2021 TOP 24 WRS vs. 2022 Rookie WRs

Today's star WRs are either big and strong, small and fast, or average-sized elite route runners. Once we know how they got their fantasy points, we can compare them with 2022's prospects and predict the next star WR.

Top 24 WRs in PPR points per game

2022 TOP 24 WRs

Comparing the top 24 WRs to the average NFL WR:

  • 17/20 above average BMI - 85%

  • 2/3 above average 60 yard shuttle - 66.67%

  • 12/19 above average broad jump - 63.16%

  • 13/22 above average vertical leap - 59.09%

  • 10/18 three cone drill - 55.56%

  • 11/22 above average 40 yard dash - 50%

  • 6/12 above average bench reps - 50%

  • 9/19 above average 20 yard shuttle - 47.37%

  • 11/24 above average height - 45.83%

  • 11/24 above average weight - 45.83%

  • 10/22 above average wingspan - 45.45%

  • 10/24 above average arm length - 41.67%

  • 10/24 above average hand size - 41.67%

  • 9/22 above average 20 yard split time - 40.9%

  • 7/22 above average 10 yard split time - 31.81%

Pro Football Focus (or PFF for short) has a fantastic article describing the combine drills that matter for NFL success by offensive position. However, their comparison is based on WAR, not top 24 WRs. The four most important combine drills for WRs is hand size, ten yard split, arm length and vertical leap.

Surprisingly, the most important metric for becoming a top 24 WR is BMI, or body mass index. Only Diontae Johnson, CeeDee Lamb, and Hunter Renfrow have a below average BMI, and all are elite route runners.

Broad jump is a fantastic drill for measuring explosion, as is the vertical leap. It's not just about how high or far you can jump, it's all about exploding in and out of your breaks.

Three cone drill is also a great indicator for measuring agile route runners. It's more important for smaller WRs to run a good three cone. Unfortunately, most of the rookies charted didn't run three cone drills, so that and the shuttles are not factored into Sig Scores.

What's interesting is that half of the top 24 WRs had an above average 40 yard time, yet most of the top 24 WRs had a below average 20 and 10 yard split time.

It is imperative that NFL WRs who is 5'9" or shorter should run a 4.4 40 or faster. 100% of these shorter WRs ran 4.4 40s or better.

Top 24 WRs Advanced Metric Averages

  • EPA - 13.42 rank average

  • Points per route run - 13.92 rank average

  • Yards per route run - 15.75 rank average

  • Target share - 16.67 rank average

  • Hog rate - 17.08 rank average

  • Dominator rating - 17.5 rank average

  • Target rate - 18.25 rank average

  • Target rate vs. man coverage - 20.42 rank average

  • QB rating - 24.92 rank average

  • Points per target - 26.42 rank average

  • Target accuracy - 31 rank average

  • Points per target vs. man coverage - 31.58 rank average

  • Yards per target - 32.5 rank average

  • Target premium - 33.33 rank average

  • Catch rate - 33.58 rank average

  • Catchable target rate - 34.67 rank average

  • Target quality rating - 36 rank average

  • Production premium - 37.5 rank average

  • Route win rate - 38 rank average

  • True catch rate - 39.91 rank average

  • Target separation - 44.5 rank average

  • Yards per reception - 44.58 rank average

  • Target separation vs. man coverage - 45.08 rank average

  • Average depth of target - 47.78 rank average

  • Juke rate - 51.08 rank average

  • Contested catch rate - 53.08 rank average

  • Average cushion - 75.33 rank average

Advanced metric rankings via PlayerProfiler.com

When looking for WR prospects, best to start with yards per route run and target rate. When they're on the field, are they getting the ball?

Average cushion is a respect factor. Almost every T24 WR has a very tight cushion. If they're lining up further off the ball, they don't respect the WR's short routes or yards after catch ability.

Contested catch rate is not as relevant as many expect.

Juke rate, or missed tackles forced per touch, is also not as important for WRs because the best receivers get the ball the most, and therefore have more opportunities to get tackled. The higher the touch count, the lower the rate.

Same goes for average depth of target. The more they're targeted, the lower the depth, because they're trusted to run routes at all depths.

Big shout out to ReceptionPerception.com and their creator, Matt Harmon for quantifying route running success rate. Can't recommend the site enough, and here's why.

