A number of wide receivers made impacts in their rookie campaigns with guys like the Titans A.J. Brown, the Redskins Terry McLaurin, the Seahawks AJ Brown, the Ravens Marquise Brown and the 49ers Deebo Samuel helping to improve their respective offenses tenfold. Though the wide receiver position doesn’t look to be as deep for this year’s NFL Draft as it was last season, one could argue that the upper end talent available is much better. With that, it’s time to try and figure out which wide receiver goes off the board when the 2020 NFL Draft kicks into high gear on Thursday April 23.
Jerry Jeudy -200
CeeDee Lamb +150
Henry Ruggs +1000
Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama Crimson Tide
The odds on favorite to be the first wide receiver taken off the board, Jeudy appears to have it all. The former Alabama Crimson Tide playmaker has top end speed evidenced by running a 4.5 40-yard dash at the combine to go along with fantastic route-running skills. Already seeing his odds to be the first pass-catcher selected jump to -200 from the -165 opener, it only looks to be a matter of time until a wide receiver-needy team sprints to the virtual podium to get the pick in. Jeudy went for 264 yards and 2 TD on 14 catches as a freshman. He followed it up with 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 TD his sophomore campaign, and then snared a team-high 701 receptions for 959 yards and 9 TD last season playing second fiddle to Devonta Smith. Then there was the six receptions for 204 yards and TD in the defeat of Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Jeudy looks to be in line to replicate the success at the NFL level of former Bama receivers like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley. If any team in need of adding a receiving playmaker passes on Jeudy, they’re likely to regret that decision for eternity - the kids a stud and wise beyond his years!
CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma Sooners
If a wide receiver was to leapfrog Jeudy, Lamb would be it without a doubt. The kid simply oozes big play potential and consistency with his excellent route-running, size, strength and ability to run-after-the-catch. Though he doesn’t have blazing fast speed, he made up for it with an ability to get open and turn nothing into big gainers over the course of his career in Norman. Lamb caught 58 balls and turned them into 1,208 yards and 14 TD over the course of last season, and was one of the only bright spots in the team’s 63-28 loss to LSU in the CFP semis. Some mock drafts have him going to the Raiders one spot ahead of Jeudy who would ultimately go to the Cardinals. With both Las Vegas and Arizona badly in need of shoring up its WR corps, it’s likely one of these two guys falls to the No. 12 and No. 13 picks. From there, it’s only a matter of determining who goes first and I can’t help but think Mayock and Gruden go for some more Alabama swag as well Josh Jacobs performed in his rookie campaign last season.
Henry Ruggs WR Alabama Crimson Tide
There are whispers being bantered about that Ruggs is the best of the wide receiver crop in 2020. I beg to differ. Speedster that can stretch the field, without a doubt yes! All-around playmaker; I’m still not sold. He reeled in 40 catches for 746 yards and 7 TD as the third option of the Crimson Tide’s vaunted passing attack this past season. He’s short in stature and doesn’t offer up much in terms of bringing the boom weighing in short of 190lb. As consistent he was playing for Nick Saban, I’m just not sold on an NFL team taking the leap of faith that the supreme talent on Alabama surrounding him prevented the junior from stealing the headlines. I see him as more of a complimentary piece capable of dazzling with big plays on occasion and not the surefire game-changing pass-catcher a team making its first pick in the draft would necessarily settle on or reach for.
The field is offering up a juicy 22-1 return which means you’re getting the likes of LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Baylor’s Denzel Mims, and Clemson’s Tee Higgins. All three of those guys are expected to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. However, it’s not until the backend of it which leads one to believe the “Field” isn’t the wisest of choices when looking to peg the first WR taken off the board. Of that trio, Jefferson could have the best shot after the season he just put forth teaming up with Joe Burrow to reel in a whopping 111 receptions and turn them into 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. But was it a matter of him being an excellent wide receiver or being surrounded by the greatest offense college football has seen in quite some time? Regardless of your answer, I don’t suggest playing the field with this prop bet as any of the three pass catchers mentioned up above have the goods to be the first one selected.
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