We’re back! The BTSC Big Board crew has returned for a second consecutive season! Between now and April, numerous BTSC draft analysts will give you stats, grades, and in-depth scouting reports for over 300 prospects in this year’s class. Just like last year, we will be doing these rankings by position until the week of the draft, when we finalize the overall rankings and release our all-positions-combined big board.
This week, we’ll be taking a look at the wide receiver position. After losing three receivers in the offseason in JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud, the Steelers seem in dire need of some more playmakers on the outside. The Gunner Olszewski and Miles Boykin signings certainly help, but the general consensus is that Pittsburgh should still be in the market for a rookie receiver or two in the upcoming draft. Thankfully, it’s yet another incredibly deep class at the position.
The analysis is a collaborative effort of Ryland, myself, K.T. Smith, Jeremy Betz, Shannon White, skyfire322, Noah_E., and NecksNation, while the stats are compiled by SNW via Sports Reference. Proofreading was done by our newest big board contributor, DoomzoneFF.
If you have any thoughts on these wide receiver prospects and their potential fit with the Steelers, be sure to share them in the comment section below.
Let’s get to the Big Board!
1. Drake London | USC | 6‘-5“, 210 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 10
2021 stats: GP 8, Rec 88, Yds 1084, TD 7.
Andrew Wilbar: London was putting up the gaudiest numbers in college football until a fractured ankle ended his season prematurely. Nonetheless, he remains the WR1 on my board. At 6’5”, 210 pounds, London was a monster on 50/50 balls, high-pointing the ball on a consistent basis. London also has incredibly strong hands and surprisingly good speed, reminiscent of Mike Evans coming out of Texas A&M in 2014. London does not have as thick a frame as Evans did, but I do expect London to try to add more weight before the combine rolls around this March. If he has a strong week at the combine from both a health and athleticism standpoint, he could sneak into the top five picks depending on which teams are in need of his services. Fans are going to fall in love with his gigantic catch radius and big-play ability.
Necksnation: London is a bit tough for me to evaluate. Although I didn’t find his film to be as impressive as some of the other top receivers in this class, his production, and advanced stats are fantastic. He’s excellent at jump balls, and with his size, it’s something that should translate to the next level. His physical measurables are great across the board, and he should test well at his pro-day workout. Additionally, he is deceptively good at running after the catch. He isn’t really a home run threat after the catch, but he consistently does a nice job of gaining a few extra yards before going down, and those yards account for a considerable portion of his overall production. As a route runner, he won’t take the top off a defense, but he’s decently shifty and gets more separation than you’d expect for a guy of his size. His ball skills are his best trait, and while I’d like to see him become a little more elusive in open field, he is more than capable of creating big plays through making contested catches downfield. In addition, although you’d like to see him cut down on concentration drops a bit, he’s a monster when it comes to making difficult catches. London should make an instant impact as a safety blanket, but he absolutely has the potential to become a good WR1 in the mold of Mike Evans or Michael Thomas.
2. Jameson Williams | Alabama | 6‘-2“, 189 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 11
2021 stats: GP 15, Rec 79, Yds 1572, TD 15.
Andrew Wilbar: Coming into the season, most draft nuts, including myself, were focused more on John Metchie than Williams, but Williams’ 21.3 yards per reception, 15 touchdowns, and 1,445 receiving yards during the regular season made him the primary focus as the season went on. Williams is an Ohio State transfer who dominated when given the opportunity at Alabama. His big-play ability is evidenced by his yards per catch, but I think we take for granted his ability to create separation with his elite speed. There are times when you see Williams running a go-route, and it looks as if there was a blown defensive assignment. Then you see a different camera angle, and there is a defender accounting for him, but he has been left in the dust. Williams was just so much faster than a lot of his competition, and his 6’2” frame allows him to take nice, long strides and increase the amount of separation. Unfortunately, Williams suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship Game, causing his stock to drop toward the mid to late first round. Nonetheless, if he can make a full recovery, he will be a dangerous receiver in the NFL as soon as 2023.
3. Garrett Wilson | Ohio State | 6‘-0“, 188 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 16
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 70, Yds 1058, TD 12.
Jeremy Betz: Wilson is an electric playmaker and excels vs single coverage as a shifty route runner with exceptional quickness. His uber-fast 40 time at the NFL Combine only confirmed what you see on tape: a speedy, do it all athlete at the WR position. Wilson could stand to add some bulk to his frame at the NFL level to improve his ability to beat press coverage and stronger DBs. However, he shows fantastic strength at the catch point, and snatches the ball out of the air with strong, sure hands. I don’t think Wilson is a true burner, but he has the ability to get behind the defense and stretch the field vertically on the outside. He projects as an X or Z receiver at the next level, where his quickness and decisive route-running will help him create separation and get open.
4. Christian Watson | North Dakota State | 6‘-5“, 208 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 20
2021 stats: GP 15, Rec 43, Yds 801, TD 7.
Ryland B.: What are the Steelers missing most in their wide receiver core? I think the top two answers would be speed and toughness. And Watson has both in spades. The 6’4” receiver ran an elite 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine at 208 pounds, and it shows on tape. Watson consistently showed the ability to take the top off of defenses and simply run past opposing defensive backs. But Watson is also one of the best-blocking receivers in this year’s draft. He has good strength, great effort, and even a pancake or two on tape. For a bigger receiver, Watson’s agility is impressive. He’s a smooth athlete who is surprisingly shifty in the open field, finding success on jet sweeps as well as on kick returns. His route running could be a bit more sudden, and his route tree was fairly limited at NDSU, but neither seem to be major concerns – and Watson certainly has the physical tools to excel in these areas. He has good hands and ball-tracking ability for the most part, although he has struggled in contested catches and concentration before although he showed great improvement last year. The biggest knock on Watson would be his level of competition at NDSU, and it seems fair that the FCS receiver may have a steep learning curve at the next level. But a 4.36 is a 4.36 at any level of football, and Watson remains my favorite round 2 target for the Steelers.
