2019 Rookie Wide Receiver Report

Contributed by: Shawn Childs and Matt Brandon
Last Updated: Jul 06, 2019 2:02 PM

Wide Receiver Rookie Report

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots

Over the last two seasons at Arizona State, Harry caught 155 passes for 2,230 yards and 17 TDs. For his size (6'2” and 227 lbs.), N'Keal has surprising speed (4.53 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) while being beast with his strength. He'll do all the dirty work at WR while catching a high number of jump balls. Harry can make moves in the open field, but he won't make many huge plays scoring plays over a long field with his legs. Complete monster in the red zone while being open even if a defender is draping all over him in coverage.

He'll beat speed with power plus defeat physical press corners with his legs. N'Keal needs to improve his route running and work on improving his release. The loss of Rob Gronkowski creates an excellent opportunity in his rookie season. Draft with confidence as a WR3 in PPR leagues while expecting 60+ catches for 800+ yards and a run at double-digit TDs.

D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

When searching for the next great WR in the NFL, a Fantasy owner needs to see production along with talent. Metcalf is a physical specimen with a great combination of size (6'3” and 228 lbs., speed (4.33 40 at the NFL combine), and strength (27 reps in the 225 lbs. bench press at the combine). His hands great well leading to many one-handed catches along with winning battles in tight coverage in the end zone. D.K. can beat a defense deep, but he has the look of a long strider while lacking experience and the resume over the short to middle areas of the field. Over his last two seasons at Ole Mississippi, Metcalf caught 65 passes for 1,228 yards and 12 TDs over 19 games. He's missed time in two of his three seasons in college. His next step is developing his route running while proving his frame isn't too tightly wound to handle the battles at the next level. 

Seattle is going to use Metcalf as a deep threat on the outside in his rookie season while also trying to get him in space on slants and bubble screens to allow his speed and strength to make big plays. His presence can only be a positive to the run game and the rebound value of Russell Wilson. I don't expect a high catch total in 2019, but D.K. will have shining moments this year. Possible 55+ catches for 800+ yards and a chance at double-digit TDs if he develops a scoring rhythm with Wilson in the red zone.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

Brown can't match the speed of the top WRs in the 2019 draft class, but his game looks the most NFL ready. His movements with the ball in his hands seem to be uncanny creating yards after the catch, which is somewhat surprising for his size (6'0” and 226 lbs.). A.J. has the wheels to have success in the NFL (4.49 40 yards dash). His route running is advanced helping his value at the goal line and the deep passing game. Over the last two seasons at Ole Miss, he caught 160 passes for 2,572 yards and 17 TDs highlighted by his junior year (85/1320/6).

He played along D.K. Metcalf in college. Fantasy owners have been searching for the next impact 100-catch WR to replace the loss of Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, or Calvin Johnson. Brown fits the WR1 mold in his rookie season, but he landed on a team with a weak passing game.

I'm excited about his upside, but I have to temper my expectations based on the WR structure and the expected passing opportunity in Tennessee. I'll start his initial prediction with about 50 catches for 750 yards and a handful of TDs. If he hits the ground running, Brown will make the players around him better.

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Brown comes to the NFL with two nice seasons (57/1095/7 and 75/1318/10) at Oklahoma. He lacks size (5'9” and 166 lbs.). His combination of speed and quickness makes him tough to defend in the deep passing game while owning the talent to win battles over the short areas of the field. Brown's vision grades well with the wiggle and fight to turn quick passes into long TDs. Marquise should get stronger adding more value to his all-around game.

His route running needs more work over the mid-range parts of the field. His cousin is Antonio Brown, which gives him the pedigree to have success at the next level. A more explosive version of Tavon Austin with a chance to reach WR1 level if he gets stronger and proves he can handle the physical play at the next level. In his rookie season with the Ravens, Brown will add value in the deep passing game plus be a threat to do damage on short passes if he can make the defender miss. A good starting point with his Fantasy value would be a 50/750/5 season while waiting to here the training camp reports out of Baltimore.

Hakeem Butler, Arizona Cardinals

In his final year at Iowa State, Butler caught 60 balls for 1,318 yards and nine TDs. He also showed big-play ability in 2017 (41/697/7). Hakeem is a big target, but he does lack quickness, and his pass routes need plenty of work. Hakeem will catch many contested balls while being a load to tack down in the open field. Possible red zone threat with a chance to surprise in some games when defenses overlook him. More of a project with flier value. Larry Fitzgerald may be a crucial part of his development.

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

At first glance, Campbell gives me the feel of a great player once he adds more upper body strength to help him in the NFL vs. press coverage. His speed (4.31 40 yard dash at the NFL combine) is electric while also offering vision and open field ability. Ohio State used him on many plays close to the line of scrimmage as a pass catcher in 2018, leading to a breakout season (90/1063/12). In his first two years in college, Parris showed explosiveness as a runner (14/186/2). His short area quickness offers an edge in the slot while working best when having a free release vs. zone coverage.

Campbell needs to improve his route running plus show growth his hands in tight coverage. 

