Back in 2004, Arizona selected Larry Fitzgerald with the third overall pick. Over the past 50 years, that 2004 class was the only with seven wide receivers selected in the first round. During that span, six other draft classes had six first-round receivers.
Despite the home-run pick at the top in Fitzgerald and the six other first-rounders, the 2004 class was relatively mediocre.
The 2020 group may turn out to be the best receiver draft class ever and has a chance to challenge—or tie—that group for the most first-round receivers. Regardless of how many are selected in the first round, the class is strong at the top with impressive depth throughout the draft.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
More 1(a)-1(b) than 1-2 with CeeDee Lamb, Jeudy is a polished route-runner that sets up opposing cornerbacks well and has tremendous acceleration out of his breaks. Both quick and fast, the former Biletnikoff award recipient excels after the catch with his stop-start ability and elusiveness. Jeudy has impressive body control and natural hands, but he has had some concentration drops. The alpha in a receiving corps loaded with four potential first-rounders (counting Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle next year), Jeudy is a high-floor receiver that should emerge as his future team's No. 1 receiver early in his career.
2. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Like Jeudy, Lamb profiles as a No. 1 receiver at the next level and is a top-10 overall talent. Lamb ended 2019 with 62 catches for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns (21.4 Y/R) and scored 26 touchdowns in 27 games the past two seasons. Experienced lining up both inside and outside, Lamb has exceptional ball skills with a special ability to contort his body and adjust to the ball in the air. While he doesn't have elite speed (he's fast enough, though), Lamb is dangerous after the catch with his vision in the open field and ability to make would-be tacklers miss.
3. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Not only is Ruggs fast, but he is a legitimate threat to the Combine's 40-yard dash record (John Ross, 4.22). Scouts clocked the former state (AL) sprinting champion in the "4.25 range" at Alabama's junior pro day last March. With rare acceleration and run-after-catch ability, Ruggs is a threat to take any slant to the house. Through his three seasons at Alabama, Ruggs averaged 17.91 yards and scored on one-quarter of his 100 career touches. While speed is his most deadly weapon, he has improved as a route-runner and adjusts well to the football.
More NFL Draft:
* Prospect Rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Tight Ends
* Kevin Hanson's Mock Draft 3.0: Who Will Trade Up for Tua?
4. Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Exposed to a more diverse route tree as a junior, Shenault remains an unrefined route-runner, but he provides a creative offensive mind with a versatile weapon that has lined up all over for Colorado. Built more like a running back than a wide receiver, he turns into a running back with the ball in his hands. With his ability to break tackles, Shenault flourishes in the open field due to his strength, size, burst, vision and elusiveness. Shenault has strong hands and tracks the deep ball well.
5. Tee Higgins, Clemson
With outstanding length and a wide catch radius, Higgins has the ability to compensate for a quarterback's off-target throws. With outstanding hands and ball skills, he excels in contested-catch situations. While not the fastest receiver, Higgins is a long strider that wins in the vertical passing game. He averaged 19.8 yards per catch last season for the Tigers. With an above-the-rim style, Higgins is a red-zone weapon and he has 27 receiving touchdowns, which ties a Clemson school record shared with DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
Here are the next 25 wide receivers:
6. Justin Jefferson, LSU (JR, 6'3", 192 pounds)
7. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State (SR, 6'1", 206 pounds)
8. Jalen Reagor, TCU (JR, 5'11", 195 pounds)
9. Michael Pittman Jr., USC (SR, 6'4", 219 pounds)
10. K.J. Hamler, Penn State (rSO, 5'9", 176 pounds)
11. Denzel Mims, Baylor (SR, 6'3", 206 pounds)
12. Tyler Johnson, Minnesota (SR, 6'2", 205 pounds)
13. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan (JR, 6'2", 208 pounds)
14. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina (SR, 6'3", 215 pounds)
15. Van Jefferson, Florida (rSR, 6'2", 197 pounds)
16. K.J. Hill, Ohio State (rSR, 6' 0", 192 pounds)
17. Quartney Davis, Texas A&M (rJR, 6'1", 199 pounds)
18. Jauan Jennings, Tennessee (rSR, 6'3", 206 pounds)
19. Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty (SR, 6'4", 222 pounds)
20. Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State (JR, 6'4", 209 pounds)
21. Collin Johnson, Texas (SR, 6'6", 221 pounds)
22. Gabriel Davis, UCF (JR, 6'3", 212 pounds)
23. John Hightower, Boise State (SR, 6'2", 172 pounds)
24. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame (SR, 6'4", 229 pounds)
25. Devin Duvernay, Texas (SR, 5'11", 202 pounds)
26. Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky (JR, 6'1", 199 pounds)
27. James Proche, SMU (rSR, 5'11", 196 pounds)
28. Aaron Fuller, Washington (SR, 5'11", 188 pounds)
29. Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt (SR, 6'0", 202 pounds)
30. Marquez Callaway, Tennessee (SR, 6'2", 204 pounds)
Kevin Hanson joins SI for the 2020 NFL Draft season. His NFL Mock Drafts have graded as the most accurate over the past five years, per The Huddle Report. His 2015 NFL mock draft graded as the most accurate and his 2019 NFL mock draft was the second-most accurate out of 101 draft analysts.