Chances are, you’ve heard someone say that teams are built in the trenches. To win consistently in the NFL, ditch those skill positions and try to grind opponents into dust. That’s the conventional (otherwise known as the Dave Gettleman) way of thinking. However, if the Bengals’ Super Bowl run proved anything, it was that wide receivers can be worth premium picks.
Rather than address their woeful offensive line, Cincinnati took Ja’Marr Chase at fifth overall in the 2021 Draft, and watched as he put together eye-popping numbers alongside Joe Burrow, his old quarterback at LSU. This year’s draft class at wide receiver offers plenty of potential in its own right, albeit none on the level of a prospect like Chase last year. Still, for contenders and rebuilders alike, pass-catchers are all the rage, and snagging one early is usually a smart move. Here are where this year’s top wideouts should hope to land for a perfect on-field fit.
Best Draft Landing Spots for Top WRs
Drake London, USC: New York Jets (Pick 10)
London is arguably the no. 1 receiver in the class, but not necessarily because of his speed. The former USC Trojan excels when using his size and leaping ability to snag contested balls, which can come in handy on any erratic passes. The Jets have invested plenty into the wide receiver position in recent years, but offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s scheme requires a premier talent like London to work best. Zach Wilson needs more help, and getting a tough, physical X-receiver should open up the offense in a major way.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State: New England Patriots (Pick 21)
Wilson is an elusive runner with fantastic footwork, catching skills and route-running ability. In the right offense, he’s a big-play threat that can turn 10-yard slants into 40-yard gains. The Patriots have swung and missed on plenty of wide receivers in the last decade, but Wilson is a natural fit for a team that is begging for skill position talent. Whether it’s downfield or on a screen, all Mac Jones needs to do is get the ball in Wilson’s hands.
Jameson Williams, Alabama: New Orleans Saints (Pick 16/19)
Williams was the nation’s top deep threat in 2021, hauling in 15 touchdowns thanks to his blazing speed and ability to get separation. While he wasn’t able to participate in the combine due to an ACL injury, Williams should be good to go for training camp. One thing about this year’s draft feels all but certain: the Saints are getting a new wide receiver. New Orleans struggled to get anything going downfield, but Jameis Winston still has a cannon for an arm. If they can take a game-changing prospect like Williams in the first round, the Saints could reshape a stagnant offense in one offseason.
Chris Olave, Ohio State: Green Bay Packers (Pick 22/28)
Olave is one of the more technically sound prospects we’ve seen in recent years. Besides his ability to run crisp routes, the former Ohio State receiver’s speed (4.39 40-time) and smarts makes him a fit in just about every offense. Of all the contenders lacking skill position talent, the Packers need help the most after trading away star wideout Davante Adams to the Raiders this offseason. Olave’s ability and football IQ are traits Aaron Rodgers is sure to appreciate, and he could quickly become a target monster much like his predecessor Adams was. Green Bay needs difference-makers this year, and Olave is the definition of plug-and-play.
Treylon Burks, Arkansas: Dallas Cowboys (Pick 23)
Dallas’ roster has more pressing needs than wide receiver, even after trading Amari Cooper to the Browns. Still, these are the Cowboys, and maintaining a high-powered offense often takes precedence. Burks would fit this offense perfectly as a bigger target compared to CeeDee Lamb, all while being the number two option rather than “the guy” from day one. While at Arkansas, he routinely made phenomenal grabs on the sidelines while showing decent breakaway speed. While he’s best at winning jump balls, the Razorbacks lined Burks up all over the field, giving him added experience in the slot and even out of the backfield as a runner. Innovative offensive coordinator Kellen Moore would have a field day scheming up how to get the ball in Burks’ hands while keeping defenses from shadowing Lamb all game.