CFB250Download App

B/R CFB 250: Top 31 Wide Receivers

Bleacher Report College Football StaffFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2016

B/R CFB 250: Top 31 Wide Receivers

1 of 23

    B/R Media Lab

    Bleacher Report's CFB 250 is an annual ranking of the best players in college football, regardless of NFL potential. Through interviews with B/R Experts Matt Miller, Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer, authors Brian Leigh and Brian Pedersen have studied, ranked and graded the top athletes in the country, narrowed that list to 250 and sorted by position. Today, Brian Pedersen presents the Top 31 Wide Receivers.

     

    Other CFB 250 Positions

     

    Quarterbacks continue to get most of the glory in college football, but where would they be without someone to catch their passes?

    The 2015 season was a huge one for wide receivers in college, with seemingly every top team possessing at least one big-play wideout who was capable of going the distance. Many of these were on our preseason list of the best receivers, but others emerged through their play this fall.

    The following rankings are based primarily on one's skills as a college player rather than how he would fare in the NFL. Though these players may be using this time to develop their game for the pro level, first and foremost their goals are centered on helping their teams succeed.

    Player ratings are based on a tabulation of four different categories (hands, route running, speed and blocking) and based on evaluations made by our writers in conjunction with Bleacher Report football experts.

     

    NOTE: Any ties in overall grade were broken based on which player would give a hypothetical college all-star team the best chance to win.

31-28. Godwin, Morgan, Spruce, Washington

2 of 23

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

      31. Chris Godwin, Penn State

    82/100

    Hands: 25/30; Route Running: 28/35; Speed: 26/30; Blocking: 3/5

    While teammates DaeSean Hamilton had a major sophomore slump, Godwin elevated his game by becoming Christian Hackenberg's most called-upon target. He had 100-yard efforts in four of Penn State's last six regular-season games.

      30. Drew Morgan, Arkansas

    83/100

    Hands: 26/30; Route Running: 29/35; Speed: 25/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Arkansas' push to be more active through the air wasn't just a product of quarterback Brandon Allen's play. Without Morgan establishing himself as a go-to target in his junior season, finishing with 55 receptions and 10 touchdowns through Arkansas' first 12 games, the Razorbacks' pass attack would have been grounded.

      29. Nelson Spruce, Colorado

    83/100

    Hands: 28/30; Route Running: 28/35; Speed: 24/30; Blocking: 3/5

    The Pac-12 career receptions leader by a wide margin, Spruce's 89 catches this year were more than twice the next-highest Colorado player. He had at least five receptions in all 13 games in 2015.

      28. James Washington, Oklahoma State

    83/100

    Hands: 25/30; Route Running: 27/35; Speed: 28/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Washington has 16 touchdowns among his 80 receptions in two seasons with Oklahoma State, and in 2015, he was one of the country's deadliest deep threats. His 20.7 yards-per-catch average was tops among players with at least 40 catches.

27-24. Taylor, Westerkamp, Ridley, Sharpe

3 of 23

    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

      27. Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech

    83/100

    Hands: 26/30; Route Running: 28/35; Speed: 26/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Don't let his 5'8” frame fool you: Taylor isn't afraid to go over the middle and sacrifice his body for the ball. That resulted in 89 catches through the regular season, tied for sixth in FBS, along with eight touchdowns.

      26. Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska

    84/100

    Hands: 27/30; Route Running: 29/35; Speed: 25/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Westerkamp has made a name for himself with some amazing catches throughout his career, and this season the junior increased his production in catches (63), yards (874) and touchdowns (seven).

      25. Calvin Ridley, Alabama

    84/100

    Hands: 27/30; Route Running: 28/35; Speed: 26/30; Blocking: 3/5

    The true freshman quickly established himself as the best player in Alabama's inexperienced receiving corps, taking on the role Amari Cooper had in 2014. His 75 regular-season receptions are a school record for a first-year player.

      24. Tajae Sharpe, UMass

    84/100

    Hands: 27/30; Route Running: 30/35; Speed: 24/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Though Massachusetts struggled as a team, it wasn't because of Sharpe's contributions. The senior led FBS with 111 receptions, catching at least 11 passes in six of 12 games.

