Earlier, we covered the top-10 wide receivers in this class pre-draft. For more of an idea on the methodology on what goes into these early ranks, make sure to check out the intro to that post. You can also find the rest of the rookie rankings and all other 2021 rankings for seasonal and dynasty formats as they arrive in our 2021 rankings hub as they arrive and are updated throughout the offseason. Keeping things in order, we’re following that top outlook with wideouts 11-20 and some of the rationale that has gone into that early ranking.
- Dyami Brown, North Carolina, FY Age: 21.2 (MR: WR18)
Brown is the best deep threat in this class, turning in back-to-back seasons of having at least 50 receptions for over 20.0 yards per catch to go along with 12 and eight touchdowns. North Carolina did not ask Brown to do much outside of shred defenses over the top (his career average depth of target was 18.4 yards).
Since he was not asked to do much else, questioning whether or not Brown can develop nuance outside of being a pure downfield flanker is warranted. But Brown has a measured spade that is going to land him targets that carry fantasy weight while his size (6’0” and 189 pounds) is not a concern for his archetype. At his Pro Day, Brown was impressive with a 80th percentile explosion score in jumping drills, but checked out in the 23rd percentile in speed score and 27th percentile in agility.
12. Nico Collins, Michigan, FY Age: 21.8 (MR: WR25)
The model is not impressed by Collins by any stretch after he has tallied just 78 receptions for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns over three seasons at Michigan, but there are some things to like about his profile as being a more productive NFL player.
Collins was saddled with subpar quarterback play his entire collegiate career, but he has major size (6’4” and 215 pounds) on his side while he was a four-star recruit that had offers from major programs such as Alabama, Clemson, and Florida among others before choosing Michigan. If Collins ends up at any of those programs, this could be a much different story. He also sat out this season due to COVID, which failed to change any of the narrative.
While at Michigan, Collins still turned 16.7% of his receptions into touchdowns (ninth in this class) while averaging 17.8 yards per reception (11th). At worst, Collins can threaten to be a boundary and red zone option next level with his size. At his Pro Day, Collins helped himself a great deal, registering in as a 87th percentile athlete, with the most surprising component of that workout being an 85th percentile wideout in agility marks, which is strong for his size.
13. Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State, FY Age: 21.9 (MR: WR11)
Adams turned in monster counting stats with a 79-1,111-12 line this past season. Only DeVonta Smith was targeted more than Adams this past season as he carried the Arkansas State passing game, accounting for 28.7% of the team receptions, 27.7% of the yardage, and 30.8% of the receiving scores.
At his Pro Day, Adams checked in at 6’3” and 218 pounds and ran a 4.59 40-yard dash with explosive jumps of a 39-inch vertical and 132-inch broad. That size and athleticism combination was on display on his 12 contested touchdown catches over the past two seasons, which led all collegiate wideouts. In 2020, Adams led all collegiate wide receivers across the board on go routes with 14 receptions for 401 yards and seven touchdowns on those routes per Pro Football Focus.
The splash plays, size, and measured athleticism all are upside signals for Adams, but there is red on his ledger as well. For one, he did not truly breakout at a small school until his fourth season. Playing in the Sun Belt at his size and measured athleticism, Adams definitely was a man amongst boys, but was outplayed by Omar Bayless throughout his career, who went undrafted a year ago. Bayless was a 23-year-old, so he had a distinct advantage, but it is worrisome, nonetheless.
We only have a small sample of Adams playing against Power-5 competition, but he did have an 8-98-3 game versus Kansas State this past season and a respectable 7-85-0 against Georgia in 2019. For all of his contested catches, Adams also posted a 12.4% drop rate, which led the country this past season.
14. Tamorrion Terry, Florida State, FY Age: 22.8 (MR: WR26)
Terry could be arbitrage on Dyami Brown in the vertical game and listed at 6’3” and 200 pounds, has more size. After averaging 21.3 yards per catch with eight touchdowns on 35 catches as a redshirt freshman in 2018, Terry popped in 2019 for a 60-1,188-9 line while averaging 19.8 yards per grab. Terry then came back this past season and struggled overall, catching just 23 passes for 289 yards (12.6 Y/R) and one score before opting out after six games. The Florida State offense in totality was a slog in 2020 and Terry had three games with two or fewer receptions and that sunk him in the model (he would have looked much better going the Sage Surratt route), but a 9-146-1 game against Notre Dame still kept the lights on for the upside Terry has. True to his profile as straight line burner and downfield threat, Terry ran a 4.45 40-yard dash on his Pro Day (75th percentile) while registering in the 59th percentile in explosion drills and just 22nd percentile in agility drills.
15. Seth Williams, Auburn, FY Age: 20.7 (MR: WR21)
Williams had modest production at Auburn, turning in 26-534-5 as a true freshman before improving to 59-830-8 as a sophomore. This past season, Williams took a small step back overall with 47-760-4 in 11 games, but still turned in 16.2 yards per catch. Strictly a vertical and boundary asset, Williams has the requisite size (6”3” and 211 pounds at his Pro Day), was a 69th percentile athlete on his Pro Day, and has been attached to questionable quarterback play, but he has also played a part in his own production limitations by being credited with 16 drops over his career per Pro Football Focus. With so much of this class to this point being options that require manufactured touches, rational coaching, and increased volume in the slot, Williams gets a bump for positional scarcity, but against Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina in 2020 — who fielded three of the top cornerbacks in this class in Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, and Tyson Campbell — Williams found himself bagged often with games of 3-17-0. 3-34-0, and 4-74-0.
