2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Wide receivers
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theScore's Mike Alessandrini and Dan Wilkins break down the top wide receiver prospects in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft as part of a position-by-position series.

Top 50
QB | RB | WR | TE | OL
DL | EDGE | LB | CB | S

1. Jerry Jeudy

Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Alabama
Height: 6-1
Weight: 193 lbs

Positives

  • Excellent route-runner at all levels of the field
  • Gains an advantage at the line and beats the press with smooth, varied releases
  • Outstanding foot speed and change-of-direction ability in breaks
  • Sells routes with his head and hip fakes at the top of the stem
  • Tracks the ball well on vertical throws
  • Attacks the ball with strong hands to make difficult catches
  • Explosive, slippery runner who can make big plays after the catch

Negatives

  • Not especially effective in contested-catch situations
  • Lapses in concentration lead to the occasional drop on routine plays
  • Willing blocker but not overly impactful

Bottom line

Easily this class' most proficient route-runner and one of the more polished technicians to transition to the NFL in the last few years, Jeudy is both a high-floor and high-ceiling prospect who should emerge as a No. 1 receiver early in his career. He doesn't play above the rim, so his impact may not be as flashy as other top targets, but he has the potential to be every bit as dominant. Jeudy's ability to create effortless separation everywhere on the field makes him a matchup nightmare for any defensive back. Add in the athleticism and creativity he shows in making big plays after the catch and the Alabama star edges out a ridiculously talented field to get the nod as our top-ranked receiver.

Grade: Top 15

2. CeeDee Lamb

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Oklahoma
Height: 6-2
Weight: 198 lbs

Positives

  • Ideal size, frame, and production for a No. 1 wideout
  • Alpha dog who is a home run threat on every play
  • Very explosive off the line of scrimmage and out of breaks
  • Quick cuts, strength, and balance make him extremely difficult to tackle
  • Soft, reliable hands with very few drops on tape
  • Ability to track the ball efficiently and possesses excellent body control to make difficult catches
  • Smooth feet and able to drop his hips and change direction well
  • Understands nuances of route-running - manipulates defenders with his body and separates using his physicality
  • Excellent release against the press and off coverage - sets up defenders
  • Awareness to recognize the soft spots in zones and work his way back to the quarterback on scrambles

Negatives

  • Had a number of free releases off the line in Oklahoma's offense
  • Can lose a bit of speed toward the end of his deep routes
  • Disappointing athletic testing scores at the combine

Bottom line

In a historic receiving class, Lamb may be the most exciting prospect. While he doesn't possess 4.3 speed or towering size, there are nearly endless traits to love about his game. The consensus All-American is a terror after the catch, offers elite ball skills, and is an advanced route-runner at every level of the field. Lamb makes plays other pass-catchers can't, and he makes most of them look easy. His skill set fits perfectly into any NFL offense and he has All-Pro potential. We don't care that he was the primary beneficiary of the matchup-friendly scheme that Lincoln Riley ran at Oklahoma - Lamb is a superstar who has all the tools to succeed regardless of his surroundings.

Grade: Top 15

3. Henry Ruggs III

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School: Alabama
Height: 5-11
Weight: 188 lbs

Positives

  • One of the fastest receivers coming out of the draft in recent years
  • Elite overall athleticism
  • Explosive off the line of scrimmage and is able to immediately find space
  • Very strong hands - rarely drops the ball
  • Excellent release versus man coverage, especially while breaking inside
  • Quickness and speed to separate against any coverage
  • Consistently fools defensive backs with double moves
  • Excellent ball tracker
  • Often fools defenders on routes by changing speeds
  • Possesses the balance to break off tackles and the home run ability after the catch
  • Good foot speed to beat press coverage
  • Solid production despite being the third or fourth option in Alabama's offense

Negatives

  • Below-average size with a slim frame
  • Not very physical in his route or after the catch - tough cornerbacks knocked him around a bit
  • Won't use his hands or body to separate against man coverage
  • Not an extremely detailed route-runner

Bottom line

Most of us know just how fast Ruggs is, but he's much more than just a speedy deep threat. The former Crimson Tide star can make plays all over the field and defeat any coverage. He's not the biggest or strongest receiver, but he's surprisingly adept on contested catches and in releasing against press coverage. Overall, Ruggs is a dynamic weapon that every NFL offense desires - he's a home run hitter after the catch and is explosive enough to challenge defenses vertically. He's a player who makes everyone around him better, and opponents must account for him on every single snap.