I took a look at Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel's Sig Score in 2021, and saw what he had going for him and how the top fantasy analysts missed predicting them as two of the top three WRs. Here are the metrics in which Kupp and Samuel finished top 20.

Cooper Kupp had the 6th easiest strength of schedule in 2021. According to Reception Perception, Kupp was the best at getting open on dig routes, 7th best at getting open vs. zone coverage, 7th on "other" routes (routes excluding the 10 most common routes in a route tree), and 9th on flat routes among 51 WRs in 2020. He was also 11th in targets per game among the top 133 WRs in 2020.

Deebo Samuel had the 2nd easiest strength of schedule in 2021. Samuel was the 6th best vs. zone coverage, 7th on dig routes, 10th on flat routes, 19th best at getting open vs. double coverage, and 20th best on slant routes among 51 WRs in 2020. He also was 13th in yards per route run and 17th in points per route run among the top 133 receivers in 2020.

When looking for a breakout slot WR, check out how well they perform on dig routes, flat routes, against zone coverage, and, of course, it doesn't hurt to have an easier schedule.

Now, without further adieu... the 2022 Rookie WR Sig Scores.

This is a cumulative score based on their 2021, 2020 and 2019 PFF overall grade, 2021 PFF receiving grade, 2021 yards per route run, 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage, missed tackles forced per touch, breakout age, 2021 strength of schedule, BMI, arm length, hand size, wingspan, 40 yard dash, 20 yard split, 10 yard split, vertical leap and broad jump.

Height and weight were not factored into this score because differently-sized WRs require different skillsets. Three cone drill, shuttles and bench press were not factored either, because the majority of rookies didn't participate in those drills.

Top 18 WR prospects

2022 ROOKIE WRs

Drake London

Sig Score rank - 1st

You can meet me at the London. If you find time, we can run one.

(To be clear, these are not final rankings. There are WRs who do not measure well at the combine and pro day, or have elite college receiving grades, then become studs. Cooper Kupp didn't measure particularly well and just had the greatest receiving season ever. Jarvis Landry had a slower 40 time than 341 lb DT Jordan Davis. There will be some discussion about their non-quantifiable attributes, and rookie rankings will be posted after the draft.)

But in this cumulative score, Drake London is the one.

Positives

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 1st

  • Breakout age - 1st

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 2nd

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 2nd

  • 2021 strength of schedule (opponent's average yard per attempt, ranked from toughest to easiest) - 2nd

  • Arm length - 2nd

  • Yards per route run - 4th

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 4th

  • Wingspan - 4th

Negatives

  • 2020 PFF grade - 15th

  • 2019 PFF grade - 15th

Breakout age is the age in which a receiver reaches 20% dominator rating for the first time. Dominator rating is the percentage of a team's total receiving stats. London was the youngest of the group to do this, an impressive feat on a USC team with fellow NFL starters Michael Pittman Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

However, he finished 15th in PFF grade in 2019 and 2020 among the top 18 prospects. Even though he got the stats, he didn't put it all together until this past season.

He played lights out in 2021 vs. many of the top pass defenses, and showed elusiveness at nearly 6'4" 219 lbs.

London did not participate in any drills at the combine or pro day, which certainly helped his Sig Score. Although he lacks top-end speed, the rumors that London can't create separation are grossly exaggerated. His Reception Perception profile is similar to Ja'Marr Chase, who faced similar separation questions last off-season before having one of the greatest rookie seasons ever. Just ask Davante Adams (4.56 40) and Cooper Kupp (4.62 40) if 40 times equal separation.

The only other concerns are dropping eight of his 96 catchable targets, and a season-ending broken ankle in November 2021. But if he's healthy, there should be some monster seasons ahead for the Prince of "You Got Mossed!"-ville.

Skyy Moore

Sig Score rank - 2nd

Reach for the Skyy! Everybody's talking about Kenny Pickett's hands, but nobody's talking about Skyy Moore's 10 1/4" hands. More people should be talking about Skyy Moore in general, perhaps the draft's most undervalued prospect.

Positives

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 1st

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 1st

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 1st

  • Hand size - 1st

  • BMI - 2nd

  • 10 yard split - 4th

  • Broad jump - 4th

  • Yards per route run - 5th

  • 40 yard dash - 5th

  • 20 yard split - 5th

Negatives

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 15th

Look at all those positives, then look at the negatives. Moore had ten metrics in which he finished top 5, and only one in which he finished bottom 5!

