Ranking NFL's top 5 rookie WRs of 2022 by expected production: Tyreek Hill's replacement to play key role

Ranking NFL’s top 5 rookie WRs of 2022 by expected production: Tyreek Hill’s replacement to play key role

The 2022 rookie class of receivers features a variety of flavors at the position, legit top-end talent and plenty of depth. We had six wideouts picked in the top 20 and and 10 in the top 50! It’s become one of the most vital positions in football. Clearly.

These are the five receivers who’ll be most productive in Year 1.

If it weren’t for the Falcons quarterback situation, London would be higher on this list. He was my WR1 in the 2022 draft class thanks to what I believed to be the best combination of route-running ability, YAC dominance, and contested-catch mastery. At 6-foot-4 with basketball talent that clearly seeps into his game on the football field, London is the definition of a matchup nightmare.

And he’s on the team that already features a young matchup nightmare in Kyle Pitts, who led the team in targets, catches, and receiving yards last season. London and Pitts together formulates a youthful tandem with immense size and ball skills we haven’t seen in a long time. Atlanta’s defense is far from being fully rebuilt, so the Falcons should find themselves in obvious passing situations more often than not. I just don’t love the idea of ​​either Marcus Mariota or rookie Desmond Ridder firing London the football.

Wilson finished higher than his teammate, Chris Olave, in my scouting gradebook. While Olave was the more polished route runner, Wilson exuded more all-around athleticism at nearly identical speed. He’s on an offense with second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who really struggled as a rookie, and already features Corey Davis and the comparably explosive Elijah Moore, the Jets second-round pick in 2021.

Wilson will get open, make acrobatic catches, and leave defenders whiffing at air in some instances once he has the ball in his hands. He’s like a crafty shooting guard who can always create his own shot. But with Davis, Moore, and the free-agent signing of CJ Uzomah, and with a young unproven quarterback, Wilson’s ceiling is somewhat capped lower than some other receivers in his class.

3. Chris Olave, Saints

Olave enters the NFL known for his ability as a separator, a reputation he carried with him for years at Ohio State. He’ll pair with the uber-productive possession wideout Michael Thomas in Jameis Winston’s offense. How will it look without Sean Payton calling the plays, though? That’s a bit concerning.

And for as dazzling as Olave is at simply getting open, his yards-after-the-catch ability is lackluster. He does have 4.39 speed though, and Winston certainly isn’t afraid to let it rip down the field. Olave should be the intermediate and deep-ball weapon for New Orleans this season. But how much will the loss of Terron Armstead hurt the functionality of the passing game and Winston’s steadiness from inside the pocket? The rest of the line — outside of ultra-reliable right tackle Ryan Ramczyk — isn’t rock-solid either.

The Titans have an almost unfathomable amount of receiving production to replace from a season ago. They have the highest available target percentage (67.1%), overall available targets (351). and air yards (2,914), per 4for4.com. Of course, Robert Woods will eat into some of that availability; however, he’s now 30 years old and returning from a November ACL tear — not a major concern to Burks’ production value.

And while Burks isn’t quite as dynamic off the line as AJ Brown, their games are strikingly similar. Burks won for years in the SEC with his strong lower half that allows him to laugh off contact to power through tackling attempts. He’s sneaky-good in traffic down the field too. While Derrick Henry will start the season as the focal point of the Titans offense, for as much of a unicorn as he is, the two-time rushing-yard champ is now 28 with nearly 1,600 career carries (including the playoffs) on his resume , and he’s returning from a serious injury last season.

I raved about Moore during the pre-draft process — he finished with a mid first-round grade for me — and, of course, since he was drafted to play with Patrick Mahomes in a Tyreek Hill-less Chiefs offense, the raving about Moore continued. Sure, there’s Travis Kelce. He’s option No. 1. But who becomes option No. 2 for Mahomes is completely up for grabs right now. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have been productive in the NFL already and Mecole Hardman has an established rapport with Mahomes.

But Moore’s skill set is too dazzling for him not to take off in Kansas City’s creatively potent attack. He dusts press coverage at the line, runs violently sharp routes, tracks it like a power forward on the outside, and is a smaller version of Deebo Samuel when it comes to bouncing off tacklers. Moore will be an instant star.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.