Poll: Which First-Round WR Will Make The Biggest Impact In 2020?

This year’s wide receiver draft class was widely regarded as one of the deepest in recent memory. It was so deep, in fact, that teams felt they could secure immediate-impact players on Day 2 and even Day 3 of the draft. Still, a few players separated themselves from their peers and became first-round selections, the cream of a bountiful crop.

The consensus top three talents were Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama standouts Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy. It would not have been surprising to see any of those three players taken in the top-10, and ultimately Ruggs came off the board first, going to the Raiders with the No. 12 overall selection.

The Broncos were quite content with that, as they snagged Jeudy – whom they considered trading up for – with the No. 15 pick. Then, although the Cowboys perhaps had more pressing needs, they could not turn down Lamb when he surprisingly fell into their laps at No. 17.

TCU’s Jalen Reagor was the next domino to fall, heading to the Eagles with the No. 21 selection. Reagor was something of a late riser in the process, as he had been mocked as a second- to third-round choice but began garnering attention as a potential first-rounder as we got closer to draft day. Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman obviously saw something he liked, and he pounced.

But LSU’s Justin Jefferson, generally considered the fourth-best wideout in the class, didn’t have to wait too much longer to hear his name called. The Vikings took him one pick after Reagor.

All five of those players stand a good chance of becoming difference-makers for their respective clubs, as is the case with any first-round pick. But we would like to know from you which of them you think will have the biggest impact as a rookie.

With Ruggs, the Raiders added a speed merchant whose college production did not match that of Jeudy — his teammate of three years with the Crimson Tide — but who fits the Las Vegas offense nicely. The Raiders added another collegiate wideout, Bryan Edwards, in the third round, and they also took a flier on veteran Nelson Agholor. Still, it appears as if Ruggs has a good chance to start opposite Tyrell Williams, with Hunter Renfrow working the slot. Ruggs is electric with the ball in his hands, and he is not a one-dimensional deep threat; he is a solid route-runner who should only get better with coaching. His recent off-field injury seems to be a non-issue, and he will be a boost to a passing offense that performed better than one might think in 2019.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are building a strong young nucleus of skill position talent, and Jeudy will team with Courtland Sutton to form one of the most promising 1-2 punches in the game. He is a gifted route-runner whose excellent production against SEC defenses jumps off the page — he averaged 72 catches for 1,239 yards and 12 TDs over his final two years in school – and he has the versatility to line up outside or in the slot. Fellow rookie KJ Hamler, whom Denver nabbed in the second round, may get most of the slot reps, but Jeudy will be a threat no matter where he plays.

Though Lamb will have to compete with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for targets, the Cowboys are perfectly capable of moving the ball through the air and will have plenty of opportunities to go around. Lamb should work primarily in the slot, which will mask some of the deficiencies he has as a route-runner and against press coverage. He has terrific hands and tracking ability, and though he may lack top-line speed, he is plenty quick enough to make things happen, and his overall athleticism is off the charts. He is also a strong and willing blocker, which Ezekiel Elliott will surely appreciate.

Due to injuries and under-performance, the Eagles’ WR group provided very little production last year. Veteran DeSean Jackson played just three games in 2019, Alshon Jeffery may start the season on the PUP list, and 2019 second-rounder JJ Arcega-Whiteside failed to live up to expectations. Philadelphia tried to trade up for Lamb but was happy to pick up Reagor, whose blazing speed could pair well with Jackson. Though it took a while for his stock to rise, that may have been because the TCU offense didn’t give him the chance to show off his route-running skills, so the more scouts were able to evaluate his tape, the more impressed they became. He struggled with drops from time to time, but with his abilities as a deep target and a YAC monster, he has the potential to be a dynamic pro. On the other hand, there are rumblings that Reagor will be asked to focus on just one position in 2020 and will be the understudy to D-Jax, so he may not get as much immediate PT as we might have expected.