PFF's 2021 WR1 in overall and receiving grade, he's a burner that wasn't used as a downfield threat.

Reception Perception has charted 12 of the top rookie WRs. Among that group, Moore had the best success rate vs. zone and the 2nd best success rate vs. man.

Moore is the best at breaking tackles in this group, both statistically and on the highlight tapes. As we've seen with the top 24 WRs, above average BMI matters for smaller receivers. He can take a shot, give a shot right back, and juke any defender.

Moore only finished in the bottom 5 of the group in one metric, strength of schedule. Western Michigan faced four teams with above average pass defenses in 2021 and had two good games, two bad games: 2 catches for 22 yards vs. Michigan, 10 catches for 104 yards vs. San Jose State, 8 catches for 128 yards vs. Toledo, and 4 catches for 36 yards vs. Nevada. None of his 10 receiving TDs came in these four games. There is some risk involved here, but that sample size is too small to conclude that he wouldn't have been great in a Power 5 conference.

PFF's most similar receivers (judging by their athleticism and body of work in college) include Michael Gallup, Brandin Cooks, Tyler Boyd, Golden Tate, Greg Jennings and Chris Godwin. That is very solid company.

Christian Watson

Sig Score rank - 3rd

Perhaps the most polarizing receiving prospect is Christian Watson. Most analysts give him no chance of becoming successful, but Watson is undoubtedly the most explosive and flexible receiver in the draft. And he can do a standing backflip at 6'4".

Positives

  • Yards per route run - 1st

  • 20 yard split - 1st

  • Broad jump - 1st

  • Hand size - 2nd

  • 40 yard dash - 2nd

  • 10 yard split - 2nd

  • Vertical leap - 3rd

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 4th

  • Wingspan - 5th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 5th

Negatives

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 14th

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 16th

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 18th

Watson hit 23 MPH in-game speed in 2020, which would be the fastest ball carrier speed in NFL GPS tracking history. He's going to be one of the fastest WRs in the NFL.

He has a a 13.3% career drop rate and a 30% contested catch rate, which are concerns to some. My charts show that those are overrated aspects of fantasy.

The biggest negative is his level of play. North Dakota State faced zero opponents in the FBS (formerly Division 1-A). Ask FCS top 24 WRs and fellow former FCS WRs Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen and Tyreek Hill if playing bad college defenses mean they can't succeed in the NFL. Fellow NDSU alum Trey Lance was drafted 3rd overall in 2020 for his raw abilities, so I don't see why it's a major issue for Watson.

Before the draft, I made a prediction on DK Metcalf's chances of instant success. I thought if Metcalf goes to a team such as New England that relies on timing routes and don't take a lot of downfield shots, he might struggle early. But if he goes to a team that has an accurate vertical downfield passer such as Seattle, he could be dangerous.

My thinking is similar here with Watson. If he goes to a team that needs a vert threat with a vert thrower such as Green Bay, Kansas City, Cleveland, or New Orleans, don't listen to analysts who have him on their "do not draft" list. If you like a guy, get your guy. Draft Christian Watson.

Khalil Shakir

Sig Score rank - 4th

Just like Brenda in Scary Movie watching Shakirspeare In Love, it's easy to love Khalil Shakir.

Positives

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 1st

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 1st

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 1st

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 3rd

Negatives

  • Arm length - 17th

  • Wingspan - 17th

Khalil Shakir had the top PFF grade among this group in both 2019 and 2020 before falling to 7th in 2021 as a senior. It's not all bad though, because Shakir had the toughest schedule among this group last season, and still had 77 receptions for 1117 receiving yards.

He just nearly missed the top 5 in a few other metrics, finishing 6th in 2021 PFF receiving grade, BMI, 20 yard split, 10 yard split, broad jump, 7th in 2021 PFF overall grade, 40 yard dash, vertical leap, and 8th in hand size despite having the second shortest arm length and wingspan. He's very well rounded and has the look of a potential NFL starter in the slot.

Treylon Burks

Sig Score rank - 5th

"The Alpha Male" Treylon Burks is gonna hit the NFL with the POOOOUNCE! Period.

