in the air is impressive, he doesn’t always properly extend to the catch point and fully unlock his radius.

Summary: Claypool showed solid traits to start along the boundary both on his film and at the Senior Bowl, and blew up the NFL Scouting Combine with his athletic tests and physical profile. Whether he’s deployed as an “X” receiver or takes more reps inside, he has the fluidity necessary to create or find passing windows at his size. Despite the physical gifts, Claypool isn’t quite bursty or developed enough to project as a number one target – but his character, soft hands and catch radius makes him a versatile and high floor complementary receiver.

Position: X/Move tight end

11. KJ Hill, Ohio State (6-0, 196, 4.60s)

Strengths: KJ Hill is simply one of the strongest route runners in the class, easily creating separation through technique. Hill understands how to attack man coverage, threatening leverage and pairing it with crisp route breaks. He’s a fluid and smooth operator who sifts through zone windows to make himself available. He has soft, natural hands when the ball is placed within his radius. He finished his Ohio State career with a low drop rate despite being their all-time leader in receptions.

Weaknesses: Hill lacks the necessary long speed to threaten defenses vertically, and doesn’t have the required burst of elusiveness after the catch to create explosive plays. While he’ll get upfield with the ball in his hands, he won’t beat angles with quickness. Hill is a technician of a route runner, but lived at home in the slot during game action and was rarely covered tightly at the line of scrimmage.

Summary: Hill had a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, showing separation against press coverage. That helped his projection, as he proved an aspect of his evaluation that he wasn’t tested with on film. Despite the strong week, Hill proved to really only be a short and intermediate threat as a receiver, something that his athletic testing reinforced. He’ll be a steady and reliable third option for a passing offense, and offers a noticeably high floor as a prospect. Hill would pair well with a young quarterback looking for a security blanket.

Position: Slot

Pro Comparison: Austin Collie

Top-10 wide receivers on the next page


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