The 2022 NFL Draft will feature an interesting group of wide receivers. Here is where I have the top ten ranked on my big board at the start of the pre-draft process.
This class of wide receivers from the 2022 NFL Draft is strong but is one step behind the 2021 NFL Draft. We don’t have Ja`Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle. However, Jameson Williams and Garrett Wilson are pretty solid and there’s a lot of depth in this class.
I don’t think we’ll see that many catches in round one, but look for plenty in rounds two and three. Let’s take a look at my 2022 NFL Draft Top-10 WR rankings:
2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 10 wide receivers
1. Jameson Williams – Alabama, 6-foot-2, 198 pounds
2021 stats: 79 rec, 1,572 yards, 15 TDs and 19.9 yards per catch
2020 stats: 9 rec, 154 yards, two TDs and 17.1 yards per catch
Jameson Williams was unable to make it into the title match after tearing his ACL, but I don’t expect that to hurt his draft stock too much. As he might be the best WR to come out of Bama since Julio, he is a well balanced WR with great size, speed and catch radius.
I wouldn’t read too much into his 2020 stats as he had Waddle, Smith and fellow 2022 draftee John Metchie on the same team.
2. Drake London, USC, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds
2021 stats: 88 rec, 1,084 yards, seven TDs, 12.3 yards per strike
2020 stats: 33 rec, 502 yards, three TDs, 15.2 yards per catch
Drake London might be the surprise in this draft, as I’ve seen some people have him as high as the top seven in the middle. His size will be one of his biggest advantages as he is by all accounts the largest WR in the top class.
It’s hard to imagine him not exploding with consistent QB and offense, something he never had at USC. He’s a big Alshon Jeffry-type red-zone threat, who can be an offset for any corner.
3. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State, 6-foot-0, 192 pounds
2021 stats: 70 rec, 1,058 yards, 12 TDs, 15.1 yards per catch
2020 stats: 43 rec, 723 yards, six touchdowns, 16.8 yards per strike
Garrett Wilson will enter the draft as this year’s Jaylen Waddle. It is fast and can travel all lanes with the ability to be placed anywhere in the field. He was given the gift of having Chris Olave on the other side and took advantage of the defense whenever he could as proof of his striking yards. Although not as advanced as Jaylen Waddle, their skills would be similar.
4. George Pickens, Georiga, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds (ACL injury reduced in 2020 and 2021)
2021 stats: 5 rec, 107 yards, zero TDs, 21.4 yards per catch
2020 stats: 36 rec, 513 yards, six TDs, 14.3 yards per catch
It’s hard to know what George Pickens will be next because of his lack of college output. But, the intangibles are there. He could move up the ranks as the combine and professional days come together.
With UGA’s lack of time on the pitch, we have few movies, but what we have shows he could be a budding star at the next level, until he can stay healthy.
5. Treylon Burks, Arkansas, 6-foot-2, 225 pounds
2021 stats: 66 rec, 1,104 yards, 11 TDs, 16.7 yards per catch
2020 stats: 51 rec, 820 yards, seven touchdowns, 16.1 yards per strike
Burks burst onto the scene last year and continued his stride this year. On a regular basis, he was a problem for some of the best defenses in the country.
With a good mix of size and speed and one of the best contested grappling WRs in this draft, Burks could be a second-round player with first-round production. His combined numbers will have a lot to do with his draft stock when it comes to verticle, 40 yards and road tree.
6. Chris Olave, Ohio State, 6-foot-1,189
2021 stats: 65 rec, 936 yards, 13 TDs, 14.4 yards per catch
2020 stats: 50 rec, 729 yards, seven touchdowns, 14.6 yards per strike
Speed and a lot, that’s what Olave is. He will make an excellent deep threat type player or gimmick player. I don’t see him becoming an alpha type player, but he will be a solid slot player or a second WR on a team lacking in depth. Although its biggest impacts may be in the return game and on the endgames.
7. Calvin Austin III, Memphis, 5-foot-9, 162 pounds
2021 stats: 74 rec, 1,149 yards, eight TDs, 15.5 yards per catch
2020 stats: 63 rec, 1,053 yards, 11 TDs, 16.7 yards per catch
Austin is worth noting, his stats are more than adequate, but his height is questionable. Being one of the shortest and lightest high-end WRs in this class might cause it to slip.
But, Smith and Rondale Moore showed last year’s size, which isn’t always a problem. He has good hands and a solid road, if he gets to 162 at the combine he could slip.
8. John Metchie III, Alabama, 6-foot-0,195 pounds
2021 stats: 96 rec, 1,142 yards, eight TDs, 11.9 yards per catch
2020 stats: 55 rec, 916 yards, six TDs, 16.7 yards per catch
Metchie last year seemed like the best WR for Bama this year until Jameson Williams took it to the next level. There’s a lot to love about Metchie and where he projects himself in this project, he’s been able to set up production in consecutive years, competing for captures.
A well balanced wide receiver, look for him to play more like a WR2 than a slot machine, and be good on the option or the quick hit.
9. Wan`Dale Robinson, Kentucky, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds
2021 stats: 104 rec, 1,134 yards, seven touchdowns, 12.8 yards per strike
2020 stats: 51 rec, 461 yards, one touchdown, 9.0 yards per catch (played at Nebraska)
One stallion Wan`Dale is low on this list, due to the massive disparity in production throughout his career. You don’t know which one he is, a one-time wonder or a kid who eventually grew up to be his own on a team that could use him.
Hands are no problem for him as evident with 104 catches last year there are questions about his speed and how he can split to the next level but he can fight with the best of them .
10. David Bell – Purdue, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds
2021 stats: 93 rec, 1,286 yards, six TDs, 13.8 yards per catch
2020 stats: 53 rec, 625 yards, eight TDs, 11.8 yards per catch
Bell is another great WR who is great with the contested grip, but struggles to separate at times and doesn’t seem to have true NFL speed. Will end up being a WR2 or WR4, not working much out of the slot, but his size will make him a good red zone option. Where he should fall in this draft, he would be a good choice for someone like Buffalo, Packers or Cardinals.
Rember 2020 was the COVID-19 season, so some players didn’t have a full season. But, it’s a solid roster of wide receivers, and like last year, we have an impressive mix of size, speed and utility. This list, I think more than any other, has the chance to change the most.