Positives

  • BMI - 1st

  • Arm length - 1st

  • Wingspan - 1st

  • Yards per route run - 2nd

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 3rd

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 3rd

Negatives

  • Vertical leap - 10th (only 14 of the top 18 WRs participated in drills at the combine or pro day)

  • Broad jump - 10th

  • 40 yard dash - 12th

  • 20 yard split - 12th

  • 10 yard split - 13th

  • Breakout age - 14th

Don't look at the 4.55 40 and consider Burks slow. He was the fastest ball carrier in the FBS last season, clocking in at 22.6 MPH. No ball carrier had a faster speed in the NFL in 2021, and only two plays were faster in 2020. Burks also had a 21.9 MPH play. His play speed is LEGIT, and that should matter more.

And Burks improved his vert, from 33" to 35.5" at the pro day.

As you can see from his Reception Perception profile, when it comes to route running, Burks is still a work in progress.

To be fair, Burks is an alpha X WR1 type who was used like a slot guy. Over a third of his routes were just screens and flats. And if you include his 16.8% slant route count, over half of his routes were at or near the line of scrimmage. Arkansas made sure to get the ball in his hands as soon as possible, because he's a dynamic playmaker after the catch.

You can't press him either. He's the most efficient WR in the class at this, with 6.41 yards per route run vs. press.

I'm a firm believer that when a WR shows the ability to get open above average on at least half of his routes, combined with the best BMI, arm length, wingspan, the 2nd best yards per route run, and multiple elite PFF graded seasons, that juice is worth the squeeze.

Oh, and he has potential to be the next great wide back ala Deebo Samuel and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Here are PFF's ten most similar receivers, judging by their athleticism and body of work: Courtland Sutton, Hakeem Nicks, Dez Bryant, DeAndre Hopkins, Alshon Jeffery, A.J. Green, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Corey Davis and Mike Williams. All have produced.

Need I say more?

Garrett Wilson

Sig Score rank - 6th

Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling (and explaining). You just hang on.

Positives

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 3rd

  • 40 yard dash - 3rd

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 4th

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 4th

  • Vertical leap - 4th

  • Hand size - 5th

Negatives

  • 10 yard split - 10th

  • BMI - 16th

When a WR's negatives are being skinny and a 10 yard split not being great (but still above average), you know they're going to be good. BMI has proven to be a good indicator of a top 24 WR, but not necessary for average-sized route running specialists.

Garrett Wilson is perhaps the most well-rounded WR in the draft. We can nitpick his 10th ranked 2021 PFF overall grade, his 10th ranked 2019 PFF overall grade, or his 12th ranked 2021 PFF receiving grade, but go ahead and rejoice, PFF haters, because Garrett Wilson is #good.

Look at his Reception Perception profile. Wilson was above average at every route except for out routes. Over 60% of his routes were nines, curls and slants, and he was above average in all of them. With 4.38 40 speed, he strikes fear of the deep routes into CBs, getting open on slants, curls and comebacks.

He has the athletic chops to become an elite WR, with a great vertical leap, and the hand size is nice as well. Ranked 4th in man coverage grade, with plus YAC ability (3rd in missed tackles forced per touch), his profile compares favorably to Brandin Cooks, DeSean Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr., receivers who have been #good.

Wan'Dale Robinson

Sig Score rank - tied for 7th

Wan'Dale Robinson might be small, but he plays big. Some might wish they could wave a wand and be a little bit taller, but Wan'Dale is a baller. He's underestimated, and I think he prefers it that way.

Positives

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 1st

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 2nd

  • Yards per route run - 3rd

  • Breakout age - 3rd

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 4th

  • BMI - 4th

Negatives

  • Broad jump - 12th

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 14th

  • Hand size - 16th

  • Arm length - 18th

  • Wingspan - 18th

Wan'Dale Robinson showed his toughness in college with 134 carries in his first two seasons at Nebraska before transferring to Kentucky as a junior. He stuck to receiver at Kentucky for that one season, and did not disappoint, with the best PFF grade vs. man coverage and the 2nd best PFF overall grade.

Yards per route run is perhaps the best indicator of success in the NFL, and finished 3rd among this group. Missed tackles forced per touch is important for a strictly slot option, and he just missed outside the top 5 in this group at 6th. With the 4th best BMI, he further displayed that he can take a licking and keep on ticking.

I spoke earlier about receivers shorter than 5'10 needing to run 4.4 40s or faster. And with a 4.44 time and a 1.49 split, while not a true burner, he has the necessary wheels to be a contributor in the slot. Hopefully, he gets some run in the backfield as well. It'd help his case in fantasy, and it'd definitely make the game more fun to watch.

