clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Draft 2016: Scouting and ranking the receivers, Part II

New, comments
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with my ranks for the 2016 wide receiver NFL Draft class, here are my top five from the position.

5. Josh Doctson, TCU

Height: 6'-2"

Weight: 195lbs

Age: 23

1

It doesn't matter to all draft analysts, but it matters to me -- already at the age of 23, Josh Doctson is one of the "older" players in this draft class. Yet, what matters more is college production and he checked that box in a big way. Doctson is one of the more complete weapons in this class and has proven his effectiveness throughout his collegiate career.

HIGHLIGHT:

VIDEO DESCRIPTION:

Contested catches -- Doctson all year-long showed an ability to be a threat with jump balls, that includes inside the end zone as well.

Doctson sets his touchdown reception up by lining up just inside the numbers and then immediately cutting back outside. Keeping an edge along the sidelines he runs a deep corner route/go and gets his head back around. With the corner's back to the play, Doctson times his jump perfectly, setting the play up to make an exceptional off balance hands catch right in front of his defender. Once Doctson has control of the catch he uses his momentum on the fall to pull the ball back over his head and into his body -- reducing the chances of the defender knocking it incomplete, or contact with the ground jarring it loose either.

PROS:

  • Contested Catches -- He showed it numerous times in college -- an ability to win vs contact. Doctson has strong hands and knows how to use his body to make tough catches. Wins vertically, wins contested and can be a real red zone threat.

  • College Production -- Few players in this class performed as consistently as Doctson did. He had back-to-back double digit touchdown (11, 14) and 1,000+ yard receiving seasons as the clear focal point of the TCU passing game.

  • Physicality -- Not in the sense that he's looking to run over cornerbacks -- more like he won't be bullied. Doctson has a unique ability to secure positions whether he is mid-route or fighting for a jump ball.

  • Deep Threat -- For his size, his ability to go vertical is impressive. At 6'-3", with his skill set, he is truly only one pass away from a big play. He posted 25 touchdowns over his final two seasons at TCU.

CONS:

  • Weight-- Though teams will get in line to draft Doctson due to his height, his weight leaves something to be desired (195lbs). He will assuredly have problems at the next level with physical press corners if he doesn't add some bulk.

  • Speed -- Doctson won't blow anybody off the line of scrimmage, but that may not matter in his case. Has the height, but lacks the long speed to be a game changing vertical player.

COLLEGE STATS:

1

Bottom Line: Doctson has the production, prototypical height and skills to be a success.His weight, overall speed, and tape reveal a player that will face adversities at the next level that he rarely faced in college. Likely will never ascend to become a teams #1 WR, but should succeed as a solid second option.

DRAFT ROUND GRADE: Second Round

4. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

Height: 6'-2"

Weight: 200lbs

Age: 22

1

Tyler Boyd is one of the most-debated prospects in this class, and for good reason. He was incredibly productive throughout his college career, posting a total of stat line of: 254-3,361-21. Some believe his ceiling is that of a pure slot receiver due to how he played on the field and his physical stature -- others believe his ceiling is much higher, that of an outside receiver who flashes all the traits of a true #1 wide receiver.

HIGHLIGHT:

VIDEO DESCRIPTION:

This play embodies it all about Tyler Boyd: route runner, hands catcher, body control, field awareness, and playmaker.

This route starts outside the numbers as Boyd gets his coverage to commit to a move inside. Using good hands technique, Boyd swims backs out and maintains the inside position. Using a sharp cut on a well thrown ball, Tyler times his leap perfectly with tight coverage on him. He uses his large catch radius to haul in a pass outside of his frame with his inside shoulder working as the shield, and immediately swinging it back over his head to protect the possession. His ability after the catch to toe tap in bounds reflects his field awareness and top tier body control.

PROS:

  • Attack -- Boyd has shown it in nearly every game he played in -- a thirst to fight and pluck the ball out of the air. With exceptional body control, and ample size for the position Boyd's athletic coordination is on display anytime the ball comes his way.

  • Route Running -- Not only does he run crips, proficient routes, Boyd also has one of the top abilities in this class to "sell" others. He uses good body movement, and angles to set up opposing corners in route to making big plays.

  • Catching Ability -- Boyd flashed some of the softest hands in the class in addition to already having the technical aspect of them down. Routinely making catches away from his body or in traffic, Boyd truly appears to be one of, if not THE most natural hands catcher in this 2016 positional group.

