With his scouting report, is Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson the top wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get varying answers. There are a number of common candidates, among them Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks, USC’s Drake Jackson, and Wilson’s teammate Chris Olave. But one could argue Wilson is the most complete three-level weapon. This report explains why.
Garrett Wilson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’11 3/4″”
- Weight: 183 pounds
- Wingspan: 76 1/2″
- Length: 32″
- Hand: 9 7/8″
Wilson’s Combine/pro day results
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.38
- Broad Jump: 10’3″
- Vertical Jump: 36″
- Short Shuttle: 4.36
Garrett Wilson Scouting Report
A lot of pressure comes with being an Ohio State WR. You might be tasked with filling a void previously filled by Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin, or Parris Campbell in any given year. Ryan Day’s operation is an NFL pipeline at multiple positions, and wide receiver is one of them.
Pressure can break young players. But more often than not, those who arrive at Ohio State are up to the task. Wilson certainly falls under that definition. Wilson quickly emerged as a star for the Buckeyes and was productive throughout most of his collegiate career.
Now, after becoming one of the best receivers in the Big Ten, Wilson aims to be the best wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. Does he have a compelling case? Looking at the three-level framework — examining a receiver’s skills before, at, and after the catch –, he appears to check most of the boxes.
Before the catch
When evaluating wide receivers, a useful exercise is to break up each evaluation process into three categories — before the catch, at the catch, and after the catch. Some traits are unique to one category, but others span across all three. For Wilson and his scouting report, let’s start with his attributes before the catch, where his athleticism is fully on display.
Wilson is exceptionally fluid, sudden, and explosive as an athlete. Before the catch, he uses this suddenness and twitch to gain separation. He has the unique ability to disconnect his upper and lower body movements to sow deception, and on top of that, his feet are swift and precise. The Buckeye also uses his head and eyes to feign intent.
Wilson’s athletic traits translate easily to his route-running ability. The Ohio State WR can stack direction changes and glide out of quick cuts with ease. He sinks his hips effortlessly on route breaks, and he can explode off of stems with torrid short-area burst. Wilson has the explosiveness to race ahead of defenders in the open field, and he adjusts his stride lengths based on the situation with effortless throttle control.
Furthermore, Wilson has a great awareness of blind spots in coverage, and his route tree is fairly expansive for his age. He has an attacker’s mindset as a route runner, and he’s constantly trying to manipulate defenders into giving up space.
At the catch
If you haven’t already been sold on Wilson, this section should do the trick. At 6’0″, 188 pounds, Wilson isn’t an overwhelming size threat. Nevertheless, his amalgamation of traits makes him a force to be reckoned with downfield.
At the catch point, Wilson’s ability to rise vertically is top-tier. He’s an explosive athlete. However, beyond his ability to physically high-point the ball, he has superb body contortion and hands. His ball-tracking prowess in the deep third is impeccable. Wilson naturally guides the ball in at the catch point. He doesn’t hug it close to his body but instead seeks the ball out with his hands, proactively securing the catch.
Sometimes, Wilson may find himself crowded between a defender and the out-of-bounds line. In these tight situations, Wilson displays strong sideline awareness. Additionally, when he’s contorting for tough passes, he has the wherewithal to make sure his feet stay in bounds. That awareness, present within a condensed time window, is impressive.
There are times when Wilson gets outmuscled at the catch point due to his lesser frame. Safeties can also jar the ball loose with timely hits on the Ohio State WR. Regardless, his contested-catch ability is a major strength overall. And he showed great consistency in these situations in 2021.
After the catch
We’ve checked two boxes already, and as it turns out, Wilson is a strong prospect after the catch as well. His athleticism translates well in this phase. He’s a shifty ball carrier, with the elusiveness and suddenness to make defenders miss in space.
Wilson doesn’t always play to his 4.38 40-yard dash, but he has more than enough speed to elongate the field and extend short passes. He was particularly dangerous on drag routes and mesh routes in 2020, and he remained a great threat in 2021. He sneaks below other route concepts and into the middle of the field, where he can then use his burst and jittery running style to tack on extra yards.
Wilson has underrated contact balance for his size, but his twitchy, slippery brand of mobility is what truly gives him value as a runner. Moreover, Wilson’s high-level run-after-catch ability helps increase his overall versatility. He can move between the boundary and the slot, and he’s been used in motion quite a bit over his career.
Areas for improvement
Overall, Wilson’s NFL Draft scouting report has fairly few blemishes. Heading into 2020, the Ohio State WR has a lot of appeal as a prospect. Having said that, no prospect is perfect, and that statement rings true for Wilson as well.
