2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

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As with previous drafts, this class is absolutely loaded with talent at wide receiver. Even in the later rounds, there should be quality names available for a Falcons team that could be looking to totally revamp the position in 2022. Calvin Ridley is suspended for the 2022 season, and the Falcons haven’t brought in any guys that look like immediate difference makers. None of them are on multi-year deals, either.

The same can be said for tight ends. Even though Atlanta used the fourth pick in 2021 on Kyle Pitts, Hayden Hurst signed with the Bengals and Lee Smith has retired. Arthur Smith loves his tight ends, so I wouldn’t be too shocked to see another selected. Previous editions of this series are listed below:

 

 

Wide Receivers

 

19. Justyn Ross — Clemson

I really wanted to put Justyn Ross higher on this list. I was rooting for him at the combine, but he simply just didn’t put up the numbers I wanted to see. His injury history worries me, but you can see on his tape that he’s clearly still a talented player. He’s worth a flier in the later rounds just based on his size and catch radius alone.

Relative Athletic Score: 2.58/10

 

18. Tre Turner — Virginia Tech

Turner was fantastic for his whole career with the Hokies, and his ability to understand the route tree and run routes smoothly will appeal to a lot of NFL teams. Right now, Turner isn’t exceptional in one area, but he’s pretty solid all around. He didn’t test very well, so you’re likely hoping for a player with a high floor if you draft him.

Relative Athletic Score: 3.5/10

 

17. Tyquan Thornton — Baylor

Thornton is a classic deep threat that didn’t really break out until 2021, but a strong combine should solidify his draft status and have NFL teams looking to turn him into a burner in their offense. His 4.28 40-yard dash was the best at the combine for receivers.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.78/10

 

16. Kevin Austin — Notre Dame

Some team is absolutely going to roll the dice on Austin late in the draft, and they may be rewarded with a true difference-maker. Austin has had issues with injuries and suspensions, but he was one of the best athletes at the combine. Austin ran a 4.43 40 with a 39-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump at the combine. Someone is going to take a chance on him.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.94/10

 

15. Jalen Tolbert — South Alabama

Tolbert was highly productive at South Alabama, and he used his size to win on a lot of contested balls on the outside. He has a rock-solid catch radius, and he’s a big target that quarterbacks will love throwing to. He showed up for the combine, and it should really help his stock come draft time.

Relative Athletic Score: 8.57/10

 

14. Skyy Moore — Western Michigan

Even though Moore is a smaller receiver at 5’9”, he still has incredible get-off, displayed by his 1.46 10-yard splits. Moore is more of a straight-line runner, he doesn’t show much in terms of change-of-pace, but he has a solid release on tape and plays much bigger than his size. He has solid upside, but he will have to really turn into an elite route runner to make an impact.

Relative Athletic Score: 7.52/10

 

13. Calvin Austin III — Memphis

Although Austin is your typical smaller slot receiver, he uses his top-tier quickness and athleticism to create separation and get open. He’s more of a one-trick pony at receiver, but he does that one trick very well. He had a fantastic combine that should really help his stock — running a 4.32 40 will turn some heads.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.01/10

 

12. David Bell — Purdue

There are a lot of prototypical X receivers in this class, and David Bell has the potential to be the best out of the entire group. Although he’s a bigger receiver, he has insane athleticism and a really good catch radius. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he became one of the better players in this group. Bell’s numbers at the combine were pretty disappointing, but like with Robinson, I trust his tape.

Relative Athletic Score: 3.99/10

 

11. John Metchie — Alabama

I had high hopes for Metchie going into 2021 with Alabama losing multiple wideouts to the NFL, and he delivered. Metchie is a great athlete that can play multiple roles in an offense, and his ability to line up in the slot or out wide can help an offense that needs immediate help with numerous roles.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A (Did Not Participate Due to Injury)

 

10. Jahan Dotson — Penn State

Dotson is a good athlete that doesn’t have a lot of holes in his game. He is a really dependable option that still has room to grow, and his route running should allow him to impact an NFL roster from day one.

Relative Athletic Score: 6.28/10

 

9. Wan’Dale Robinson — Kentucky

Get the ball in Robinson’s hands and get out of the way. Robinson is an electric playmaker, and he can take a short or intermediate route the distance with just a little bit of space. I could see a team trying to use him in a Deebo Samuel role. I would have liked to have seen better numbers at the combine, but I trust his tape.

Relative Athletic Score: 6.1/10

 

8. Alec Pierce — Cincinnati

Pierce caught a lot of my attention while watching Desmond Ridder and Jerome Ford — he’s a big-bodied receiver with a great catch radius. He seems to grasp Cincinnati’s offense very well, and he fights for the football at the point of attack. Throw in the fact that he went nuclear at the combine, and you’ve got a really, really good looking prospect.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.81/10

 

7. Chris Olave — Ohio State

Chris Olave is the smoothest route runner in this entire class — bar none. The way he can work himself open at any level of the field is so impressive. Combine that with the fact that he doesn’t have many other holes in his game, and it’s easy to see why he’s another blue-chip in a very talented group.

Relative Athletic Score: 8.67/10

 

6. Treylon Burks — Arkansas

Burks has an absolutely absurd catch radius — he can go and get balls that seem like hopeless passes. He is a master of the contested catch, and he has excellent burst in the open field. I really like Burks as a prospect, and he profiles as a big-time impact player from day one. I wish he tested a bit better, but his tape speaks for itself.