5. Jahan Dotson | Penn State | 5‘-11“, 184 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 28
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 91, Yds 1182, TD 13.
Necksnation: Dotson may be undersized, but he’s certainly a tough player, consistently demonstrating that he is willing to take hits over the middle. That said, he may want to add some more weight onto his frame before taking the field as a pro. At only 178 lbs, his size could be of some concern when he’s getting blasted by NFL defenders. However, there’s a lot to like about Dotson. His hands just might be his best attribute, as he made a number of highlight-reel catches at Penn State, and he rarely struggled with drops. Dotson does a great job to gain separation, and his natural smoothness translates into his abilities after the catch, where he is able to make defenders miss in open field and outrun them to create big plays. At the combine, he tested well for the most part, but his 3-cone drill time ranked in the 9th percentile, which is lower than you’d like for a small, shifty player. He does appear to fall under the category of “faster than he is quick’’, but he looks shifty enough on the field that this should be problematic for him. While Dotson doesn’t have any outstanding physical traits, he seems to have the requisite toughness to succeed in the NFL, and although his size may preclude him from being a true WR1, he certainly has the talent to be a quality receiver.
6. Skyy Moore | Western Michigan | 5‘-10“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 35
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 95, Yds 1292, TD 10.
Shannon White: Moore is a local product, having played high school football for Shady Side Academy in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania. Moore was listed as an athlete when he joined the Western Michigan football program, and had never played wide receiver before. That makes his incredible growth at the position even more impressive. The Broncos play in the MAC conference, a conference from which the Steelers have successfully found more than a few talented prospects.Moore officially measured in at 5’10” and 195 sturdy lbs. He has superior quickness, start-stop ability, and an almost instant acceleration. This allows him to easily gain consistent separation off the line of scrimmage, and his run after the catch ability makes him a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the football. Moore runs crisp routes, and can run the complete route tree. He has solid hands, and the toughness to work the middle of the field. If you can’t tell by now, I am completely infatuated with Moore’s potential within the Steelers’ offense.
7. Chris Olave | Ohio State | 6‘-1“, 189 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 36
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 65, Yds 936, TD 13.
Jeremy Betz: When you turn on the tape, Chris Olave is one of the smoothest movers you’ll find. He also plays extremely fast, even more so than former Ohio State teammate, Garrett Wilson, despite running a slightly slower 40 than Wilson at the Combine. Olave was used mostly as a vertical threat in college, where he made an absurd number of big plays, especially in big moments. His fluidity and athleticism should allow him to do more in the NFL, and I would expect Olave to become one of the most dynamic young receivers in the league in a short amount of time. There is a realistic chance he could be available when the Steelers pick at the end of Round 1. Olave could be a versatile game-changer for Pittsburgh if they should decide to address WR on Day 1.
8. Treylon Burks | Arkansas | 6‘-3“, 225 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 37
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 66, Yds 1104, TD 11.
Noah: Burks has been one of the most talked-about prospects throughout the draft process but especially post-combine. He was supposed to be a guy that’s 6’4” with a 40 time in the low 4.4’s but instead, he’s 6’2”, running a 4.55. However, his tape tells a completely different story. He is a monster after the catch despite a lackluster 40 time, and he catches everything. His catch radius is one of the biggest I’ve seen and he does a great job tracking the ball through the air. He knows how to beat press coverage and has a knack for finding soft spots in the defense. There are definitely concerns when it comes to route running. It’s sloppy at times and he needs to have more burst out of his breaks. The slower than expected 40 time has steered people away from Burks and I can see why. But to me, a guy that catches everything and has his RAC ability is a major threat to opposing defenses. There’s a chance that he falls out of the first round and if he does, he is going to be a steal for whoever takes him.
Necksnation: Burks is one of my favorite receivers in this class. He has the rare ability to outmuscle defenders as well as outrun them, and although his 40 yard dash time wasn’t great, he displayed elite game speed that is evident in his tape. His ball skills are incredible, and I was impressed by his ability to consistently high point the ball and position himself so that he could make the catch over the defender. Of course, he wouldn’t be able to make these difficult catches if he didn’t have great hands, but Burks checks that box as well. His drop rate of 5.7% is pretty good, but he really thrives when asked to make difficult catches, where he uses his strong and large (82nd percentile in hand size) hands to secure the ball with ease. Although many receivers are skilled in these 50-50 ball situations, not many can match Burks when it comes to running after the catch. He does a good job of accelerating to break away from defenders in the open field, and he had many long receptions that were composed mostly of yards gained after the catch. His top end speed is decent, but he can also use his size and strength to break tackles when he needs to. Versatility is another important aspect of Burks’ game, as he lined up out wide, in the slot, and even in the backfield during his time at Arkansas. He ran for 112 yards and a touchdown in 2021, and he could be used as somewhat of a receiving back similar to Deebo Samuel in the NFL. The main area of his game that really needs polishing is his route running. He looks stiff at times, and he isn’t particularly agile in open space. He still found ways to gain separation, but it’s certainly something that he should work on this offseason. However, once he improves in that area, he has the potential to be an elite WR1 in the mold of AJ Brown.