23-20. Payton, Taylor, Garrett, Carroo

4 of 23

    Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

      23. Jordan Payton, UCLA

    84/100

    Hands: 26/30; Route Running: 30/35; Speed: 25/30; Blocking: 3/5

    With a true freshman at quarterback, UCLA needed its experienced receivers to help him along. Payton was valuable in this regard, with 18 of his 19 third-down catches going for first downs.

      22. Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky

    84/100

    Hands: 26/30; Route Running: 29/35; Speed: 26/30; Blocking: 3/5

    The top target among Western Kentucky's many great receiving options, Taylor had more catches (79) this season than in his previous two combined. His 17 touchdowns were second only to Baylor's Corey Coleman's 20.

      21. Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa

    85/100

    Hands: 27/30; Route Running: 29/35; Speed: 26/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Garrett was a huge beneficiary of Tulsa's offensive upswing in 2015 under first-year coach Philip Montgomery, taking over the top receiver spot after Keevan Lucas was injured. The senior had 1,451 yards during the regular season, second-most in FBS.

      20. Leonte Carroo, Rutgers

    85/100

    Hands: 26/30; Route Running: 30/35; Speed: 26/30; Blocking: 3/5

    Carroo had 10 touchdown catches in just eight games, limited by injuries and a suspension along the way. Despite missing time, the senior had three three-TD games and four 100-yard outings.

19. Gabe Marks, Washington State

5 of 23

    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I see him as more of a system guy who works the scheme well. I have a hard time seeing him translate to the next level."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    27/30

    The throw-it-every-down style of offense that Mike Leach runs at Washington State (and before that at Texas Tech) requires the receivers to be able to catch and run without any break in momentum, which is something Gabe Marks has excelled at in his career.

      Route Running


    31/35

    The Cougars routinely flooded the secondary with receiving targets, and though most routes were straightforward, the more intricate ones tended to go to Marks.

      Speed


    24/30

    Marks is still a work in progress when it comes to using the limited speed he has. He's not going to get behind the defense regularly unless he's faking it early on in the route.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Though Washington State hardly ran the ball, when a play called for the ball-carrier to head outside, Marks could seal off his man long enough to keep him from getting involved in the tackle.

      Overall


    85/100

    While Marks might not have what it takes to succeed in every type of offense, the WSU version fits him perfectly. He's led the Cougars in receptions twice in his career.

18. Rashard Higgins, Colorado State

6 of 23

    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I think losing Garrett Grayson and losing the head coach had a big impact. I think he was a product of the system. Not real fast, not real big, and this year has kind of pointed to that. Great players make great plays."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    26/30

    Rashard Higgins' subpar 2015 season—at least compared to what he did a year ago—shows just how important both sides of the quarterback/receiver relationship is. Instead of receiving throws from a future NFL draft pick, this season Higgins was dealing with some inexperienced passers who weren't as accurate, and he didn't help by dropping several catchable balls.

      Route Running


    30/35

    The change from Jim McElwain to Mike Bobo as Colorado State's head coach also impacted Higgins' season, particularly in what he was asked to do. In 2014, he was a constant deep threat who led the nation in receiving yards, but Bobo's game plan called for shorter and more intricate routes, which Higgins wasn't as adept at running.

      Speed


    27/30

    When going deep, Higgins turned on the jets and regularly got behind the defense. But his speed didn't manifest itself as much on the shorter routes.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Colorado State ran the ball more this season, so Higgins was asked to block a few times but mostly served as a decoy. He didn't always sell this, though, sometimes hardly moving off the line on a run play.

      Overall


    86/100

    A consensus All-American and a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2014, Higgins had a disappointing junior season in comparison but was still solid from an overall standpoint.

17. Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State

7 of 23

    Loren Orr/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "When I think of Sperbeck, I think 'wow' more than anything. Kid made some wow catches this year and really helped his team out."

    —Michael Felder

     

      Hands


    28/30

    A late bloomer who didn't become involved in Boise State's offense until midway through the 2014 season, Thomas Sperbeck has flashed the kind of hands that make you wonder why he wasn't getting called on before that. He made an over-the-shoulder touchdown catch against Hawaii look like easy.

      Route Running


    31/35

    Boise's routes weren't particularly complicated, but Sperbeck would add his own spice to them to help create space to make the catch. His understanding of where to go and how best to get there enabled him to have at least five receptions in each of his last 10 regular-season games, including a school-record 20 catches against New Mexico.

