The Bills definitely need upgrades at wide receiver. Bills receivers graded 31/32 regarding amount of separation from DB’s this past year. Maybe that was a big part of Tyrod’s problems completing passes. Jordan Matthews is gone and Zay Jones’ episode in LA makes one worried about his health as much as his career with the Bills. We all hope Zay Jones is healthy and well. We have Kelvin Benjamin, Rod Streater, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, and Kaelin Clay who will do returns. Brandon Reilly looked great in preseason last year and maybe he will get a chance to play this year. I always thought Zay Jones was better at ECU in the slot and with Jordan Matthews gone maybe he will get a chance there.
There is not a huge amount of talent at the top of the draft for wide receivers. This is not like the 2014 draft where there were 6-8 first round talent receivers. No Talking Heads have any receiver in the top 10 discussion. However, there is intriguing receiver talent for every round of the draft. There is a selections of about a dozen big (>6’3″) and fast (<4.5’s) receivers. Here is my ranking of the wide receivers in the 2018 NFL Draft.
1) Calvin Ridley, Bama, 6’0″, 190 lbs. 4.43 40. 6.88 3 cone. Runs great routes. Great hands. Very good blocker. Reminded me of Marvin Harrison at Syracuse. Alabama didn’t throw much and their QB play was not NFL calibre. Ridley’s best production is ahead of him. He is mid to late first round talent IMO.
2)Courtland Sutton, SMU, 6’3″, 215. 4.54 40. Insanely fast 6.57 3cone. Big and strong. Long with good hands. He is very quick. Might be best in the slot as a pro. 2nd rounder IMO but could sneak into first if someone likes him.
3)Christian Kirk, Tex A&M, 5’10”, 200 lbs. 4.47 40, 20 reps, 7.09 3 cone; Very strong with good hands. Does returns. Good route runner. A solid day 2 selection.
4)DJ Moore, Maryland, 5’11”, 215. 4.42 40, 15 reps, 39.5″ Vertical, 132″ Broad, 6.95 3 cone, 4.07 short shuttle. Super athletic wide receiver with great hands. All big ten and was the bright spot for Maryland’s season. Another day 2 selection, although a receiver needy team might consider him in the first round.
5)DJ Chark, LSU, 6″3″, 196. 4.34 40. 40 inch vertical. Long, lean and blazing fast as he showed in the Senior Bowl and at the combine. He played and starred on special teams at LSU, and he will immediately upgrade any NFL team’s special teams units. He can stretch the field and the Bills need someone with that ability.
6)Anthony Miller, Memphis, 5’11”, 200lbs. Miller was sensational at Memphis this year and hauled in nearly everything that Riley Ferguson threw his way. He has long speed and also runs great routes. He has outstanding hands and usually wins contested balls.
7)James Washington, Oklahoma St., 6’0″, 205 lbs. 4.54 40, 7.11 3 cone. Good hands. Has the knack for making the big catch. He looks faster on the field. Another 2nd day prospect.
7A)Marques Valdes-Scantling, S. Fla., 6’3″, 207 lbs., 4.37 40. Big and fast wide out. Big and strong hands. 4.37 40 is blazing fast for someone his size.
8)Dante Pettis, Washington. 6’0″, 186 lbs. All purpose receiver. Can play outside or in the slot. Great return man.
9)Michael Gallup, Colo. St., 6″1″. 4.46 40. 6.95 3 cone. Reminds me of Anthony Miller. Strong fast, good route runner. Good hands. Made a lot of the big plays for Colorado St. this year.
10) Allen Lazard, Iowa St., 6’4″, 225lbs. 4.55 40, 38″vertical. A big strong possession and red zone type receiver. Very good route runner. Looked good in the all-star games and combine. Had a very productive career at Iowa St.
11)Marcell Ateman, Okla St., 6’3″, 220lbs. 4.62 40. Another big possession receiver with long arms and strong hands.
12)Jaleel Scott, New Mex St., 6’5″, 215 lbs. Long and runs like a deer. Good hands. Still needs to get stronger but could be another strong/big possession receiver. 4.56 40 time is great at 6’5″.
13)Dasean Hamilton, Pa. St., 6’1″, 203. 6.84 3 cone. Another precision route runner. If you missed out on Calvin Ridley, this is a guy you could get in the mid rounds with similar traits.
14) Simmie Cobbs, Ind., 6″3″, 220 lbs. 4.64 40. 6.7 3 cone. Another big receiver with great hands. He jumped off the screen when I first saw him play this year.
15)Auden Tate, Fla. St., 6’5″ 225. 4.68 40. Another big possession receiver. Plays a lot like Kelvin Benjamin.
16)Byron Pringle, K. St., 6’1″, 203 lbs. 4.46 40. 6.87 3cone. Fast with good hands and a good route runner. Nice day 3 option.
17)Jmon Moore, Missou, 6″3″, 209. 4.6 40. Insanely fast 6.56 3 cone, 4.04 short shuttle. Quick and big receiver. Shifty with good hands. Could be a steal on day 3.
18)Daurice Fountain, N. Iowa, 6’1″. 210 lbs. Explosive receiver with quick twitch ability. Very good return man.
19)Deon Cain, Clemson, 6″2″, 202 lbs. 4.43 40. 6.71 3 cone. He looked good at times, but I saw him drop some passes he should have had, otherwise he would have been a lot higher in my ranking. Still a good late day 3 option IMO>
20)Kiki Coutee, Tex Tech, 5″10″, 181lbs. 4.43 40. 6.93 3 cone, 4.15 shuttle. Only saw him play once but he reminded me of Wes Welker. Quick and dynamic.
21)Dylan Cantrell, Tex Tech, 6’3″, 226 lbs., 4.59 40. 38.5 vertical, 130 broad, 6.56 3 cone, 4.03 shuttle. The second of the two receiver prospects at Tex Tech. He is the bigger and more athletic, but the one game I saw Coutee made all the catches. A late round choice.
22)Javon Wims, Ga., 6’3″, 215 lbs. 4.53 40. 7.0 3 cone. Appeared to improve a lot as the season went along. Another possible late round steal.
23) Justin Watson, Penn, 6’3″ 215. 4.39 40. 40 inch vertical. Looked very good in the all star games and at the combine. Possibly the best wide receiver prospect to ever play in the Ivy League. Belichek will take him in the later rounds if he is there.
I have notes on 40 other receivers, but these are the ones above that I like the best.
My Bills Draft Strategy: I would try and get a wide receiver on day # 2 of the draft. I’d probably use one of those 2nd round picks, as I think wide receiver is in the top 4 positions of Bill’s need. I would love to get Chark or DJ Moore in the 2nd round. They are both true wide outs that can stretch the field and I think that is what wee need from this draft. Benjamin, Streater, Holmes, Jones-We don’t scare any team about going long. We need a legitimate deep threat out of this draft. Maybe Brandon Reilly will do that for us this year but I still draft a wide out with sub 4.5 sec speed in this years draft.