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2016 NFL Draft rankings: Top 20 wide receivers

Ranking the top 20 wide receivers in this year's draft class.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1. Tyler Boyd (Pittsburgh) | 6-foot-1, 197 pounds

I'll probably get a lot of flak for this, but yes, Tyler Boyd is my No. 1 wide receiver in this class. This has a lot to do with the fact that there are no true elite talents at WR this year. I love everything about Boyd's tape. He's a gamer. He may not be a "true #1 receiver" somewhere but that's such an overused term. Nowadays you have players like Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry and Golden Tate all leading their respective teams in receptions while working out of the slot more than 50 percent of their snaps. Boyd isn't just limited to playing slot receiver either. He can line up anywhere on the field, and I mean anywhere. He can line up outside, in the slot and even carry the ball out of the backfield or play a little QB (completed three of four passes for 94 yards last year).

Boyd lacks the explosiveness and long speed to be a consistent deep threat, but he has a knack for getting open and plays much bigger than his size. He's great with the ball in his hands and rarely leaves yards on the field. Most of all, Boyd wins with his impressive body control, crisp route-running and natural hands.

2. Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss) | 6-foot-2, 221 pounds

Treadwell decided not to run the 40-yard dash at this year's combine because he was afraid of his stock falling. I hate when players do this, but it's becoming the norm lately. I'm not worried about him running a 4.7 or a 4.8 because I know he's not a burner and I've seen him run on the field. He plays similar to Alshon Jefferey in that he wins with his size more than his speed and gives his QB a large radius to target.

Treadwell's body control and ability to adjust to the ball mid-air is another one of his big selling points, making him a very reliable red zone threat. I was also impressed with Treadwell's vision and ability to set up his blocks after the catch, which is something you don't normally see from a WR of his stature.

3. Josh Doctson (TCU) | 6-foot-2, 202 pounds

Doctson's got some springs, yo. His 41 inch vertical jump tied for the highest among all receivers at the combine and his 131-inch broad jump was second behind Ricardo Louis. If you need an outside receiver that can go up and get it, Josh Doctson is your man. On the other hand, he looks rail-thin for his size. He'll need to continue to bulk up for the pros and he's going to struggle against NFL press corners if he doesn't. I would have also liked to have seen Doctson create some more yards after the catch. He's a guy that leaves a lot of extra yards on the field.

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4. Leonte Carroo (Rutgers) | 6-foot-0, 211 pounds

Carroo has sticky hands and has never dropped an object in his 22 years of existence. That last part may not be true but it wouldn't surprise me if it was. I'm not worried about Carroo on the field as much as I am off the field. He's got a jacked upper body and does a nice job using his hands to free himself from press coverage. His 4.50 40 was a nice time for him at the combine and I can definitely see him as a No. 1 WR in the NFL. My only concern on the field is whether he can sell his shorter routes better as he tends to round off some cuts on slants and ins/outs.

Back to that off-the-field stuff though. Carroo was arrested for domestic assault back in September and will have to answer some questions for his character to check out. With the heightened policing of domestic assault cases in the NFL, I could easily see Carroo's stock plummeting if the investigation proves to be damning, but if everything checks out he'll be a hell of a football player and a steal for any team on Day 2.

5. Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma) | 5-foot-10, 194 pounds

Shepard tested much better than I expected. I compare him to a fellow sub-6-foot Sooner in Ryan Broyles, which may seem like a lazy comparison until you watch him play and realize they are almost the same player (pre-Broyles injury). He's a savvy route-runner that will surely be limited to playing out of the slot in the NFL, but that's okay. He plays even bigger than his size, showing the ability to make contested grabs and adjust well to the ball. Shepard is going to be a very reliable target for whichever team takes him in the second round.

6. Braxton Miller (Ohio State) | 6-foot-1, 201 pounds

For a guy playing his first year at WR, Braxton Miller opened some eyes to say the least. I was extremely impressed with his ability to adapt to a new position. This kid is a gamer and can do anything you ask of him. He's a true YAC player where you just have to put the ball in his hands and let him make plays. Miller will hear his name called fairly early due to his athleticism and upside, but he obviously has a lot of work to do to reach his ceiling. Specifically, I would like to see him eliminate the wasted steps and sloppy footwork in his routes, as well as catching the ball at a more consistent rate.

7. Corey Coleman (Baylor) | 5-foot-11, 194 pounds

Baylor receivers are incredibly tough to evaluate due to the scheme they play in. They run about three different routes throughout their career and are asked to preserve their energy on run plays. You could tell about 98 percent of the time whether Coleman was going to be the primary target based on his pre-snap body language alone. The fact that he was still able to dominate tells you how special he is, but he has a ton of work to do to become an all-around receiver at the next level.  Coleman's athleticism is unmatched and he's nearly impossible to bring down in the open field. I could see a team taking him on as a project and drafting him as high as the first round.

8. Mike Thomas (Southern Mississippi) | 6-foot-1, 186 pounds

I profiled Thomas a while back. He's a favorite of mine despite being a combine snub. Thomas is a spectacular catch making machine with impeccable body control. His route-running isn't perfect, but he's shown flashes of excellence at times. If teams continue to sleep on the Southern Miss. product, he's going to be a steal in the middle rounds.

9. Michael Thomas (Ohio State) | 6-foot-3, 212 pounds

Ah, yes. The Other Michael Thomas. Admittedly I am a bit lower than most on @Cantguardmike. That is no major slight on him though. I do like him. His route-running is good enough to consistently create small windows of separation, though I worry about whether he can continue to get the job done at the next level. His 4.57 40 was even slower than I anticipated and doesn't have what it takes to be much of a deep threat. Thomas' size is going to be his major selling point for NFL teams. I believe he can be a solid, reliable second option for some team in the NFL.

10. Will Fuller (Notre Dame) | 6-foot-0, 186 pounds

Speed, speed and more speed. Will Fuller has blinding straight-line speed and proved so by running an official 4.32 40 at the combine. Whew. It's a shame that his hands are tinier than a toddler's and can't catch a ball to save his life. He also lacks the explosiveness that you'd assume a speed demon would have as shown by his measurables below. Fuller is a boom-or-bust prospect that is going to have his fair share of ups-and-downs in the NFL, but his big play ability is going to be hard for teams to pass on.

11. Kenny Lawler (California) | 6-foot-2, 203 pounds
12. Pharoh Cooper (South Carolina) | 5-foot-11, 203 pounds 
13. Charone Peake (Clemson) | 6-foot-2, 209 pounds
14. Rashard Higgins (Colorado State) | 6-foot-1, 196 pounds 
15. Aaron Burbridge (Michigan State) | 6-foot-0, 206 pounds 
16. Demarcus Robinson (Florida) | 6-foot-1, 203 pounds
17. De'Runnya Wilson (Mississippi State) | 6-foot-5, 224 pounds
18. Paul McRoberts (Southeast Missouri State) | 6-foot-2, 202 pounds
19. Bralon Addison (Oregon) | 5-foot-9, 197 pounds
20. Keyarris Garrett (Tulsa) | 6-foot-3, 220 pounds


2016 Positional Rankings: Quarterbackrunning back

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