The South Florida Sun Sentinel continues its 10-part series looking at the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft (April 28-30) with receivers. This is one of the deepest positions in the 2022 draft, but the caliber of the top-end receivers doesn’t match last year’s class, which was highlighted by Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. However, there could be quite a few third-day gems the Dolphins could select with either their late third-round pick or their fourth-round selection to develop for the future.
Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson
Wilson is explosive at the line of scrimmage, and has the initial quickness to create separation in press coverage. He leaps and high-points the ball with ease and has the hand-eye coordination to track off-the-mark throws. What he needs to do is prove he’s a downfield receiver who can occupy a safety. If he can’t, then he’ll become a possession receiver and not an X receiver in the NFL.
Arkansas’ Treylon Burks
Burk’s size (6-3, 225), speed and physicality set him apart from most of the receivers in this draft because it allows him to impose his will against smaller cornerbacks. His game is similar to Titans receiver A.J. Brown, which indicates that he could become a dynamic slot receiver, and a gadget player as a rookie.
Alabama’s Jameson Williams
Williams used his one season at Alabama to prove he’s an explosive playmaker, a receiver who possesses both the run-after-catch ability to get extra yards, and the speed to take the top off a defense. The fact he tore his ACL in the national championship game this year means he could spend the first half of the 2022 season rehabbing and working to regain his speed.
Ohio State’s Chris Olave
The Buckeyes have been churning out route-running savants because of their position coach Brian Hartline, who spent most of his career in the NFL with the Dolphins, and Olave is the next Buckeye in line to become a Day 1 starter. Olave, who scored 35 touchdowns in his four seasons, is a smooth route runner who is excellent at adjusting to off-target throws.
USC’s Drake London
London is a multi-sport athlete who uses his basketball skill set to high-point balls. He’s big (6-foot-5), has strong hands and flashes excellent body control. Problem is, he’s not a refined route runner and needs to be coached up in the NFL. His film is hard to evaluate because he benefitted from a ton of free release playing in the Pac-12.
Best of the Rest
Penn State’s Jahan Dotson might be the most sure-handed receiver in this draft. He could develop into a true No. 1 playmaker in the right offense. Alabama’s John Metchie III is a catch-and-run threat who manufactures tough yardage. Georgia’s George Pickens, Purdue’s David Bell, North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, Miami’s Charleston Rambo, SMU’s Danny Gray and Reggie Roberson Jr. all have the talent to become NFL starters.
Class Grade: B+
Considering receiver is the deepest position in this watered-down 2022 draft class it’s hard to be critical of the talent available. Especially when we consider that receivers selected in the later rounds — if not undrafted — routinely thrive in the NFL. Often times it’s about finding the right fit for the offensive system, and this draft is filled options. There are speedsters who stretch the field. Slot receivers who have a knack for getting open, route-running specialist and big-body types. It all comes down to what a team is looking for.
Teams in need
This is the type of draft where a team might select a receiver even though they don’t need one because of how weak this draft class is overall. The Jets, Patriots, Packers, Bears, Browns, Colts, Falcons, Lions, Titans, 49ers, and Chiefs would benefit from taking one early. The Raiders, Cardinals, Commanders, Cowboys and Chargers might select one in the later rounds to supplement their already solid receiver units.
With Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson and Mike Gesicki (a tight end, who mostly served as a slot receiver the past three seasons) the Dolphins have enough frontline receivers on the roster. What the Dolphins lack is a youngster to develop because Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden Jr. have each had their development stalled for one reason or another. Adding another receiver to this unit could be beneficial, especially if he possesses some skills as a returner.