With the NFL scouting combine just a few days away, many analysts are already compiling their final draft boards and projecting what will happen in 2022. The wide receiver position has been one of the most volatile positions in recent memory as quarterbacks have taken over as the go-to player on offense while tight ends take up more space on defense. Here is a look at some of 2019’s top prospects for each team and how they might fare with an additional year under their belt next season.
The “2022 nfl draft prospects by position” is a list compiled of the top wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft. The list includes players like D’Andre Swift, Jacob Hollister, and Jalen Hall.
When it comes to the NFL draft, nothing is definite, but the wide receiver class for 2022 seems to be more up in the air than in previous years.
Last year, most experts thought that Ja’Marr Chase was the best wide receiver prospect. This year, five talents — Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Treylon Burks, and Jameson Williams — are significant favorites to be selected in the first round, although the order should or will be determined later. This procedure is risky for NFL general managers, who will have a lot of identical wide outs to choose from and will be heavily criticized if they choose a dud.
To break up the logjam of closely ranked prospects, a statistical examination of what has previously associated to performance might be useful. The Playmaker Score, developed by Football Outsiders, is a model that predicts wide receiver performance in the NFL based on a statistical examination of all Division I wide receivers selected from 1996 through 2018. The whole approach may be seen at the bottom of this article. The production is the wide receiver’s average amount of regular-season receiving yards each year throughout his first five NFL seasons.
We take a look at Playmaker’s top wideout prospects for the 2022 draft, as well as how they compare to one another. We also choose comparable historical prospects based on previous players with similar Playmaker numbers, as well as a sleeper receiver to keep an eye on. You may notice that we compared two physically contrasting athletes because their statistics were identical.
Players are ranked according to their expected average receiving yards.
737 Scouts, Inc.: No. 23 overall in projected yards per season over the first five years. Amari Cooper and Brandin Cooks have both had similar past prospects.
Burks, according to Playmaker, is the best of the draft’s “good but not outstanding” wide receivers.
Burks’ 1,123 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches are more amazing than his raw stats show, given the Razorbacks only passed 294 times this season. Burks was also effective in the rushing game for Arkansas, gaining 112 yards on 14 attempts.
Star college wideouts who have more college running attempts per game have historically had worse passing game numbers than their skill would otherwise yield. Despite having more running attempts, Burks outperforms the other top four prospects in all receiving rate metrics.
It shouldn’t matter if the Razorbacks aren’t a top-10 program like Alabama or Ohio State. Marshall and Central Michigan University have produced some of the NFL’s best wide receivers. Scouts’ worries about Burks’ game, on the other hand, should be taken seriously.
Playmaker is better at forecasting high-rated busts than high-rated booms. For example, Playmaker praised Corey Coleman and Stephen Hill, two players who excelled in unconventional attacks. Burks’ statistical profile, on the other hand, gives him the advantage in Playmaker if everything else is equal.
706 Scouts, Inc.: No. 6 overall in projected yards per season during the first five years Ted Ginn Jr., Jerry Jeudy, Ted Ginn Jr., Ted Ginn Jr., Ted Ginn Jr., Ted Ginn Jr., Ted
Wilson’s second season was actually better than his junior season, as he caught 43 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns while his team only passed 225 times. Wilson’s receiving rate numbers are a little low for a top wide receiver prospect, but he gets a big lift in one area: the quality of his catch competition at Ohio State.
The fact that he’ll be drafted alongside Olave, another first-round prospect, elevates his projection from “sort of OK” to “really pretty excellent.” Although Playmaker does not grade Wilson as highly as Burks on the whole, the two are close enough that a club that believes Wilson’s tape is much superior than Burks’ could not be blamed for going with Wilson first.
617 Scouts, Inc.: No. 19 overall in projected yards per season over the first five years Roddy White, Peter Warrick, Roddy White, Roddy White, Roddy White, Roddy White, Roddy White, Ro
Olave has somewhat better rate metrics than Wilson and benefits from the “great teammates” aspect in a comparable way.
