- It's no secret that this class of wide receivers and tight ends isn't the most impressive. And to make things even more complicated, the PFF guys are not high on Calvin Ridley, the player that many assume to be the No. 1 pass catcher. So if not Ridley, then who?
The MMQB is teaming up with Pro Football Focus for The MMQB Draft Preview Show With PFF, exclusively airing on SI TV (click here to subscribe). In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL draft in Dallas, these guys are going to be breaking down every position in this talented draft class.
On the sixth episode, Pro Football Focus’s Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson discuss everything pass catchers—wide receivers and tight ends. And the overarching question for this group: Why hasn’t one player (or a group of players) emerged as the cream of the crop?
Ranked at No. 6 is South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert, the FCS tight end who can do it all. At 6' 5" and 250 pounds, Goedert’s an incredible athlete who can move like a wide receiver. SDSU used him all over the field—on shovel passes, in the screen game, everything. He looked like a man against boys in SDSU’s games, but that's what you expect from a draft prospect at the FCS level.
Coming in at No. 5 is Alabama WR Calvin Ridley. Ridley, who’s probably the best speed receiver in the draft, boasts incredible burst and acceleration at the line of scrimmage. He’s skilled at route running, has a good feel for zones and can even engineer his own pick plays against the defense. To top it off, Ridley excels at creating separation down the field and getting open for the quarterback—his speed should make NFL cornerbacks afraid. His production wasn’t as high as other wide receivers in the draft, which is likely a factor of the QB situation in Alabama. And, of course, his age (23) will likely be talked about excessively at the draft.
The No. 4 receiver on the PFF pass-catcher rankings is James Washington from Oklahoma State. He doesn't have the pure speed that Ridley has, but he led the nation in deep receiving yards and knows how to go up and get the ball. Oklahoma QB Mason Rudolph often just threw the ball up knowing that he would be able to grab it. Washington can adjust to the quarterback—slow down, win jump balls, back up on the defensive back to create space—all of which are high-level skills that should impress NFL teams.
How to the rest of the top pass catchers rank? What about under-the-radar players and hidden gems? Click here to watch the entire episode on Amazon.
Don’t miss the previous episodes, featuring quarterbacks, running backs, offensive and defensive linemen, and edge rushers. Which players have the versatility that NFL teams crave and who might require some coaching up in order to succeed at the next level? Learn all about that and more.