If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve seen my content on WR profiles. I want to make them official on the website and add players that I’ve snubbed during the offseason.

During this preview, I will analyze metrics as well as production profile and film. My partner on Dynasty Kings pod, @dynasty_jake, runs regression analysis to find an analytical correlation to NFL fantasy success and found dominator ratings, early declare, and draft capital as indicators of success. I also find that Power 5 conference schools perform better than Group of 5 conference schools and FBS > FCS and DII. Power 5 Conferences include ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and the SEC. Group of 5 Conferences include AAC, CUSA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.

I also look at BOA/BOY, and I prefer players that break out their freshmen year comparable to their senior year. Some exceptions can be made for schools like Alabama, LSU, Ohio, or Georgia, where it’s rare for their freshmen to touch the field. Let’s dive in!

Treylon Burks Courtesy of Yahoo

2022 WR1 – Arkansas – Treylon Burks – Jr.

Accolades

  • 4-star Recruit
  • 2019 SEC All-Freshman Team
  • 2019 All-SEC Second Team
  • 2020 All-SEC Second Team

Measurables

  • 6’3” / 225Lbs / 21.4yrs
  • 53.4% DOM
  • 19.5 BOA (Freshmen year)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Tyson Morris
    • External: SEC
  • 16.2 YPR

Burks started his 2019 collegiate career solely as a deep threat showing flashes, becoming an instant deep threat any time he catches the ball. He boasts size, physicality, and speed. With poor QB play, he showed improvement in every category of his game from 2019 to 2020. 2020 Burks took a huge step. Developing his route tree to play underneath and intermediate routes. He improved to 7.6 YAC and an 18% broken tackle rate. It’s hard to find a big man that can separate, and he has it. Even his hands improved from a 45% to a 73% catch rate.

I’ve seen some comments about lack of long speed, but I’m not seeing him get beat too often. He’s such a physical presence DBs will need help bringing him down. Burks has had three QBs throw to him in two seasons. He was demonstrating his ability to produce beyond chemistry. I believe he’s going to be very special at the next level. He might be my favorite deep threat coming out the last few years. He’s shown improvement from freshman to sophomore year. I don’t see a single reason why he doesn’t do it again.

Garrett Wilson Courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images

2022 WR2 – Ohio State – Garrett Wilson – Jr.

Accolades

  • 5-Star Recruit
  • 2020 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List

Measurables

  • 6’0″ / 195lbs / 21.1yrs
  • 30.9% DOM
  • 20.1 BOA (Sophomore Year)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Chris Olave
    • External: ACC
  • 16.8 YPR

Garrett Wilson can line up inside, outside, phenomenal route running, fantastic acceleration, and burst. He can do it all, and I am all in if he takes another step while competing against Chris Olave and with a new QB. He might be the best route runner coming out next year. His skill set can land him into yearly fantasy production. Ohio State continues churning out high-level WRs. We’ve only seen a sophomore year of production, and his highlight tape is already insane. His size might relegate him into the slot role and cap his production at the next level. His size also holds him back from progressing as a blocker.

John Metchie III Courtesy of Kent Gidley/UA Athletics

WR3 – Alabama – John Metchie III – Jr.

Accolades

  • 4-star Recruit
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Watchlist

Measurables

  • 6’0″ / 195 lbs / 21.1yrs
  • 17% DOM
  • N/A BOA
  • Competition
    • Internal: Jerry Jeudy, Ruggs, Waddle, Devonta Smith, Jameson Williams
    • External: SEC
  • 16.7 YPR

John Metchie stepped up when Waddle went down to injury in 2020. He did not get many reps his freshmen yea; it is Alabama. They always have so much talent that I take their dominator rating and BOA with a grain of salt. I love watching how tough he plays. He is not shy of contact. Metchie is already a reliable, efficient player. I’m drawing similarities to Amon-Ra’s draft profile.

Metchie’s destined to be a slot technician at the next level. He seems good at everything but not elite at anything. Metchie played both inside and outside at Alabama. He’s a decent route runner. I want to see him take that next step with a new QB under center next year. Only recording two 100+ yd games so far in his career. In 2020, Metchie put up 3.55 yds per route run against press coverage, fifth-most in the last five yrs (PFF). Metchie needs improvement on his contested catch rate. He caught four of 13 contested catches. With his style of play, I’m expecting an improvement in YAC.

Chris Olave Courtesy of Getty Images

WR4 – Ohio State – Chris Olave – Sr.