David Bell

Sig Score rank - tied for 7th

No other receiver saw their draft stock drop further after the combine, but David Bell fans should be ecstatic, you can get a future NFL starter late in your fantasy leagues and be saved by the Bell!

Positives

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 2nd

  • Breakout age - 3rd

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 3rd

  • BMI - 3rd

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 5th

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 5th

Negatives

  • Vertical leap - 10th

  • 10 yard split - 11th

  • Broad jump - 12th

  • 20 yard split - 13th

  • 40 yard dash - 14th

David Bell had very similar combine numbers as Cooper Kupp, Jarvis Landry and Amon-Ra St. Brown. This is not to say that he's the next Kupp, just that poor combine numbers isn't the worst thing for a power slot/flanker type WR. St. Brown also ran a 4.6 40, and had his stock plummet him to the 4th round. St. Brown was the 17th receiver taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, and became the third best rookie in fantasy.

There is a lot of yum here. He's thick, he faced the 3rd toughest opponents, broke a ton of tackles, graded out well, and broke out early.

So he doesn't jump high or run fast. That's not important for slot WRs, because they're finding holes in zone coverage and finding ways to run after the catch. He's great at both.

He's one of my favorite late round fantasy sleepers, because his athletic profile is the only thing keeping him from being a 1st round pick in the NFL Draft.

Alec Pierce

Sig Score rank - 9th

Far too often, fantasy analysts compare one white WR to another. There have been Jordy Nelson comparisons to Alec Pierce in the fantasy community. Just because a white WR is tall, fast and jumps high, doesn't mean they're deserving of an all-pro comparison. I'm sure Pierce Hawthorne from Community loves Alec Pierce, though.

Positives

  • Vertical leap - 1st

  • Arm length - 2nd

  • Wingspan - 2nd

  • 20 yard split - 3rd

  • Broad jump - 3rd

  • 10 yard split - 4th

  • 40 yard dash - 5th

Negatives

  • Yards per route run - 14th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 16th

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 16th

  • Hand size - 16th

Alec Pierce is a combine warrior with similar athletic traits to Christian Watson. I've seen Christian Watson compared to Chris Conley, a rotational NFL deep threat. The difference between Pierce and Watson is Watson has multiple top ten PFF overall grade season, and Pierce has never finished a season with a top ten PFF overall grade. That might seem unfair to compare when Watson played in the FCS, but Pierce had one of the easiest schedules as well, and still didn't grade out well.

And their hands are #builtdifferent *cracks egg with bicep*. Watson has the 2nd biggest hands of the class. Pierce has the 16th.

With one of the worst yards per route run, Pierce has athleticism, but doesn't have enough of what we're looking for when predicting future success. He hit near the 90th percentile in deep target rate with potential first round QB Desmond Ridder throwing him the ball. If he's drafted on one of those good deep ball teams on the market for a deep ball receiver, he's worth monitoring. But if he goes to a team with a bad QB, it could get ugly in a hurry.

Calvin Austin

Sig Score rank - 10th

The second WR on this list under 5'10" is also the fastest WR on this list. Speed kills, baby. But this Calvin is no Babytron.

Positives

  • 40 yard dash - 1st

  • 10 yard split - 1st

  • Vertical leap - 2nd

  • Broad jump - 2nd

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 4th

  • 20 yard split - 4th

Negatives

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 16th

  • Arm length - 16th

  • Wingspan - 16th

  • Breakout age - 18th

With a 4.32 40 and a 1.44 10 yard split to go with a 39" vert and 11'3" broad jump, Calvin Austin put up Tyreek Hill type numbers. In fact, Austin's 10 yard split was faster than Hill, and Austin's broad jump was 6" longer. Their 20 yard shuttle and three cone drill time is virtually identical.

In fact, among the top 24 WRs, only Hill put up better shuttle and cone times. At 170 lbs, he's not as thick as Hill, and will likely need to put on 10 lbs, but Austin has about the same arm length and a wider wingspan.

His biggest weakness is his breakout age. After redshirting and only having two catches as a redshirt freshman, Austin didn't get much playing time as a redshirt sophomore with only had 17 receptions in 2019, but he made the most of them, going for 315 yards, 18.5 yards per catch, 3 receiving TDs and the 4th best PFF overall grade. He then followed that up with back-to-back 1000 yard receiving seasons.

