Comparing the top 5 2020 WRs to recent college stars
For the next two weeks, Rivals.com is publishing a series comparing the top five players at each position with current college players or those who were selected in the 2019 NFL Draft to better give fans an idea of who these players are and what to expect from the next round of superstars. We move on to the wide receivers.
1. Julian Fleming
Comparison: N’Keal Harry
Overview: Harry is a physical outside receiver who added some good weight during his time at Arizona State, and Fleming is a similar player - someone who can beat smaller cornerbacks with his size and physical play but who also has some speed to stretch the field. Fleming is listed one inch taller than Harry and once he gets to college it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he fills his frame out even more. Both are incredibly productive, and that’s why Fleming is being pursued by Clemson, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama and others.
Farrell’s take: When I first saw Fleming I thought of Harry because of his length and dominance and surprising downfield speed. Fleming is a little taller at the same stage and might be more fluid, but Harry had stronger hands. This is a great comparison and if Fleming picks the right school and develops, he could be a first-rounder.
2. Rakim Jarrett
Comparison: A.J. Brown
Overview: Jarrett and Brown have similar playing styles. They have the speed to stretch the field deep but can also take short passes and make defenders miss. The five-star receiver who recently committed to LSU is a tremendous athlete - maybe even better than Brown in that area - but Brown has a more sturdy frame and can be physical with defensive backs. If Jarrett can put up the numbers in Baton Rouge that Brown did in Oxford, that would put him in the first-round NFL Draft discussion since Brown had 189 catches for 2,984 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons.
Farrell’s take: Jarrett is a thick and very strong receiver who lacks great height but plays with speed and power. That’s Brown, for sure. Jarrett will add weight and get stronger at the college level as Brown did and the biggest question is how well LSU will utilize his skills.
3. Johnny Wilson
Comparison: Collin Johnson
Overview: Wilson is just a massive kid, there’s no way around it. He is 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, a huge target on the outside, and quarterbacks can just throw the ball up his way and he can come down with it. That has been one way Johnson has been so successful at Texas and why he briefly considered leaving early for the NFL Draft after this past season, when he caught 68 passes for 985 yards and seven scores. Wilson should dominate even more on the high school level, but he’s a big-bodied outside receiver and it’s why Texas is so high on his list, along with UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Ohio State.
Farrell’s take: Wilson’s size makes you think we should compare him to D.K. Metcalf, but he’s more of a Collin Johnson-type who is fluid and just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. There were questions about Johnson’s competitive nature coming out of high school and those have been answered at the college level. The same questions exist for Wilson. Both players can dominate when they want to and can turn it on and off.
4. Demond Demas
Comparison: CeeDee Lamb
Overview: Demas is a long, rangy, athletic receiver who makes difficult catches look easy and that is exactly what Lamb showed in high school as well. The Oklahoma receiver who had 65 catches for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season (and should have more now that Hollywood Brown is gone) is a perfect comparison for Demas, who’s committed to Texas A&M and who should be a focal point of the Aggies’ offense in the coming years. Demas has excellent hands, the athleticism to go up and over any cornerback to catch passes, and he could be pushing toward five-star status.
Farrell’s take: I loved Lamb out of high school and he’s one of my regrets because I should have pushed for him to be a five-star. Demas is pushing for that fifth star and I doubt we make the same mistake. Both players have length, excellent hands and the ability to take over games. I love this comparison.
5. Leonard Manuel
Comparison: D.K. Metcalf
Overview: Metcalf was listed at 6-foot-5 and 211 pounds in high school, which is amazing because he checked in 2 inches shorter at the combine and was 228 pounds, which is no surprise because he’s one of the most muscular and physically impressive receivers in recent memory. Manuel is only about 200 pounds and is an inch or two taller but he has the frame to fill out in the coming years and as an outside receiver he could be really special because of those physical tools.
Farrell’s take: Who is a raw, big, freaky athletic kid who is still a bit awkward when running routes and better downfield than he is in the short passing game - like Metcalf was? Manuel is that guy. He could end up being a home run or just a guy we look at as a physical freak in a few years.