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NFL Draft: Wide Receivers to Watch

Posted Apr 19, 2017

A few wide receivers to keep an eye on when the NFL Draft kicks off.

Early on: Most draft analysts are split on what the Buccaneers will do with the No. 19 pick, but many believe the Bucs could take a wide receiver with their first-round pick. The most popular name associated with the Buccaneers is Washington’s John Ross, who broke the NFL Combine record with his 4.22-second 40-yard dash in February. Ross is a smaller receiver and has been compared to the Bucs’ newly-signed free agent, DeSean Jackson. But he’s still one of the most explosive players in this year’s draft class and would be a welcome addition to Tampa Bay’s roster. Another player to keep an eye on is Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, who is the FBS’ all-time leader in receiving yards. Both players are expected to be drafted near the middle of the first round and it’s entirely possible both will be off the board by the time the Bucs make their pick.

Mid-round picks: Texas A&M’s Josh Reynolds put together a strong performance in the Senior Bowl, catching his team’s only touchdown from 39 yards out. He finished the game with six catches for 96 yards. Reynolds finished his three-year college career with 2,788 yards and 30 touchdowns. He could be available as late as the fifth round, according to some projections. Ohio State’s Noah Brown could be available in the fourth or fifth round as well, but his projections are based more on potential than on production. He caught 33 passes for 411 yards and seven touchdowns in two season at Ohio State and surprised many by declaring early for the NFL Draft. He’s a big-bodied receiver who is a dangerous red zone target.  

Late-round steals: Reynolds’ teammate, Speedy Noil, is projected to be signed as an undrafted free agent and could be a viable option as a slot receiver and in the return game. Noil didn’t run at the NFL Scouting Combine but was clocked as fast as 4.41 at his Pro Day. Noil caught 88 passes for 1,134 yards and nine touchdowns during his college career. Florida State’s Kermit Whitfield is a similar player in a similar position – he’s a small, quick receiver who could be signed shortly after the draft. Whitfield caught 102 passes for 1,338 yards and seven touchdowns at Florida State, while also carrying the ball 16 times for 148 yards and a touchdown.