Grade: 1st round

4. Denzel Mims

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School: Baylor
Height: 6-3
Weight: 207 lbs

Positives

  • Elite athletic profile combines size, speed, and quickness
  • Varied and efficient releases to create separation at the line
  • Wins with physicality and change-of-direction skills in his route
  • Dominates contested-catch situations over defenders
  • Massive catch radius and great body control to adjust to the ball
  • Athleticism shows up after the catch
  • Outstanding run-blocker

Negatives

  • Didn't run an extensive route tree
  • Missing the nuance to sell routes with fakes at the top of the stem
  • Battles some inconsistency with his hands

Bottom line

Mims was flying somewhat under the radar until he made waves with a sensational combine performance, but he probably should have been getting this kind of attention all along. The Baylor standout demonstrates rare athleticism for his size, getting the best of opposing defensive backs both with his physicality and movement skills. We don't often see big-bodied pass-catchers who can win at the line of scrimmage with their release, at the top of their routes with lateral quicks, and over defenders in contested situations. If Mims can develop more nuance in his route-running given his lateral quicks and his polish coming off the line, he boasts as much upside as any receiver in this class.

Grade: 1st round

5. Tee Higgins

Grant Halverson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Clemson
Height: 6-4
Weight: 216 lbs

Positives

  • Excellent size and frame, can continue to grow
  • Covers space immediately with his long strides
  • Outstanding catch radius
  • Thrives in back-shoulder and timing routes along the sideline
  • Uses his impressive frame to box out cornerbacks, adjust to throws, and attack the ball
  • Ability to beat press coverage off the line of scrimmage
  • Surprisingly elusive after the catch - can break away and create yards after contact
  • Stacks defenders well on vertical routes
  • Excellent ball tracker

Negatives

  • Poor athletic testing
  • Not a crisp route-runner and has below-average change-of-direction skills
  • Won't threaten defenses with his speed
  • ACC didn't offer consistent top competition

Bottom line

After a productive career at Clemson full of highlight-reel plays, Higgins heads to the pros with truly elite traits but also a few question marks. Standing 6-foot-4, the All-Conference first-team selection doesn't possess game-breaking speed or elite separation ability, but that's not his game. When the ball is in the air, bet on Higgins to make a play. He's a prototypical X receiver with an advanced ability to beat press coverage, box out defenders, and excel on timing routes. Add the fact that he profiles as a legitimate red-zone threat, and it's easy to see where Higgins fits in an NFL offense. His strengths far outshine his weaknesses.

Grade: Rounds 1-2

6. Laviska Shenault Jr.

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Colorado
Height: 6-1
Weight: 227 lbs

Positives

  • Intriguing blend of size and athleticism
  • Home run hitter from anywhere on the field
  • Speed to stretch the field and make a big play after the catch
  • Tracks the ball well in the vertical game
  • Boasts the physicality and hands to thrive in contested situations
  • Powerful runner who constantly breaks tackles
  • Versatile enough to get to the ball in various ways.

Negatives

  • Tested slower than expected at the combine
  • Needs to refine his route-running
  • Lacks the wiggle to get out of breaks and separate with lateral quickness
  • Production took a major hit after a phenomenal 2018 season
  • Injury issues raise durability concerns

Bottom line

Shenault is dripping with upside. One of the draft's highest-ceiling players overall, the Colorado wideout makes the jump to the NFL with all the traits of a true game-breaker. His routes need development and durability is a question mark, but the athleticism is borderline elite - a core muscle injury that required surgery after the combine is likely to blame for his slower-than-expected time. He's electric with the ball in his hands, and he's shown plenty of chops as a vertical threat. Shenault could be a star in a system that allows him to get the ball in creative ways.

