“Wait, we’re loaded at wide receiver, right? The depth chart is full of new faces. We added John Brown for a downfield threat to compete with Foster, and we brought in Cole Beasley to fill the slot role, and that CFL kid Duke Williams, and Andre Roberts to do KR/PR and be the 6-3 guy…and we brought in Nick Easley…You know, that JUCO walk-on at Iowa who led his team in receptions for two seasons, had 103 catches, 1,024 receiving yards, and 9 TDs? Then we actually stole David Sills V in Free Agency. He had 121 receptions, and was the 2017 FBS touchdowns leader. Why do we need to look at WR in the draft?” I hear you cry.
That’s exactly the point. GM Beane doesn’t want to “need to draft” ANY position due to a paucity of talent. Beane wants to draft BPA (best player available), BFA (best fit available), or BTA (best trade available) at every pick, so it behooves us draftniks to examine every position group for talent and fit, not just the “need positions”. Like iDL last year, we know there is ample, maybe even historic, WR talent in the 2020 NFL Draft class. Who fits and stands out?
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
#2 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
10.9 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
You fall in love easily with Jeudy’s juice, advanced route-running skills, separation and YAC. Think “Odell Beckham with spindly legs”, and that’s Jerry Jeudy. He’s Robert Foster fast. In fact, as a freshman, Jeudy was timed with Robert Foster, and both clocked a 4.47. Work ethic? Check. Daboll knows him: Check. What’s not to like? He’s currently #2 on our draft board, and we’d have to trade up a long way from #32 [insert nodding smile].
Fit For Bills: A
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
#15 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
17.4 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
The most impressive thing about CeeDee is that me makes himself available to his QB with separation. Robert Foster type. Quick. Lamb can make himself tall, shown here on this high-pointer. He caught six passes for 167 yards and one TD vs Alabama’s defense, so I think he’s ready for prime time. This year, Lamb had 57 catches and 10 TD, with a yards-per-catch average agaisnt AP ranked teams that was the best of top 10 (if your name isn’t Ruggs). Pro Football Focus ranks Lamb 2nd among all returning WRs in “QB Rating When Targeted”, with a 145.2, and that’s a factor if you want to help a young quarterback. Lamb got to work with speedster Marquise Brown, which is an added plus. Not much turned up on my search on on Lamb’s work ethic, but there was this catch… Oh, and tons of sheep working hard.
Fit For Bills: A+
Tee Higgins, Clemson
#17 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
15.2 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Teams value this size with that athleticism and a wideout’s YPC vs AP teams. The Draft Network loves Higgins: “He can beat you in so many ways. He can cook you with his feet on a good route, he can beat you down the field with long speed, and he can make tough catches and get his feet down at the sideline.” Will Beane pull a Doug Whaley and draft a guy from Clemson?
Fit For Bills: A
Henry Ruggs, Alabama
#20 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
18.8 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Ruggs shows excellent “my ball” mentality at the catch point, and has done it against soon-to-be NFL talent like Deandre Baker. You see Ruggs make the tough and even spectacular catches through traffic, and that’s what you want in a #1 WR. Ruggs has the 4.3 speed to separate and get over the top of a defense, although you could argue we have that in Robert Foster and John Brown. Ruggs checks the character and motivation boxes for sure.
Fit For Bills: A-
Collin Johnson, Texas
#42 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
16.6 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Collin Johnson didn’t get any Bills’ visits in 2018, but maybe this year. Other than Vasher, CJ is the only 6-6 wideout in the draft class. I find myself writing, ” Routes bad, size good, catching skills good” with CJ. He adds YAC galore, blocks willingly, and his YPC average vs AP teams is among the best of the big boys; only Pittman ranks higher. Don’t be surprised if Johnson falls a bit from #42 on the route-running. 4.55 forty is unremarkable.
Fit For Bills: A
T.J. Vasher, Texas Tech
#47 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
11.2 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Vasher’s a redshirt sophomore, with only 21 games since 2016, but he put up a solid 54-687-(12.7) 7 TD stat line in 2018. Vasher shows body control and high-point aplomb. You wouldn’t have to search hard on Twitter for acrobatic catches like this one. You add acrobatic plus top-end height, and it equals sky-high potential. Dude needs an NFL weight room. And wings. Lots of wings.