Relative Athletic Score: 5.78/10

 

5. Jameson Williams — Alabama

It’s insane to have Jameson Williams fifth here, but this group is so tough to rank. I was sold on Williams while watching Alabama play Miami in Week 1. While Williams is an exceptional deep threat, he can also take short and intermediate routes to the house with his blazing speed. He’s going to be a special talent in the NFL, and his route running will give defensive coordinators nightmares.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A (Did Not Participate Due to Injury)

 

4. Drake London — USC

The former basketball player has exceptional hops and athleticism, and that’s a dangerous combination when you stand 6’5”. London uses his frame and physicality to make a ton of contested catches, and there’s no doubt in my mind he has the potential to be an All-Pro if he can put it all together.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

3. Garrett Wilson — Ohio State

Wilson is a guy who can make you pay if you play soft coverage at any level of the field. If he gets the ball in his hand, he’s a threat to score anywhere on the field. It’s absurd to even have Wilson fourth on this list, but it really just speaks to the talent this draft at receiver. He’s still a first-round talent — this group is just that deep.

Relative Athletic Score: 7.73/10

 

2. George Pickens — Georgia

Give me all of your George Pickens stock. While we didn’t get too much of an extended look at Pickens, there are undeniable pops of talent on tape. He has a MASSIVE catch radius, and he’s a very physical receiver at the point of attack. He looked to be healthy during Georgia’s National Championship run, and I think an NFL team will steal him on day two. He tested very well at the combine, and his raw athletic gifts are going to make him a problem in the NFL. His knee looked just fine as he ran his 4.47 40-yard dash. I like the prime Dez Bryant comparison.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.34/10

 

1. Christian Watson — North Dakota State

I’ll take all of your Christian Watson stock right now. Watson moves like a receiver half his size at 6’5” and 210 pounds. He’ll have to get used to an NFL route tree, but with his raw gifts and insane catch radius, I’m calling my shot and saying he’ll be one of the best receivers in this entire class. I had Watson third on this list before the combine, but after he blew me away with his athleticism, I’m comfortable moving him to the top spot.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.96/10

 

Tight Ends

 

10. Jalen Wydermyer — Texas A&M

Wydermyer was third in the pre-combine rankings, but his pro day was an absolute disaster. He does have reliable hands and made a ton of plays for Texas A&M in 2021. He isn’t an exceptional blocker, but he’s a guy you can move all over the field to make plays in the passing game. His testing numbers really shocked me.

Relative Athletic Score: 1/10

 

9. Cade Otton — Washington

If you’re looking for a mauler in the run game that wants to punish defenders, Cade Otton is your guy. He has the potential to be an immediate impact player with his run blocking.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

8. Jeremy Ruckert — Ohio State

Although Ohio State’s offense was loaded with weapons, Ruckert found his way into the endzone multiple times when defenses forgot about the Senior. Ruckert totaled 12 touchdowns, and he’s a solid athlete who can make plays in the Red Zone.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

7. Cole Turner — Nevada

Turner was a highly productive player alongside Carson Strong at Nevada, and he possesses great athleticism for the position. He can get vertical and go get balls at 6’6” — he’s a big-time sleeper at the position.

Relative Athletic Score: 7.33/10

 

6. Greg Dulcich — UCLA

Dulcich is more of a receiving option than a blocker, but he has a good catch radius, soft hands, and posted strong combine numbers. He has the makeup of a vertical threat tight end that can make plays in the intermediate area as well.

Relative Athletic Score: 8.17/10

 

5. Daniel Bellinger — San Diego State

Bellinger posted freakish numbers at the combine, and his vertical came in higher than I anticipated as well. He has a great catch radius and is a tough run blocker. While he doesn’t burn anyone or create a lot of separation, he has the makeup as a mismatch at TE2.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.64/10

 

4. Isaiah Likely — Coastal Carolina

Part of Jamey Chadwell’s potent offense at Coastal, Likely does his best work when he gets vertical. He can burn down the field, and teams will look to use him in multiple roles in their offense. Likely didn’t test as well as I would have liked, but his tape still stands up.

Relative Athletic Score: 4.83/10

 

3. Charlie Kolar — Iowa State

I really like the floor of Kolar; he profiles as a solid run blocker and has soft hands. He can make plays vertically or in the red zone, and I think he’ll be one of the safer options in this class. He had a fantastic combine, solidifying what I’ve seen on tape.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.12/10

 

2. Trey McBride — Colorado State

McBride is a versatile piece that Colorado State used in multiple ways, and the unanimous All-American shattered multiple records over his four-year career. He has a lot of experience as a primary target in an offense, and if he can develop as a blocker, he will be a great NFL player.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

1. Jelani Woods — Virginia

If not for Jordan Davis, Woods may have been the biggest story of the 2022 NFL Combine. Woods ran a blazing 4.61 40 at 6’7” and 253 pounds; he had a 37.5 inch vertical. 10’9″ broad jump and a 6.91 3-cone drill. Seriously, was this kid built in a lab? He has a great wingspan and is a willing run blocker, but he needs to be developed as a route runner. You can teach him that. You cannot teach his freakish build and athleticism. In a class that isn’t that deep, I’m willing to bet on a player that looks like he was created in Madden.

Relative Athletic Score: 10/10

 

Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

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