NFL Draft WR breakdown: D.K. Metcalf has size, pedigree on side
The NFL Draft is April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn. Each day leading up to the first round, the Tribune-Review is compiling a positional preview of the top draft prospects.
Today: Wide receivers
1. D.K. Metcalf
Mississippi, 6-3, 228
Metcalf has the size and speed — he ran a 4.33 40 at the NFL Combine — that makes him the natural choice as the first wide receiver to come off the board. The grandson of Terry Metcalf and nephew of Eric, D.K. Metcalf left school after his redshirt sophomore season. Metcalf played in seven games last season before suffering a neck injury. He had 26 catches for 569 yards (a 21.9 average) and five touchdowns before he got hurt.
2. Marquise Brown
Oklahoma, 5-9 166
Nicknamed “Hollywood” because of his hometown in Florida, Brown is the cousin of Antonio Brown. Marquise had surgery on a Lisfranc injury that caused him to miss the NFL Combine. At Oklahoma, he caught passes from Baker Mayfield as a sophomore and Kyler Murray as a junior. Brown was a first-team All-American in 2018 after catching 75 passes for 1,318 yards (17.6 average) and 10 touchdowns.
3. A.J. Brown
Mississippi, 6-0, 226
Metcalf isn’t the only first-round talent Ole Miss produced this year. Brown had 1,252 receiving yards as a sophomore and broke his record with 1,320 yards in 2018. He caught 85 passes, including six for touchdowns. With his size, he has drawn comparisons to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
4. N’Keal Harry
Arizona State, 6-2, 228
Harry was a three-year starter and two-time all-conference pick at Arizona State, and he concluded his college career with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. As a junior, he caught 73 passes for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns.
5. Deebo Samuel
South Carolina, 5-11, 214
Nicknamed after the bully in the movie “Friday,” Samuel had the production at South Carolina to back up his moniker. A physical receiver, he caught 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns in his redshirt senior season. He also had a 24.8-yard average on 23 kickoff returns and scored a touchdown.
6. Parris Campbell
Ohio State, 6-0, 205
Campbell raised eyebrows when he ran the 40 in 4.31 seconds at the NFL Combine. He also had a 40-inch vertical leap. A three-year starter at Ohio State, Campbell also excelled as a kick returner. In 2018, he led the Buckeyes with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.
7. J.J. Arceqa-Whiteside
Stanford, 6-2, 225
Arceqa-Whiteside had 14 touchdown catches in 2018, proving to be a top red-zone target for Stanford. He totaled 63 catches for 1,059 yards as a redshirt junior last year. He also led Stanford the previous year when he caught 48 passes for 781 yards and nine touchdowns. His NFL.com draft comparison is Eric Decker.
8. Riley Ridley
Georgia, 6-1, 199
The younger brother of Calvin Ridley, he also excelled in the SEC during his three years at Georgia. Riley Ridley led the Bulldogs with 44 catches and had 570 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018. A drawback is he ran a slowish 4.58 in the 40 at the NFL Combine.
9. Kelvin Harmon
N.C. State, 6-2, 221
As a sophomore, Harmon became the first player in school history — when Philip Rivers was throwing passes — to record a 1,000-yard season. In 2018, as a junior, Harmon again led N.C. State with 1,186 receiving yards on 81 catches that included seven touchdowns.
10. Hakeem Butler
Iowa State, 6-5, 227
Butler is among the tallest wide receivers in his class, and his size helped him amass 1,318 receiving yards on 60 catches and nine touchdowns in 2018. He also averaged 22 yards per catch.
West Virginia, 6-3, 211
Known for being recruited by then-USC coach Lane Kiffin as an eighth-grade quarterback, Sills ended up at West Virginia, where he switched positions. He thrived in his final two seasons, catching 18 touchdown passes in 2017 and 15 as a senior. He had 65 catches for 986 yards in 2018.
Best fit for Steelers
Massachusetts, 5-9, 188
If the Steelers grab a pass catcher in the second round, they could get one of the top 10 prospects. If they wait until the third, Isabella could be on their radar. They brought him in for a predraft visit. Isabella ran a 4.31 40 at the NFL Combine after catching 102 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns in his final year at Massachusetts. However, his size suggests his future is as a slot receiver, and the Steelers already have Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers playing there.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .