As more and more people are starting to realize, this year’s wide receiver class is pretty darn stacked. D.K Metcalf blew the doors off the combine, which in the age of social media and Twitter GMs, meant his stock on the mock draft circuit went boom overnight.
But here in the U.K we love an underdog, and you love a bargain pick up in fantasy. So here are three receivers who could go later in the draft that are still set to make a splash in the NFL.
Emanuel Hall – Missouri
With the hype around Metcalf’s 40’, a lot of people will have missed Hall’s huge broad jump (11” 9) and impressive 40’ (4.39). It was an impressive workout which just went to showcase the athleticism Hall possesses.
With all that speed to burn, Hall’s game is explosive. He gets downfield quickly but has the ability to stop and shift his route on a dime, making him a handful for any corner, college or pro.
Once he has the rock in hand, the Tigers star is elusive and has the ability to pull away from defensive backs at the flick of a switch. Although not the strongest, he’s also shown a desire to lower the shoulder and fight for every yard when he needs to.
I guess what I’m saying here is that Hall is going to be a deep threat from day one, a player that would sit nicely in the offensive of any strong-armed quarterback and who will stretch the field and free up space for his fellow receivers.
What really impressed me about Hall on tape was the ability to perform against good quality opposition. Admittedly Mizz didn’t have the most difficult of schedules this past season but the Tennessee native shone against Florida, when he caught a touchdown and added 77 yards from four receptions. And, in 2017, against Georgia, Hall really announced himself with four catches for 141 yards and two scores.
His final season in Missouri was his most productive in terms of yards, with 8 games leading to 828 yards and six touchdowns bringing his college total to 2016 yards and 16 scores.
One thing Hall will have to improve is his contested catch ability, too often the presence of corners or a safety restricts his instincts and the pass goes incomplete. This has certainly developed since his freshman season, and coaches will see this as a minor thing to work through given his outstanding work rate.
Antoine Wesley – Texas Tech
Wesley is the opposite of Hall as a wideout – his big frame and strength making him a red zone threat who could have a similar impact to Courtland Sutton for the Broncos.
When you watch his tape, the first thing you notice about Wesley is that he loves a contested catch. Time and again he goes either above or over the top of the defensive back to bring the ball in, more often than not coming down and setting up a red zone opportunity for his team.
Surprisingly for a big-bodied receiver, the Nevada native is also an elusive prospect with the ball in his hands. He possesses a skillful juke and ability to truck through defenders and isn’t afraid to stare down opposition players as he takes a hit.
Antoine Wesley 2018 highlight reel
Wesley is also a team player, his frame makes him the perfect blocking receiver – a skill often undervalued in a receiver, especially on teams such as the Cowboys where the offensive side of the ball is built around a stud running back.
Like Hall, the junior is a big game player, and with Texas Tech facing a difficult schedule in 2018, he had plenty of time to shine. Wesley put up 171 yards against the Longhorns, 199 yards against Oklahoma and 119 at Iowa – all of which ended in defeat for his team.
If he continues to work on his releases and his hand ability at the line of scrimmage, there’s no reason why Wesley can’t be a success. Limited production prior to this year will worry a few teams but with an impressive set of strength, determination and catch ability I’m backing him to shine.
Greg Dortch – Wake Forest
Dortch is the type of receiver who goes towards the end of the draft or undrafted yet quietly racks up important numbers week in, week out. Case and point – Adam Humphries.
Humphries is getting paid by the Titans this summer, a testament to the value of a volume receiver who can move the chains. In four years there’s no reason why Dortch can’t be in the same situation.
Slight of frame with a low center of gravity, the sophomore receiver lacks game-changing pace but does make up for that with an ability to create space through sudden movements.
Combine that with soft hands that caught 89 passes for 1,089 yards last year and you’ve got a player that can make an immediate impact in the right offense.
However, where Dortch could make a real difference on any roster in the NFL is on special teams. He’s elusive, knows how to find the gap and has the hands to take a ball out the sky under pressure.
The main issues that scouts will be raising with their coaching staff as you read this will be the same as with every other undersized receiver, durability and lack of power. If he can add 15 pounds and retain that ability to make space there’s no reason he can’t be a late round steal.
By Andy Moore – @ajmoore21