Accolades

  • 4-Star Recruit
  • 2019 All-Big Ten Third Team (Coaches and Media)
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List
  • 2020 All-Big Ten First Team (Coaches and Media)

Measurables

  • 6’1” / 190lbs / 21.2yrs
  • 31.9% DOM
  • 19.2 BOA (Sophomore)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Garrett Wilson
    • External: Big Ten
  • 16.0 YPR

Olave may be the best receiver coming out of 2022. I was excited for Olave to come out this year and let Wilson be his own show. I like my prospects to be early declares, which he won’t be this year. It broke my heart that he wanted to go back to school, stating that he wanted to add strength to his frame. Olave was on a tear last year, and some had him as a first-round prospect. Olave is one of the more polished route runners in this class. He’s a threat at all levels with his speed and catching ability. Olave not only has excellent speed but knows how to manipulate his speed to throw off coverage. His route running is precise, and he has excellent hands (83.3% catch rate last year). The only downside to his game is size. He needs to improve at blocking and reacting to contact from DBs.

George Pickens Courtesy of Getty Images

WR5 – Georgia – George Pickens – Jr.

Accolades

  • 4-star Recruit
  • 2019 Coaches Freshman All-SEC Team
  • 2020 Pre-Season All-SEC second team
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Award Watchlist

Measurables

  • 6’3” / 200 lbs / 20.5yrs
  • 32% DOM
  • 18.5 BOA (Freshmen)
  • Competition
    • Internal: none
    • External: SEC
  • 14.5 YPR

Pickens is still out with a torn ACL and no timetable to return. It’s safe to assume he won’t come out for the 2022 draft if he does not return by mid-season. Regardless, he is 2022 Eligible which is enough to make him eligible for my list. Pickens is another draft prospect with the ability to be a true alpha at the next level.

Typically Georgia is known for its running game, but George Pickens has become quite the hype train. Pickens with some sticky hands with a large catch radius. He highpoints the ball and is not afraid to put his body on the line. He has tremendous athletic ability but needs to improve on route running and speed. His speed coming out of high school is recorded at 4.73 with a low burst. Pickens hasn’t had an elite QB. Jake Fromm was decent during his freshmen year but didn’t feed Pickens the ball. I’m not afraid of poor QB play (not a fan of JT Daniels) putting a ceiling on Pickens’ ability. He has raw athletic talent with good hands. If he can take a step forward with poor QB play, I’m even more interested.

Jahan Dotson Courtesy of Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

WR6 – Penn State – Jahan Dotson – Sr.

Accolades

  • 4-star Recruit
  • 2020 All-American Honorable mention (Phil Steele)
  • 2020 All-Big Ten Third Team (Coaches and media)
  • 2020 All-Big Ten Second Team
  • 2020 Mid-season Biletnikoff Award Watchlist

Measurables

  • 5’11” / 183lbs / 21.4yrs
  • 42.7% DOM
  • 20.5 BOA (Junior year)
  • Competition
    • Internal: PJ Washington
    • External: Big Ten
  • 17.0 YPR

2020 was an actual breakout year for Jahan, great hands, and he’s fast. Deadly in the open field. He’ll have to play from the slot in the next level even though he took 91.8% snaps out wide because he is undersized for the next level. Without KJ Hamler or Pat Friermuth, both went in the second round, Dotson is able to be the center of the passing game.

He’s fast and able to make defenders miss in the open field. I haven’t witnessed much in drops. He’s in the running for best hands in this class. Dotson currently ties Wilson in 15+ yard receptions among all Big Ten receivers. He has to feature insane performances against top competition like Ohio State. Dotson is horrible at physical play and blocking due to his slight frame. He can get jammed at the line. He’s simply a crisp route runner with great hands and wheels. With improved QB play Jahan could be the next Elijah Moore in this class.

David Bell Courtesy of Purdue University Athletics

WR7 – Purdue – David Bell – Jr.

Accolades

  • 4-Star Recruit
  • 2019 Big Ten freshmen of the year
  • 2019 First Team AP Freshmen All-American
  • 2019 Honorable mention All Big-Ten Selection
  • 2020 Academic All-Big Ten
  • 2020 First-team All-Big Ten

Measurables

  • 6’2″ / 205lbs / 20.7yrs
  • 43.5% DOM
  • 18.7 BOA (Freshmen)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Payne Durham
    • External: Big Ten
  • 11.8 YPR

David Bell capitalized on Rondales Moore’s injuries. He broke out freshmen year and has taken over ever since. David Bell is one of my favorites. He’s productive while lacking elite QB talents and without a second man on the roster to help take the defensive focus off of him. If he were to play an entire season last year, his pace would be 106-1250-16. Bell will need to improve on his YAC to take it to the next level. He posts an 11.6 YPR which is a product of poor QB play. I hope to see more lateral agility this year to improve his play after the catch.

