The wide receiver class for the 2020 NFL draft has a chance to be special. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper put five underclassmen wideouts in his early Big Board rankings, and I can see why after I spent time studying the tape this summer. Production, pro size, advanced route running — these guys check off every box for NFL scouts.
While there will no doubt be some movement — and surprises — in the rankings before the draft rolls around next April, it’s a good time to take a deeper look at the top prospects heading into the college football season.
I picked out the top traits and gave NFL player comps for Kiper’s top 10 2020 receivers — five underclassmen and five seniors. Here’s what I see from a super-talented class, starting with the player who ranked No. 1 overall on Kiper’s board:
Top five underclassmen
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 192
2018 stats: 68 receptions, 1,315 yards, 14 TDs
Top trait: Play speed
Jeudy has an extremely deep tool box of pro traits — he’s a complete receiver. The route running and separation ability in the Alabama quick passing game are there. So is the catch-and-run talent. And don’t sleep on Jeudy as a vertical threat. He can scoot. But I focused on play speed here because it jumps off the film. Jeudy can attack all three levels of Bama’s pro route tree with a silky-smooth style that leaves defenders in the dust. Play fast. That wins.
The combination of Jeudy and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa averaged over 20 yards per reception last season, the best of any QB-WR duo with at least 50 receptions. And there’s the explosive play ability that draws the comp to OBJ.
Catch a slant and make a house call? Check. Expose a nickel corner off the line to win on the slot fade. Yep. Set up a safety on deep double move to cash in for six points? You got it. Just take a look at the clip below of Jeudy running the post-corner route for a touchdown early in the College Football Playoff national title game versus Clemson. Like Beckham, the Alabama star can rip off chunk gains and flip the field in an instant.
Tua Tagovailoa hits Jerry Jeudy in stride for a 62-yard strike to draw Alabama even with Clemson.
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 191
2018 stats: 65 receptions, 1,158 yards, 11 TDs