  • Versatility -- Since his freshman year, Boyd has been moved all over the field of play. Working outside, inside, in the slot, and even out of the backfield as a running back. Throughout his college career Tyler had a rushing stat line of: 63 carries, 520 rush yards (8.3 YPC), 1 RuTD. This speaks volumes about his skill set. While most receiver rarely move from one side of the field to the other, Boyd played every position Pitt had available -- exceptionally well.

CONS:

  • Athleticism -- Good speed and burst, but not "show stopping" explosion. He works clean in and out of breaks but lacks the big time explosiveness to find easy separation against cornerbacks outside of beating them with technique. Should show well at the combine, but likely won't be wowing spectators with elite scores.

  • Feature Size -- Solid height/weight combination, but the tape showed a wideout who didn't really offer the power to earn significant YAC. Could use to add some weight for the position to be anything more than just a "possession" type receiver.

  • *NOTE: Boyd got a DUI in July of 2014 -- this may or may not affect his draft stock.

COLLEGE STATS:

1

Via Sports Reference.

Bottom Line: A clear top-5 wide receiver in this class, and his production/tape could make an argument for him being at the top half of this group. What he did his freshman year at Pitt cannot be thrown aside. With some added size, and time to build at the next level Boyd could be a dangerous receiver. His absolute floor is that of a very solid second wide receiver -- his potential ceiling is so much higher though.

DRAFT ROUND: First Round

3. Michael Thomas, Ohio State

Height: 6'-3"

Weight: 210lbs

Age: 21

1

Based on the overwhelming amount of wide receiver lists throughout the internet, "Mike" Thomas is widely considered a top 3 wideout in this class. A true foundation body type, with the pedigree to match it. Thomas is a well rounded receiver with enough juice to excel at the NFL level too.

HIGHLIGHT:

VIDEO DESCRIPTION:

This is the reason my first PRO on Thomas is "YAC". On this particular play, the defender is in off coverage and Thomas plays this to his advantage. He flashes the deep threat with his long stride and turns outside on his out route. As soon as he becomes a ball carrier, his physicality become instantly apparent. Here he uses his hands to prep the ball to his left side as a defender is approaching. Using a violent stiff arm he bursts past the first defender, and then splits two more en route to a 50 yard touchdown. This clip reveals adequate speed after the catch, but not the top end type others in this class may offer.

PROS:

  • YAC -- It's a rarity to see a Michael Thomas catch not immediately followed by a defender getting tossed aside. What he lacks in straight line speed and elite athleticism, he makes for up with a powerful lower body and relentless fight.

  • Route Running -- The route tree that he does run, he runs crisp. For his size, Thomas displays solid footwork, and body control. Rarely does he tip routes, and he excels at getting his body in position where only he can make plays on the ball. Works well with his hands at the stem of routes, often Thomas was able to create just enough separation to make plays that otherwise wouldn't be there with them.

  • High Point -- Put himself in positions to win on contested balls. Uses good hand technique to secure passes away from his body while keep defenders shielded from making plays.

  • Size -- One of the premier body types in the class -- unfortunately the athleticism on tape doesn't show an elite level athlete as much as it does a good athlete with a great motor.

CONS:

  • Athleticism -- Nowadays it is almost a requisite of high draft position to have top tier athleticism -- though others have succeeded with less. Not overly explosive, and lacks true long speed.

  • Separation -- Lacking that true long speed and burst could become an issue at the next level with athletic corners in the league.

COLLEGE STATS:

1

Via Sports Reference.

Bottom Line: Thomas has proven he can be a consistent producer, mirroring his 2014 production in two less game in 2015 (56-781-9). Like most people doing evaluations I tend to prefer superior athletes at positions vs just good ones. Michael however makes up for a majority of this with crisp routes, good hands, and a competitive playing style. He has a true outside receiver body and should find success as a solid second option in an offense.

DRAFT ROUND: First Round

2. Corey Coleman, Baylor

Height: 5'-11"

Weight: 190lbs

Age: 21

1

If all you ever saw of Coleman was his season-long production on a page of paper -- that would probably be enough. What he's done this year has been nothing short of remarkable either. I don't care what conference you play in or what scheme your team runs, 20 touchdowns in a single season is unheard of.

HIGHLIGHT:

VIDEO DESCRIPTION:

Explosive -- this will continue to be the word associated with Coleman. This is just a classic example of what he's done to cornerbacks all year long. Right off the snap, Coleman gains inside position against man coverage. Then with pure track speed athleticism he stretches the field to set up his route. He does a good job of securing the "stack" position in front of his defender leaving the rest of the work up to his quarterback. On a beautiful pass, Coleman shows his ability to track over the shoulder and basket catch the pass at top speed.