The combine will answer all speed-related questions. Currently, Bell looks like a receiver with great hands, route-running ability with size, and the ability to read a zone scheme within a defense. If Bell gets solid draft capital, he will check every analytic box and rise up my rankings.

Justyn Ross Courtesy of Getty Images

WR8 – Clemson – Justyn Ross – Sr.

Accolades

  • 4-star recruit
  • 2018 Freshmen All-American (247)
  • 2019 Honorable Mention All-ACC Selection
  • 2020 Potetial career ending injury

Measurables

  • 6’4” / 205 lbs / 21.7yrs
  • 23.6% DOM
  • 18.7 BOA
  • Competition
    • Internal: Joseph Ngata
    • External: ACC
  • 17.4 YPR

I know I’m picky, but he won’t be an early declare due to a career-threatening injury. 2020 Justyn Ross underwent fusion surgery for a spinal condition. He has been cleared, and I’m looking forward to the bounce back. He has the build and skill set of a true alpha. Ross hauled in 9 of 13 contested catches between his freshman and junior year, and between 18’-19’ Ross came away with the third most TDs on targets 20+yards (11).

Ross’s physical play, size, and body control help him win deep and winning contested catches. He lacks in speed and route-running ability. He’s a pure deep threat with amazing hands. His injury paved the way for the emergence of Amari Rodgers and Cornel Powell (who I think are talentless). I was looking forward in 2020 to seeing Ross as the WR1 with Higgins gone. Ross has little to offer after the catch. His speed is an issue, and route running needs improvement. With injury concerns alone, I doubt he’s a first-round prospect. At best, he’s an upside guy going in day two that has NFL teams worried about his injury history. Ross is a physical contested-catch specialist.

Romeo Doubs Courtesy of The University of Nevada Athletics

WR9 – Nevada – Romeo Doubs – Sr.

Accolades

  • 3-star recruit
  • 2019 All-Mountain West Honorable Mention
  • 2020 All-Mountain West First Teams
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Award Watchlist

Measurables

  • 6’2” 200lbs
  • 34.1% DOM
  • 19.4 BOA (Sophomore)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Elijah Cooks, Tory Horton
    • External: Mountain West
  • 17.3 YPR

Meet this class’s size/speed freak, Romeo Doubs. He not only has the size to be an alpha but the speed that you can’t teach. He has route running ability to gain separation. As far as physical play goes, he broke 12 tackles during the shortened 2020 season. He demonstrates shiftiness in the open field. He shows a willingness to block. I saw numerous times watching his film when he’s giving effort in the play to continue blocking. I wish he’d fight for more yards on some catches. He’ll pull a move, and if the defender doesn’t bite, he will step out of bounds instead of fight for those handfuls of extra yards. The only reason he doesn’t take another step is Elijah Cook’s return. Cook was set to be the featured WR at Nevada but suffered a season-ending injury in week 1.

QB Carson Strong is an emerging prospect himself, and his improvement should help Doubs take another step. Doubs, during his first five games, was averaging 155.6yards per game and nine TDs during that streak. In the next four games, he averaged 56 yards a game. I don’t fully understand why the drop in production. We will see how he trends this year. I think his route running is exceptional for his size. There’s a varying opinion on Doubs blocking efforts/ability, strength, and route tree. I agree that he should add a bit more strength to his frame and I believe his athleticism can further develop his route running ability. I see so much potential in Doubs.

Khalil Shakir Courtesy of Boise State Athletics

WR10 – Boise State – Khalil Shakir – Sr.

Accolodes

  • 4-star recruit
  • 2x Academic All-Mountain West (2018-2019)
  • 2019 All-Mountain West Honorable Mention
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Award Watchlist

Measurables

  • 6’0” / 190Lbs /
  • 42.5% DOM
  • Sophomore year BOA
  • Competition:
    • Internal: John Hightower
    • External: Mountain West
  • 13.4 YPR

Shakir can win at all levels of the field. He has good size and route-running ability. Also, going in as a non-early declare. He played against easier competition and hopefully gets the chance to showcase his skills at the Senior Bowl. I loved watching Shakir tape. However, I don’t see much physical play or blocking ability. He has speed, and Boise used him in plenty of gadget plays. Poor QB play has capped his playing ability. After the catch, Shakir demonstrates great YAC ability by finding holes in the defense. His vision has also worked for him on PR/KR and rushing. I don’t see him bulldozing tackles.