9. John Metchie III | Alabama | 6‘-0“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 38
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 96, Yds 1142, TD 8.
Ryland B.: Metchie’s late-season ACL tear is a cause for concern, but if he can heal completely there is a lot to like about the Alabama receiver. He has good size and speed, but also excellent agility, especially for a receiver with his frame. Route-running is probably Metchie’s best trait, and receivers that specialize in separation generally project well as NFL receivers. His route tree and versatility are another strength; Metchie isn’t afraid to go over the middle, can be a deep threat, and is deadly after the catch and on sweeps. He’s also as tough as nails and a willing blocker. But with as many WR1 traits as Metchie has, there’s a reason why he’s generally seen as a round 2 target. The issue is his hands. Metchie doesn’t drop the easy catches, but he’s not good in contested catches, and he’s not a great hands-catcher either. He doesn’t make the acrobatic grabs a top-tier receiver would make, and there are a few too many drops on tape. Still, there’s a lot of potential that Metchie has as a high-end WR2, and his biggest issue is largely fixable.
10. George Pickens | Georgia | 6‘-3“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 52
2021 stats: GP 4, Rec 5, Yds 107, TD 0.
2020 stats: GP 8, Rec 36, Yds 513, TD 6.
2019 stats: GP 12, Rec 49, Yds 727, TD 8.
Ryland B.: Pickens is a big, tall, and lanky receiver who the Steelers have shown some pre-draft interest in. He’s not the shiftiest guy in this class, but he’s a solid route runner with great long speed, making him a physical deep threat down the field. Pickens has natural hands, a wide catch radius, and great ball-tracking ability. Pickens has a nasty competitive streak as well. His biggest concern was an ACL injury, but Pickens was able to compete in the combine and ran an impressive 4.4 40-yard dash which quelled some of the concerns. He’s currently projected as a second-round pick, but Pickens has the potential to be an excellent boundary receiver.
11. Alec Pierce | Cincinnati | 6‘-3“, 213 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 58
2021 stats: GP 14, Rec 52, Yds 884, TD 8.
Noah: Pierce isn’t the most complete receiver in this class, but there’s a lot to like. He wins with athleticism, and his ability to come down with contested catches is off the charts. He’s able to consistently get open from both the outside and the slot. His route tree is pretty limited but he’s very sudden out of his break and has the makings of a prototypical “Z” receiver in the NFL. He has got phenomenal hands, his catch radius is huge and he’ll haul in anything thrown his way. However, Pierce is probably going to have a hard time creating separation at the next level and he is not a threat after the catch. Pierce is one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects in this draft but the lack of separation and RAC ability is going to cause him to fall.
12. Khalil Shakir | Boise State | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 65
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 77, Yds 1117, TD 7.
Ryland B.: Shakir’s knack for acrobatic catches really stands out. He has good hands and excellent ball-tracking ability, always putting himself in a position to make a play on the ball. Even though he played the most in the slot at Boise State, he lacks the ideal quickness for the position in the NFL. Shakir has a slower release than most and although he has good long speed he isn’t a short distance accelerator. As a route-runner, Shakir takes great angles and his buildup speed can create separation down the field, but he isn’t the twitchiest. However, he shows good vision after the catch and was a successful returner in college. Shakir’s solid athleticism and size, along with his ability to be a reliable pass-catcher, project him as a very good 4th or 5th receiver on an NFL depth chart.
13. Jalen Tolbert | South Alabama | 6‘-3“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 82
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 82, Yds 1474, TD 8.
Necksnation: After enjoying a breakout year in 2020, Tolbert inserted himself firmly into the Day 2 conversation with another stellar season in 2021. He tested well at the combine to go along with a great statistical season, albeit against weak competition. Although his breaks aren’t the cleanest, Tolbert is a relatively smooth route runner who usually finds ways to get open. It’s an area that could use a bit of work, especially since he’ll be going up against much better defenders in the NFL, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he still did a decent job of gaining separation. His ball skills and hands are very good, which help him come down with a lot of contested catches. He may not be a particularly big receiver, but he’s generally sure handed, and provides a safety blanket for his QB. Additionally, Tolbert is quite good after the catch. He doesn’t quite have burner speed, but he does a decent job of making defenders miss and accelerating to pick up some extra yards. He has an intriguing skillset that gives him solid upside, and he showed that he can handle a large target share at South Alabama, where he was the only viable receiving option. That won’t be the case for him in the NFL, but he should be a decent contributor from day one, and if he receives proper coaching, Tolbert has the potential to become a legitimate WR1.
14. Calvin Austin III | Memphis | 5‘-9“, 162 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 87
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 74, Yds 1149, TD 8.
Ryland B.: Austin has literal track speed, and it translates into explosive plays on the football field. Austin is a smooth athlete, lighting-fast accelerator, and a great route-runner. He has quickness to make defensive backs look silly and the speed to run past a secondary. Despite his diminutive size, he has a great release with urgent footwork and violent hands. But size is still a major issue. Austin’s 5’9” frame just doesn’t have an elite catch radius despite his good hands, and at 162 pounds he doesn’t pack much physicality after the catch although he plays with good effort. Austin’s 4.3 speed makes him an intriguing NFL prospect, but his size may result in him only finding a gadget role in an NFL offense.
