Post Draft Winners and Losers: Wide Receivers

The 2022 NFL draft is in the books. Dustin Ludke takes a look at which wide receivers won and lost following a crazy three days in Las Vegas.

Teams’ futures changed with the draft. So did the fantasy outlooks for wide receivers. We take a look at which ones are on the rise and which ones lost value heading into OTAs and training camps.

 

Winners

 

Gabe Davis- Buffalo Bills

The Bills were listed by almost all as needing a wide receiver, yet the Bills didn’t draft a wide receiver until the fifth round when they took Khalil Shakir. This would point to Gabe Davis continuing his role as the number two pass-catching option on one of the best offenses in the league. It remains to be seen what the signing of Jameson Crowder will turn into and what his role will be in the offense. He will at least be a solid veteran presence that can help shape the young wideout and be a consistent third wideout which was lacking in 2021. But regardless, Davis is set up for a huge opportunity in 2022.

 

Michael Gallup- Dallas Cowboys

First, the Cowboys traded away Amari Cooper. Then they didn’t draft a wide receiver until late in the 3rd round when they took Jalen Tolbert. On top of that, they used their first-round pick on an offensive lineman who is good at both pass blocking and run blocking. If he can give Dak Prescott time in a clean pocket then Gallup should be able to get back to his 2020 and 2019 numbers where he had 5 and 6 touchdowns respectively. He’s coming off a late-season injury and his week 1 status is still up in the air, but whenever he does make it back onto the field he should see a solid percentage of the passes coming his way.

 

Robert Woods- Tennessee Titans

Robert Woods was traded from the Superbowl champion Rams to the perennial playoff team in the Tennessee Titans. Woods looked to be the number two on the team, a role he is familiar with from his time with the Rams behind Cooper Kupp. On a shocking day one trade the Titans sent star wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Titans used the pick they got for Brown to draft Arkansas star receiver, Treylon Burks. The move puts Woods in line to be the Target leader on the team. It’s a role that saw Brown get over 100 targets the past 2 seasons.

 

Rashod Bateman- Baltimore Ravens

Rashod Bateman was a source of hype during his rookie campaign. He ended up with 67 targets in only 12 games. There is hope for a better 2022, however, after the Ravens traded away leading receiver Marquise Brown on the first night of the draft. This would point to Bateman having a massive uptick in opportunities and production. The Ravens did not draft a wide receiver at all during the draft, in fact, they didn’t draft a skill position player until they took a pair of tight ends in the 4th round. The Ravens seem to be lacking in the wide receiver department, as after Bateman there is only Devin Duvernay and James Proche. It looks to be a run-first team but Bateman is first in line for the largest piece of the passing pie in the Charm City.

 

Losers

 

D.K. Metcalf- Seattle Seahawks

It’s been the talk of the NFL community this off-season. The disgruntled wide receivers entering the last year of their contracts. Among them is D.K. Metcalf. Over the off-season, the Seahawks have traded away franchise QB Russell Wilson and got Drew Lock in return from the Broncos. On top of that, they also got a very good tight end in Noah Fant. The hope for Metcalf was that the Seahawks would be in play for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. After having 4 picks in the first 3 rounds the Seahawks did not select a quarterback. They upgraded their O-line and added one of the top running backs in this class in Kenneth Walker III. It’s a signal that the Seahawks are looking to run the ball and have Lock or Geno Smith behind center. Even if the Seahawks were to trade for Baker Mayfield, which has been a rumor, it still doesn’t bode well for Metcalf. To add insult to injury the Titans traded their wide-out A.J. Brown in the first and so did the Baltimore Ravens who traded Marquise Hollywood Brown to the Cardinals. The Seahawks also drafted a pair of wideouts in the 7th round but neither will be a threat to Metcalf’s opportunities.

 

Rondale Moore- Arizona Cardinals

It seems like the same story every year with the Cardinals. They draft a wide receiver who has a big upside. He does just okay and then they get another guy who shoves him down the depth chart and he never reaches his potential. This year it seems that Rondale Moore is sitting in that role. When the Cardinals let Christian Kirk sign with the Jaguars in free agency there was hope that Moore would be the two behind Deandre Hopkins. Since then The Cards have brought back A.J Green and then surprised everyone by trading for Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Brown and Moore are both sub 5’10” and project in similar roles. It’s a far cry from Hopkins, Green, and Antoine Wesley who are all over 6 feet tall. They also drafted top tight end Trey McBride to add another weapon that pairs well with Zach Ertz. It seems that Moore is headed the way of Andy Isabella, JJ Nelson, and Andre Roberts, at best the 4th pass-catching option on the team but could easily be the 6th or lower. The Hopkins suspension does open up some opportunity in the first half of the season, but that opportunity may be short-lived.

 

Kadarius Toney- New York Giants

The theme of the off-season has been wide receiver rumors. The Giants were not going to be left out of that and rumors leaked that they were shopping second-year wideout Kadarius Toney. It was also leaked that they wanted a first-round pick for him which no one was willing to pay. They have yet to find a trade partner for him and it seems less and less likely the farther we get away from the early rounds of the draft. To add to it they drafted Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky. Robinson is a slot receiver who should make an immediate impact in the passing game. They then added a tight end in the early 4th round. Both could eat into the total passing targets. The Giants were middle of the road in the total passing attempts and the wide receiver group was riddled with injuries all of 2021. Toney will get a chance to be the lead dog but is still competing with Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton in addition to Robinson.

 

Marquez Callaway- New Orleans Saints

The Saints were 30th in passing attempts in 2021. They were missing a key piece in Michael Thomas who missed all season, but they will be getting him back and then they drafted speedster Chris Olave out of Ohio State. It means that Marquez Callaway moves farther down the depth chart and will be fighting for targets. Callaway jumped from 27 targets in 2020 to 84 in 2021. It’s starting to look like his 2022 campaign will be closer to the 2020 numbers than 2021. There are still guys like Tre’Quan Smith who has had 50 targets the past two years and Deonte Harris to contend with. It’s not a great situation for Callaway.

 

 

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

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