He did play through 2019 with a foot injury. In 2020 he was the offense. I view Khalil Shakir as the All-Mountain version of Chris Olave. He can be a threat at all levels of the field. Shakir has great versatility lining up out wide 60.5% of snaps and lining up in the slot 29.9% of snaps. He’s developed a full route tree. No chance he gets day-one capital. At this point, I think he’s a lock for day two and might move up my rankings. The competition he plays against might be deceiving on how good he is. I expect an invitation to the Senior Bowl, and he will find more challenging competition there.

Drake London Courtesy of Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG

WR11 – USC – Drake London – Jr.

Accolades

  • 4 – Star Recruit
  • 2019 PFF Freshmen All-American third team
  • 2020 All-PAC-12 second team (AP, coaches)
  • 2020 All-PAC-12 First team (PFF, Phil Steele)

Measurables

  • 6’5” / 210 lbs / 20.1yrs
  • 22% DOM
  • 18.1 BOA (Freshmen)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Amon-Ra
    • External: PAC-12
  • 14.9 YPR

Let me start by stating I have a USC bias. I’ve planted my flag for Amon-Ra this year. Since 2013 these are the USC receivers that have been drafted with significant draft capital: 2013 – Robert Woods (Pick 2.9), 2014 – Marqise Lee (pick 2.7 ) 2015 – Nelson Agholor (Pick 1.20) 2017 – Juju (Pick 2.30) 2020 – Michael Pittman (Pick 2.2). That group is great company to be in. There’s only one bust, and the jury is still out for Pittman, but I think he breaks out this year.

London played alongside Amon-Ra but actually outproduced Amon-Ra during the shortened 2020 season. I love the early BOA. London is a dual-sport athlete. He was playing both Basketball and Football, later giving up basketball to focus on giving us a future fantasy asset. London is an absolute bully on his routes. He’s not a savvy runner but uses his large body well to compensate for lack of separation. London has poor burst and his vertical coming out of High School was pretty mediocre for someone his height and basketball skills. He has horrible long speed too.

Drake took over 397/432 offensive snaps from the slot. Interesting for his size. What London does well is his hands. You can’t be a great receiver without great hands. He has excellent body control going up, great ball tracking, great hands. He has a great contact balance. Here is my issue with Drake, USC seems to scheme ways for him to get open. Drake is unable to create space on this own. Drake has lined up 92% of his snaps in the slot during his 2020 campaign. His highlight reel is filled with him bulldozing guys for extra yards and extending out. With the lack of competition on the roster, we hope to see London moved around the formation and take the next step in his game.

WR12 – SMU – Reggie Roberson -Sr.

Accolades

  • 3-Star recruit
  • 2018 First Team AAC by Phil Steele
  • 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List
  • 2019 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Award Watch List
  • 2020 Maxwell Award Watch List

Measurables

  • 6’0” / 201lbs
  • 33.4% DOM
  • 20.9 BOA (Sophomore)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Kylen Granson, James Proche
    • External: AAC
  • 20.1 YPR

Roberson is an older prospect. Coming off two years of injuries, his production profile is insane. His age and injury history will keep him out of day 1, and he will need to prove he’s worth a day two pick. Roberson has insane production and YPR with incredible film to match. He started his collegiate career at WVU before transferring his sophomore year to SMU and saw an immediate breakout season. He tends to line up on one side of the field, and he plays weak competition. So I hope to see him at the Senior Bowl with better competition.

Before his season-ending injury, he was averaging 21.5 YPR. Roberson had a play over 80 and two more over 70 yards. We, Reggie and I, we’re robbed of a great season. He lined up primarily out wide on the left. He has speed, hands and has demonstrated the ability to beat press coverage. He’s deceptive with how he uses his speed to stack corners. Roberson understands how to read zones and has excellent ball tracking to go along with his hands. He’s extremely fluid in and out of breaks. He has also demonstrated the ability to get vertical. The main concern with Roberson is his ability to recover from this injury, and he’ll return to a new QB at SMU.

This is his second season-ending injury but his first surgery. I don’t know the details on the injury but back-to-back seasons is concerning. He led the nation last year in yards after the catch; I hope he returns to form. Roberson could lead the stat books this upcoming season and, hopefully, earn early draft capital. He’s older, but he has the potential to be elite.

Jalen Tolbert Courtesy of Mike Kittrell/AL.com

WR13 – S. Alabama – Jalen Tolbert – Sr.

