NCAA

No Consensus On Who The Top Wide Receiver In The NFL Draft

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We are just under a month away from the 2016 NFL draft, which means that there is little to glean from prospects, especially at the top. Now is the time that analysts file reports and do research on German wide receivers, most of the heavy lifting on the top-50 prospects is done.

Usually, this means that there has come a near-consensus as to whom the top prospect at each position is. For example, Laremy Tunsil is the top offensive tackle and Joey Bosa is the top defensive end. If there is no consensus, then there is a debate between two prospects like at quarterback with Carson Wentz and Jared Goff.

However, there is no such consensus or even debate between two prospects at wide receiver. The debate is between four different receivers, who all have a realistic claim for the No. 1 wide receiver spot.

Now, let’s take a look at each of the four prospects and why they could be the first receiver off the board.

Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

Laquon Treadwell has been the No. 1 wide receiver on most boards since last year; however, a poor showing at the combine and at his pro day has caused that ranking to be questioned by many. Treadwell isn’t the athlete that you covet at wide receiver, but he has a plethora of other abilities that could lead to him being the first wide receiver selected.

Treadwell is a force of nature as a receiver. He physically dominates defensive backs throughout each game. He is a punishing blocker who uses his physicality and strength to drive them out of the play. In the passing game, Treadwell is an adept route runner who uses pacing and subtle nuances to create separation. He is dominant at the catch point and he can be a force in the red zone.

Corey Coleman, Baylor

The biggest question mark at the top of this draft class is Baylor’s Corey Coleman. Coleman might have the highest ceiling in this class, but he also has the lowest floor. At Baylor, he didn’t run a full route tree and he wasn’t able to showcase a lot of the skills you want in a receiver in the NFL. Furthermore, Coleman doesn’t have the size or length that you’d value in a receiver in the first round.

Nevertheless, Coleman is an athletic freak who made a ton of plays throughout college. Coleman is the best receiver in this class with the ball in his hands as he uses his speed, elusiveness to hit creases and leave defenders grasping for air. Despite the fact that Coleman is short is stature, he can play bigger because of his immense leaping ability, which allows him to be better than you’d expect at the catch point. Altogether, Coleman is a game-breaking receiver who can make an impact in every facet of a passing offense.

Michael Thomas, Ohio State

The most well-rounded wide receiver in this draft class is Ohio State’s Michael Thomas. While that may be a positive for some, it can also be seen as a knock as well. Thomas doesn’t have any elite traits like his contemporaries, which limits his ceiling and his floor.

Thomas may profit because he is the surest thing at receiver in this draft class. He is not only a great route runner, but he also has great hands, athleticism and intelligence. Thomas will be a good No. 2 receiver at worst and he could develop into a very good No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL, which makes him alluring to teams in the back half of the first round.

Josh Doctson, TCU

While Treadwell was the favorite to be the first receiver selected in the NFL draft, TCU’s Josh Doctson might be the new favorite. Doctson has dominated the pre-draft process as he worked out extremely well at the combine and he has received good reviews on his interviews as well. The knock on Doctson is that he struggles to get off press coverage and he is an old prospect (will be 24 years old when the season starts).

The first thing you notice when you watch Doctson is how dominant he is at the catch point. He routinely wins above the rim and can sky over defenders and secure tough catches with his strong hands. As a route runner, Doctson isn’t as nuanced as Thomas or Treadwell, but he is still good in his own right. Doctson is a big-play threat who will most certainly catch his fair share of touchdowns in the NFL.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com