2022 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Stock Watch: USC's Drake London making us fall in love with big WRs again

Just when I thought I was out on big receivers, Drake London pulled me back in. The USC standout has showcased a complete skill set early in the 2021 season for the Trojans. Yes he’s big and plays big, but the smoothness he shows getting off the line of scrimmage and running routes makes me feel like he can succeed in today’s separation-based NFL. And, again, he was spectacular in a USC victory over the weekend.

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On the structure front for WR Watch, it’s essentially pointless to provide specific rankings of the wideouts prospects each week because everything is so fluid during the season from a scouting perspective. Instead, I’ll simply include “stock up,” “stock steady,” or “stock down” after a receiver’s name based on how well he played in the most recent contest. And be sure to check out Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft here.

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State: Stock Steady

Ohio State’s win over Tulsa was headlined by TreVeyon Henderson’s 277 yards on the ground, but Wilson still had six grabs for 70 yards with a score. 

Early, Wilson had a difficult reception over the middle on a slant, then demonstrated how good he is at separating on an out-breaking route in the second quarter. Sudden stop and start toward the sideline. The catch was well outside of his frame too. While Wilson wasn’t a focal point of Ohio State’s attack, it was another strong performance for the wideout who moves like a first-round pick.

Chris Olave, Ohio State: Stock Down 

Olave was held without a catch against Tulsa. Yikes. He had a drop near the sideline in the first half and was otherwise not featured in the passing offense. Strange, right? There aren’t many first-round receivers with a zero-catch performance in their final college seasons. 

Treylon Burks, Arkansas: Stock Up

Burks had a 91-yard score on a simple swing pass, and that was enough for Burks to get a stock up sticker against Georgia Southern. For a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder to be able to outrun everybody on the field — regardless of opponent quality — is damn impressive. 

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Drake London, USC: Stock Up

London has become the most intimidating big receiver in college football. Through three games he has 29 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns. In the drubbing of Washington State, London had 13 snags for 170 yards and two of those scores. 

Early in the game, London ran a crisp skinny post from deep in his own end and plucked the relatively high throw like it was thrown perfectly on target for a huge gain. Late in the first, to showcase his athletic gifts, London ran a slant, then broke sharply back to the outside on a scramble drill to move the chains. In the second half, London really got to work. He’s just a headache to tackle on almost every catch he makes. London used his body like a shield on his in-breaking touchdown catch and on another slant in the third before a phenomenal rebound on a back-shoulder deep down the field. 

Late in the third, London’s advanced release package was on display on a slant before, again, playing well above the rim on a touchdown down the seam. He’s genuinely one of the most athletic “big body” wideouts I’ve seen in a long time. 

Jahan Dotson, Penn State: Stock Up

We saw “chain-mover” Dotson in Penn State’s thrilling “White Out” win over Auburn on Saturday night — 10 catches for 78 yards with a touchdown. I’m giving him a “stock up” label because of how hard he worked for those 78 yards. There was a nasty juke in the open field early in the game on an underneath route, and later in the first half, a tremendous extension after elevating for the football on a deep over route. 

Early in the fourth, he was harassed on a comeback route but held onto the football to move the chains. Dotson is explosive but has a blue-collar vibe to his game. Love that. 

John Metchie, Alabama: Stock Down

Metchie had six catches for only 49 yards in Alabama’s narrow win over Dan Mullen’s Florida Gators. He did force a pass interference call from Kaiir Elam, Florida’s first-round cornerback prospect, in the first half.

Other than that, Metchie was locked up by Elam and the rest of the Gators defensive backfield. Really, he was overshadowed by teammate Jameson Williams. However, quarterback Bryce Young never got comfortable and the Crimson Tide pass game was not the primary way Alabama moved the ball. 

Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky: Stock Up 

The Wildcats needed all eight catches and 111 yards from Robinson in their contest against Chattanooga on Saturday. After catching the first throw of the game, Robinson got loose on a deep corner route early in the second quarter. He sold the inside break gorgeously before breaking toward the sideline. 

The Nebraska transfer is one of the shiftier wideouts with easy change-of-direction capabilities in all of college football. 

Romeo Doubs, Nevada: Stock Up

Doubs had 121 yards on seven catches, none more spectacular than the flat-out ridiculous over-the-shoulder, in-traffic reception he made in the first quarter with under a minute to go in the first quarter for 55 yards. It was vintage Doubs. He reels in long balls like a center fielder. 

Kansas State handled Nevada thoroughly, but Doubs was a weapon all afternoon for Carson Strong.

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