Links to similar discussions on other positions:
Grinding the Mocks compiles mock draft data throughout the pre-draft process. This data provides insight into when players may hear their name called and which teams may be interested in calling their name. Likewise, patterns can appear around what teams may be interested in targeting a specific position. This article focuses on what we can learn about the day one pass catchers in the lead-up to the NFL Draft from mock drafts since March 1.
The Wide Receiver class is good, but there are questions about whether there are elite options. Currently, there are five wide receivers projected in the first round of the draft, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Treylon Burks, Jameson Williams, and Drake London.
Atlanta’s most common position was a wide receiver with (32%) with Wilson the most mocked wide receiver (21%). The second round similarly mocked 29% for a wide receiver. Overall, over 60% of the mock drafts had the Falcons addressing the position in the first two rounds. The Falcons have pick 8, which is higher than Wilson’s expected draft position of 11, and maybe an option for a trade down, especially for a team with a lot of needs across their roster. Given the hole at the position, Atlanta would be a good option for early targets for a rookie.
Green Bay is the most mocked team to select a wide receiver in the first round (56%). Keep in mind, the team has a need at wide receiver, a product of the Davante Adams trade, and an extra first-round pick, also a product of the Davante Adams trade. Olave (15%), Burks (12%), Williams (9%), and Jahan Dotson (9%) are the top four most mocked players. 20% of drafts mocked Green Bay to select a wide receiver in the second round, combining for over three-quarters of the mock drafts selecting a wide receiver in the top two rounds of the draft.
Kansas City is also coming off a trade of their top wide receiver of Tyreek Hill to Miami where they netted an additional first-round pick. The team has done a better job addressing the hole than Green Bay, by adding JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. Despite the additions, 28% of drafts mock Kansas City to select a wide receiver in the first round. Dotson (7%) is the most mocked wide receiver and the second most mocked player in the first round. The team was mocked 17% of the time in the second round, with David Bell (3%) and Skyy Moore (3%) the most mocked wide receivers in the second round.
The Chargers represent an interesting team in the wide receiver market. The Chargers have Keenan Allen under contract and Mike Williams just signed a three-year extension worth 60 million dollars. Eleven percent of first-round mock drafts have the Chargers addressing wide receiver, with Williams the most common wide receiver selection (6%). The selection of a wide receiver could be a ceiling-raising investment for the Chargers or potential investment in the post-Keenan Allen era. The Chargers could save nearly 15 million dollars by cutting Allen in 2023 while taking a nearly 7-million-dollar dead cap hit.
The leading mocked position for the Saints in the first round is a wide receiver (40%). Olave (12%), Wilson (8%), Williams (8%), and London (6%) were the second, third, and fourth most mocked players. Another 42% of mock drafts had the Saints selecting wide receivers in the second round. This is insurance on Michael Thomas, who missed the entirety of the 2021 season, which left the Saints with one of the worst receiving corps in the league.
Twenty percent of mock drafts have the Bills selecting a wide receiver, with Williams the fourth most common selection at 8%. The addition of a first-round wide receiver would hurt the stock of Gabe Davis, who has been selected at WR36 over the past month. If he ascends to the WR2 role in the offense without day two competition, watch for him to rise. However, he could fall precipitously if the Bills select a first-round wide receiver.
The Patriots are mocked to select a wide receiver the second most of any position (27%), with Olave (10%) and Williams (8%) the third and fifth most mocked players. The Patriots have rarely addressed the position in the first round of the draft in the Belichick era, with the last time a 2019 failed selection of N’Keal Harry.
The Eagles have also been in the market, including attempting to trade for Tyreek Hill. 24% of mock drafts have they addressing the position in the first round of the draft, with Burks the most common selection (8%). The selection would be a recognition the Jalen Reagor pick was a failure, and Devonta Smith is not a true WR1.
The Jets are mocked wide receivers the fourth-highest percentage of the time in the first round (15%), with Garrett the most common selection (7%). The Jets have two picks in the top 10 picks of the draft and likely could have their selection of the top wide receiver on their board. The reinvestment in the position would be a cautionary sign for Elijah Moore who is being selected at WR16 in the past month.
Tennessee’s most selected position in the first round is a wide receiver (25%). Tennessee has been in the market for another wide receiver alongside A.J. Brown with Josh Reynolds and Julio Jones failing auditions before the Titans traded for Robert Woods.
Washington also has a need on the other side of Terry McLaurin as they attempt to make the Carson Wentz era a success. Thirty-six percent of mock drafts have them selecting a wide receiver, with Wilson at 16% and London at 14% the most mocked selection.
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