Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) tries to get past Michigan State cornerback Marqui Lowery (29) after a catch in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch/TNS)
Here are the top 10 wide receiver prospects (with projected round) for the NFL draft, which is set for April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri:
1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jr., WR, Ohio State, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, 1st (projected draft round): Worked behind Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave at Ohio State. He was supposed to play with Marvin Harrison Jr. last season, but played in only three games because of a hamstring injury.
2. Zay Flowers, Sr., WR, Boston College, 5-9, 182, 1st: He finished his career with 200 catches for 3,056 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and 29 touchdowns.
3. Quentin Johnston, Jr., WR, TCU, 6-4, 215, 1st: He was a big-play specialist for TCU. He averaged 19 yards per catch over his career and scored 14 touchdowns. He had 60 catches for 1,069 yards (17.8 per catch) and six touchdowns last season.
4. Jordan Addison, Jr., WR, Southern California, 5-11, 175, 1st: Playing at Pitt with Kenny Pickett at quarterback, Addison had 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021.
5. Jalin Hyatt, Jr., WR, Tennessee, 6-0, 185, 1st-2nd: He was named All-SEC last season. He caught 67 passes for 1,267 yards (18.9 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns. He had a big jump from catching 21 passes the previous season. He gave reasons for the big jump in production: “Probably the biggest thing for me was taking advantage of our facilities, taking advantage of the training room, being more mature. I think those three things were the biggest thing.”
6. Josh Downs, Jr., WR, North Carolina, 5-10, 175, 1-2: Downs, a Suwanee native who played at North Gwinnett High, had 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns on 94 catches last season. In 2021, he had 101 catches for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns. He was among the best receivers in North Carolina history, finishing fourth in career receiving yards and third in receptions.
7. Rashee Rice, Sr., WR, SMU, 6-1, 200, 1-2:Led the FBS in receiving yards per game with 112.9. He had 1,355 receiving yards (third) and eight receptions per game (fifth).
8. Cedric Tillman, Sr., WR, Tennessee, 6-3, 215, 2nd: He played five seasons for the Volunteers after he elected to return for his super senior season in 2022. He played 44 games with 21 starts. He averaged 14.9 yards per catch over 109 receptions over his career.
9. Tyler Scott, Jr., WR, Cincinnati, 5-10, 185, 2nd: He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds.He averaged 16.6 yards per catch over his 87 catches in three seasons with the Bearcats.
10. Kayshon Boutte, Jr., WR, LSU, 6-0, 205, 2nd: He’s a natural athlete with big playmaking ability. He broke the SEC single-game yards-receiving mark with 308 yards against Mississippi as a freshman.
Best of the rest: Iowa State’s Xavier Hutchinson, Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims Jr., Wake Forest A.T. Perry, Mississippi’s Jonathan Mingo and Purdue’s Charlie Jones.
Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter
Local prospect: Jadon Haselwood, 6-3, 213, Arkansas (Cedar Grove HS): He was a five-star recruit. “It’s been a grind,” Haselwood told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the East-West Shrine Bowl. “I feel like I still haven’t shown the world what they need to see from me. I’m going to continue to work to get better every day.”
Teams in need: Texans, Ravens, Cardinals, Browns, Jaguars and Lions.
Need area for Falcons: Yes. The Falcons have Drake London, but elected not to re-sign Olamide Zaccheaus or Damiere Byrd. They signed Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller, who mostly have been backups in the NFL, as free agents.
D. Orlando Ledbetter, Esq is the award-winning Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the newspaper, has been on the staff since 2003. Every day D. Orlando strives to provide inside in the Falcons and the NFL. He finds the most joy in providing insight into the team, the coaching moves, the offseason business moves, the draft and the games.