Austin did face an easier schedule than most. With a 10th ranked grade vs. man coverage, he might not be as refined of a route runner than some of the other prospects. This is a concern, considering Austin is already 23, "old" for a rookie.

None of his ten closest comparable WRs became consistent fantasy contributors. He wasn't used as a deep target, concerning when you consider his elite speed and agility. Maybe he was misused at Memphis, maybe he breaks out, but with zero seasons averaging 100 yards, his athleticism didn't match his production. This is someone who could become a better pro than college player.

Chris Olave

Sig Score rank - 11th

Take a gander at Chris Olave's Reception Perception profile. Look at all that green. To quote BIA, "It's a whole lotta money in this mf'er." I'll live with drafting Olave in fantasy.

Positives

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 2nd

  • 20 yard split - 2nd

  • 10 yard split - 2nd

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 3rd

  • 40 yard dash - 4th

Negatives

  • Vertical leap - 13th

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 14th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 14th

  • Wingspan - 15th

  • Yards per route run - 16th

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 16th

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 17th

Check out this quote from Reception Perception:

"Olave blazes through man and zone coverage. With a 78% success rate vs. man coverage, he's among the top prospects charted in Reception Perception history and not far off of DeVonta Smith's 78.2% from last year. His 83.1% success rate vs. zone coverage just beats out Jaylen Waddle's 82.5% mark."

(Quotes and charts are posted with permission from Matt Harmon's Twitter account. For full profiles and charts, sign up today.)

Olave is one of the best prospects ever on RP. I don't know why Olave was graded highly in 2020 and 2019 and poorly in 2021 on PFF, but RP has a better track record in predicting WR success. I'm going to take Harmon's word for it and say that Olave can beat man coverage.

Sig Scores are an imperfect science. Olave has more negatives than positives, but you can put a spin on quite a few of these metrics for Olave. PFF is also an imperfect science. It's interesting to note and something to consider, but not definitive. Yards per route run is lower because fellow future first round WRs Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba shared the target rate. Wingspan and vert isn't as important for average-sized route mavens. Missed tackles forced is a bonus, but not necessary. Getting open is.

His route success tree is identical to Tyler Lockett, a perpetually underrated WR. It wouldn't surprise me to see him reach a top five fantasy season like Chris Godwin or Stefon Diggs during his rookie contract. He's that good.

Jalen Tolbert

Sig Score rank - 12th

Late breakout age receivers are taking their toll on me.

Positives

  • Hand size - 3rd

  • Arm length - 4th

  • Vertical leap - 4th

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 5th

Negatives

  • 40 yard dash - 11th

  • 20 yard split - 11th

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 13th

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 14th

  • Breakout age - 14th

  • BMI - 15th

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 17th

Jalen Tolbert has a great vert, big hands and long arms, so there are some tools there to become a successful receiver. While his speed isn't great in this group, he's still above average compared to the average NFL WR.

But he didn't grade out well on PFF, despite facing the 2nd easiest schedule. He didn't break out early, and is entering the NFL at 23 years old, considered "old" for a rookie. He is skinny for his height. Athletically, he is similar to Adam Thielen.

Tolbert has some qualities that aren't shown here, with a fairly complete route tree and a great contested catch rate.

Romeo Doubs

Sig Score rank - 13th

If you're betting on on Romeo Doubs in fantasy, put the Doubs down.

Positives

  • Hand size - 3rd

Negatives

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 13th

  • Yards per route run - 15th

Our first WR who did not participate in combine or pro day drills, due to a knee injury.

Romeo Doubs was a deep threat specialist. At 6'2", 201 lbs, he has the length and athleticism to come down with high-point passes.

But he wasn't a great route runner. He's been knocked for having tight hips. He had some inconsistencies with his hands, didn't consistently make contested catches. That matters less in fantasy than real-life, but is still a concern for a lower-ranked receiver looking to impress in training camp. He didn't break a lot of tackles, and wasn't utilized in the pass game enough, so he comes with concerns.

George Pickens

Sig Score rank - 14th

This might be pickin' on Pickens, but will the real George Pickens please stand up?

