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NFL Draft Stock Report: Wide receivers

Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley (AP)

The NFL Draft is far away but as college football hits its stride for 2017, we take a look at the top prospects at each position. Today we continue with the wide receivers.

RELATED: NFL DRAFT - Quarterbacks | Running backs

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Recruiting: From South Florida, Ridley committed to Alabama in the spring before his senior season. Florida State received a visit and other schools were involved but he stuck with the Crimson Tide.

Stats: The former five-star leads the Crimson Tide with 20 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns this season. He’s the only Alabama player with triple-digit receiving yards.

Farrell’s take: Ridley set freshman records at Alabama as a receiver, the same place where Julio Jones and Amari Cooper dominated, so that's heady stuff. Ridley was always an elite prospect in high school and a no-brainer five-star for us from the start, and other websites followed suit. He was an accomplished route-runner, had solid size and amazing hands, and just needed to fill out and find his way into the Alabama offense. This isn’t a great wide receiver class, so this list could shift often, but right now Ridley is the guy.

Recruiting: Kirk committed to Texas A&M over Arizona State, UCLA and others in December of his senior season. Arizona’s top prospect in the previous recruiting cycle, five-star QB Kyle Allen, also committed to the Aggies but he has transferred to Houston.

Stats: The former five-star prospect leads the Aggies with 19 receptions for 251 yards and Kirk has four of Texas A&M’s six receiving touchdowns so far this season. He’s averaging more than 32 yards per kick return as well.

Farrell’s take: Kirk’s size was always the only question mark, but we pushed beyond that and made him the rare 5-foot-10 five-star wide receiver and he’s living up to that billing. We expected him to hit the ground running with his route-running and ability to separate, but he’s ahead of schedule already with two great seasons and he had another breakout game this past weekend. Size will be a question mark for NFL scouts, but his film backs up his play.

Recruiting: Lightly recruited out of high school, Washington picked Oklahoma State in the summer prior to his senior season. His only other reported offer was from Texas State.

Stats: Washington is tied for first on the Cowboys with 19 catches and leads Oklahoma State with 520 yards and four touchdowns. He’s averaging more than 27 yards per reception.

Farrell’s take: Washington was a very fast, straight-line receiver from a small school who can be billed as a “diamond in the rough” recruiting find for Oklahoma State. We liked his speed enough to make him a low three-star, but he has turned into something fun to watch at the next level. Not only is he fast, but he’s elusive and sneaky strong and could be an elite NFL slot. He excels at 50/50 balls and that’s why the NFL likes him in addition to his speed.

Recruiting: A three-star safety in high school, Sutton had BYU, Colorado and Fresno State as his three favorites just a few weeks before National Signing Day. But a late visit to SMU switched his recruitment and he signed with the Mustangs.

Stats: Sutton is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards with 13 catches for 217 yards. He leads SMU with five receiving touchdowns. Sutton is averaging nearly 17 yards per grab.

Farrell’s take: We had Sutton projected as a defensive back with his tall frame and good range. He also played some linebacker as well, but he has developed into a very good wide receiver at the next level. He was a big-play threat at wide receiver in high school, although not nearly as polished as he is now. Most wanted him as a defensive back, but his ball skills have transitioned well and his size, speed and hands make him one to watch in the first round of the NFL Draft. He struggled against TCU which could hurt him and lead to a slide.

MORE SMU: TheHillTopics.com

Recruiting: Cain, who mainly played quarterback in high school, was considered an early lean to Florida State but he signed with Clemson. Florida and many others were also involved. He was one of three five-stars in Clemson’s 2015 recruiting class along with DT Christian Wilkins and ATH Ray-Ray McCloud III.

Stats: The former five-star is third on the team with eight catches for 126 yards and a touchdown this season. McCloud and Hunter Renfrow have combined for 31 catches.

Farrell’s take: Cain was an elite talent out of high school, a guy who didn’t play wide receiver on a full-time basis but picked it up like a natural. While at first we had questions about his ability to get off the line of scrimmage and be an effective route-runner, those were easily answered each time we saw him. He’s a dynamic athlete who will be a major factor for Clemson’s pursuit of a national title this year. His size and speed could push him up this list.

TWO TO WATCH

Recruiting: USC, Stanford and others were considered among the frontrunners for St. Brown but he decided to sign with the Irish. His middle brother, Osiris, plays at Stanford and his youngest brother, Amon-Ra, is a five-star receiver in the 2018 class.

Stats: St. Brown is tied for the team lead with 11 receptions and leads the Irish with 160 receiving yards. He’s caught one of only three Notre Dame passing touchdowns so far.

Farrell’s take: St. Brown had obvious size and was very gifted coming out of high school but we questioned how physical he would be. However, he not only showed off his ability to box out receivers at Under Armour week, but he also flashed his great catch radius. He’s played as expected based on his ranking and is a true deep threat with size.

Recruiting: Shortly after his official visit to Washington, the three-star prospect committed to the Huskies. It was his only Pac-12 offer. Boise State was Washington’s main competition and he also had offers from Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State and SMU.

Stats: Pettis leads the team in all receiving categories with 15 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging 17.5 yards per catch so far this season.

Farrell’s take: Pettis wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school because he wasn’t that big and it was hard to tell what side of the ball he’d play on. The son of former major leaguer Gary Pettis and cousin of Austin Pettis, the athletic ties still didn’t get Dante as many looks as expected. His special teams ability has NFL teams as excited as his ability as a receiver.

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