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2022 NFL Draft: Finding a running mate for Stefon Diggs

Pick your flavor: Tall, fast or both

The Buffalo Bills have had a bit of revolving door at receiver across from Stefon Diggs the past couple years. At first, John Brown was able to provide complimentary speed on the outside, then the past season, the team utilized veteran option Emmanuel Sanders along with second-year player Gabe Davis. While Davis will be back next season, the team may be pressed into exploring the 2022 Draft for a long-term solution for their number two receiver. Perhaps even a young player they could mold to be a number one option in a few years.

Incoming rookie classes rarely fail to include a large number of quality options at wide receiver, and this draft will be no different. There’s a bit of star power lacking at the top of the draft, but the overall depth is quite strong. Below are just some of prospects the team is likely to be interested in.

Tier I

  • Garret Wilson (Ohio State)
  • Drake London (USC)
  • Jameson Williams (Alabama)
  • Treylon Burks (Arkansas)

Fast, physical and creative with the ball in his hands, Wilson’s not your traditional number-one option, and profiles better as someone that teams might best utilize through manufactured touches. Like former USC teammate Michael Pittman Jr., London profiles as a jump-ball specialist but has some speed and runs pretty clean routes as well. Known for his elite deep speed, Williams isn’t just a deep threat. He’s shown the ability to make difficult catches and profiles as quarterback friendly when teams run zone. Burks has a lot to learn about the nuances of the position—including some worrying lapses at the catch point—but no other receiver boasts his combination of size and speed. He should blow up the combine.

Tier II

  • Chris Olave (Ohio State)
  • Jahan Dotson (Penn State)
  • David Bell (Purdue)

As mentioned in my previous article about slot options, Olave has inside-out versatility and is a true route technician. He lacks some physicality for the outside though. Outside of perhaps Williams, Dotson may have the best long speed in the class. He may find it difficult dealing with press coverage on the outside though. Bell could be classified as a sleeper pick. His body control and hands are exactly what you want, but he’s not a finished product at this point in time.

Tier III

  • Justyn Ross (Clemson)
  • Jalen Tolbert (South Alabama)
  • George Pickens (Georgia)
  • Christian Watson (North Dakota State)

There was a time when Ross was considered to be a more talented version of former Clemson player Tee Higgins. He’s faster, almost as tall at 6’4” and his hands are just as good. His injury history will be scary for any team, however. Tolbert has drawn comparisons to Gabe Davis coming out of college and you can see why when you watch his tape. He excels at more vertical routes—despite only decent speed—and his catch radius is surprisingly large. Probably thanks to his injury history, Pickens is a 6’3, 200-lb lump of clay. He needs to prove he can win on a variety of routes, outside of back shoulder throws and nine-routes. It won’t be easy for an FCS receiver to quickly make the NFL transition, but Watson—standing 6’4”—shouldn’t be able to accelerate and move as smoothly as he does.

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