16. Marquez Stevenson, Houston, FY Age: 22.0 (MR: WR20)
As a redshirt sophomore in 2018, Stevenson broke out at age-19, catching 75 passes for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing 14 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He then came back in 2019 with 996 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns before 323 yards and four scores in just five games in 2020.
Stevenson is also one of the more decorated return men in this class, averaging 26.1 yards per kickoff return on 34 returns in college with three touchdowns. Stevenson measured in at 5’10” and 182 pounds at the Senior Bowl, so we have limited true alpha upside, but Stevenson could be arbitrage on Rondale Moore and Kadarius Toney for what he brings to the table.
17. D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan, FY Age: 23.8 (MR: WR23)
Eskridge was electric in 2020. In just six games played, Eskridge turned 33 receptions into 768 yards and eight touchdowns. For team context, Eskridge led this entire WR class in yards per team pass attempt (4.95), share of team receiving yardage (45.1%!), and share of team yards from scrimmage (28.8%). He also averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff return.
Eskridge was a regional champion in track at Bluffton High School. He won the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the long jump in his region in both 2015 and 2016. That all shows up with the plays he makes. At his Pro Day, Eskridge ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and was in the 62nd percentile in explosion score (vert+broad).
That also is where it is hard to diagnose what we are working with Eskridge at the next level. Paired with nearly playing at 24 years old this past season, Eskridge was demolishing much younger and less athletic players in the MAC. Watching his tape from 2020 was like watching a game on Rookie Mode, he was just that much better of an athlete than his opponents.
At this Pro Day, Eskridge checked in at 5’8” and 190 pounds. With little developed nuance as an NFL route runner at this stage (all he did was run go routes and slants), his adjustment may take some time, but there is no doubt an NFL team will covet him as an athlete.
18. Jaelon Darden, North Texas, FY Age: 22.0 (MR: WR10)
Darden was the North Texas offense in 2020, accounting for a class-high 40% of the team receptions, 42.1% of the team receiving yardage (second). Darden also accounted for 41.3% of the North Texas offensive touchdowns. Not receiving touchdowns, but total touchdowns. That ranked second among all players last season in college football.
Darden’s output and share of team production are why the model loves him, but there are also some questions. The obvious one is that he played at North Texas. The only Power-5 opponent Darden faced the past three seasons were Cal in 2019 (2-75-1) and Arkansas in 2018 (5-87-0). Also, listed at 5’9” and 174 pounds, Darden is outright tiny. He played 88.4% of his snaps in the slot the past two seasons and really lived on targets where it is hard to get a feel for him being successful next level. Oddly enough, for as much as Darden made people miss in the receiving game (23 missed tackles in 2020) he did not have a decorated profile as a return man, averaging just 6.8 and 5.3 yards per punt return the past two seasons and just 17.6 yards per kickoff return for his career
19. Sage Surratt, Wake Forest, FY Age: 22.7 (MR: WR7)
Surratt is a model favorite since the last time we saw him on the field, he posted a 66-1,001-11 line in nine games in 2019 before sitting out 2020 due to COVID. Those 2019 yardage and touchdown marks were 26.7% and 35.5% of his team’s total. Surratt also comes with the requisite size to draw interest (6’2” and 209 pounds at his Pro Day). I am more cautious than the model on Surratt because Surratt sends massive J.J. Arcega-Whiteside vibes down my spine since he relied so heavily on just winning in contested catch situations at Wake Forest. In 2019, he caught 18-of-30 targets in contested situations. For a player that had 103 targets in total, 29.1% of them coming in contested catch spots gives me some pause, but Surratt’s size and production are noteworthy positives.
At his Pro Day, Surratt did not alleviate any concerns he may have consistently separating from NFL defensive backs as he posted a 12th percentile speed score by running a 4.69 40-yard dash.
20. Isaiah McKoy, Kent State, FY Age: 20.9 (MR: WR12)
As a 19-year-old sophomore, McKoy broke out with a 56-872-8 line that accounted for 30.6% of the team receiving yards and 33.3% of their touchdowns on 23.4% of the receptions. Playing in just four games in 2020 due to COVID, McKoy posted games of 8-104-1, 6-74-2, 6-140-1, and 5-137-1 while averaging 18.2 yards per catch. An early declare and 21-year-old rookie, McKoy clearly has the eyes of scouts to potentially not just be a throwaway pick if all goes well for him throughout the offseason process. He has the size (6”3 and 200 pounds) to go with his production if questions are answered about his strength of competition. In 2019, McKoy logged three games against Power-5 opponents in Wisconsin (3-13-0), Auburn (4-85-1), and Arizona State (2-26-1). At his Pro Day, McKoy did not alleviate any concerns that he was propped up by his conference as he closed out as a 21st percentile athlete at his position.