15. Bo Melton | Rutgers | 5‘-11“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 88
2021 stats: GP 10, Rec 55, Yds 618, TD 3.
K.T. Smith (CHISAP): Melton can run, having clocked a 4.37 at the Combine. I’m familiar with his speed, having coached against him when he was a stud receiver at Cedar Creek High School in southern New Jersey and watched him run by our defensive backs like they were standing still. Melton was a straight speedster back then. In the years since, he has become a good overall route runner and a player whose body control and athleticism allows him to compete for just about any ball thrown in his range. He can be a bit stiff at times, and he could struggle to separate against big, physical press corners in the NFL. But if teams want a home-run hitter with an exceptional work ethic, Melton is a great choice.
One more note: the Steelers have always valued players of high character, and Melton has it. When the son of one of the assistant coaches on our staff was diagnosed with leukemia, Melton, who was at Rutgers at the time, made a video for the boy, then sent him a signed pair of cleats and a football signed by the entire Rutgers team. He didn’t brag about his good deed on social media or make a public show of it. I only found out about it because my assistant coach told me. Melton did it because a young boy was sick and because the South Jersey football community is like a fraternity. They say character is defined by the things you do when no one is looking. If that’s true, Bo Melton is a young man whose character is exemplary.
16. Tyquan Thornton | Baylor | 6‘-3“, 182 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 94
2021 stats: GP 14, Rec 62, Yds 948, TD 10.
Andrew Wilbar: The most exciting thing about Thornton is his fantastic straight-line speed, especially when you combine that with his 6’3” frame. Typically, receivers who run below 4.3 in the 40 are undersized receivers who are limited to the slot. This is not the case with Thornton, however. He still needs to add weight to his slender frame, but he is a surprisingly physical receiver who does not shy away from contested catch opportunities. Not only does he get a quick release off the line of scrimmage, but he will also become more effective getting off press coverage at the line once he adds a little more muscle. There is definitely some rawness with Thornton, and there may be a little bit of projection here, but you cannot teach 6’3” and 4.28 speed.
17. Romeo Doubs | Nevada | 6‘-2“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 98
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 80, Yds 1109, TD 11.
Andrew Wilbar: Doubs is an interesting case. He had an incredibly strong connection with Carson Strong, but he has dealt with nagging injuries throughout his collegiate career, and he is currently recovering from a knee injury. Because of this, he was unable to do any athletic testing at the scouting combine in March. On tape, I see a guy who not only has a nice combination of length and speed, but also runs more precise routes than most receivers his size. When he is at his best, I see some Julio Jones in his game, but he is relatively ineffective when he fails to concentrate. A lack of concentration has led to a drop here and there, but those mistakes are few and far between. Overall, there is not much to complain about with Doubs other than the injury concerns. He has added a few pounds and filled out his lanky 6’2” frame, which will hopefully help him sustain more hits at the NFL level. He will be a nice value pick for a team early on day three.
18. David Bell | Purdue | 6‘-2“, 205 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 102
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 93, Yds 1286, TD 6.
Necksnation: Bell doesn’t possess the speed and athleticism that is becoming more and more common in today’s receivers. However, what he lacks in quickness he makes up for with physicality and contested catch ability. His production at Purdue was excellent, recording 2946 yards and 21 touchdowns in 29 games. Additionally, although he had the occasional concentration drop, he was generally one of the most sure handed receivers in the country, posting an outstanding 68% catch rate as a junior. That number would be good for a guy who primarily works underneath, but Bell runs routes over the entire field as an outside receiver. While Bell isn’t particularly agile, his routes are better than you’d expect for someone with his athletic profile, and his diverse route tree gives him some versatility. He does struggle to consistently gain separation, but luckily for him, his ability to make contested catches is his best trait. He does a fantastic job of high pointing the ball, and his impressive hands and ball skills make coming down with 50-50 balls look easy. He is a physical receiver who is willing to make tough catches over the middle, and although he isn’t a huge threat after the catch, he still produces a decent number of chunk plays by making difficult catches downfield. Bell’s stock has declined a bit over the last few months, which is largely due to his poor testing at the combine. His production and route tree make him seem like a fairly pro ready option, which is impressive for someone who won’t turn 21 until December, but his lack of athleticism may limit his upside. However, receivers like Keenan Allen have proven that you don’t need to be a speed burner to succeed in the NFL, and Bell could develop into a similar type of player at the next level.
19. Wan’Dale Robinson | Kentucky | 5‘-11“, 185 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 103
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 104, Yds 1334, TD 7.
Necksnation: Robinson certainly looked impressive during his junior season after transferring to Kentucky, but there are concerns about how he will translate to the NFL. The first thing that jumps out about Robinson is his size, or lack thereof. Not only is he 5’8” and 178 lbs, but he has the shortest arms of any receiver to enter the draft since 1999 by nearly half an inch per arm. The good news is, he did test very well at the combine from an athletic standpoint, and for the most part it shows up on his tape. I would consider him to be a guy who is “quicker than he is fast.” In open field, he was frequently able to make defenders miss and gain lots of yards after the catch because of it, which resulted in a lot of big plays. Additionally, he is a smooth and quick route runner, frequently able to create separation and find holes in the defense. However, for a guy who relies so much on his athleticism, Robinson gets run down from behind more often than he should. He did run a good 40 yard dash, but there were numerous instances in his tape where he could have scored but didn’t because he was unable to maintain his top speed throughout the play. It is a bit of a concern, and it makes you wonder how he’ll fare against NFL defensive backs if he’s getting chased down by college defenders, but his speed should improve a bit as he transitions to the pros, and hopefully it won’t be an issue for him. Robinson is also more than willing to take hits over the middle and survive hits to make tough catches. This is definitely a strength to his game, but you can’t help but wonder if he’ll be able to take those same hits in the NFL with his small frame. Despite these concerns, Robinson’s natural quickness and ability to get open should make him serviceable at the next level. He’ll almost certainly never be a WR1, but he could be a solid WR2 with the ability to line up in the backfield (he had 134 total carries across his two seasons in Nebraska before transferring). He could also have value as a returner, an area where he wasn’t used often in college, but it seems like a natural fit for his skillset. At the end of the day, Robinson will likely never carry an NFL team’s passing offense, but he should provide some burst and versatility to a team, and should be able to carve out a decent career in that type of role.