Grade: Rounds 1-2

7. Justin Jefferson

Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: LSU
Height: 6-1
Weight: 202 lbs

Positives

  • Elite production as a top-two option in LSU's offense last season
  • Good size and plenty of speed to challenge in all areas of the field
  • Deadly from the slot on quick passes and run-pass options
  • Excellent on contested catches - has the physicality to fight for the ball and the awareness to locate or high-point it
  • Works very well in the middle of the field and can find the soft spots in zones
  • Quick, strong, reliable hands with great reflexes to snag the ball late
  • Sets up defensive backs and changes up speeds on releases
  • Crisp route-runner with loose hips to change direction

Negatives

  • LSU's scheme led to a number of easy catches
  • Contact knocks him off of his route easily
  • Has some trouble separating from tight man coverage late in his route
  • Rarely faced press coverage in college
  • Average explosion on his release

Bottom line

Jefferson was one of the many beneficiaries of the Tigers and Joe Burrow's breakout season, but he still offers a number of high-quality traits that will translate to the NFL. He's an excellent route-runner and is among the best pass-catchers at hauling in 50-50 balls despite his average size. At the very least, the national champion profiles as a reliable slot weapon that fits into any scheme. But considering he's still just 20, Jefferson has room to grow into so much more.

Grade: Rounds 1-2

8. Jalen Reagor

John E. Moore III / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: TCU
Height: 5-11
Weight: 206 lbs

Positives

  • Impressive overall athleticism
  • Deep speed to challenge defenses over the top
  • Wins with quickness out of breaks underneath
  • Possesses change-of-direction abilities and route nuance to create separation
  • High-points the ball extremely well for his size
  • Shifty and explosive playmaker after the catch
  • Brings added value as a return man on special teams

Negatives

  • Lacks the ideal height and frame to play outside
  • Ran a limited route tree in college
  • Drops are an issue
  • Struggles to work through contact at the line and in his routes
  • Major drop-off in production in 2019

Bottom line

Reagor is a dynamic talent who could fit in any NFL offense. He'll make plenty of plays in the vertical game thanks to his downfield speed and ability to high-point the ball. But he also has the traits to create separation and produce in the short and intermediate areas of the field - something he wasn't asked to do much at TCU. It's probably safe to chalk up his disappointing 2019 campaign to being stuck in a poor offense. Reagor should be far more productive at the next level, and his well-rounded skill set could even allow for the kind of smooth transition that leads to instant impact.

Grade: 2nd round

9. Michael Pittman Jr.

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: USC
Height: 6-4
Weight: 223 lbs

Positives

  • Massive frame
  • Good top-end speed for a receiver of his size
  • Precise route-runner with surprising quickness and change of direction
  • Uses size to shield off defenders on short routes
  • Tracks the ball well downfield
  • At his best above the rim in contested situations
  • Attacks the ball with strong hands at the catch point
  • Good run-blocker

Negatives

  • Build up required to get to top speed
  • Doesn't create much separation
  • Will need to refine his release at the line
  • Doesn't add much playmaking ability after the catch
  • Played almost exclusively on the left side of the field

Bottom line

Pittman is a tall, well-built receiver with the ability to dominate defensive backs at the catch point and looks like a typical jump-ball specialist who can excel in the red zone. But that's not all there is to his game. With more speed and quickness than you might expect, as well as the route-running ability not often seen from receiver prospects of his size, he's got the upside of an all-around pass-catcher. Pittman is a scary matchup for defensive backs.

Grade: 2nd round

10. Van Jefferson

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Florida
Height: 6-1
Weight: 200 lbs

Positives

  • Fantastic route-runner at all levels of the field
  • Exceptional foot speed and quick in his routes
  • Sells fakes and separates from defenders like a pro
  • Separates vertically by pressing and selling the route
  • Strong hands in traffic
  • Attacks the ball in the air and wins contested catches
  • Good size and length

Negatives

  • Can't rely on his speed alone to separate vertically
  • Not especially dynamic after the catch
  • Underwhelming production
  • Will be 24 as a rookie

Bottom line

Jefferson is perhaps the most interesting sleeper pick in this receiver class. He won't get much hype because, in a loaded group of playmakers, he lacks both the production and any sort of elite athletic trait. But all that means is a team is going to end up with a steal. Second only to Jerry Jeudy among the draft's top route-runners, Jefferson already separates like an NFL receiver. Some of the best cornerbacks in the country were hard-pressed to deal with his combination of foot speed, nuance, and general route savvy, and his length, strong hands, and competitiveness in contested situations allow him to finish plays even when he doesn't manage to give his quarterback a gaping throwing window. The polish in all the finer points of his game does more than enough to make up for what he may lack in straight-line speed. Jefferson is one to watch.