Olave, on the other hand, has one major flaw: he enters the draft as a senior. Even after correcting for expected draft position, freshmen have a substantially better chance of making it in the NFL than seniors. Although there have been a few notable outliers (Roddy White), first-round seniors have a high percentage of flops (Kevin White, Peter Warrick and Rashaun Woods).
Olave did not seem to gain statistically from his final year at Ohio State. Playmaker, like Wilson, believes Olave was at his finest during Ohio State’s shorter 2020 season. And his choice to return for 2021 may have been influenced by his COVID-19 season, making the red signal of his senior status less harsh. Players that are skilled enough to play as juniors usually do so, but Olave may have remained for his senior year because he did not want to leave after such a short season.
611 Scouts, Inc.: No. 25 overall in projected yards per season during the first five years. Garrett Wilson has a similar historical potential.
It’s not a mistake that the prospect is comparable. From a strictly statistical standpoint, Williams resembles Wilson more than any other potential. The two players had almost equal receiving yards per team attempt, receiving touchdowns per team attempt, and peak running attempts per game. Before Williams went to Alabama, the two even played on the same team (Ohio State).
Williams, like Wilson, benefits greatly from playing alongside excellent teammates. Unlike Wilson, though, Williams does not enter the draft with another first-round pick.
Rather, Williams will be drafted with John Metchie III and Slade Bolden, who are rated 64th and 323rd, respectively, by Scouts, Inc. Despite being excellent prospects in their own right, their draft value does not quite match that of a first-round choice.
As a result of his lower draft estimate and lower ranking in the “talented teammate” criteria, Williams trails Wilson by a smidgeon. Because of an ACL injury sustained during the National Championship Game, Williams is expected to drop a few positions on selection day; Playmaker does not account for this.
514 Scouts, Inc.: No. 14 overall in projected yards per season during the first five years Darrius Heyward-Bey, DeVante Parker, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darrius
The most divisive Playmaker prediction this year is London. Despite the fact that many draft experts consider London as the best wide receiver, Playmaker has him ranked substantially lower than other wide receivers anticipated to be chosen in the first round.
Why does Playmaker have such a poor rating in London? London’s receiving rate numbers aren’t as impressive as those of an usual first-round wide receiver. London hauled up 88 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. In 2021, however, USC passed 500 times, averaging just 2.2 yards per team attempt and 0.014 touchdowns per team attempt for London. Of course, London’s 2021 numbers are modest since he only played in four of USC’s 12 games.
Because Playmaker only considers a player’s “best” season, most may compensate for a season cut short by a better one from a previous year. London’s lone excellent season came during his brief junior career. Except for Williams, who was buried behind Wilson and Olave at Ohio State, London played a complete — though brief — season as a sophomore and had lower yards per team attempt and touchdowns per team attempt than any of the top prospects.
If London is taken in the first round, as predicted, he will join a rare club of first-round wide receivers who have just one solid truncated season under their belts. DeVante Parker, Peter Warrick, and Travis Taylor’s NFL performances have been uneven. If guys like London were allowed the whole year to play, the danger is that they would just have gone on a hot run and then come crashing down.
In the instance of London, his eight games at USC were solid but not remarkable. Even if London’s stats are prorated, he still behind the other four top prospects in touchdown rate and is still nearly similar in yards per team attempt.
His projection is further hampered by a perceived scarcity of catches. Unlike Ohio State and Alabama, who have a plethora of talented wide receivers, no USC wide receivers were invited to the combine, with the exception of London.
London has an uncommon profile, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he outperformed his forecast. However, it’s difficult to see how he’d be a better bet than the other four highly ranked candidates based on the data.
483 Scouts, Inc.: No. 57 overall in projected yards per season during the first five years Bobby Engram and JuJu Smith-Schuster are two players with similar historical potential.