20. Velus Jones, Jr. | Tennessee | 6‘-0“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 104
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 23, Yds 628, TD 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Jones is built almost like a running back. As he possesses a strong base as well as an ability to break tackles in the open field. While the number of receptions may seem on the low side, the way he was used did not allow him to receive much volume. His efficiency as a deep threat was quite impressive, though. He displayed his explosiveness at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine, although there were a couple easy passes that he dropped. His route-running is not incredibly refined either; however, he can create yards in space, and he can torch defenders over the top. If he can master those two areas of his game, his other deficiencies will not be as big a concern.
21. Kyle Phillips | UCLA | 5‘-11“, 177 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 105
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 59, Yds 739, TD 10.
Skyfire322: Phillips was a dual-threat WR and punt returner for the Bruins. While he didn’t have a highlight reel that you see from top college WRs, he most certainly holds his own. He’s very shifty and thrives in the slot position. However, that seems to be the only role he’ll be able to play as he lacks the quickness and length to stretch the field. While he can create decent separation, Phillips also has difficulty with contested catches primarily due to his size. Ball-handling skills are phenomenal both as a WR and punt returner, which scouts should consider. I believe he could be a diamond in the rough, potentially being drafted in the 3rd or 4th round.
22. Jerreth Sterns | Western Kentucky | 5‘-9“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 117
2021 stats: GP 14, Rec 150, Yds 1902, TD 17.
Ryland B.: If you did a double-take when you saw Sterns’ 2021 stat line, you won’t be the only one. Playing in a potent WKU offense with star QB Bailey Zappe, Sterns put up season numbers that look like many college receivers’ career totals. Despite not being invited to the combine, Sterns ran a 4.4 40 at his pro day, and it shows up on tape. He’s incredibly explosive and obviously productive. Sterns showcases great athleticism and acceleration, often outrunning entire defenses on his many big plays in 2021. He’s a natural hands catcher who picks the ball out of the air with ease. However, his smaller size prevents him from making the more acrobatic and contested grabs. He isn’t incredibly physical either and paired with his lower level of competition in college it’s fair to say Stern’s incredible production may not translate well to the NFL level. Still, Sterns has proven himself to be a quality playmaker with good athleticism, and he should find a role of some sort in an NFL offense.
23. Danny Gray | SMU | 6‘-1“, 180 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 118
2021 stats: GP 10, Rec 49, Yds 803, TD 9.
Ryland B.: Yet another receiver who ran in the 4.3 range at the NFL combine, Gray could be a possible speed threat option for the Steelers in the middle rounds. He was more often than not the fastest guy on the field, and it really shows. Gray’s speed and change of direction really stand out on tape, and he’s a menace with the ball in his hands after the catch. I think there’d be even more touchdowns on tape if he didn’t deal with so many underthrows on deep routes. Gray has a tall, lanky frame and often struggled with more physical corners. He has a good release but would often get jammed in press, or struggle to separate in more physical coverage. Gray has good hands but has a bit of a habit to body catch, although he does have some good contested catches on tape. Overall, there’s some great potential with Gray, who could really succeed as a deep threat on the next level.
24. Justyn Ross | Clemson | 6‘-4“, 205 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 140
2021 stats: GP 10, Rec 46, Yds 514, TD 3.
Necksnation: Necksnation: Ross had an incredible freshman season, but injuries have derailed his career ever since. However, if he can stay healthy and reach the potential that he showed as a freshman, he could become a star in the NFL. Ross certainly has the size to succeed at the next level, and although he doesn’t have incredible speed, he provides a decent amount of chunk plays. You won’t see him making too many 70 yard receptions, but he does a nice job on intermediate plays to pick up 15-20 yards for his team. His diverse route tree allows him to gain separation in a myriad of ways, especially on short to intermediate routes. Additionally, he does a nice job of gaining a few extra yards after the catch, and he is more than capable of breaking some tackles in the process. He can also juke out defenders when necessary, although it isn’t necessarily his ideal way of getting by defenders, but it’s certainly an ability that he possesses. His ball skills are elite, and he makes plenty of difficult catches downfield and in the end zone. He did have some concentration drops, but overall, his hands are a strength of his game, and they really benefit him when he’s making contested catches. Ross has a lot of traits that could make him a WR1 in the NFL, but he will need a good amount of coaching to get back to where he was pre injury. That said, it is worth wondering if he is injury prone. He broke his foot in 2021, but more importantly, it was discovered that he had a congenital fusion in his spine, which could have stopped him from ever playing again. He is healthy now, but whatever team that drafts him should do so with the awareness that he may have limited durability. But if he’s able to stay on the field and live up to the hype of his freshman season, he could wind up as a major steal on Day 2, and he’s worth taking a gamble on sometime in the middle of round 3.
