Wide receivers are brought in by teams through the draft every year to become an NFL great. Similar to the 2021 class, the 2020 class of receivers had great talent. Here are the grades from all the receivers who were drafted in the first round.
Henry Ruggs III: Round 1, Pick 12
Henry Ruggs III was a speedy receiver drafted early by the Las Vegas Raiders because of his ridiculous 4.27 40 yard dash. Ruggs was the first to go out of the 2020 wide receivers because of his wide skillset. Ruggs didn’t equate to the wide receiver one he was hoped to be, and that might be due to Nelson Agholor having his best year aside from him.
Henry Ruggs finished the season with 26 receptions, 452 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. He missed only three games this season, which came toward the beginning of the season. Ruggs significant moment of his rookie season came on his walk-off touchdown against the winless Jets because they decided to blitz with eight seconds left. Ruggs wasn’t a bad receiver but didn’t live up to the expectations just yet.
Jerry Jeudy, Round 1; Pick 15
Jerry Jeudy was coming off the draft board right behind his fellow Alabama teammate Henry Ruggs III. Jeudy was drafted By the Denver Broncos, who previously drafted a young quarterback in Drew Lock and a young tight end in Noah Fant. Coming into the draft, Jeudy was looked like the best route runner of the bunch, and he sure displayed that this year.
Jeudy produced 52 receptions, 856 yards, and three touchdowns. Despite being a great route runner, Jeudy had a bit of a problem when it came to catching the ball. Jeudy came second in the NFL in drops with nine. Drops are a very fixable issue that I believe will fix and become the wide receiver one the Broncos drafted him to be.
CeeDee Lamb: Round 1, Pick 17
Coming into the draft, CeeDee Lamb was viewed by many as the group’s best receiver and I think it went to a surprise to all draft night that a prospect as good as Lamb fell to the 17th pick. Lamb did not miss a single game this season despite being on one of the most injured teams in the NFL. Despite not having the starting quarterback majority of his rookie year, Lamb still managed to put up an outstanding 74 receptions, 935 receptions, and five touchdowns.
CeeDee was electric every time he touched the field, from circus catching to making every player miss. The only problem Lamb had this year was his drops tying with his rookie counterpart with nine. Despite playing alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup and the other wide receivers, Lamb can move up into the wide receiver one role in that offense.
Jalen Reagor: Round 1; Pick 21
Jalen Reagor was a smaller prospect who was viewed more as a round two guy. The Eagles decided to make a risky pick when selecting this receiver. This selection was nothing other than a mistake for the Eagles. Finishing the season with 31 receptions, 396 yards, and only one touchdown. Reagor only played 11 games this season, and even when playing wasn’t too big of a factor.
The Eagles were rotating through wide receivers looking for whoever could become the guy and couldn’t find it throughout the season. Although quarterback Carson Wentz had the worst year of his career, Reagor still couldn’t be a factor for him very much. The Eagles are hoping he can become a high-end wide receiver two, but he has shown it is not promising.
Justin Jefferson: Round 1, Pick 22
Justin Jefferson was nothing less than outstanding this year, collecting accolade after accolade. Justin Jefferson was named to his first pro-bowl and was named to the All-Pro second team, and the last receiver to do so was Randy Moss and Jefferson also broke Randy Moss’s receiving yards record throughout this season. Jefferson was able to do it all, from scoring touchdowns to catching every pass that went his way.
Justin Jefferson finished the season with 88 receptions, 1400 yards, and seven touchdowns. Jefferson was the replacement for former Viking Stefon Diggs; he for sure filled that role. In just his first year, Jefferson became the wide receiver one over Adam Thielen and became Kirk Cousins‘ favorite target. Despite being the fifth receiver taken, It is safe to say the Vikings got a steal.
Brandon Aiyuk: Round 1, Pick 25
Brandon Aiyuk was the last receiver taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Brandon Aiyuk missed five games this season, which is sadly considered almost a good thing with his team being the most injured in the entire NFL. Aiyuk finished the season with a respectable 60 receptions, 748 yards, five receiving touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns.
Brandon Aiyuk had a quarterback carousel happen this year with the rotation of Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, and C.J. Beathard. However, Aiyuk became the primary wide receiver for the 49ers, which was a critical team need following the loss of Emmanuel Sanders. Aiyuk is an extremely versatile receiver under one of the best young head coaches in Kyle Shanahan.