Positives

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 2nd

  • Breakout age - 2nd

  • Broad jump - 4th

Negatives

  • 10 yard split - 9th

  • 40 yard dash - 10th

  • 20 yard split - 10th

  • Vertical leap - 10th

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 14th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 15th

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 17th

  • BMI - 17th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 18th

  • Hand size - 18th

George Pickens' receiving stats are not ranked, because he only played in 4 games in 2021 after an ACL tear in the spring. The former five-star recruit dominated the SEC as a true freshman, graded as the #2 PFF overall grade WR. But his grade dropped to 14th in 2020, then last in the group from those four 2021 games after injury.

Pickens has shown an ability to beat press, and his 68.8% contested catch rate since 2020 is higher than Drake London's 58.3%. The smallest hand size should not be a concern with just two drops in his college career.

The health of Pickens is the biggest concern. He finished around 10th in most athletic drills. The broad jump is nice, but the rest being in the bottom five in this group should come with concerns as well. He already wasn't a fast receiver. Has the ACL tear sapped more of that athleticism?

Currently projected as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick. He made some of the best highlight reel catches in college. But there are concerns over his ability to separate in the NFL. This makes for a risky prospect.

Jahan Dotson

Sig Score rank - 15th

Can Jahan make it to a Benz out of that Datsun?

Positives

  • Vertical leap - 4th

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 5th

Negatives

  • Breakout age - 14th

  • BMI - 14th

  • Arm length - 14th

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 15th

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 16th

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 17th

Jahan Dotson is another projected late 1st/early 2nd round pick. (How many WRs are going to be drafted in Day One and Two?!)

He posted a very solid Reception Perception profile, including the best hands of the group (low drop rate, high contested catch rate). He's in the 96th percentile of success rate vs. zone! He's known as a route technician who played half of his snaps inside and half outside, and beating zone matters more in the slot.

His missed tackles forced per touch is one of the lowest in the group. The PFF man coverage grade is a bit concerning, as is the late breakout age, small arm length and small frame.

Dotson has a great vert, fine speed and should be a solid NFL slot/flanker hybrid. He comes with risk, but some of the things he does well doesn't show up in his Sig Score, and is well rounded enough to be considered in fantasy.

Justyn Ross

Sig Score rank - 16th

Justyn Ross is not the boss.

Positives

  • Breakout age - 3rd

  • Wingspan - 3rd

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 5th

Negatives

  • 20 yard split - 13th

  • 2021 PFF grade vs. man coverage - 14th

  • 40 yard dash - 14th

  • 10 yard split - 14th

  • Vertical leap - 14th

  • Broad jump - 14th

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 17th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 17th

  • Yards per route run - 17th

Another tall receiver who is a polarizing prospect. Similar to George Pickens, which receiver are teams getting, the 2019 Justyn Ross or the 2021 version?

In 2020, his season was cut short with spinal surgery, and his 2021 season was cut short with foot surgery due to a stress fracture.

The only positives he has is a successful season in 2019... two major injuries ago... with Trevor Lawrence as his QB. And he's long.

Perhaps he can regain some of his athleticism, but right now, he's the least athletic receiver in this group. Once a projected first round pick, a Day 3 selection wouldn't surprise me. Take a wait-and-see approach with Ross in fantasy.

Jameson Williams

Sig Score rank - 17th

Some people are gonna need a bottle of Jameson with this ranking.

Positives

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 4th

Negatives

  • 2020 PFF overall grade - 17th

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 17th

  • BMI - 18th

Don't get it twisted, these are not final rankings. Jameson Williams will not be the WR17 there. His Sig Score is greatly hindered by not running at the combine or pro day due to an ACL tear in November 2021. He was GPS tracked at 23 MPH on a 94-yard TD against Miami last season, which would be the fastest time in NFL GPS tracking history.

Make no mistake, Williams has the speed to become a weapon. But he comes with a couple bad PFF season grades. It's easy to compare BMI with DeVonta Smith and give that a pass, but Smith is a more refined route runner. Williams' best attribute is a deep threat with speed. Henry Ruggs was a similar Alabama deep threat prospect with BMI concerns. Jameson Williams' frame is even skinnier at 6'1 1/2" 179 lbs. Is he strong enough to bring down contested passes in the NFL.

His missed tackles forced per touch were below average, but not horrible. If this guy gets an open crease, he is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball. The problem is, there aren't the same creases in the NFL as college. You have to make defenders miss to be a consistent short route YAC threat in the NFL.