25. Isaiah Weston | Northern Iowa | 6‘-4“, 210 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 146
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 37, Yds 883, TD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: Weston is an athletic specimen who has been linked to the Steelers in draft conversations this spring. At 6’3 ½”, 215 pounds, Weston raised eyebrows during his combine performance, recording a 4.42 40, 40” vertical, and 135” broad jump, and 20 bench reps. As a player on the field, the first thing that stands out about Isaiah is his ability to create big plays down the field. His 23.9 yards per catch in 2021 backs up this claim, and his nearly 900 receiving yards despite inconsistent quarterback play is telling as to how big a difference he can be to an offense. I would like to see a little better field awareness on catches near the sideline, but for a late-round pick, the combination of athleticism and production makes him worth a flier. If the Steelers decide to grab Weston late on day three, the selection would have my support.
26. Samori Toure | Nebraska | 6‘-3“, 193 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 155
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 46, Yds 898, TD 5.
Ryland B.: Toure was an elite FCS receiver before transferring to Nebraska for his final season. Despite the higher level of competition, he still put up good numbers for a college wideout. Toure has good size and is a natural athlete. While not a freak of nature, he has good long speed, acceleration, and effortless change of direction. He has good hands and is an impressive blocker as well. He’s not a polished route-runner but the potential is certainly there. He got open a good number of times on tape but was either overthrown or not even seen by the quarterback. Toure could surprise as a pro.
27. Kevin Austin, Jr. | Notre Dame | 6‘-2“, 215 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 167
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 48, Yds 888, TD 7.
Skyfire322: Austin has an excellent ability to separate himself. Once there’s an open field, it’s almost a given you’ll see him break a 20-30 yard catch easily, mainly because of his explosiveness. He knows how to track the ball due to his frame and could be a nightmare for the secondary. However, he seems to play a bit stiff and often uses his body to catch, meaning he doesn’t fully utilize the great length to his advantage. One big concern is multiple surgeries on his left foot, which caused him to miss quite a bit of time. While his physical traits and draft results show one thing, I believe he will be a developmental receiver and will get the call in the draft’s later rounds.
28. Emeka Emezie | North Carolina State | 6‘-3“, 220 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 187
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 60, Yds 802, TD 6.
Andrew Wilbar: Emezie is a strong-handed receiver who provides the most value as a 50/50 ball specialist. He lacks that second gear of speed to separate, but when you are as good as he is with no room to work with, it is not as big an issue. Another concern, though, is his inability to run sharp routes. His route-tree is incredibly limited, and he struggles to cut back quickly toward the ball on in-breaking routes. Still, as a one-trick pony in the later rounds, Emezie could carve out a nice role for himself as a red-zone threat.
29. Jalen Nailor | Michigan State | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 201
2021 stats: GP 9, Rec 37, Yds 695, TD 6.
Ryland B.: In a receiver class as fast as this one, Nailor’s 4.5 40 time may not seem as speedy as it is. But in a deep class of field-stretching receivers, Nailor shouldn’t be left out of the picture. He’s an accomplished deep threat in his own right, with speed to torch most college corners but also great stop-start ability. Unsurprisingly, he’s a great route-runner, but he is guilty of occasionally rounding off his cuts. Nailor displays good physicality, although he isn’t exactly the biggest on the field and has struggled with injuries in the past. Nailor has good hands overall and has flashes of great contested catch ability, although I’d like to see him be more consistent when it comes to tracking the ball. He definitely has some upside in this loaded receiver class.
30. Jaquarii Roberson | Wake Forest | 6‘-1“, 182 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 202
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 71, Yds 1078, TD 8.
Ryland B.: Roberson is a tall and lanky receiver with good speed and quickness. He’s an agile and aggressive route-runner who makes good cuts and has a solid release. He lacks top-tier long speed but is fast enough to be a threat down the field. Roberson seems to have good hands but fails in terms of being a physical catcher in contested scenarios or against tighter coverage. There’s potential here to be a poor-man’s Diontae Johnson of sorts, although Roberson lacks the requisite physicality to be more well-rounded.
31. Reggie Roberson, Jr. | SMU | 6‘-0“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 208
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 51, Yds 625, TD 6.
Ryland B.: Roberson is another speedy SMU receiver in this year’s draft. He’s struggled with injuries throughout his career, which has hurt both his draft stock and production. Still, he’s a dangerous deep threat and return man with good quickness although he’s not quite as agile as his teammate Danny Gray. Robertson isn’t the contested, physical catch type, but he has excellent hands and ball-tracking. It remains unclear if Robertson is completely healthy at this point in career, which makes drafting him both a major risk but also a move with the potential to pay off dividends if Robertson’s tape can look anything like it did during some SMU games.
32. Dareke Young | Lenoir-Rhyne | 6‘-3“, 220 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 211
2021 stats: GP 5, Rec 25, Yds 303, TD 4.
Andrew Wilbar: Young is one of many small-school receivers in this class that possess intriguing size and athleticism. Young was productive in the five games he played in, but the sample size is relatively small, especially for a small-school prospect who is already struggling to prove his legitimacy. One thing I do like about Young is his willingness to do the dirty work, as he is unafraid to come across the formation as a decoy and simply block. He was used often on jet sweeps in college and had success in that role, leading me to believe that his best fit would come in an offense that uses a lot of pre-snap motion. If he can learn to create better separation late in his routes, he could develop into a solid number three or number four receiver for an NFL team.