Fit For Bills: A
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
#118 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
12.1 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Claypool is fun to watch, and he’s at the Bills’ most-watched school from 2018. He uses length, strength, and cunning so well that he’s higher on my board than some other preseason watchlists. Says Head Coach Brian Kelly about Claypool: “Excited about Chase, love his work ethic.” Work ethic. Those are Process words right there.
Fit For Bills: A+
Michael Pittman Jr., USC
#86 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
19.4 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Pittman possesses “my ball” at catch point mentality. He was only Sam Darnold’s target for one year, as in 2016 he did special teams, and in 2017 he was still stuck behind starters JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darreus Rogers, and Deontay Burnett, and nursing a sore ankle to boot (pun intended). I’d drop his fit a little because his father (who played a short time with the Cardinals) got involved in a tweetstorm, threatening to transfer him unless he got more playing time. Actually, Dad’s threats might have worked, because in the games that followed, Pittman had 2 receptions, then 3, then 4 the next week. By year’s end, Pittman was 2nd in YPC vs AP teams in ’18. Will his father’s squeaky wheel get some grease in Buffalo?
Fit For Bills: B-
Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
#267 on DraftTek 2020 Big Board
11.5 ypc vs. AP-ranked teams in 2018
Edwards is thickly-built, yet builds in these zigs and zags that wow. Muschamp said about Edwards’ work habits and attitude: “Bryan is a very mature young man. He gets it. He has a real good work ethic. He pushes himself through adversity,” Muschamp says. “We’ve got some other freshman receivers that can’t, quite frankly. The intangible qualities you look for in any player? Bryan has.”
Fit For Bills: A+
Best Of The Rest:
#100 Marquez Callaway, Tennessee 6-2, 200 16.3 ypc vs AP
That’s “my ball”! That’s “my ball again“! Callaway’s a real fun watch, and could end up on Beane’s smartphone just like Singletary did last year. I admire Callaway’s strength at the catch point in play after play. He’s also a punt returner, which the Bills need down the line (ours turns 32 right before the Super Bowl). Off the field, Callaway asks lots of questions of the wideouts, and honest curiosity borne out of a desire to always be a learner is an important part of The Process.
#151 Stephen Guidry, Mississippi State 6-4, 190 29.2 ypc vs AP Guidry is string-bean spindly, but has some toe-drag swag to make up for it. Speed? Yep, he has all of that and then some. Guidry makes my list because he has the highest YPC vs AP teams in my Top 20.
#309 Damonte Coxie, Memphis 6-3, 200 18.3 ypc vs AP
Putting out a 72/1184/7 TD stat line in 2018, Coxie has the second-most contested catches among returning wide receivers. Will he regress with a new QB? If not, he climbs this list.
#204 Juwan Johnson, Oregon 6-4, 231 12.2 ypc vs AP
Johnson would be a very good over-the-middle dumpoff option due to his size. The YAC yardage would be huge because it’s hard for one LB to bring 6-4, 231 down. The Bills have stayed away from Oregon in the past, likely due to differing scheme and translation to the NFL, but you can teach scheme, not size.
#228 Isaiah Wright, Temple 6-2, 220 9.4 ypc vs AP
Wright shows off a KR’s speed, and special teams play a role in Day-3 prospects (and Andre Roberts turns 32 in January). Used in a variety of ways at Temple, Wright can be utilized on running plays where he can show off his explosion. He converts speed to power better than most of the Day-3 guys. He’s thickly built for a 6-2 frame.
#236 Darnell Mooney Tulane 5-11,175 19.3 ypc vs AP
Smaller than almost everybody in the WR draft class, Mooney makes the list because he’s affable, handles himself well, and is on the Biletnikoff Watch List. Moreover, Mooney’s YPC vs AP-ranked teams is top 5, so he’s this year’s Andy Isabella. He can break ankles with zigzags like these.
Editor’s babble: We are SO blessed to have Dean Kindig keep us up to date on who to watch in college football this fall. Thanks to Dean for his tremendous contributions to our blog. You can find Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.