Grade: 2nd round

11. KJ Hamler

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School: Penn State
Height: 5-9
Weight: 178 lbs

Positives

  • Game-breaking speed among the best in his class
  • Elite burst/explosion off the line of scrimmage - cornerbacks are in trouble when playing off coverage
  • Crisp, shifty route-runner who's able to sink his hips and change his direction effortlessly without losing speed
  • Can make defenders miss after the catch
  • Able to separate in a variety of ways, whether it's through speed, technique, or finding open zones
  • Legitimate NFL deep threat
  • Stacks cornerbacks well at the top of the route

Negatives

  • Size and strength are well below average
  • Had one of the worst drop rates in the class in 2019
  • Won't win with physicality or on contested catches
  • Ball-tracking skills need some work
  • Can be re-routed by contact

Bottom line

When watching Penn State games last season, it wasn't difficult to figure out where Hamler was on the field. It's not just because of his small stature, he'll catch anyone's eye with his incredible explosion and quickness in his routes. The speedy wideout doesn't come without red flags - most notably his worrisome drop rate - but he profiles as an exciting offensive weapon who most NFL teams will covet. Whether it's in the slot, on screens, or as a deep playmaker, Hamler is a great Day 2 target for a team that misses out on Henry Ruggs or Jalen Reagor. The former Nittany Lion may never be a high-volume option in the passing game, but he offers big-play potential on every down.

Grade: 2nd round

12. Brandon Aiyuk

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School: Arizona State
Height: 6-0
Weight: 205 lbs

Positives

  • Explosive athleticism
  • Good size, frame, and catch radius
  • Legitimate weapon after the catch - has the burst, balance, strength, and field vision to succeed in the open field
  • Crisp route-runner with deliberate cuts and very flexible lower body
  • Feasts on off-coverage with a great burst off the line of scrimmage and quick feet
  • Good body control and ball-tracking on deep targets
  • Successful kick/punt returner

Negativs

  • Only one year of solid college production
  • Struggles on release against press coverage
  • Disappointing results on contested catches and 50/50 targets
  • Separates early in route better than he does late

Bottom line

In an ordinary receiver class, Aiyuk would be much higher on our rankings with the upside of being selected inside the top 25. In this historic group, his raw tools and question marks could slide him into Day 2. While there are parts of his game that certainly need to be polished, the Arizona State product offers an athletic profile that can't be taught. He has a knack for creating big plays and can make an instant impact in the NFL with the ball in his hands. Aiyuk's speed, vision, and burst make him a high-upside prospect who could outperform a few wideouts chosen before him and make teams regret not taking a chance.

Grade: 2nd round

13. Tyler Johnson

Hannah Foslien / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Minnesota
Height: 6-1
Weight: 206 lbs

Positives

  • Twenty-five touchdowns over his final two college seasons
  • Deadly on slant routes - very crisp and can get into space quickly
  • Already a polished route-runner and understands subtleties of setting up cornerbacks
  • Able to beat the press off the line of scrimmage
  • Very good lateral quickness on route breaks and release
  • Strength and physicality leads to production after the catch and on contested targets
  • High football IQ to find open zones and separate with body manipulation
  • Ability to win outside or in the slot

Negatives

  • Doesn't possess ideal speed or athletic profile
  • A few concentration drops show up on tape
  • Can waste movement on release versus off-man coverage
  • Won't separate with burst

Bottom line

Johnson is another prospect perhaps overlooked in a loaded class. After a phenomenal career with the Golden Gophers, he opted not to participate in testing or drills at the combine, so clubs have minimal information regarding his athleticism. Because that part of his game won't necessarily show up on tape, the All-Big Ten first-team selection could see his stock fall. However, there's still plenty to love about Johnson's game. What he lacks in burst he makes up for in craftiness, physicality, and field vision. Johnson's NFL niche will likely come as a potential high-volume slot target who can work the middle of the field, where athleticism is less important.

