NFL Draft Position Rankings 1.0: Receivers
By Jim Johnson
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Ranking the ACC, SEC, Sun Belt, and SoCon 2017 NFL Draft prospects.
The 2017 NFL Draft is just a couple of months away and, as always, the bulk of the top talent is coming out of our coverage area -- the ACC and SEC (with some Sun Belt and SoCon players as well) -- so I will be releasing fluid position rankings throughout the run-up to April 27th. This ranking only includes players from teams that we cover, meaning some of the major players from the other conferences will not be included. Curiously, the rankings wouldn't look much different even if they were, though.
1. Mike Williams, Clemson
Totally looks the part of a number one receiver. Perfect body for the position. Natural hands, catches the ball away from his body. Innate ability to track the ball downfield. As physically imposing as he is, has no qualms going over the middle. Sometimes loses focus. Came down with a case of the drops for a stretch of last season. By far the best wideout in the class.
2. Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech
An ever-present deep ball threat with above average speed. Good height. Nuanced route runner, albeit with some room for improvement. Effortlessly athletic, will go up and get it, even against taller corners. Could stand to add some muscle. Struggles against zone coverage. High ceiling, low floor prospect.
3. Malachi Dupre, LSU
A little raw due to LSU's recent quarterback play, or lackthereof, but with a ton of potential. At 6'4", has incredibly enticing size. Adjusts well to off-target passes and always look to get upfield after the catch. Less than stellar route runner without the speed to get away with it. Could take longer than others getting used to the pro game.
4. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Quite possibly the most explosive receiver in the draft. Great height, but thin frame, coupled with a fearless playing style, could lead to injury concerns. Elite ball skills. Devastating acceleration and top speed. A leaper, Reynolds is a devastating deep ball and red zone threat. Lacks the strength to compete against stronger NFL corners. With his track background, look for Reynolds to shoot up draft boards after the combine.
5. ArDarius Stewart, Alabama
Overshadowed Calvin Ridley to become Alabama's leading receiver in 2016. Not as much tape as one would like, having missed a few games, and playing with a freshman quarterback. Excellent after the catch, can turn a single into extra bases. Some character concerns could scare teams off. Could be a day two steal.
6. Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
Bigger than a lot of tight ends, and as useful as many when run blocking. The most physically imposing receiver in the draft. Uses his body to shield the ball from smaller defenders. Never lived up to his five-star billing. relatively slow for the position. May ultimately end up playing some tight end in the NFL.
7. Damore'ea Stringfellow, Ole Miss
Impeccable body control allows him to make the highlight catches. Vertically gifted, good height and jumping ability for the position. Not a good route runner. Not an asset when run blocking. Competitive, athletic, lots of room for growth.
8. Travis Rudolph, Florida State
Consistent producer at Florida State. Reliable, could be useful in the slot, if placed in the right system. Lacks the size of a number one receiver. Can disappear at times. Pure class, off the field.
9. Artavis Scott, Clemson
Makes the most of what he's got. Protects the ball. Makes contested catches, in traffic. Elusive in the open field. Not as fast or agile as one would like, especially given his size. Not a threat downfield. A competitor for sure, but how far can that alone take him?
10. Fred Ross, Mississippi State
Had a ton of reps over the past few years at Mississippi State, as the Bulldogs' premier weapon. Strong hands, snatches the ball out of the air. Struggles to create separation. Not great against man coverage. Can be a useful zone beater from day one.