Like the Eagles, the Vikings sorely needed to upgrade their WR corps, and Jefferson steps into a great situation, as Minnesota traded Stefon Diggs earlier in the offseason and did little to replace him. So Jefferson should start opposite Adam Thielen, whose mounting injury history could open up even more opportunities. Like most of the LSU offense, Jefferson was tremendous in 2019, securing 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 TDs. He offers an intriguing blend of size and speed, and though he may struggle to create separation in the pros, he has good hands and runs good routes. The Vikings like to run the ball, but Kirk Cousins is a capable QB and Jefferson should see plenty of passes coming his way.

So let’s hear your thoughts. Tell us which of these five players will have the most impact on his team in 2020, and explain your reasoning in the comments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (40)
newest oldest

40 comments on “Poll: Which First-Round WR Will Make The Biggest Impact In 2020?

  1. dlevin11

    I vote for CeeDee Lamb. Yes I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and have been for 55 years.

  2. yankees28

    Mims all the way. Most of these guys can’t b number one cooper Jackson Sutton all in the way if mims is good he’s number one no other wideout.

  3. monymgr

    Jefferson for the Vikings . He will be a receiver that catches over 100 balls just as he did in college .n

  4. imindless

    Ruggs and it’s not close. Dude is tyreke hill, he is going to do what brown was suppose to do last year for raiders as they lacked a true #1. Jeudy and lamb will struggle to create space which is something you can’t teach. Although I was hyped about Jeudy coming into draft I think he has higher floor than Ruggs but a lower ceiling. People like to call into question Ruggs production because he was the wr3 at alabama, dude is monster after the catch and runs really good route tree despite few touches.

    • halofanatic

      Without question, he is extremely talented. But my only concern is that Carr is not a great quarterback. My guess is Lamb, because the Cowboys offense is supremely more talented than the other teams that drafted a WR in the first round.

      • mrshyguy99

        i say it hard to say carr a bad Qb when the team lack the talent since their playoff year. how many QBs not name brady can do well with the WR carr had?

        • DarkSide830

          yeah i feel Carr gets a lot of flak. for what it’s worth, he throws for a lot of yards, so Ruggs should get a lot of targets.

  5. maddog32

    I’d argue that greatest impact doesn’t mean by the best stats of the bunch. If CeeDee catches 50 balls for 750 yards and 4 TD’s, but while doing so prevents teams from double teaming Cooper or loading the box against Zeke and the Cowboys make a deep run in the playoffs, then I’d say that is a greater impact than catching 1000 yards on 100 catches while missing the playoffs.

  6. All American Johnsonville Dogs

    Lamb. No question. Better offense around him.

    Cooper and Gallup plus Zeke. Lamb definitely will see a lot of 1 on 1 coverage.

    Jeudy and Sutton are pretty much what Denver has at WR. Have a nice backfield duo in Lindsey and Gordon
    Reagor is what Philly’s #1 now?
    Ruggs I don’t see holding up physically. Reminds me of John Ross.

    Jefferson is a close 2nd with Thielen and Cook and Cousins throwing the ball, trust cousins more than Lock for fantasy purposes. But Cowboys definitely have a lot more weapons than other teams do.

    • kylewait89

      Denver also drafted Hamler and Okwuegbunam. So that makes Sutton, Jeudy, Hamler, Fant, Okwuegbunam, Gordon and Lindsey. I think that makes it just as likely Jeudy sees 1 on 1s. The risk is Lock isn’t a super accurate passer. But the Broncos have a lot of talent on that offense.

      I also don’t see how Ruggs reminds anyone of Ross as they are built different and Ruggs didn’t have injuries coming into the NFL and Ross tore his ACL.

      • jkoms57

        Ya Ruggs is a beast. His only flaw is landing in Oak Vegas

        Reagor or Jefferson for best stats.

  7. wagner13

    I believe Jefferson has the best opportunity, given that Cousins is a solid QB and he’ll see a huge chunk of Diggs’ targets.

    Lamb has an equally talented passer in Prescott, but he’ll be competing with more receivers (Cooper, Gallup).

    Jeudy has the chance to emerge in a relatively open receiver room. However, I question if Lock can “unlock” his potential, especially if Denver employs a run-heavy offense.

    I feel Ruggs has the highest ceiling, but he may not immediately click with Carr, who isn’t much of a deep passer.

