Take Five: 2019 Wide Receivers

The “Take Five” series aims to preview prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.

These names will appear in a one-through-five order and “ranked”, but given the publish date, thoughts and opinions are far from finalized. Rather, it is best to use this list as a starting point of sorts, in order to get familiar with some of the top names in the class and how they might satisfy a need and fit on the Raiders’ roster.

Currently, the Raiders’ depth chart reads as follows:

Amari Cooper — Stuck in a constant state of “what if”; superstar potential who has yet to come close to his ceiling.

Jordy Nelson — Once-prolific receiver tied to all-universe quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Now 33 and still serviceable, his best football is obviously behind him.

Seth Roberts — Thought to be trade-bait at one point this offseason, I imagine Jon Gruden fell in love with his “tenacious” blocking ability. Probably not as bad as many paint him to be, but easily replaceable.

Dwayne Harris — Solid, and at times, standout special teams contributor (2016 Pro Bowl nod). Not much to get excited about beyond that. Turned 31 in in September.

Brandon LaFell — 32 in November; collected a Super Bowl ring with New England.

Martavis Bryant — Ultra-talented receiver with plenty of baggage. Feels like time is running out for the lid-lifter and big play specialist; 27 in December.

Looking ahead:

Oakland’s wide receiver room is filled with question marks. Whether it be consistent contributions (see: Amari Cooper), or in the case of Martavis Bryant, off-field concerns. Coach Gruden, for now anyways, has hitched his wagon to the $125 million dollar quarterback. As such, I imagine surrounding Derek Carr with as many weapons as possible remains a priority. Recent wide receiver classes have been a bit lackluster, but the 2019 group is one many circled and have been waiting on for a couple of years now.

Early “top 5” prospects: 

N’Keal Harry, Arizona State, Junior — Possess the ideal build at 6-3, 216, and has more-than-adequate athleticism. I’m not sure Harry’s the “surefire” WR1 many are stamping him as, but I’m comfortable placing him at the top to start things off. He’s on pace to top 17 scores this season. Biggest area of Harry’s game that stands out to me is his ability when the ball is in the air. That’s where you’ll pickup the Dez Bryant-comparisons, and they make sense for the most part.

Bryan Edwards, South Carolina, Junior — Assuming Edwards declares, he won’t be of legal drinking age when he walks across the stage to collect his hat and jersey. He’s young, and has flashed dominance at times. His ball skills, body control, and overall athletic profile are ideal. He’s built at 6-2, 205. The only “issue”, especially for box score-watchers, will be his production; South Carolina rosters some other notable talent at the position.

D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi, Redshirt Sophomore — The 6-2-plus, 225-pounder should blow the doors off of Lucas Oil Stadium when the Combine rolls around. While I wouldn’t put him in the same tier, nor is this a direct comparison, Metcalf has some Julio Jones to his game. Given the athleticism, he remains one of the highest ceiling players in the class. Expect him to fight for WR1 honors.

Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State, Junior — It appears there isn’t a bad looking wide receiver in this class. At least not at the top. Harmon stands 6-2, 213, and essentially falls right in line with the rest of the big names. Harmon’s movement skills — off the line and in-and-out of routes — should keep him in this conversation. Not as “flashy” as the other prospects in this tier, but a complete player with a translatable skill set.

Tyshun “Deebo” Samuel, South Carolina, Redshirt Senior — One of those other “notable talents” at the position that I alluded to above, Samuel is a bully. Affectionately known as “Deebo” for obvious reasons, Samuel doesn’t quite hit the 6-foot mark (but 5-11, 215 certainly shouldn’t be viewed as a negative). Unlike his teammate, Samuel will be looking at the wrong side of 21 in January, turning 23. Competitive and tough as heck, he’ll quickly find a role on Sunday’s especially given his ability as a returner.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive