The 2022 NFL Draft features lots of depth at the wide receiver position. Here are some middle to late-round receivers to keep your eyes on. This receiving class could become one of the best of all time.
Wan’Dale Robinson- Kentucky– When a receiver is a master at the juke move, he can get a lot of yards after the catch. Yards after the catch (YAC) become easy for a receiver like this. He has some speed too and can be a special team’s weapon. What he needs to do is show us what he can do as a route runner. Given the game film available on him, it’s difficult to evaluate that part of his skill set. He can stop and suddenly move on a dime.
John Metchie III- Alabama– Speed is the name of the game. Metchie is a smooth, deceptive route runner who is able to deceive corners and safeties. You never know what kind of route he will run. This ability to keep defenses guessing will add to his overall value. The only thing general managers may worry about is the torn ACL suffered during the SEC Championship. This ended the 2021 season for him. Normally, Metchie would be no worse than an early second-round pick even in this deep NFL draft class. However, he will likely be on the board in the third round.
Justyn Ross- Clemson– Receivers that are 6′ 4″ can create matchup problems with their height alone. Ross is one of the top route runners in this draft and a receiver that quarterbacks can trust. He can make contested catches with ease. He has good speed for a receiver with his height. He’s a consistent and reliable red-zone threat. The major concern about Ross is his injury history which significantly impacts his overall draft value in a negative way. When discussing his overall health, it’s important to remember the surgery on his spine which almost ended his career. General managers and coaches must consider this when drafting him as there will be questions about his durability. His stats for 2021 don’t give us the idea that he’s ready to be a team’s number one receiver. He caught 46 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns. When comparing the numbers to his freshmen season, a general manager may worry about possible regression. He caught the same number of passes (46) for 1000 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018. Perhaps it was more than the injuries. Not having quarterback Trevor Lawrence could’ve had an impact as well.
Khalil Shakir- Boise State– The Broncos are getting better at producing NFL talent and Shakir is no exception. He’s a contested-catch machine who has a knack for getting one-handed spectacular catches. Catches in traffic are no issue for him either as he can catch the ball between defenders or among several defenders. The concern is his lack of height and size. He’s only 6’0 inches tall and 193 pounds. He will need to hit the weight room hard if he’s going to increase his draft value and be in a better position to last long in the NFL. Therefore, the concern with Shakir will also be durability and not because of any lengthy injury history. Durability concerns will need to be brought up because when he takes big hits at the NFL level, it’s not going to be easy for him to shake them off. The NFL defenders are much bigger and faster. He may not have the same level of production he’s used to unless he adds several more pounds of muscle. If he can do that, then there won’t be a huge concern. He may not have the length that other receivers do but his ability to win those contested-catch situations makes things difficult for a defense. Will that continue at the NFL level? Right now, Shakir looks like a potential sixth-round steal with the possibility of going in the fourth round if he works hard on his conditioning for the NFL.
Charleston Rambo- Miami (Florida)– Rambo isn’t the flashiest receiver but he’s effective in open space and can make defenders miss. He has decent acceleration but not quite the burner speed like some of the other receivers of the draft. He’s effective enough to consistently catch the ball and his 2021 season stats prove it. Rambo caught 79 passes for 1,172 yards and seven touchdowns. There were some issues with his overall production at the University of Oklahoma but that changed after his transfer to Miami. What will an NFL team get out of him? Will they get the consistent playmaker or the receiver that drops passes way too much? It looks like he put in a lot of work on catching the ball on a consistent level but he will still need to work on it to be successful in the NFL. He’s a really good route runner with the chance to establish trust early on with his quarterback. In his three seasons at Oklahoma, he never had more than 45 receptions and he never gained at least 800 receiving yards. The transfer to Miami clearly worked out well for him.
Dai’Jean Dixon- Nicholls State– Dixon is another big receiver who gives an offense the ability to throw deep passes with ease. He’s not the fastest receiver but his deep route running gives him an edge against the secondary. He has decent acceleration but he’s not quite the burner that Alabama’s Jameson Williams is. Dixon is just under 6’3″. He will need to work on his speed and acceleration at the next level. If he wants to succeed at the NFL level, he needs to give quarterbacks room to throw the ball. The concern with Dixon is he will face more contested-catch situations in the NFL because he lacks the necessary speed to consistently win against NFL defenders.
These receivers prove just how deep this NFL draft class is. It’s a luxury for general managers when there are effective receivers available during every round of the draft which is the case for 2022. Coaches should see something in all of these receivers and can easily call the right plays to take advantage of their skills sets.