    Finally, Reagor might get some targets when Jeffery and Jackson suffer their inevitable injuries, but I believe Wentz will be more inclined to look for his talented duo of tight ends. Furthermore, Jalen is probably the least talented first rounder and is susceptible to dropping the ball

    • jkoms57

      Good assessment but disagree on Reagor.. think he’ll be a huge part of the offense and steal a top job.

      Side note also really like Pittman to Colts and Claypool to Steelers in R2.

      This class was loaded.. didn’t even mention Higgins or Shenault

      • wagner13

        Pittman will have the chance to start and immediately contribute across from Hilton, so his outlook is great.

        Conversely, Higgins is in a bit of a crowded locker room in Cincinnati. Green, Boyd, and even Ross will all be fighting for targets.

        Shenault is in a similar boat, although neither Jacksonville nor Cincinnati have a sure thing at tight end.

        Claypool is a big question mark. He’s very raw, but also has the size and athleticism to break out. On the other hand, he has Smith-Schuster, Washington, Johnson, Ebron, and McDonald to compete with for receptions

    • mrshyguy99

      he has a good shot at being the number 2 guy behind deeboo. but with kittles in the mix. he will have to earn his targets.

  8. DarkSide830

    my guess is Ruggs or Jeudy. Lamb falls because he has to share targets more. as an Eagles fan im temped to say Reagor simply because he will have to get a lot of targets with this WR corp, but that’s a bolder pick than id like to make.

  9. Ak185

    Great article, and actually a lot of good comments with a few different perspectives. Good job guys, all around.

    If I had to guess, I would wager Lamb, just because his offense was very potent last year-and that was with Cooper having a few bad games (possibly due to injury) towards the end. Their number one problem in Dallas in tight games at the end of the year was when Cooper could not get open-the other wideouts failed to open themselves up. Essentially, Dallas is looking harder for a number two receiver than they are for any other position, and that’s with last year’s top ranked offense. The type of receiver they are looking for-a tough catch receiver who can get open over the middle-is the reason Lamb was a coveted prospect for them.

    Jeudy is similar in that Denver desperately wanted a number two, but unlike Lamb, he is not physical enough to outman defenders in the NFL. However, Jeudy runs impeccable routes, and generally speaking, those types of receivers are the surest bets in the pros. Jeudy will likely evolve into a reliable third down target if all goes to plan. That will likely result in fewer yards than Lamb or some of the other top targets, but arguably is a more valuable supporting role. I would expect that Jeudy has a good amount of yardage on third down in the pros.

    Mims I think is the most under the radar pick this WR class, and New York’s uncertain WR room could actually benefit him in establishing a role on the offense. Perriman or Mims could end up as the number one to start the year, but either could play the two as well I think. If all goes well in New York, though, Mims’ impact will likely be felt down the road instead of this year. An entirely new O-line will shape the offensive production more than the receivers this year.

    Jefferson has a decent QB (better than he gets credit for), but with Diggs gone, I expect the Vikes to run the ball more (if, that is, Cook returns to the fold and is healthy this year-Mattison is good but I doubt the coaches are as comfortable running him as much as Cook over the course of the season). Jefferson does the advantage of filling the more athletic receiver role that the Vikes have needed, so he’ll have a good chance to contribute. That said, I see a significant portion of his role to be opening up routes for Thielen underneath and not just having plays designed for him alone.

    Ruggs I think has the least chance. Nothing against Carr or the Raiders, his build does not profile as a quantity ball catcher. He’ll produce, but his role does not seem to be to haul in eight to ten passes a game. It’s a valuable role, and will likely help his fellow wideouts, but it’s not a number one type role. Maybe I’ll be wrong, of course. As for Raegor, Philly seems to prefer distributing passes to multiple targets. In addition, they have two valuable tight ends in Ertz and Goedert. Raegor will be valuable, but I don’t think his numbers will stack up to some of the others from a purely statistical perspective.

  10. DadsInDaniaBeach

    Eagles phan and while I like JR, I think it’ll be Jerry Jeudy. He can make the best miss

Leave a Reply