33. Tyshaun James | Central Connecticut | 6‘-3“, 210 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 212
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 56, Yds 978, TD 9.
Andrew Wilbar: If you want someone with physicality at the point of attack, above-average athleticism, and impressive production, James may be your guy. Playing at Central Connecticut will not do a prospect any favors when it comes to draft stock ahead of the draft, but James checks a lot of boxes. Measuring in at 6 ‘2”, 214 pounds at his pro day, James recorded a 4.49 40, 22 bench reps, 37 ½” vertical, 131” broad jump, and 7.07 3-cone drill. James is an impressive receiver when it comes to making contested catches. He uses his body to box defenders out, and he does a great job of high-pointing the ball. James lacks the versatility of many of these other late-round receivers we are discussing, but if given the chance, he could provide solid depth as a boundary receiver for an NFL team.
34. Tanner Conner | Idaho State | 6‘-3“, 226 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 216
2021 stats: GP 6, Rec 34, Yds 685, TD 3.
Andrew Wilbar: When you watch Conner on tape, he looks like a tight end playing out wide. He does not have the quickest acceleration off the line, and his route tree does not have a multitude of branches, but he displays sure hands, and he wins the contested catches. At 6’3”, 226 pounds, Conner recorded a 4.5 40, 19 bench reps, a 39” vertical, a 127” broad jump, and a 7.15 in the 3-cone drill at his pro day, proving that his athleticism is no fluke. I like Conner’s ability to high-point the ball while also displaying excellent body control. He does not have the greatest lower-body strength for someone his size, but he is incredibly difficult to bring down in the open field. Overall, I am a fan of Conner’s traits, but only solid production against poor competition might make some teams hesitant to pull the trigger on him. In the later portions of day three, he is worth the risk.
35. Dee Anderson | Alabama A&M | 6‘-6“, 220 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 232
2021 stats: GP 9, Rec 33, Yds 493, TD 12.
Andrew Wilbar: Anderson is a big possession receiver who thrives on winning contested catches in tight coverage. The red-zone menace recorded only 33 catches in 2021, but 12 of those were touchdowns. Oddly enough, this is a good portrayal of how he could be used in the NFL. He was highly touted coming out of high school, committing to LSU all the way back in 2014. After three years of minimal production, he packed his bags and transferred to Oklahoma State, where he played just one game and recorded only one reception. He still lacked high volume after transferring to Alabama A&M, but his role did increase, and he proved his ability to win in the red zone. I anticipate the team he goes to using him like they would a tight end, except he would still align out wide.
36. Ty Fryfogle | Indiana | 6‘-2“, 205 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 239
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 46, Yds 512, TD 1.
Jeremy Betz: Fryfogle is an interesting study. As a junior in 2020, he was starting to climb up the WR rankings for posting after posting a ridiculous 3-game stretch in which he accounted for 560 yds and 6 TDs vs Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan St. his size and athletic ability will entice one teams but his drop off in consistent production in 2021 will leave some doubts about his ability to be a difference maker. Turn on the film though, and you’ll see a strong, big-bodied pass catcher with natural hands and good upside.
37. Jalen Virgil | Appalachian State | 6‘-1“, 210 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 259
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 15, Yds 226, TD 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Virgil made Bruce Feldman’s 2021 freak list for his world-class speed, and while Virgil disappointed me with his 4.4 flat in the 40, he has more than enough speed to cruise by the average defensive back. There are times when Virgil is a little stiff in his stance at the line of scrimmage, which causes an occasionally slow get-off. However, he has the ability to change speeds mid-route, which makes him difficult to cover one-on-one on in-breaking routes. His route-running skills are adequate but not mind-blowing, and his hands are generally reliable. The biggest problem lies in the fact that he would go games without making any difference on offense before he would go off for a big play. Inconsistency was his downfall during his final year of college, and that remains his biggest flaw heading into the NFL.
38. Erik Ezukanma | Texas Tech | 6‘-3“, 220 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 260
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 48, Yds 705, TD 4.
Ryland B.: It may be the BIG-12 background, but Ezukanma reminds a bit of former Steeler James Washington. Ezukanma isn’t the deep threat that Washington is, but he has solid build-up speed and good hands. He’s a good competitor but doesn’t have a great release, with not a lot of twitch in his route-running. He has a strong frame and good strength, making him a solid possession receiver who can be hard to bring down after the catch. He’s a good blocker as well. Overall, Ezukanma shows potential as a physical pass-catcher at the next level, but his lacking ability to create separation is concerning.
39. Ra’Shaun Henry | Virginia | 6‘-3“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 277
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 34, Yds 603, TD 3.
Skyfire322: Ra’Shaun Henry utilizes his speed to get to the ball. He has excellent breakaway speed, agility, and decent hands. He also can get aerial which makes him a weapon in the endzone. His speed makes him great on the outside, but he’s very smart and most certainly holds his own running routes. However, he has difficulty escaping defenders and tends to give up once he’s wrapped up. Henry’s slim frame and lack of strength hurt him, as well. I believe his most significant issue is that he relies on his speed and nothing else. He is a very interesting prospect, but I think he’ll be in a developmental role.
40. Savon Scarver | Utah State | 5‘-11“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 278
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 27, Yds 641, TD 1.