      Speed


    25/30

    Sperbeck isn't particularly fast, which is unique for someone who's only 6'0” and 175 pounds. His footwork makes up for a lack of swiftness, which resulted in his being open so often.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Boise liked to swing the ball out to running back Jeremy McNichols, which put a premium on downfield blocking by the receivers. Sperbeck handled this assignment well, though he didn't excel at it.

      Overall


    87/100

    The single-season receiving-yardage leader at Boise with 1,334 yards, Sperbeck is on pace to become the school's all-time leader in nearly every wideout category. If he can work on improving his speed, he'll be one of the best in the country next season.

16. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

8 of 23

    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "You give him an inch, he'll take a mile. So electric, so quick, his top-end speed is fantastic. He's a crisp route-runner and gets himself open. Because of that, he's a threat to score from anywhere. Might be the best playmaker in the SEC."

    —Barrett Sallee

     

      Hands


    25/30

    Christian Kirk provided nonstop entertainment during his true freshman season whenever he got his hands on the ball. The problem was, far too often he'd struggle to hold onto it in an effort to get every last yard. Better ball security should be at the top of his to-do list this offseason.

      Route Running


    30/35

    Much of what made Kirk so fun to watch was what he could do with the ball after the catch or after fielding a punt or kickoff. Beforehand, though, the team kept things simple for him.

      Speed


    29/30

    Kirk's elusiveness in traffic made his lightning speed just unfair in comparison. Once he got the edge, he was gone.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Several of Texas A&M's wide receivers showed a great knack this year for blocking downfield and on the edge, but Kirk is still learning this aspect of the position.

      Overall


    87/100

    It was a strong debut for Kirk from a numbers standpoint, as his 70 regular-season receptions were the most of any Aggies player in the last three seasons and his 24.36 punt-return-yardage average was tops in FBS. Once he starts doing the little things as well as he does the big ones, he'll be something special.

15. Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan

9 of 23

    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "No one makes 100 catches by accident. His ability to manipulate defenders in space is top-notch. Ask Michigan State or Ohio State what it is like trying to track this guy across the formation, tackle him in space or stop him from scooting down the field."

    —Michael Felder

     

      Hands


    28/30

    With 103 receptions during the regular season, Daniel Braverman was second in FBS and was on the end of more than 40 percent of the completions Western Michigan had this year. Because he's only 5'10”, he didn't do a lot of high-pointing, instead getting in position to cradle the ball and using his body to shield it from defenders.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Western Michigan would line Braverman up in each of its wide receiver slots, crossing the routes close to the line to create a mismatch and throw off defenders. This enabled him to get deep at times, such as on a 55-yard touchdown catch against Ohio State, but he was otherwise mostly the go-to guy over the middle and up the seams.

      Speed


    25/30

    Braverman needed to get a step on his defenders via footwork and double moves since he didn't have the speed to outrun anyone.

      Blocking


    3/5

    When asked to block, Braverman employed an approach that would best be described as getting in the way.

      Overall


    88/100

    Though his production tailed off at the end of the season as fellow junior Corey Davis became the focal point of the passing game, Braverman still had at least five catches in all but one regular-season game.

14. Artavis Scott, Clemson

10 of 23

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "He's a dynamic wide receiver who had tremendous deep-threat ability, he's a weapon in space and he's physical enough to be a tremendous possession receiver. He's a big reason for Deshaun Watson's success in 2015."

    —Barrett Sallee

     

      Hands


    27/30

    After having some notable drops during his freshman season, Artavis Scott showed great improvement in this area during a critical year in which he had to become Clemson's go-to wide receiver. Though his technique isn't textbook, often because he waits too long to bring his hands together on a catch, his ability to cradle the ball against his body made up for it.

      Route Running


    30/35

    Scott's 84 receptions were more than any two other Tigers players combined, and they came in every manner imaginable. In some games, he was the deep man; in others, he stayed close to the line and looked to create on screens and jet sweeps.

      Speed


    28/30

    Because he operated more in the middle and on the edges than downfield this season, Scott's speed manifested most in his ability to change direction or make a cut without losing momentum. If needed, though, he could still outrace most defenders.

      Blocking


    3/5

    When Clemson ran to the outside, either with Wayne Gallman or quarterback Deshaun Watson, it tended not to head toward Scott's side of the field.

