The last few years have given us loaded wide receiver classes. 2022 should be no different. In fact, we could see an additional five pass-catchers go off the board in the first round.
The 2022 wide receiver class is slightly different from the year’s past. You don’t have that unanimous #1 target like Ja’Marr Chase was last year. There are five receivers that could find themselves atop different teams’ draft boards. So, let us try to bust up this cluster and see how everything shakes out.
2022 WIDE RECEIVER CLUSTER BUSTER
Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Burks is a height/weight/speed phenom. He is a big-play threat every time he touches the football. Burks is listed at 6’3” 232-pounds but he probably plays closer to 220-225. Burks has averaged over 16-yards per catch in each of his three seasons in Fayetteville. In 2021, he caught 67 balls for 1123 yards and 11 TDs. I expect Burks to cement himself as a top-ten pick after he blows up the combine.
Jameson Williams, Alabama
Williams is the truest one-year wonder of the group. He was buried on the depth chart by the other two Ohio State wide receivers we will talk about and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Alabama, having just lost a pair of first-round wide receivers, had an opening. And did Williams ever fill the said void. In fourteen games thus far (with one to go), he has caught 75 passes for 1507 yards and 15 touchdowns. Williams has also returned ten kicks on the year, averaging 35.2 per return and two scores. He is a crisp route runner with elite speed. Williams is listed at 6’2” 189-pounds.
Chris Olave, Ohio State
Olave is the elder statesman of the group, playing time-wise. He has been contributing to the Ohio State cause for the last four seasons. Olave is another upper echelon route runner with big play ability. His TD in the playoff game against Clemson a year ago (with a dime thrown from Justin Fields) is a play that still sticks with me to this day. Olave’s production has increased each of the last three years. As the only one of these five receivers that were eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, I feel he is making a mistake not going there to give him a chance to help separate himself from the others.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Wilson has seen production on Olave’s level for two of his three seasons at Ohio State. He is another sure-handed route running ace. Wilson probably has more top-end speed than his Buckeye teammate. It will be interesting how teams separate the two. Age is no different for either.
Drake London, Southern Cal
What could have been? Drake London was on pace for a record-breaking season before he fractured his ankle in late October. He should be healed up in time to be able to work out for teams. At 6’5” 210-pounds, you wouldn’t think he would be able to move as smoothly as he does. Prior to the injury, London had 88 receptions for 1084 yards and seven touchdowns. Once he went out, the Southern Cal went in the tank. His ability to test will go a long way to determining whether he can go higher than the other four. London’s talent may be as good or slightly better than the rest of the group.
ANY OTHER POTENTIAL TOP PICKS?
Wan’Dale Robinson of Kentucky has seen his name emerge in the first round conversation in the last week. He is built and plays like former South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel. I am a huge fan of South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert. He is another H/W/S prospect and has produced at a high level with below-average QB play. Tolbert will be at the Senior Bowl and will be joined there by Penn State’s Jahan Dotson. Both can catapult themselves higher with a big week in Mobile. Purdue WR David Bell has been extremely productive in essentially 2.5 seasons of play. He is consistent but may not be the downfield threat of the others.