It’s that time of year again, folks, as the world get’s ready for the NFL 2020 draft amid one of the most uncertain climates in history.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the world and has seen all sport, from the NBA to the Premier League, brought to a standstill.
But NFL fans have been counting themselves fortunate that this crisis has hit during the off-season and are hoping things will stay on track for the start of the season in September.
Earlier this month, the NFL announced the draft would go ahead but would be completely virtual, with league staff, personnel and players communicating via digital means only.
So, here at the Sports Despatch, we will be bringing you everything you need to know for the NFL 2020 draft which is set to take place between April 23 and 25.
Today, we are introducing you to the top wide receiver prospects in this year’s draft which will see one of the deepest classes at this position in recent memory.
Here’s who everyone’s talking about…
NFL 2020 Draft Wide Receiver Prospects
CeeDee Lamb – Oklahoma
40-yard time: 4.5 secs
Depending on who you ask, CeeDee Lamb will likely be the first receiver off the board and has the potential to be a powerhouse pro with many strings to his bow.
He has played with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and, most recently, Jalen Hurts in a season which saw him wrack up 62 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He has good hands, runs incredible routes and wracks up the yards after catch, despite not being overly fast, with an average of 21.4 yards per reception in 2019.
And he fights as hard for contested balls as much as he does for yards after the catch, putting his lean but dominant frame to good use.
The fact he played under three quarterbacks and still produced at least 800 yard seasons proves he is a reliable receiver and will likely become his new team’s top target.
While Oklahoma’s plays allowed him to operate in relative space, his speed may become an issue when he turns Pro.
Jerry Jeudy – Alabama
40-yard time: 4.45 secs
Jerry Jeudy is one of the most dynamic and speedy receivers in the NFL 2020 draft class.
With a 4.45 secs time for his 40-yard dash and his highly skilled ability to run routes, Jeudy will cause problems for defences wherever he lands.
In 2019, he totalled 77 receptions for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns and demonstrated not only his speed but also his understanding of route-running technique.
Jeudy consistently left defenders in the dust and was an athletic deep threat as well as a reliable target on shorter plays.
Pundits have raised concern over his lean frame and a tendency to drop catch-able passes, especially when running into heavy traffic and on contested catches.
But with the right coaching, he should become a formidable weapon and with his elite route-running ability, he should be able to place himself in the best possible space to make those catches
Look for Jerry Jeudy to go in the top 20 picks of the 2020 draft.
Henry Ruggs III – Alabama
40-yard time: 4.27 secs
Henry Ruggs III is probably one of the most exciting receivers in this year’s draft class.
Also from a very talented Alabama receiver corp, Ruggs is billed as the quickest and, although he is the smallest of the top three, reportedly has the biggest hands.
This means he is capable of catching those passes that might be slightly off target and he has the speed to beat defenders and take it the distance after the catch.
One mind-blowing stat is that Ruggs scored a touchdown on 24 per cent of his receptions at Alabama – 24 scores on 98 receptions.
The man is a scoring machine and that is a fact which opponents’ defences will be aware of when they line up against him in the red zone next season.
Some pundits have raised concerns about his lack of targets, with less than 50 in each of his three seasons in college.
However, this could simply be because Ruggs was one receiver in a very talented group and at any other college he would have been the top target for any quarterback.
Justin Jefferson – LSU
40-yard time: 4.43 secs
Out of all the top receivers in this year’s draft class, Justin Jefferson had the most productive 2019 season.
The 21-year-old caught 111 passes from top QB Joe Burrows and wracked up 1,540 yards with 18 touchdowns and helped LSU to a national championship.
This was almost double his numbers for 2018 and showed he could really grow into an offence and become a big-play receiver.
Jefferson is at home in the slot and has demonstrated he can be explosive off the line which can create decent separation from defenders.
While he may not be the most athletic receiver on the board, his numbers prove he can be as productive if given the chance and paired with a talented quarterback.
Jefferson will likely go in the first round.
Tee Higgins – Clemson
40-yard time: 4.55 secs
Tee Higgins’ best asset is his size as it means he will create a mismatch for defenders and make him a good aerial target in the red zone.
He had the second longest arms of any receiver at the combine which means he has the ability and the confidence to go for the 50-50 balls and you would favour him to win.
His big frame means he may not be the most nimble on the field but it means he is a physical player who should prove to be an intimidating presence in the pros.
In 2018, he was instrumental in helping Clemson to a national championship and the following year, he wracked up 59 catches for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He averaged 19.8 yards per catch and so should prove to be a deep threat for his opponents’ secondaries.
Higgins will certainly be one of the top receivers to go off the board but it may not be until the second round.
So there you have it – the top five wide receiver prospects in the NFL 2020 draft class.
Do you think there are players missing from this list? Let us know by joining the discussion on our Facebook page.