      Overall


    88/100

    Scott took on a much bigger role this year after Mike Williams suffered a season-ending neck injury during the first game. Scott's ability to handle assignments all over the field enabled Watson to grow as a passer.

13. KD Cannon, Baylor

11 of 23

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I still think there's a lot out there for him. He's still one of the best deep threats in the country. He'll become the complete wide receiver they need him to be [in 2016]."

    —Adam Kramer

     

      Hands


    26/30

    KD Cannon maintained his status as one of the most dangerous stretch-the-field players in college football, much as he was as a freshman last season. However, he did get a little more involved in the short and intermediate passing game where he could better show off a solid catch radius.

      Route Running


    30/35

    Many of Cannon's biggest plays came when he turned on the jets and got behind a defender, though he was capable of some fancy footwork to help create separation as well. A 59-yard touchdown catch against Oklahoma State came because of his ability to sell a short route and then burst ahead without missing a step.

      Speed


    29/30

    If Cannon wasn't the fastest receiver on Baylor, he was a close second to Corey Coleman. Part of the Bears' ability to score quickly was because Cannon could get down the field in such little time to catch a long pass.

      Blocking


    3/5

    He possesses rudimentary blocking skills on run plays, but like many of Baylor's wideouts, he's best in this area when shielding off defenders during bubble screens.

      Overall


    88/100

    Cannon's numbers dipped from his freshman campaign, but that was more because of Coleman's monster year. The team's No. 1 receiver spot is his to take in 2016.

12. Michael Thomas, Ohio State

12 of 23

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "An amazing deep threat, but I think he's getting killed in that offense."

    —Adam Kramer

     

      Hands


    28/30

    Michael Thomas had about as good a year as could be expected with the way Ohio State kept tinkering with the offense. His ability to adapt to the throwing style (and velocity) of two different quarterbacks was key to many of his best catches, particularly when tiptoeing along the sideline.

      Route Running


    31/35

    The Buckeyes' play-calling this year bordered on mind-boggling, and that included not sending Thomas deep very often. His routes tended to be simplistic, with one cut and then settling into a spot, though when he was given an out or fly route, he almost always beat his defender.

      Speed


    25/30

    Thomas has good speed, but it's not great. However, he doesn't need to be very fast because he has such great control of his 6'3”, 210-pound frame. He can extend plays through physicality rather than outrunning people.

      Blocking


    4/5

    Ohio State's tendency to get fancy with reverses and other trick plays required Thomas to be aware of where the ball was headed when it wasn't coming his way. He could handle blocks at the line and up the field, depending on what was called for.

      Overall


    88/100

    Thomas was Ohio State's leading receiver (in terms of catches) for the second year in a row, though the overall struggles with the passing game kept him from having the monster season many predicted coming into 2015.

11. Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina

13 of 23

    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "He's everything that South Carolina needed because he at least provided a threat. While he might not have had the kind of season that some people expected, he was the only option on a team with no options."

    —Barrett Sallee

     

      Hands


    27/30

    Pharoh Cooper's hands were such a valuable asset to South Carolina that it again attempted to get the ball into them as often as possible. For the third straight year, he accounted for touchdowns as a receiver, running back and quarterback, finishing with 10 total TDs to give him 26 for his career.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Considering he was the Gamecocks' only significant receiving option, Cooper had to work hard to get open by throwing in as many dukes, fakes and stutter steps as possible. Even with opponents blanketing his routes, he still managed to catch 66 passes with at least four catches in nine different games.

      Speed


    27/30

    Cooper somehow never got tired despite having to expend more energy than any of his offensive teammates. His speed stayed at an above-average level throughout the game.

      Blocking


    3/5

    He was limited to some downfield blocking when one of South Carolina's quarterbacks would take off on a scramble. This wasn't a major part of Cooper's repertoire.

      Overall


    89/100

    As bad as the Gamecocks were in 2015, they would have been in far worse shape without Cooper's abilities. He was one of those players who had to be accounted for on every play, and there didn't seem to be anything he wasn't capable of.

10. Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech

14 of 23

    John Weast/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "He plays in an offense that's perfect for him, from an every-touch, stop-what-you're doing guy, oh-my-goodness standpoint. He is so shifty."

    —Adam Kramer

     

      Hands


    26/30

    Since he's only 5'7" and 168 pounds, Jakeem Grant's hands aren't the size of a normal receiver's, though you wouldn't guess that from how careful he is with the ball. If it's thrown his way, he tends to haul it in, even if it's not originally intended for him.

