In the months leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft, players are evaluated solely on talent because it is unknown where or with whom they will land. With the draft concluded, it is time to dive into some of those situations rookie wide receivers will be stepping into this season. Below is a list of 10 wide receivers ranked by value and the opportunity awaiting them in the NFL:
1. Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
Round 2, No. 54 overall | College: Western Michigan
There are few situations that a rookie wide receiver could walk into better than the one presented to Moore. Catching passes from Patrick Mahomes is a luxury. It is easy to feel confident in the Western Michigan product putting up numbers for that team. He is a fantastic route runner. Once he forms a relationship with Mahomes, the connection could be dangerous for opponents.
2. Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans
Round 1, No. 18 overall | College: Arkansas
The selection of Malik Willis adds pressure for Ryan Tannehill to succeed this season so theoretically he is going to be dialed in and eager to help the team prove that trading A.J. Brown and drafting Burks was the right decision. Burks was favorably compared to Brown during the pre-draft process and while he may not be that from Day 1, Burks should still receive ample opportunity in that offense.
3. Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions
Round 1, No. 12 overall | College: Alabama
Detroit would be receiving more criticism for the decision to trade up and select Williams if they had to surrender a traditional haul. By historical standards, the Lions did not have to overpay for the right to move up and select the Alabama receiver. Williams, along with last year’s budding rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown, gives Jared Goff solid outlets to go along with T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift.
4. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets
Round 1, No. 10 overall | College: Ohio State
Wilson was the top rated receiver so to get him at No. 10 overall was good value for New York. There is an argument that USC’s Drake London would have been a better fit but he was off the board. Second-year quarterback Zach Wilson now has Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Wilson in the pass game with Michael Carter II and Breece Hall taking pressure off of him with the ground game.
5. Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys
Round 3, No. 88 overall | College: South Alabama
During a team needs preview of the Cowboys on the Pick Six podcast, I mentioned Tolbert as a bigger target that could come in and replace some of the production lost in the Amari Cooper trade. Dallas had the same idea bringing in the former Jaguar to complement CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. With an improved offensive line and the hopeful return of a healthy offensive unit, the NFC East franchise should be able to get back on track in the offense.
6. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
Round 1, No. 8 overall | College: Southern California
Atlanta is constructing the front line of a volleyball team with Kyle Pitts and now London. The quarterback situation with Marcus Mariota and potentially Desmond Ridder at some point this season is not ideal. His placement on this list takes a bit of a hit for that reason. However, the presence of Pitts and London presents a unique challenge for opposing defenses. During the evaluation process, it is commonly said that a bigger safety, smaller linebacker can be a ‘tight end eraser.’ Now, the Falcons have two players that will challenge teams at the catch point.
7. George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 2, No. 52 overall | College: Georgia
It is too soon to say that Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett can be productive in this offense but Pickens is walking into an organization that has historically done well picking and developing wide receivers. The Steelers already have Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson so Pickens does not carry the same expectations often cast on to an early round wide receiver. He should be afforded the opportunity to develop at his own pace. If he reaches his potential, Pittsburgh could be walking away with the best wide receiver drafted in this class.
8. Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
Round 2, No. 34 overall | College: North Dakota State
Watson is here because of Aaron Rodgers. Although presumably nearing the end of his career, Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game and should be able to make Watson look good. The North Dakota State prospect was taken about a round earlier than where I evaluated his talent but his combination of size and speed can not be taught. Rather than being a Davante Adams replacement, Watson is more likely to serve a supporting role early in his career.
9. Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders
Round 1, No. 16 overall | College: Penn State
Dotson is a good player with strong hands capable of winning at all three levels of the field. He was taken earlier than expected because of the run at the position. However, Washington has a solid offensive line for Carson Wentz to distribute the football. The speed of Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Dotson should spread the opposition thin.
10. Khalil Shakir, Buffalo Bills
Round 5, No. 148 overall | College: Ohio State
Shakir was regarded as a top 100 prospect with the capability to be used or around the line of scrimmage. Much like Watson above, Shakir benefits by landing with Josh Allen in Buffalo. They have a number of outlets with Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Jamison Crowder, but the Boise State product represents good value.
When considering value and what New Orleans had to trade for the Chris Olave selection to be possible, I could not include him on this list. Outside of the quarterback position, it would be nearly impossible for any prospect to live up to the draft capital surrendered by the Saints.