Like we've seen in recent NFL Drafts because of the open-style offenses in college football, this year's wide receiver class is another strong one. It won't be surprising to see upwards of a half dozen receivers taken in the first round when the draft kicks off later this month.
This class has a little bit of everything at the receiver position. There are big, physical receivers, there are speed players to take the top off a defense, and there are high-volume pass catchers that can play the slot and move around. Teams looking for receiver help will find it all throughout this draft.
There were a record eight receivers who ran under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and 18 receivers who ran sub-4.5.
WR class draft strength: Talent and depth. Eight receivers are among NFL media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 prospects list, and five fall within the first 21 players on that list. Teams will find early contributors at receiver well into Day 3.
Lions' WR draft priority: Moderate. The signing of Chark in free agency, coupled with the re-signings of Reynolds and Raymond, gives the Lions nice depth at the receiver position, especially with Cephus coming back from a collar bone injury suffered Week 5 this past season.
Still, the Lions could stand to add a young receiver with some vertical ability to the room. Chark has dealt with injuries the last two years, so having another pass catcher who can stretch the field and play on the outside makes sense for the Lions at some point in this draft.
View photos of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Five wide receivers who could fit the Lions:
(40-yard dash times are from Combine and Pro Day workouts as available.)
1. Drake London, USC:
London is a big receiver with a wide catch radius and some good run-after-the-catch ability. He missed the end of the 2021 season with a fractured right ankle, but was still a third-team All-American and PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year after catching 88 passes for 1,084 receiving yards (12.3 per rec.) with seven scores in just eight starts.
2. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State:
6-0, 183. 4.38 40-yard dash.
Wilson was a touchdown machine for the Buckeyes, scoring 12 touchdowns in 11 games to go along with 70 receptions for 1,058 yards (15.1 average). Wilson can play inside and outside, and his 4.3 speed shows up on tape with his ability to gain separation at the top of the route. He really excels with the ball in his hands after the catch. He can also return punts.
3. Jameson Williams, Alabama:
6-1 1/2, 179.
Williams is the top deep threat in this receiver class. He hauled in an Alabama single-season record four touchdowns of 70-plus yards last year, a number that led all Division 1 receivers. He totaled 11 touchdowns of 30-plus yards or more to also lead the nation. He tore his ACL in the national championship game, so the team that drafts him might have to be a little patient with his recovery window.
4. Christian Watson, North Dakota State:
6-4, 208, 4.36 40-yard dash.
Watson was by far the best receiver at the Senior Bowl this offseason, which was big for him coming from North Dakota State, where he led the Bison with 43 receptions for 801 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 18.6 yards per reception. Watson has a terrific combination of size, speed and smooth route-running ability. He's got instant impact written all over him at the NFL level.
View photos of NFL prospect Jameson Williams.
5. Treylon Burks, Arkansas:
6-2, 225, 4.55 40-yard dash.
Burks is a physical wideout with outstanding run-after-catch ability. Don't worry too much about the 40 time. There's track speed and football speed, and watching the tape on Burks he consistently runs away from the defense. Arkansas used him all over the field just trying to get the ball in his hands because he's so dangerous with it. He caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards (16.7 average) with 11 scores in 12 starts in 2021, which included a school record six 100-yard receiving efforts.
Sleeper: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan:
5-10, 195, 4.41 40-yard dash.
To be as productive as Moore was for three seasons in Kalamazoo at his size says a lot about his natural ability. He tied for ninth in the FBS with 95 receptions this past season for 1,292 yards (13.6 average) with 10 touchdowns in 12 starts. He's drawn some comparisons to Antonio Brown when he was coming out of Central Michigan.