      Route Running


    32/35

    “Shifty,” as Kramer noted above, is a perfect way to describe how Grant operates on the field. It's hard to pinpoint where he's going and where he'll end up, which enables him to slip through gaps and find himself wide-open quite often.

      Speed


    29/30

    In addition to catching 80 passes with seven touchdowns in the regular season, Grant also had a pair of rushing TDs—including one where he “hid” behind a victory formation and then ran for a 40-yard TD against Texas—and he twice returned kickoffs for scores. Texas Tech used the senior's lightning speed in every way imaginable.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Tech running back DeAndre Washington often would scamper outside if a hole didn't exist in the middle, and Grant did his best to hold off defenders despite being the smallest guy on the field.

      Overall


    90/100

    Grant was responsible for 31 touchdowns during his Texas Tech career, proving that size doesn't really matter when going up against drive and desire. In his senior year, he was good for at least one highlight-reel moment per game.

9. Roger Lewis, Bowling Green

15 of 23

    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "He can make plays all over the field. Super, super productive is the first thing I think of with him. He absolutely looks the part."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    28/30

    The uptempo offense that Bowling Green rode to the Mid-American Conference title (and helped Dino Babers land the Syracuse job) required the quarterback's precision and accuracy but also the receivers' great hands. Roger Lewis was the best of the lot—a sophomore who had 15 touchdowns and 55 first downs among his 82 receptions during the regular season.

      Route Running


    32/35

    The Falcons' quick-strike pass attack would flood the secondary with varying routes, though the tougher ones often went to Lewis. He excelled at turning his defender in the wrong direction just as he'd make a cut, creating large pockets of space.

      Speed


    27/30

    The 6'2”, 199-pound Lewis isn't a blazer, though he's fast enough to maintain his lead and occasionally lengthen it if he gets a good first step.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Bowling Green had an underrated run game that was aided by the blocking of Lewis and other receivers. He could also help clear space for others after the catch by keeping with a defender upfield.

      Overall


    90/100

    With 155 receptions and 2,569 yards in his first 27 games, Lewis has had one of the most productive starts in MAC history. If Bowling Green continues on the same pace offensively, he'll end up No. 1 in both categories before his career is over.

8. Aaron Burbridge, Michigan State

16 of 23

    Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "Certainly not the fastest guy and not a guy that's talked about much, but [quarterback Connor Cook] really relies on him."

    —Adam Kramer

     

      Hands


    28/30

    The Big Ten's leading receiver, Aaron Burbridge had as many receptions during the 2015 regular season as he had in his first three years at Michigan State combined. He worked best in traffic, being able to high-point the ball in a crowd or shield off his defender and look the ball into his chest.

      Route Running


    33/35

    Burbridge tended to always have a step on his defender, thanks to deceptive footwork early in the route that turned the corner or safety the wrong way and gave him an edge. This resulted in Burbridge having 21 catches of at least 20 yards, which tied for fourth-best in FBS entering bowl season.

      Speed


    26/30

    Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio described it perfectly when he said Burbridge has “good long speed," per Chris Solari of the Lansing State Journal. That quality made him able to outlast defenders via stamina rather than outright swiftness.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Most of Burbridge's best plays in this area came further down the field, where after a teammate caught a short pass, he was there to clear a path for extra yardage.

      Overall


    90/100

    The Spartans needed a receiver to emerge from a relatively unproven group, and Burbridge did so from the opening game. He had seven 100-yard outings and six games with at least eight receptions.

7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

17 of 23

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I think he's probably one of the most physically impressive wideouts I've seen. What Amari Cooper became, I think he can become that guy. He's a physical freak. The most impressive young receiver we have."

    —Adam Kramer

     

      Hands


    27/30

    JuJu Smith-Schuster wasn't USC's overwhelming leader in receptions (85), yards (1,389) and touchdowns (10) this season just because he was a big target. The 6'2”, 215-pound sophomore swallowed the ball when it came his way, hauling in 33 catches in the five games after he had hand surgery.

      Route Running


    32/35

    It's one thing for Smith-Schuster to do what's necessary to get open, but even more impressive for him is what happens after the catch. Stanford's secondary had no chance after he caught a 15-yard pass and then turned on the moves machine en route to a 54-yard TD.