Grade: 3rd round

14. Chase Claypool

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School: Notre Dame
Height: 6-4
Weight: 238 lbs

Positives

  • Outstanding blend of size, strength, and speed
  • Good use of hands to beat the press at the line
  • Plays through contact and establishes position with his strength
  • Wins over his defender with hops and strong hands at the catch point
  • Good balance and body control to adjust to the ball in mid-air
  • Physical runner after the catch
  • Effective run-blocker on the outside
  • Productive special teams gunner

Negatives

  • Takes time to get up to full speed
  • Not gifted with lateral movement skills
  • Doesn't run precise routes
  • Route tree could be limited to vertical breakers
  • Will struggle to separate at the short and intermediate levels
  • One year of high-level production

Bottom line

Claypool was one of the biggest stories of this year's combine. His 4.42 40-yard dash time, when adjusted for weight, is on par with the top burners in this class. Pair that kind of rare athleticism with his strength and well-established ability to dominate opposing cornerbacks in contested catch situations, and you've got as much upside as you could possibly ask for from a likely mid-round pick. Claypool will come with limitations - most notably, a lack of lateral agility will limit his route tree - but he has the potential to be a game-changer if a team can consistently put him in a position to do what he does best - make big plays down the sideline.

Grade: 3rd round

15. Donovan Peoples-Jones

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School: Michigan
Height: 6-2
Weight: 212 lbs

Positives

  • Impressive size with excellent athleticism
  • Strong receiver with the ability to high-point the ball well and fight off defenders for contested catches
  • Physical specimen who won't get knocked off route
  • Quick feet to set up defenders on his release
  • Very good balance and body adjustments on off-target passes
  • Good long speed for his size

Negatives

  • Production never matched his potential in college
  • Lacks twitch and change-of-direction to be polished route-runner
  • Dropped a few passes in big games
  • Doesn't consistently separate versus man coverage
  • Average burst off the line of scrimmage and can struggle to release versus press

Bottom line

A highly touted recruit for the Wolverines in 2017, Peoples-Jones failed to live up to the hype in Ann Arbor. While his speed and explosive athleticism will intrigue NFL teams, DJP is a fairly raw wideout at this stage. He must work on his route-running and release to see time early in his career. However, there are enough raw tools here to make Peoples-Jones a high-upside prospect who can thrive in the red zone and along the sideline. If he puts it all together, he can develop into a starting-caliber player.

Grade: Rounds 3-4

16. Antonio Gandy-Golden

Ryan M. Kelly / Getty Images Sport / Getty

School: Liberty
Height: 6-4
Weight: 223 lbs

Positives

  • Big, solid frame
  • Good footwork and hand usage for efficient release
  • Sells fakes at the top of the route to separate vertically
  • Strength and positioning to post up defender
  • Dominates contested-catch situations
  • Great body control and attacks the ball at the high point
  • Massive catch radius and strong hands
  • Physical and tough runner after the catch

Negatives

  • Lacks top-end speed
  • Doesn't have COD skill for horizontal breaks
  • Lower level of competition

Bottom line

Gandy-Golden is more than a big-bodied target who wins above the rim. He demonstrates impressive footwork and route nuance for a wideout of his size, and he's also something of a technician at the line of scrimmage and at the top of his routes. Going from a lower level of college competition all the way to the NFL will provide a challenge, and the Liberty product doesn't have straight-line speed to lean on, but there are plenty of tools that could allow Gandy-Golden to develop into a productive starter with big-play ability at the next level.

Grade: Rounds 3-4

Other notable prospects

Devin Duvernay (Texas)
Gabriel Davis (UCF)
Quartney Davis (Texas A&M)
K.J. Hill (Ohio State)
Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)
John Hightower (Boise State)
Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

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2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Wide receivers
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