The other concern is that he is an Ohio State transfer with only one year of production. He could not get consistent playing time ahead of the future 1st round picks Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. If the Ohio State coaches didn't see him as better, that is worth noting.

When comparing the Reception Perception profile between Williams, Wilson and Olave, something alarming came up. Williams was nearly unstoppable as a vertical threat, but unlike Wilson and Olave, Williams did not have the suddenness and crispness of routes that the other two possess. With that much speed, it should be concerning that he couldn't get open more often on intermediate routes. And an ACL tear is no longer a death sentence in football. He will likely be as fast as before, but with speed being his best attribute, his rehab is something to monitor during the off-season.

All of these concerns are why his high 1st round NFL Draft projection is a huge risk. We'll see which team he ends up on before writing him off in fantasy. But as a prospect, like drinking Jameson and driving, drafting him as a top three fantasy rookie WR could cost you.

John Metchie

Sig Score rank - 18th

Betcha can't do it like Metchie, nope!

Positives

  • 2021 strength of schedule - 4th

  • Missed tackles forced per touch - 5th

Negatives

  • Yards per route run - 13th

  • Wingspan - 14th

  • 2021 PFF overall grade - 15th

  • 2021 PFF receiving grade - 15th

  • Arm length - 15th

  • Breakout age - 17th

  • 2019 PFF overall grade - 18th

PFF has named Metchie as one of the most overlooked WRs in the draft, and he is projected as a second or third round pick. But his Sig Score is ranked last. How?

As a smaller slot receiver who did not run combine drills due to an ACL tear, there is some unknown. Walter Football projected Metchie at a 4.5 40. He only ran a 4.87 40 as a high school prospect. Of course he's faster now, but how much faster? Rondale Moore was in Metchie's high school class, and Moore ran a 4.33 in high school.

Criticizing an Alabama receiver for not breaking out early playing behind four first round picks (DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy) seems a little unfair. But it's worth noting that Jeudy broke out at age 19. Nick Saban isn't against playing freshman and sophomore receivers, if they're ready for it. If Metchie was better than Smith, Waddle, Ruggs or Jeudy, he would've played more.

Metchie was the WR3 behind Smith and Waddle in 2020, and then became the WR2 after Waddle was injured (Jameson Williams was at Ohio State). He was explosive, hauling in 16.7 yards per catch, and was expected to become the WR1 after Smith and Waddle entered the draft. However, Jameson Williams transferred to Bama, became the WR1 and more explosive threat, and Metchie's yards per reception dropped to 11.9.

His ten most similar receivers are Lavelle Hawkins, Antonio Callaway, Marvin Jones, Dante Pettis, Craig Davis, Brandon Tate, David Clowney, Keke Coutee, Jalen Saunders and Randall Cobb. Red flag. Of the ten, only Jones and Cobb became fantasy contributors, and Cobb only produced when HOF QB Aaron Rodgers was throwing to him.

Perhaps he has learned a thing or two playing with potentially five first round WRs. He may even become a fan favorite amongst his next team as a short-route-running, tough-yards-getting slot man. Metchie became a more physical runner and improved his YAC numbers in 2021, necessary for a slot receiver. And he deserves more credit for being able to run a full route tree in college. But with Metchie's size concerns and lack of top-end speed, don't expect many downfield targets in the NFL. He will have to get his fantasy points from the slot. Hopefully, he runs a good dig route.

But, I must admit, doubting a pro-ready Alabama receiver is a good way to look incredibly foolish in hindsight. Metchie has a warrior-type style of play, and those type of players beat the odds. He just might go from undesirable to undeniable.

Conclusion

Sig Scores was created to to clump groups of players into one cumulatively scored ranking, but no receiver is exactly the same. They often have different roles and route trees. That's why I described the three body types of top 24 WRs as a general rule when reading this article. And remember, we're looking for the next top 24 WR, not the next NFL role player.

John Metchie may become the next Randall Cobb. Jameson Williams may become the next DeSean Jackson. Alec Pierce may become the next Jordy Nelson. There will be overlooked and overrated receivers in this draft, just as there is every draft, guaranteed. Hopefully, this helps you get to know the wide receivers before your favorite team drafts them. And hopefully, this gives you an idea of who to draft in fantasy football. If you like a player who's rated poorly in Sig Scores, that's fine! We all have preferences in the players we like. Get your guy!