      Speed


    28/30

    Fast enough to get behind the defense without much effort, Smith-Schuster uses his speed to wiggle and juke while not slowing down.

      Blocking


    3/5

    USC became more invested in the run as the 2015 season moved on, though Smith-Schuster didn't play that big of a role in this. Look for head coach Clay Helton to turn to him and the other receivers more as blockers in 2016.

      Overall


    90/100

    Smith-Schuster has done enough in his first two seasons at USC to ensure he'll be considered among the best receivers the school has produced. If he continues to progress, he could end up being close to the top of that list.

6. Will Fuller, Notre Dame

18 of 23

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I think he's become a much more complete wide receiver. In terms of a deep threat, I don't think there's anybody you'd want more. I like the fact that he's coming back, because I think there's a lot more for him."

    —Adam Kramer

     

      Hands


    26/30

    Though he dipped in overall numbers from a year ago, Will Fuller's impact on this season was far greater because of how and when he'd catch the ball. The relationship between him and freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer was cultivated thanks to Fuller's ability to make his hands into a giant basket on deep passes.

      Route Running


    33/35

    Still one of the best deep threats in the country, Fuller became more adept this season at catching the ball over the middle and serving as a short option. Now, there's no route he hasn't mastered.

      Speed


    28/30

    With one-fourth of his regular-season catches going for at least 30 yards, Fuller gets behind the defense as well as almost anyone else in FBS. That speed allowed him to turn short routes into big gains with his knack for quickly turning upfield and getting to full maximum velocity.

      Blocking


    3/5

    The offense used Fuller more often to draw a safety away from the middle of the field than to stay close to the line and block. When kept in, though, he handled his blocking assignments well.

      Overall


    90/100

    The choice to return for his senior year should be a boon for Notre Dame in 2016 while also giving Fuller a chance to raise his stock even more. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had Fuller as the No. 31 pick in the upcoming draft had he declared early.

     

    UPDATE: Fuller declared for the draft on Jan. 3.

5. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma

19 of 23

    Jackson Laizure/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "Just get him in the middle of the field and let him make a play. That vision on the go is something that he definitely has going for him."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    28/30

    Sterling Shepard reaches for the ball the same way no matter what situation he's in, which results in a high efficiency when he's targeted. Oklahoma spread the ball all over this year with the move to the Air Raid, and late in the season when the throws were bigger, it was the senior who was on the receiving end of the biggest ones.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Because he's only 5'10", Shepard has to use his moves and footwork to get open rather than just find a spot and leap. If a defender can't bump him early, he's going to find space and create.

      Speed


    27/30

    Shepard is best used in traffic and on the edges rather than trying to stretch the defense. He can beat his man off the line but doesn't go deep a lot.

      Blocking


    4/5

    Though the pass game became more prevalent this season for the Sooners, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon still excelled because receivers such as Shepard kept cornerbacks from breaking free to make a tackle.

      Overall


    91/100

    After a pair of injury-plagued seasons, Shepard made it through the year without getting hurt, which led to his best performance yet. The senior established career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns.

4. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

20 of 23

    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I think Tyler Boyd is one of the best yards-after-catch receivers in this draft [class]. He just has a knack for finding space."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    28/30

    Tyler Boyd was forced into more of a possession receiver role this season, with Pittsburgh having no other reliable targets and without its workhorse running back (James Conner) from a year ago. This worked out well, since Boyd tends to catch anything that comes his way and thrives in traffic, though his five fumbles were most among FBS receivers, per Team Rankings.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Because the Panthers were lacking in other receiving options, Boyd lined up all over the field in order to get the ball. He went from being a field-stretcher in 2014 to splitting time between the slot, coming out of the backfield and lining up wide, and wherever he started from, he usually found himself open.

      Speed


    28/30

    Boyd has bulked up over the past few years, going from 185 pounds as a freshman to 200 this season, but he's maintained the same speed level throughout.

      Blocking


    3/5

    When he lined up inside, Boyd made for an effective blocker on run plays because he was capable of faking the block if needed. This prevented defenders from trying to overpower him.

      Overall


    91/100

    Statistically, Boyd didn't have a great season in comparison to the previous two. But in terms of his overall value and his ability to adapt to what the game plan called for, he raised his stock tremendously.

3. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

21 of 23

    Bill Feig/Associated Press

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I expected this performance, but not this kind of production. From a body-control, route-running, yards-after-catch perspective, Laquon Treadwell has everything. It puts a ton of stress on every defense. That offense has been successful without any running threat, and Laquon Treadwell is the reason why."

    —Barrett Sallee

     

      Hands


    28/30

    With more receptions than any two other Ole Miss players combined, Laquon Treadwell makes the most of his large and soft hands. They can snag a ball out of the air or haul in one that's thrown at him in motion.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Because of his tremendous body control, Treadwell is able to bait receivers into thinking he's unable to gain separation. Then he makes that extra move and creates space, using his footwork to break away and become wide-open a moment after looking like he was covered up.

      Speed


    27/30

    For someone who was coming off a major leg injury, Treadwell didn't run hurt. If anything, he came back stronger and more physical, which translated into extra power that would enable him to race past defenders and stretch the field even more than before he went down.

      Blocking


    4/5

    Even though Ole Miss didn't run the ball well, when it stuck to the ground, it could depend on Treadwell to keep his man from getting involved in the play.

      Overall


    91/100

    Few receivers were more dependable and reliable in 2015 than Treadwell, who had at least four catches in every game this year. Coming back from injury even better than before just added to his legacy.

2. Josh Doctson, TCU

22 of 23

    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "I hate to call someone a possession receiver because people think of that negatively, but he's a great one. He's really good in space."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    28/30

    If the ball is headed near Josh Doctson, he's going to make the catch unless the defensive back comes up with an amazing effort. The senior was by far TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin's first choice in clutch situations, which explains why 13 of his 16 third-down receptions went for first downs. He averaged more than 20 yards per catch on third downs.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Doctson fluctuated between screens, deep routes and going over the middle—whatever the Horned Frogs needed from him. His ability to release off the line and get into space made him perpetually open, and he made it so his defender couldn't get to the ball in most cases.

      Speed


    28/30

    Because TCU's receiving corps included actual track stars such as Kolby Listenbee, Doctson sometimes seemed slow. Then he'd zip past a corner and be five yards behind him.

      Blocking


    3/5

    Doctson has become more adept at keeping his man out of the action on run plays, using his hands to hold the defender in position and drive him down the field.

      Overall


    91/100

    Even with a wrist injury that wiped out nearly the entire final month of the 2015 season, Doctson had a record-setting year for TCU. His improvement from a freshman at Wyoming to now has been astounding.

1. Corey Coleman, Baylor

23 of 23

    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

      B/R Expert Scouting

    "He's just fantastic, with open-field moves and explosion off the line of scrimmage. My comparison for him is Emmanuel Sanders. He's not the biggest guy, but good luck tackling him."

    —Matt Miller

     

      Hands


    27/30

    Whether it was a bubble screen or a deep ball, chances are Corey Coleman would haul in the pass if it was relatively close to him this season. This was especially true when he camped out in the red zone, as the 5'11", 190-pound junior was strong enough with his hands to wrestle the ball away from defenders on fades and slants. Nine of his 20 touchdown catches came from inside the 20-yard line.

      Route Running


    32/35

    Coleman became Baylor's go-to receiver for big plays because he could run any route you asked and almost always got open. More importantly, once the ball was in his hands, he did so much more thanks to amazing footwork, such as when he hurdled a West Virginia cornerback from a near standstill to turn a short gain into a long one.

      Speed


    29/30

    Coleman's ability to get from the line of scrimmage and past the defense in the blink of an eye was what drew people to him before this season, and that didn't change. If anything, he showed how he can use that speed just as well when he has the ball as he does before it ends up in his hands.

      Blocking


    3/5

    This is an area that Coleman will need to spend a lot of time working on in order to succeed at the next level. He wasn't asked to do much blocking with Baylor; instead, he served as a decoy on the outside to draw defenders' attention away from the ball-carrier.

      Overall


    91/100

    Coleman seemed like a shoo-in to break the FBS touchdown record after hauling in 20 TDs in his first eight games, but Baylor's struggles throwing the ball down the stretch ended that push. Not being able to get the ball to this deadly weapon had a major impact on the Bears' late-season slide.

     

    Note: All slides written by Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Brian Pedersen. Stats provided by CFBStats.com and are through the end of the regular season, unless otherwise noted. Follow the author on Twitter at @realBJP.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices