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2017 NFL Draft: Final Thoughts on the ‘Big 3’ Wide Receivers

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A lot has changed over the past few months.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

What a weird, unique draft season this has been. The lack of a consensus number one quarterback, lack of offensive and defensive line talent — along with big talent at safety and linebacker make this a fascinating class. One thing this class isn’t missing is receivers. There are three players at the top that most analyst agree on — Mike Williams, Corey Davis and John Ross.

As the season marches on, you start to solidify opinions on each guy. They might change with new information or as different game tape surfaces, so I wanted to revisit each guy as we are just several days out now.

First you can check out my initial write-ups on each guy here: John Ross, Mike Williams, Corey Davis.

1. Corey Davis

6-3, 209, 33 inch arms, 9 1/8 inch hands

The draft process hasn’t been kind to Corey Davis, who was forced to miss all of the physical portions of it with an ankle issue. This normally wouldn’t cripple a prospect, but for a guy like Corey Davis who has a lingering “level of competition” question hanging over his head — it’s hurt. Davis has gone from being considered at 5th overall to potentially falling out of the 1st round.

That’s really stupid, frankly.

He participated in the medical re-checks in Indianapolis this past week, so maybe he gave everyone a refresher course just two weeks before the big night. Every single year we see someone inexplicably drop like a rock from mock draft projections. Davis at least seems like a decent candidate to be that guy this year.

Personally, with the Ravens and Titans getting him in for visits this week, I think his floor is probably the 18th pick — or wherever Jon Robinson ends up picking with that 2nd round one selection.

Game tape is the only thing the NFL will have to evaluate Davis, but his stuff is good enough to answer any questions they may have. We keep hearing that his lack of a 40 time is going to hurt him, but did anyone really have speed concerns with him? I think he’s probably a high 4.4 to 4.5 flat type. It’s not a concern. The level of competition is fine to question, but he certainly didn’t look out of place against Wisconsin or Michigan State.

Davis offers a physical presence, outstanding route running, blocking along with burst and long speed. If he falls out of the 20, I’d be really surprised. There aren’t any holes in his game to me and he remains my number one receiver.

2. John Ross

5-11, 188, 31.5 inch arms, 8 3/4 inch hands

One guy that I’ve warmed up to is John Ross. His 4.22 40 yard dash was no surprise. He’s right on the heels of Corey Davis in my rankings. When you watch Davis, you quickly realize that literally nobody in the PAC 12 could run with him.

He changes the game every time he takes the field, even if he doesn’t touch the football. You have to account for his speed with safety help. College teams couldn’t press him because he would just run right by with a good release from his quick feet.

His quarterback Jake Browning held him back massively. He probably left about 1,000 yards on the field in under-throws alone. I could post 10-15 examples of this. Ross was so fast that his quarterback didn’t have the arm to lead him enough.

The best part of Ross is imagining what the Titans could do with him in this offense. He’s a matchup piece that you can play inside or out. If he gets single coverage, there’s a really good chance he’s going to get free deep. Ross would force the safeties to stay out of the box instead of crashing down in the box to stop DeMarco Murray or Derrick Henry. If the Titans could get the run game going again in 2017 and then throw Ross in the mix off of play-action — that’s a lethal combination.

I have some reservations about him dealing with physical press coverage, but I think he’s got good enough quickness in the end to secure releases. Ross is simply a special talent that you don’t get many chances to draft.

3. Mike Williams

6-4, 218, 33 3/8 inch arms, 9 3/8 inch hands

If you’ve followed my draft thoughts at all this year, you already know that I haven’t been that high on Mike Williams. However, when you look at what the Titans currently have on the receiver depth chart, you quickly realize just how much a guy like this could mean to the offense. He’s not as dynamic as the other two on this list, but he’s a physical presence that can consistently win jump balls.

When I say consistently, I mean like almost every single time. He’s not fast, he’s not quick, he’s an average to below average route runner, but he has an incredible ability to get into position and snag the football.

I value Ross and Davis more, but I could find a home in my offense for someone like that. I still hate the idea of taking him with the 5th pick, but he isn’t the worst option on the board after that — wherever the Titans end up picking. Tennessee hasn’t had a guy that could go consistently win a jump ball since... Drew Bennett? That entire sentence is a little sad.

Either way you slice it, the Titans could use the services of each of these three players. A group of Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, Harry Douglas and Tre McBride just isn’t going to cut it. Beyond this group, I see a bunch of WR2s in this class. If I’m Jon Robinson, I’m making absolutely sure I get one of these top three guys for my young quarterback.