I like his movements with the ball in his hands, and I expect him to fit well in the Colts' offense that wants to make defenses defend the whole field. Must follow this summer to see if he gains momentum in Fantasy drafts.

Kelvin Harmon, Washington Redskins

WR Kelvin Harmon is the choice in the 6th round. He gives Washington a big WR (6'2” and 220 lbs.) with strength. His speed and quickness don't create separation while offering strong hands. Even with power, Harmon isn't a lock to win vs. physical corners in press corners.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles

In his three seasons with playing time for Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside showed growth each year (24/379/5, 48/781/9, and 63/1059/14) while showcasing plus yards per catch each season (15.8, 16.3, and 16.8). J.J. brings size (6'3” and 225 lbs.) to the WR position. His hands and strength give him an edge on jump balls in the end zone, but he needs to improve his route running and his overall technique to become a complete player at the next level. Arcega-Whiteside lacks speed, so his success will come by his ability to be physical on his release and his route running.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

Over four seasons at South Carolina, Samuel caught 148 passes for 2,076 yards and 16 TDs with some success as a runner in 2016 (15/98/6). His game is built on more power than finesse. In the open field, Deebo can make big plays with respectable speed (4.48 40 yards dash in the NFL combine) for his size (5'11” and 214 lbs.). He plays with an edge to his game, which made me think of a Hines Ward.

In his best year in college in 2018, Samuel only caught 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 TDs. His playing time was cut short in 2015 and 2017 due to hamstring injuries. More of a hard worker than a dynamic player. Deebo needs work on his route running while needing to prove he can beat press coverage. I expect him to piss off defenses at times, which will come from being at the right place at the right time after working on getting open or making the tough catch in traffic. His hands grade well.

His skill set points to him winning a WR3 role in the 49ers' offense at a minimum. In the early OTAs, Samuel missed time with a groin issue that should be cleared up by training game. Possible 50+ catches for 600+ yards and a handful of TDs.

Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals

Based on college resume (231/3526/30), Isabella has a chance to make an impact in his rookie season. He improved in each year at the University of Massachusetts with his highlight year coming in 2018 (102/1698/13). His speed and quickness should play well out of the slot or crossing routes while needing to improve his release vs. bigger cornerbacks. His hands could be an issue under duress.

This year Arizona should use him on the outside to take advantage of his speed. When Kyler Murraybreaks the pocket, Andy will have a chance to hit on some long TDs. The Cardinals will try to get him the ball on slants, bubble screens, and crossing route to help him get into space. Future Julian Edelman type player once he gets stronger. Possible 50 catches in 2019 with 750+ yards and a hand full of TDs.

Jalen Hurd, San Francisco 49ers

Over his first two seasons at Tennessee in college, Hurd gained 2,595 combined yards with 21 TDs and 57 catches on 524 touches as running back. After an injury (concussion) in 2016, Jalen struggled to make plays (532 combined yards with three TDs and ten catches on 132 touches). He asked to switch to WR, but the Volunteers declined, leading to a transfer to Baylor.

After sitting out in 2017, Hurd played well in his first season at WR (69/946/4) while adding some value running the ball (48/209/3). Last December Jalen had minor knee surgery, which puts him behind the other 49ers' WR receivers heading into training camp. His size (6'5” and 225 lbs.) gives him an edge in the red zone, but he needs more time to develop his wide receiving skills. Player to follow, but he may be a year away from being a viable Fantasy option.

Keesean Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

Johnson gives Arizona an intriguing fifth option at WR. Over four seasons at Fresno State, KeeSean caught 275 passes for 3,463 yards and 24 TDs with two top years in 2017 (77/1013/8 and 95/130/8). His game offers more upside in route running than the two other rookie WRs drafted by the Cardinals in 2019, and he has strength in his hands. His overall speed is below NFL standards at WR, which limits him to a slot type receiver early in his career.

Gary Jennings, Seattle Seahawks

In 2017, Jennings worked as a possession receiver for West Virginia leading to 97 catches for 1,096 yards and one TD. Last year his usage had a complete flip where he became more of a threat in the deep passing game with scoring ability (54/917/13). His movements and hands point to him seizing/developing into the Doug Baldwin role in Seattle's offense. Gary needs to work on his overall route running, but his hands projects as assets. His combination skill set (possession/deep passing) points to 60+ catches for 750+ yards with a chance to surprise in TDs. Right kind of flier with his draft valued expected to gain momentum over the summer. 

Riley Ridley, Chicago Bears

Coming into the NFL, Ridley doesn't have much of a college resume (69/1015/13) over three seasons. Last year he caught 43 passes for 559 yards and nine TDs. Riley has strength in his route running along with plus hands. His biggest question comes in his quickness and overall speed. His possession type skill set may surprise in his rookie season if Taylor Gabriel has an injury.

Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens

In a dream world, Boykin would make a helpful step forward to give the Ravens the desperately needed big WR on the outside. Unfortunately, his college resume (77/1026/11) leads to plenty of question marks about his playability at the next level. Miles has size (6'4” and 220 lbs.), speed (4.42 40 yard dash at the NFL combine), and surprising quickness for his build, but he needs to get stronger and improve his route running.