Moore’s draft stock has been growing, and he currently has a strong Playmaker rating. Despite the Broncos throwing just 355 times last season, Moore had 1,292 receiving yards. He also has 10 receiving touchdowns, putting him only below the more highly hyped prospects in this draft’s touchdown per team attempt rate.
Moore faced tougher competition in the MAC, but the conference has produced notable NFL receivers in the past, including Randy Moss and Antonio Brown. Moore has an uphill struggle to become a star in the NFL, according to history. Nonetheless, a third-round selection is a tiny price to pay for a WR prospect with stats close to the best wideouts this year.
425 Scouts, Inc.: No. 28 overall in projected yards per season over the first five years Limas Sweed, Devery Henderson, Limas Sweed, Limas Sweed, Limas Sweed, Limas Sweed
Despite the fact that Dotson is expected to be picked late in the first round, Playmaker seems less enthusiastic about his chances than Moore, who is placed significantly lower. Dotson’s statistical profile has a major fault in that he is a senior who did not record the eye-popping figures that other “successful” seniors have previously produced.
As a senior, Dotson had 1,182 receiving yards, but his team only passed 451 times. To overcome the senior wide receiver adjustment, Dotson would have required figures similar to 2015 third-round selection Tyler Lockett’s 1,515 receiving yards on 415 team pass attempts, which was enough to overcome Playmaker’s prejudice towards freshmen.
416 Scouts, Inc.: No. 64 overall in projected yards per season during the first five years. Reche Caldwell and Steve Smith have both had similar historical prospects (NYG)
Metchie has a comparable receiving yards total to Williams, but he behind Williams in touchdowns and running attempts. Metchie’s receiving stats are just average when seen in isolation, but he had stiff competition at Alabama for receptions.
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Metchie not only had to compete with Williams, but he also had to contend with Bolden, a draft candidate. Metchie has the most talented teammate adjustment in this year’s class, transforming a mediocre projection into a promising one.
Metchie, like his buddy Williams, is rehabbing from an ACL injury that might drop him a few positions on selection day, but Playmaker does not consider him.
Possibly a sleeper
432 Scouts, Inc.: No. 110 overall in projected yards per season during the first five years Jarvis Landry and Sidney Rice are two players with similar historical possibilities.
Robinson would be the fourth-best wide receiver in this year’s draft if not for Playmaker’s predicted draft position adjustment, behind Burks, Wilson, and Williamson.
Robinson burst into the scene after transferring from Nebraska to Kentucky, racking up 1,334 receiving yards on a team that only passed 338 times. He also had some success carrying the ball, gaining 111 yards on seven carries. Robinson has a statistical profile that is quite comparable to Burks’, and he may be a nice pick for a club picking in the later rounds.
The Playmaker Score is a statistical model that predicts wide receiver performance in the NFL based on a statistical study of all Division I wide receivers selected from 1996 through 2018, and it measures the following:
Scouts, Inc.’s expected draft position for the wide receiver.
The best or “peak” season for receiving yards per team attempt for the wide receiver prospect (i.e. a wide receiver with 1,000 receiving yards whose team passed 400 times would score a “2.50”)
The wide receiver prospect’s best season in terms of touchdowns per team attempt was last year.
The difference between a prospect’s peak season in terms of receiving touchdowns per team and his most recent season in terms of receiving touchdowns per team attempt (this factor is simply “0” for a player whose peak season was his most recent season)
A factor that favors players who join the draft as freshmen and penalizes those who have already completed their collegiate eligibility.
During their finest season for receiving yards per team attempt, the wide receiver’s running attempts per game
A bonus for wide receivers who played for the same college team, entered the draft the same year, and are expected to be picked in the same year.
The “nfl mock draft 2022” is a tool that allows users to find out what the odds are for certain players in the NFL Draft. It uses information from past drafts as well as projections of future drafts.
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