Ryland B.: It was hard to find much tape on Scarver beyond the occasional highlight reel, which isn’t exactly the most balanced source. But Scarver showed some intriguing potential in regards to his speed, and he was named a consensus All-American back in 2018 as a returner. In fact, Scarver has 7 kick return touchdowns in his NCAA career, an impressive number. He’ll definitely be an older rookie, and his lack of size and level and competition are definite issues, but Scarver seems to be worth bringing into camp as a UDFA return specialist.
41. Mike Woods | Oklahoma | 6‘-3“, 198 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 281
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 35, Yds 400, TD 2.
Ryland B.: I can’t say I’m as enthused as others are about Wood’s potential. His longer stride may be deceptively fast, but he looks rather slow on tape. He isn’t very quick and creates little separation, and the only times I saw him getting really open were due to poor defensive awareness. It’s not all bad, though. Woods displayed strong hands and the ability to make more difficult catches, and he’s one of the stronger blocking receivers in this class. He might not be worth a draft pick at this point, but definitely is a strong UDFA candidate.
42. Daylen Baldwin | Michigan | 6‘-2“, 219 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 289
2021 stats: GP 7, Rec 17, Yds 256, TD 2.
Andrew Wilbar: Baldwin is a double-transfer who did not see as much volume as many people had anticipated him getting at Michigan. He disappointed in his athletic testing at his pro day, but he has the talent to make an NFL roster as a contested-catch and deep-ball specialist. To learn more about Baldwin check out my interview with him below.
43. Braylon Sanders | Ole Miss | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 291
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 24, Yds 549, TD 4.
Ryland B.: Sanders has good speed but didn’t strike me as particularly quick. He’s a buildup accelerator that doesn’t have the ideal explosion at the top of his routes. Still, his speed and angles as a route runner help him gain decent separation. He has great hands and is capable of the occasional circus catch. As a blocker, he didn’t show great urgency, and his release is average. Sanders can catch well and he has good speed – giving him plenty of potential to be a solid receiver at the next level.
44. Jontre Kirklin | WR/QB/CB | LSU | 6‘-0“, 184 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 294
2021 stats: GP 6, Rec 4, Yds 49, TD 0.
138” broad and 42” vert
Ryland B.: This guy is a football player. Although not invited to the combine, Kirklin put up excellent testing numbers – but let’s talk about his versatility. Kirklin projects as a wide receiver at the next level, but he has experience in special teams, at cornerback, and at quarterback. The latter of which he threw for 3 touchdowns in the Texas Bowl for LSU. It’s something that likely won’t help him as a pro unless another Kendall Hinton scenario occurs, but Kirklin clearly has a great feel for the game. As a receiver, he shows great quickness, acceleration, and speed. He’s a twitchy athlete with some clear potential as a route-runner, Kirklin shows some good effort in the blocking game as well. His production, on the other hand, is quite underwhelming. His “jack of all trades master of none” status may push Kirklin to the later rounds or even undrafted free agency, but there’s some clear talent here some team will definitely take a flier on.
45. Tre Turner | Virginia Tech | 6‘-2“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 295
2021 stats: GP 10, Rec 40, Yds 675, TD 3.
Ryland B.: Turner is a fairly productive receiver with solid size. He’s a good athlete with 4.5 speed and impressive acceleration. He shows some technical ability in his route-running, but I was most impressed with his wide catch radius and hands. His release was excellent as well. Turner isn’t a freak athlete but he has adequate testing numbers and good technical abilities. He could be a good fit as a possession receiver at the next level.
BEST OF THE REST
46. Trevor Begue | Incarnate Word | 5‘-11“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 310
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 46, Yds 620, TD 3.
47. Kevin Shaa | Liberty | 5‘-11“, 165 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 311
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 28, Yds 516, TD 6.
48. Deven Thompkins | Utah State | 5‘-8“, 155 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 314
2021 stats: GP 14, Rec 104, Yds 1704, TD 10.
49. Chris Booker | Ohio State | 6‘-3“, 192 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 325
2021 stats: GP 5, Rec 2, Yds 27, TD 0.
50. Tyeous Sharpe | Fayetteville State | 5‘-11“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 338
2021 stats: GP 10, Rec 40, Yds 529, TD 7.
51. Calvin Taylor, Jr. | Hawaii | 5‘-11“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 349
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 73, Yds 876, TD 4.
52. Sy Barnett | Ferris State | 6‘-1“, 205 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 354
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 12, Yds 166, TD 1.
53. Charleston Rambo | Miami | 6‘-1“, 185 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 355
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 79, Yds 1172, TD 7.
54. Tay Martin | Oklahoma State | 6‘-3“, 186 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 359
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 80, Yds 1046, TD 10.
55. Stanley Berryhill III | Arizona | 5‘-11“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 365
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 83, Yds 744, TD 1.
56. Kalil Pimpleton | Central Michigan | 5‘-9“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 374
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 62, Yds 960, TD 4.
57. BJ Byrd | Morehead State | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 382
2021 stats: GP 11, Rec 90, Yds 1313, TD 13.
58. Jahcour Peterson | Ole Miss | 5‘-8“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 388
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 26, Yds 392, TD 0.
59. Dontario Drummond | Ole Miss | 6‘-0“, 215 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 396
2021 stats: GP 12, Rec 76, Yds 1028, TD 8.
60. Makai Polk | Mississippi State | 6‘-3“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 397
2021 stats: GP 13, Rec 105, Yds 1046, TD 9.
Which wide receivers in this class intrigue you the most? Which receiver do you think makes the most sense for the Steelers? Who is your favorite sleeper? Be sure to share your thoughts on this big board and all things NFL Draft in the comment section below!