Shawn Siegele uses the NFL Combine Explorer to locate and discuss the top athletic comps for the elite wide receiver prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Combine Explorer from Dave Caban is another of my favorite tools. It records all of the measurements from the combine and helps us place them within historical context at each position. It also finds the 20 closest athletic comps for each prospect.
This does a couple of key things. It helps us calibrate our expectations for what a player might do athletically. It also helps remind us that athleticism isn’t the full picture. Sometimes the biggest value in these comps can be the message that athleticism alone isn’t enough.
We still like to see a number of strong comps within the 20 closest players. Professional football is an intensely athletic endeavor, and we want confirmation that our preferred prospects represent a profile with some previous NFL success.
Today we’ll look at 10 of the best WR prospects in the 2020 draft.
Lamb is my top WR prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft. Prolific in the Oklahoma offense, he both emerged early and generated a high yardage percentage despite sharing a field with 2019 first-rounder Marquise Brown. If not for an average athletic profile, it would be easy to see him as a future superstar.
Lamb was a big-play threat in college and a circus-catch machine. Two names jump out here and neither fits that profile. Tyler Boyd and Robert Woods are among the best possession receivers in the NFL, but they aren’t the field-tilters Lamb could turn out to be. Enthusiasts will hope there’s more DeAndre Hopkins to his game.
Lamb was No. 1 in Travis May’s Adjusted Production Index among early declares. For more API results from Travis, as well as updated mocks, ranks, advanced stats, and strategy articles, be sure to order the Dynasty Command Center Rookie Guide. Volume 2 will be released shortly.
Jeudy wasn’t the same player in 2019, struggling through a mediocre 10-game stretch before exploding for 200 yards against Michigan, but his route-running is the stuff of legend. While he had hoped to post more impressive times, a sub-4.5 forty may be enough to land him inside the reality top 10.
Jeudy posted agility and jumping numbers that came in below the 50th percentile, casting some doubt on his overall athleticism. The former Alabama star is nonetheless a dead ringer for Stefon Diggs. Drafters will hope to get that on-field brilliance without the off-field distractions.
Henry Ruggs III
After reading Blair Andrews’ new Wrong Read last week, I’m getting closer to talking myself into Ruggs. His production numbers were dismal for a projected top-20 pick, but his athletic resume suggests this may not matter.
And then we get to his closest comp.
It would, of course, be a surprise if this was anyone other than John Ross, he of the 4.22 forty and top-10 draft pick. We also find interesting names like Will Fuller, Mecole Hardman, and Curtis Samuel.
Fuller was a college star who’s been uncoverable during his fleeting stretches on an NFL field. Purely as receivers, Hardman and Samuel were less accomplished players, and we’re still awaiting their true professional breakouts.
If Ruggs can simply do what Fuller and Ross have not – stay healthy – it will probably take a poor offensive scheme to hold him down on Sundays.
After struggling with lousy QB play at TCU, the combine was Reagor’s chance to run by skeptics the way he blitzed defensive backs in the Big 12. He turned in a mixed-bag performance with solid 40 times, elite leaping numbers, and D.K. Metcalf-like agility drills.
D.J. Moore and Deebo Samuel flourished with this height/weight/speed/explosion combination, both making immediate impacts in fantasy.
One of our 2020 Freak Score stars, Mims’ comps immediately throw up mouthwatering names.
Mims likely has more in common with Javon Walker or Martavis Bryant than Julio Jones, but the list of 6-foot-3 receivers who run a sub-4.4 forty is filled with imposing athletes. Jump 38 inches and jet to a 6.66 three-cone, and you’ll suddenly find yourself right there with Jones.
On this week’s Overtime, Colm Kelley and I discussed whether Mims might not be just a sleeper. Could he actually be one of the top receivers in this year’s draft?
Jefferson’s combine didn’t generate the same headlines, but it consolidated a resume that Blair Andrews described as the only one that checks all the boxes.
With that background, it’s disappointing to see Torrey Smith as the upside comp. The Box Score Scout is more optimistic, naming Sammy Watkins as his most similar player.
Want some concrete examples of the advantage possessed by receivers over 220 pounds? Even limited with a core injury, Shenault’s size/speed profile contrasts favorably with the more explosive results from Jefferson.
A.J. Brown is Shenault’s closest BSS comp, and he shows up here as well. N’Keal Harry and JuJu Smith-Schuster are two more imposing results, while the slimmer Hopkins also finds himself on the list.
Ryan Bobbitt explains why a healthy Shenault still possesses the potential to vault Lamb and Jeudy by this time next year.
Aiyuk is going to be one of the draft’s most controversial players due to his one-year-wonder status and lack of an elite size/speed combo, but his peripherals are fantastic on both the production and athleticism sides.
Michael Gallup shows up on the list here and is also his closest comp in the Box Score Scout. Both players started at community colleges before exploding during their final seasons in Division I.
Aiyuk’s ability to contribute immediately as a manufactured-touch player could result in a reality pick as early as the late first.
You won’t find a more “RotoViz” player than Hodgins, and that’s probably the reason I’m scared he’ll go the Allen Lazard or Isaiah Ford route and not get drafted at all. That and most mock drafts suggest he’s going to last until the late stages.
Hodgins ran a 4.61 forty, which contributes to the narrative of a good college player who won’t transition well to the NFL. It certainly won’t help his draft position. But beneath that surface, he had a sneaky good combine.
While he’s slower than A.J. Green and lighter than Allen Robinson, the Oregon State star looks a lot like Michael Thomas. He’s got long arms (33.1) and big hands (9.9), and he posted leaping numbers above the 60th percentile to go with an almost 90th percentile shuttle.
Among receivers who declared early, Hodgins owns the best advanced stats in this class, and his draft-agnostic BSS comps start with Hopkins and Jarvis Landry before getting to the aforementioned Thomas at No. 3. Of course, that draft slot is going to be the fly in the ointment.
Gandy-Golden would be in the conversation as the best WR prospect in this draft had his results come against stiffer competition. Matt Wispe makes the case that he could be the next Cooper Kupp, albeit one in a 6-foot-4, 223-pound body.
Gandy-Golden’s 4.6 forty doesn’t help his cause, but the 22 reps on the bench demonstrate elite strength. He also showed serious explosion with an 85th percentile broad jump. If he lands with the right offense, there’s a chance he could be the next Marques Colston, another late-round gem from a small school.
* K.J. Hamler, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Johnson did not perform enough drills to be included.
Go Deeper With The Combine Explorer
There are still plenty of interesting receivers left to investigate, and the Combine Explorer is your ticket to everything you want to know about player athleticism. Michael Pittman, Gabriel Davis, Quez Watkins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Devin Duvernay are just a few of the names you’ll want peruse. You can also check out all of the quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends who participated in the combine.
For closer look at the receivers, be sure to follow the links to our prospect profiles that I included in the write-ups and check out the 2020 Freak Score rankings. For a deeper dive on the backs, jump over to my updated RB Rankings using our RB Prospect Lab.