Among other things, Wilson can round off his routes on occasion, and he still has a notable amount of wasted motion. He can be more refined as a route runner in the future. The Ohio State WR is also prone to focus drops when he anticipates contact. Interestingly enough, this happens most often in the short range, where Wilson might feel more vulnerable to looming defensive backs. It also happens to Wilson when trying to corral sideline catches at times.
Beyond his receiving role, Wilson is at the very least a willing blocker, but he isn’t elite in that phase. Wilson’s leaner frame prevents him from attaining a physical advantage over larger defensive backs, and he sometimes lacks consistency with his blocking angles.
Wilson’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
For all projective purposes, Wilson’s smooth, sudden athleticism, combined with his attention to detail and his sheer instinct at the catch point, makes him an extremely promising wideout in the 2022 NFL Draft. Wide receivers who can create at all three levels are coveted in the NFL, and Wilson fits this description better than most in the 2022 class.
Before the catch, Wilson can create separation with his explosiveness, suddenness, fast feet, hip sink, and technical use of deception. At the catch point, he can create opportunities with his natural, effortless body control, ball-tracking ability, and strong hands. And after the catch, he can create extra yards with his twitch, elusiveness, and urgent style.
With his high-level instincts at the catch point, and his high-level athletic upside everywhere else, Wilson is a worthy WR1 candidate in the 2022 NFL Draft and a potential top-10 prospect.
Wilson’s Player Profile
Upon watching Wilson play, it’s no surprise that he was a five-star recruit in the 2019 recruiting class. Ranked as the No. 2 receiver and No. 3 prospect in the state of Texas, Wilson’s natural talent was apparent nationwide. Even at just 175 pounds, Wilson received offers from dozens of schools, including Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida, and Georgia.
Wilson’s character also made him a desired addition on the recruiting trail — he won the All-American Bowl Man of the Year award for his community service.
Wilson could have chosen Texas and remained in his hometown of Austin. But instead, he valued Ohio State’s proven track record of receiver development over proximity to home. On April 29, 2018, Wilson officially committed to Ohio State. The decision came one day after the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft — perhaps a sign of things to come for the Lake Travis product.
Wilson’s career at Ohio State
Wilson joined the Buckeyes as a true freshman in 2019. At the time, the Buckeyes’ receiving corps was recovering from the losses of both Campbell and McLaurin in the prior draft. Thus, Wilson earned valuable exposure as a true freshman. And as a true freshman, he quickly proved that he wasn’t your average pass catcher.
Overall, Wilson saw playing time in 13 games during the 2019 season. He accounted for 30 catches, 432 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Several games provided bright flashes of his potential. In the Maryland game, he hauled in 4 passes for 82 yards and a score. Against Michigan, he ran up the count with 118 yards and a touchdown on just 3 receptions.
Wilson’s 2020-2021 production and NFL Draft ascension
Another wave of Ohio State receivers — K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, and Austin Mack — left the program before the 2020 season, prepping Wilson for an increased role. For those unfamiliar with Wilson, his 2020 breakout came out of nowhere. But for those who knew his origins, it was only a matter of time before he exploded onto the college football scene.
Suiting up for eight games in 2020, Wilson amassed 723 yards and 6 touchdowns for the Buckeyes on just 43 catches. He served as one of the team’s leading receivers alongside Chris Olave, averaging an excellent 16.8 yards per catch. He earned All-Big Ten recognition for his performance, but the Ohio State WR wasn’t done yet.
After his 2020 season, Wilson was already a popular pick in 2022 NFL mock drafts. 2021 only solidified his reputation. 70 catches, 1,058 yards, and 12 touchdowns later, Wilson is widely considered a future first-round pick, and many label him as WR1 of the 2022 class. Upon review of his tape, that label is rightly placed.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report on Garrett Wilson
Positives: Dependable receiver with the size and skill to be a No. 1 wideout at the next level. Plays with outstanding balance and body control, easily adjusts to grab errant throws from the air, and gets down to scoop up low passes. Tracks the pass in the air, gets vertical, and nicely times receptions.
High points the ball over opponents and uses his frame to protect the pass. Extends his hands and snatches the fastball out of the air. Comes back to the ball out of breaks and finds the clearing on the field to make himself an available target. Wins out for contested passes.
Negatives: Lacks a deep burst and vertical speed despite his Combine 40 time. Unnecessarily cradles the ball against his frame on occasion. Average run-after-the-catch skill.
Analysis: Wilson possesses a solid combination of size and speed as well as pass-catching ability. He needs to improve the small details of his position, but he comes with an upside in addition to an NFL-ready game.