Accolades

  • 2-Star Recruit
  • 2020 First Team All-Sun Belt Conference

Measurables

  • 6’3” / 195lbs / 22.5yrs
  • 42.2% DOM
  • 20.5 BOA (Sophomore)
  • Competiton
    • Internal: Kawaan Baker
    • External: Sun Belt
  • 17.0 YPR

He will be an older prospect when he enters the draft – hoping to raise his stock to day two draft capital. Tolbert also desires to be invited to the Senior Bowl, which I would like to see since he plays against feeble competition. He was one of eleven players to reach the 1,000-yard mark in 2020. Tolbert is a true deep threat who punishes defenses that don’t respect his size/speed. He has limited route running ability, and tends to use the same technique. Tolbert will chop his feet then decide a direction to go. And he also runs a healthy amount of go routes. I think he has great hands, ball tracking, and attacking the ball. Once he catches the ball, he demonstrates excellent open-field vision and elusiveness for YAC. He’s a physical player that fights for extra yards. He’s a fantastic blocker, which will help get him on the field at the level. I’m not as excited about this prospect until he faces better corner competition at the Senior Bowl. Kawaan Baker was a seventh-round pick and half as productive as Jalen Tolbert. I would like to see Tolbert add more strength; he’s already an exceptional blocker and develops his route tree.

WR14 – Wake Forest – Jaquarii Roberson – Sr.

Accolades

  • 3-star recruit
  • 2020 Biletnikoff Award Watchlist
  • 2020 Second Team All-ACC (AP, Phil Steele, league and coaches)
  • 2020 Second Team All-American (PFF)
  • 2021 Preseason Third Team All-American

Measurables

  • 6’1” / 182lbs / 23.1yrs
  • 46.9% DOM
  • 22.1 BOA (Junior)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Sage Saratt, Donavan Greene
    • External: ACC
  • 14.4 YPR

Roberson is a slot technician for Wake Forest. He can get open, has good hands, has excellent vision to make defenders miss, but then lacks burst to capitalize on space created. I think we’ve seen the limit to his athleticism, so I doubt we witness him improve. Jaquarii Roberson saw little play time his first two seasons and broke out his junior year. If you were a Sage Surratt fan, then you probably watched a lot of Roberson last season. He scored the second-highest PFF receiving grade last year, in front of Elijah Moore and behind Devonta Smith. He’d be an insane receiver if only he had more speed. Roberson produced 7.6 YAC and scored ninth in FBS against single coverage (PFF). He will fight for every yard, his route running is great, he can find the hole in the defense, and he knows when to sit in it. Roberson needs that speed to take it to the house or some more burst to hit the holes he creates in the defense.

Zay Flowers Courtesy of Getty Images

WR15 – Boston College – Zay Flowers – Jr.

Accolades

  • 3 Star Recruit
  • 2020 All-ACC first-team selection

Measurables

  • 5’11” / 178Lbs / 21.0yrs
  • 33.8% DOM
  • 20.0 BOA (Sophomore)
  • Competition
    • Internal: Hunter Long
    • External: ACC
  • 15.9 YPR

Another undersized slot technician with an excellent production profile, Flowers boasts great lateral agility in open space. On occasion, he has even showcased vertical ability. Without Hunter Long, I wonder how Flowers will produce as the clear top dog in the receiving core. Boston College has a great QB with rising draft capital, and this will help further showcase and develop Flowers’ talent. He has excellent route running ability and can have a long career at the next level. His size is a concern. He may play mostly outside, but he needs to add strength to stay competitive at the next level. Sub-180 lbs. only works if you’re a Heisman winner. The skillset is there, but I want to see him add size while staying consistent with what he has already done.

Conclusion

These are my top-15 WRs going into the 2021 season. I will re-evaluate these players during the season and post-season. I’m honestly excited to add players to this list as well. If the audience is into tiers, I can break it down like this:

Tier 1: Polished route runners with high floors and longevity in the league from power 5 schools

  • Garret Wilson
  • Chris Olave
  • John Metchie III
  • Jahan Dotson
  • Jaquarii Roberson
  • Zay Flowers

Tier 2: Athletic WRs with alpha profiles and capabilities from power 5 conferences

  • Treylon Burks
  • George Pickens
  • David Bell
  • Justyn Ross
  • Drake London

Tier 3: Group of 5 Alphas with production profiles and athletic profiles to develop

  • Romeo Doubs
  • Jalen Tolbert

Tier 4 – Group of 5 route runners who have dominated their competition

  • Khalil Shakir
  • Reggie Roberson

These rankings will change before the draft rolls around. I will analyze the 2021 tape to see how my opinion of these prospects has changed. Don’t be afraid of commenting on anyone you think I should look into, or even message me on Twitter at @FF_DirtyMike. College football is back!

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