Boykin will struggle vs. press coverage while lacking changing of direction quickness to create space when slowing down on his breaks. His long strikes have a chance to work well on the outside where jumping ability and hands help secure tightly contested balls. This season Miles will get his chances on fades at the goal line plus work a home run threat for Lamar Jackson. Tough to see more than 40 catches while being erratic from game to game.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

In his sophomore season at Toledo, Johnson caught 74 passes for 1,278 yards and 13 TDs pointing to more upside. His opportunity and success fade in 2018 (49/761/8), but Pittsburgh saw enough in his game to drafts him the second round. His frame, hands, and open field movements have a lot in common with Antonio Brown. Diontae will be explosive with the ball in his hands, but he needs to clean up route running and get stronger. A tricky player early in his career. Player to follow while keeping a close ear to the training camp news to see if he can hit the ground running.

Dillon Mitchell, Minnesota Vikings

Mitchell has foundation traits to develop into a viable bench option at WR in the NFL, but he needs to commit to the game while working hard to get stronger. His quickness is more an edge than his long speed while also lacking NFL route running. In a way, Dillon comes across as a player who believes he's better than he really is, which will lead to a short football career at the next level.

Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders

Over four seasons at Clemson, Renfrow caught 186 passes for 2,133 yards and 15 TDs. His best season came in his junior year (60/602/3) while scoring 11 of his TDs in 2015 and 2016. Hunter has upside as possession type WR, but he needs to get stronger to handle the harder hitting NFL. I expect him to emerge as the third WR for Oakland while being a tough start in the Fantasy world.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins

McLaurin brings speed to the Redskins' offense. After minimal role for Ohio State in 2016 (11/114/2) and 2017 (29/436/6), Terry flashed home run ability in his senior year (35/701/11) while having natural ties to Dwayne Haskins. His route running gives him a chance while needing to improve his release.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Despite only 60 catches for 961 yards and 11 TDs over the last two seasons at Georgia covering 29 games, Fantasy owners have priced Hardman as a WR6 in the early draft seasons in PPR leagues also helped by the off the field issue by Tyreek Hill. Mecole gives Mahomes another home run deep threat with the gas to blow by defenders. Hardman can turn a short pass to a long TD if he breaks into the open field. He had some early long catches in college, which won't be the case in the NFL. For now, an explosive WR who will lack consistency in his production and opportunity in his rookie season. Player to keep an eye due to the greatness of the Chiefs' QB.

Darius Slayton, New York Giants

Over the last two seasons at Auburn, Slay posted two big-play seasons (29/643/5 and 35/643/5) while averaging 20.3 yards per catch in his college career. Darius should work as a home run threat earlier in his career while offering questionable hands. With better QB plays and a more defined role, he may surprise at times within games. More of flier than a playable asset in 2019.

Terry Goodwin, Carolina Panthers

Over four seasons at Georgia, Godwin caught 134 passes for 1,880 yards and 12 TDs. His strength is route running while needing to add more power to win off the line of scrimmage. Terry projects as a slot wide receiver who will need time to develop. His best season came in 2017 when he caught 38 passes for 639 yards and six TDs.

Juwann Winfree, Denver Broncos

In the sixth round, the Broncos selected WR Juwann Winfree. His college resume shines of inconsistency with too much missed time due to injuries and commitment issues. Winfree offers size (6'1” and 210 lbs.) with enough speed to make plays in the deep passing game.

Marcus Green, Atlanta Falcons

With their last draft selection, Atlanta added WR Marcus Green. He comes to the NFL with plus speed (4.39 forty) with a slot skill set. Green offers open field ability as a runner while needing to improve his route running and hands. He'll struggle in tight coverage with patience and variation to his movements off the line of scrimmage.

Travis Fulgham, Detroit Lions

Fulgham gives the Lions a second big WR (6'2” and 215 Lbs.). He'll struggle to win off the line of scrimmage with questions about his route running. Travis has a big catch radius with the ability to win in tight quarters. His release takes a while to get cranked up while also lacking the winning gear in the deep passing game.

Olabisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings

Johnson comes to the pros with strength in his route running. His foundation skill set in speed, strength, and quickness won't separate him from the pack. Olabisi wants to improve while working hard to understand his game plan and how defenders want to play against him. He'll have value vs. zone coverage but struggle against physical press cornerbacks. Johnson offers an edge with his hands.

John Ursua, Seattle Seahawks

Ursua is the Seahawks bullet at slot WR. His frame (5'9” and 175 lbs.) needs plenty of work in bulk and strength. He'll run well over the short areas of the field where his quickness and shiftiness will create space. John can make plays after the catch while needing to improve his hands under duress. Ursua isn't where he needs to be in his route running to have more off the line of scrimmage at the next level.

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The views and content in this article are not necessarily the opinion of Fantasy Football Champs, www.FFChamps.com, and its in-house experts.