PROS:

  • Speed -- One of the fastest premier prospects in this class. Tape shows a 4.3 athlete that knows how to take advantage of it outside the numbers.

  • Explosion -- There are few players in this class that can succeed on their athleticism alone, Coleman is one of them. His quicks off the line of scrimmage, vertical leap and open field abilities set him apart from many other sub 6' receivers entering this draft. He's a tough cover with incredible burst in and out of breaks or just sprinting down field.

  • Separation -- Corners that don't get a hand on Corey, or miss-judge a step generally end up as burn victims. His explosion, and footwork make him a borderline impossible cover for cornerbacks asked to play press coverage against him.

  • Change Of Direction -- A byproduct of his explosive athleticism -- Coleman's ability to adjust his routes mid stride and open field talents are second to none. His short area quickness, and sudden smooth burst turn him into a major threat after the catch.

CONS:

  • Questionable Hands -- As noted by many other analysts, his drops can be problematic. With an 11.9% drop rate, there is always a fear of failure with players of Coleman's skill set. In Coleman's defense, we've seen players like Amari Cooper go from nearly no drops in college to habitual offenders of it in the NFL. Most of his drops on film revealed concentration issues.

  • Size -- Doesn't have prototypical outside receiver size but excelled in this role in college. Coleman will need to show an ability to physically beat corners at the NFL level rather than just blow by them to be anything more than a exceptional slot receiver.

COLLEGE STATS:

1

Via Sports Reference.

Bottom Line: With the ball in his hands he is in a league of his own. Explosion, burst, fast feet, and long speed are skills you just can't teach players, and he's got these in bunches. Size is the biggest concern for Coleman. He should make an immediate impact as a special teamer, and an eventual starter on the outside wherever he lands -- in the RIGHT offense he can be a #1 WR.

DRAFT ROUND GRADE: First Round

1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

Height: 6'-2"

Weight: 210lbs

Age: 20

1

If "consensus number one" was a trademarked phrase, analysts would owe boatloads of cash to the owner every time they spoke of Treadwell. A long time unanimous #1 at his position, Laquon offers almost everything a team would need on the outside.

HIGHLIGHT:

VIDEO DESCRIPTION:

There are so many plays like this in Treadwell's young career, but this particular one, on a smaller scale really flashes the impressive small parts of his game. In this clip, you see Laquon winning a the high point of catch on a 50/50 ball, something we've grown to expect from him. On this receiving route, he's forced to comeback to protect the throw. He shows his superb ability to hands catch even with a defender contesting the play, and then immediately prepares himself to turn up field for extra YAC.

PROS:

  • Size -- Plays as big as he actually is. Offers legitimate number one wide receiver body type to pair with his exceptional playmaking abilities.

  • 50/50 -- If it's a contested catch, odds are Treadwell is coming down with it. His ability to use his frame to box out defenders and get vertical to out jump opponents is second to none.

  • Deception -- A wide receiver trait that often doesn't get enough love. Treadwell is very good at hiding his routes till the last possible second. An nuance that is key to becoming a top tier route runner, Laquon's footwork and body movement make nothing obvious to the defender in front of him.

  • Football IQ -- Time and time again, Treadwell has flashed his brilliance on the field of play. He's proven his understanding of route concepts, hand technique, and coverages -- a solid wideout when it comes to finding gaps in zone coverage and exploiting them.

CONS:

  • Long Speed -- More than likely isn't going to offer the Julio Jones/Donte Moncrief wheels for his size (I think a 4.5 isn't out of the question), but more than adequate to beat defenders. On tape flashes what could be a better 3-cone time than overall 40 yard dash -- we will wait for the combine though.

  • vs Man -- Didn't see this overwhelmingly but yes, on occasion Treadwell showed a difficulty with separation vs particular college cornerbacks. Didn't appear significant enough to worry about as he learns at the next level.

COLLEGE STATS:

1

Via Sports Reference.

Bottom Line: Prototypical size at the wideout position and the college production to support the draft grade. On tape he flashes the subtle nuances of the position and would be a day 1 starter for most NFL teams. At just 20 years old, time is on his side -- look for a smart team to grab Laquon as a foundation piece early in the 2016 draft.

DRAFT ROUND GRADE: First Round

----------

Photos: Justin Ford, Jerome Miron, Joe Camporeale, Charles LeClaire, Kevin Jairaj