There have been years when the wide receiver class was special and included multiple picks at the position within the top 10. This will not be one of those years. My feeling is that it's a good group with very good depth, but in the end we might only see two receivers drafted in the opening round. If that is the case, there will be a run on wide receivers in both the second and third rounds of this draft.
What also stands out to me: Because of the differences in skill set, how each team lines the group up will be different. The top wide receiver on one team's board could be the third on another. That said, the following are among the best in the class this year:
When I first wrote up Campbell for the Pro Football WeeklyDraft Guide, I underrated him. After doing more tape, he is much better than I originally thought. He has exceptional speed and athleticism, and though he doesn’t run a complete route tree, he does a very good job running the routes asked.
Campbell can play inside or out, also line up at running back and return kicks. He has some special to him because of his big-play ability, and some clubs will have him among the top three receivers in the draft.
There are mixed opinions on Butler, who has rare size at 6055 – 220, 4.48 speed and great leaping ability. Though he can break down and create separation coming out of cuts, he still needs to improve his overall route-running ability, as his route tree at Iowa State was minimal.
I like the way Butler competes for the ball in traffic, where he wins jumps balls and is willing to expose his body. He will create mismatch problems right from the start. He can be physical going after the ball but needs to become a more consistent blocker.
Like with Butler, there seemingly isn't a consensus within the draft community on Harry. I might be in the minority, but I feel that Harry is going to be a very good NFL wide receiver. With a 4.53 time in the 40, he is not a burner. But at 6027 – 225, he doesn’t need to be. He is fluid with very good overall body control and flexibility, as well as having very good hands. He shows that he is able to gain separation and his run-after-catch ability is very good. I feel he will come in and make an immediate impact for the team that selects him. And 155 receptions and 17 TDs over the past two seasons suggests I’ll be right.
Many anticipated that Brown would be the fastest receiver at the Combine. But because of a LisFranc injury and surgery, Brown was unable to work out for clubs. After the medical re-checks last week, his healing reportedly is on schedule and there is a very good chance he will be ready to go when camp opens, if not sooner.
Brown lacks size (5’9 – 169), so he may be best suited to play inside as a slot, but with his speed and body control, I’m sure the team that drafts him will use him at times split wide. If you want a comp for Brown, it's DeSean Jackson. They have similar size, speed and builds, and Brown could be used in a similar way as Jackson, one of the game's most lethal vertical weapons. If Brown has half the career that Jackson has authored, the team that grabs him made a helluva selection.
Like with the TE position, there is a good chance that the first two wide receivers drafted next week could come from the same school. In this case it’s Ole Miss, where A.J. Brown is a more complete receiver than D.K. Metcalf, with very good route-running skills and proven versatility. At Ole Miss, he was used both inside as a slot and outside. He has very good speed (4.49), and with his size (6’0 – 225) he is a strong runner after the catch and better-than-adequate blocker. He has very good hands and shows a large receiving radius. While he doesn’t have the explosiveness and big-play ability of Metcalf, he is the more complete player at this time.
Going into the Combine, Metcalf was looked at as the odds-on favorite to be the first wide receiver drafted. Though that still may be the case, I highly doubt he is the top receiver on every team’s boards. Why? His workout. Metcalf is very fast (4.33) and can jump out of the building (40.5 VJ, 11’2” LJ), but his change of direction drills were slow for the position and revealed that he isn’t the most flexible athlete.
Metcalf will be an immediate NFL deep threat, and he is a very strong runner after the catch, but until he improves his flexibility, he may have trouble running an entire NFL route tree at a high level.
Previous 2019 NFL Draft positional breakdowns by Greg Gabriel: