To kick off each dynasty profile from the 2022 skill position draft class, a dated positional ranking will be presented, relevant to that prospect’s position. As the profiles have been published, the rankings have evolved. The number of WRs that are either declared underclassmen or seniors exhausting their eligibility – at least the ones that have publicly declared their intention to pursue a career in the NFL – currently stands at a crowded 168. And that isn’t even an exhaustive number since the WRs who have zero chance of being drafted have already been filtered out from the very long list of those testing at a collegiate Pro Day. Without further delay, here are the top-25 WR rankings from the 2022 class as of publication:
|Age (Week 1)
|North Dakota State
|John Metchie III
|Calvin Austin III
|Kevin Austin Jr.
While growing up, Garrett Wilson knew his father, Kenneth Wilson, had achieved something special during a Davidson basketball career where he scored the seventh-most points in program history, was honored with a 2004 placement into their Hall of Fame, and also briefly played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets. For most of us, being a featured player in college football would be a dream come true. Dating back prior to a football career for Lake Travis High School, the younger Wilson had much larger aspirations.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, in addition to building a passion for his hometown program, the Buckeyes, Wilson also won a championship while playing for the All-Ohio Red traveling team as a youth. Wilson eventually moved to Texas at age 11 for his father’s post-basketball career. But his parents did their research before selecting Lake Travis – annually one of the top-25 schools in the nation – for his prep coaching.
Wilson moved up to the varsity roster for Lake Travis as a sophomore in 2016, where he helped his squad capture the Texas 6A state championship. That first season of varsity football also resulted in recognition as the Texas District 25-6A Offensive Newcomer of the Year and was chosen for the Texas 6A All-State Second Team. Wilson’s production that season paled in comparison to what would follow during his junior year.
While leading Lake Travis to another Texas 6A State Championship game – a heartbreaking 35-33 defeat to Grant Tisdale and Theo Wease’s Allen Eagles – Wilson caught 98 balls for 1,774 yards, 29 TDs and assembled 2,253 all-purpose yards. His receiving yardage and TD totals both paced all Texas 6A receivers. The massive season did not go unnoticed, as Wilson was selected as The Austin American-Statesman’s Central Texas High School Athlete of the Year. He also saw the delivery of 22 scholarship offers by the end of the season.
Wilson managed to power Lake Travis to “only” the Texas 6A semifinals after being destroyed 51-10 by Dematrius Davis and Shadrach Banks’ North Shore Mustangs. Wilson missed four games with an unspecified injury during the middle of that senior season, but still managed a 70/1,151/19 line. He was chosen for USA Today’s All-USA First Team. He also collected another 11 scholarship offers. Wilson concluded his Lake Travis football career with standards set for career receptions, yards and TDs. He posted the measurements in the table below during The Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas:
|Testing from The Opening Finals Presented by Nike+ in Frisco, Texas (July 1st, 2018)
As expected, Garrett also starred for the Cavaliers on the basketball court, scoring 21 PPG and selected to the Texas All-Central First Team as a senior. He also put in work for Lake Travis’ track and field roster. But Wilson’s heart was dedicated to the gridiron. His HS coach, Hank Carter, made comparisons with Wilson’s impact on Lake Travis to the one LeBron James had while attending St. Vincent–St. Mary High School. That may be a bit much for LeBron truthers, but Wilson’s incredible impact extended over to his community efforts, selected in 2018 as the All-American Bowl Man of the Year.
Scouted as a consensus five-star prospect and the top recruit out of Texas, Wilson made two official visits, one week apart: Ohio State University and University of Texas. Nine days after visiting Austin, Wilson committed to the Buckeyes – surprising nobody at all.
Following an injury to Austin Mack in Week 8 of Wilson’s true freshman season with OSU, Garrett essentially doubled the production from the first eight games, a six-game stretch that saw him average a 3/49/0.33 line. After that point, Wilson’s career took off. He closed out 2020 with a First Team All-Big Ten selection in acknowledgment for ranking third-best in the Big Ten in receiving yards (723), fifth in TD receptions (six) and fifth in YPR (16.8).
The emergence of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, one that should not be underappreciated, bumped Wilson and Chris Olave down in the pecking order for targets last season. Garrett still scored 12 receiving TDs, eclipsing 1,000 yards. Wilson closed out his OSU career with an average line of 9/124/2 over his last three games after averaging 5/86/0.8 during the eight games prior. While attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, he gave us the tabled percentiles below from his physical dimension:
|Combine Measurement Percentiles (Last 10 Seasons)
Like Olave, Wilson chose to run the 40-yard dash only once. While a risky strategy, as we can see from his athletic testing results, it was a decision made with merit:
|NFL Combine Athletic Testing Percentiles (Last 10 Seasons)
Since Wilson’s receiving tools will be graded at the conclusion of this evaluation, why not begin the analysis with his release? Garrett is dangerous when working from the outside, which will likely be the role envisioned for him when he’s drafted. But Wilson will also kick inside as a considerable mismatch-maker.
Wilson is fundamentally sound during his get-off. Nothing stands out in relation to his functional strength when fighting off the considerable number of routes against press coverage during his OSU career. To the extent that Wilson appeared to use press-man opportunities to make a statement in that regard. Wilson showcases excellent dip during his release that allows him to avoid route redirects. It would be a mistake to discount the blinding footwork Wilson displays – a warning for CBs in his matchup future.
When opposed by off-coverage, Wilson engulfs the cushions he’s offered far faster than most CBs anticipate. A direct result of his release from the line, the following table highlights Wilson’s specialty: the complete annihilation of the one-on-one matchups in a Cover 1. Pacing all WRs in this class with his 0.89 FPs/route vs. Cover 1 – at least for those who are familiar with Advanced Matchups, we are all receiving quite a valuable weapon in Wilson.
|Specific Coverage Scheme Specialty/Success
|% of Routes
|% of Receptions
|% of Yardage
|% of TDs
Moving on to Wilson’s route precision, we have the first references to some components in Garrett’s game that could use additional seasoning. Wilson has a bad habit of a gradual sink, rounding of his out-breaking routes. As we’ll go into detail later, the obvious confidence he draws from his consistent separation may be at the root of the issue. We do have a few examples of Wilson being caught running half speed on routes where he’s ultimately targeted, but each appear to be plays where Wilson was under the impression the Buckeyes would run the ball.
Wilson needs to learn to be more physical at the top of routes when defenders manage a tight shadow. That said, Wilson has plenty of length and functional strength to quickly improve in that area. Perhaps deserving of consideration as his route specialty, Wilson is blessed with truly lethal delivery of his double-moves. Wilson does not need additional coaching with his ability to sell, as he consistently leads defenders into poor leverage positions.
Defenders will experience considerable concerns attempting to match Wilson’s speed through his routes, which is precisely what consistently opens up his underneath targets. With his lean frame, Wilson would have been eaten alive by the NFL bullies at safety a decade ago. In today’s game, his abilities will go completely unchecked – pun intended.
|Future Success Based on Collegiate Coverage Shell Experience/Success
|✅ ✅ ✅
|✅ ✅ ✅
|✅ ✅ ✅
We are still in the dark ages when it comes to the relation between real-life passing game success opposed by the various coverage schemes and the directly related success in fantasy. As with the declining number of college and NFL teams still grasping onto a resistance for analytics, some in the fantasy football community will never allow themselves to be convinced of evolving their approach to include the coverage data. For the rest of us, the table above is not an over-exaggeration of Wilson’s abilities – three green checks is elite.
No matter the scheme, opposing defenses will be forced to match Wilson with speed and/or a safety over the top. Wilson is highly instinctive in space, knowing where the holes will develop to plant his flag and sit against zone coverages. Against single coverage, it’s truly frightening to imagine Wilson adding another layer of muscle to push his dominance in one-on-ones to another level. Yikes!
Wilson was actually very successful at the goal line, he just didn’t see a fair enough share of those touches – Ohio State is notorious for handing the ball off inside the five. Wilson does have varying levels of work ahead, coaching to absorb in properly attacking Cover 3 and 4. But much of that is in regards to safety manipulation. If/when Wilson learns to influence the deep safeties embedded in those shells, we will have a top-five NFL WR on our hands.
|Optimum Comparison Career Path (5’11” to 6’0” & 180-200 lbs.)
1Two seasons of data from Middletown High School and three seasons from Pennsylvania State University
2Two seasons of data from Tift County High School and three seasons from the University of Minnesota
3Three seasons of data from Lake Travis High School and three seasons from Ohio State University
The next component of Wilson’s receiving arsenal we’ll cover is his separation and ball tracking. And things are about to get scary. Wilson’s game-breaking speed, acceleration and second-gear boost are out of this world twitchy. While Garrett submits max-effort on every snap, he also lulls CBs to sleep with a few of his routes, before exploding into another gear for overwhelming separation with a killing blow. It’s an instantly translatable glide into high gear that has come with electrifying results.
Wilson has lively, swift feet when bursting out of his breaks. He gathers his burst through his vertical throws and tracks over-the-shoulder targets without breaking stride. If you are unfamiliar with Wilson’s OSU tape, get ready to be blown away upon seeing him compete in the NFL. The body control in flight he brings to the table is nothing short of elite.
Unlike a good number of fast wideouts who are heavily reliant upon their speed to get open, Wilson varies his route speeds very well in order to leave under-sleeve cards for himself. Some WRs are fast, some thrive on being able to punish zones underneath and some make their living after-the-catch; Wilson has everything he needs to package all three of those approaches into one package.
|Garrett Wilson's 2021 Receiving Breakdown
|% of Catches
|% of Yardage
|% of TDs
Moving on to Wilson’s ball skills, as with all developing prospects, Wilson suffers the occasional concentration drop. Otherwise, his sizable hands are additional toolshed toys. He will hesitate laying out for an occasional deep shot that he likely feels is beyond his reach. Another of his mouth-watering traits: Wilson’s high-pointing work is next-level amazing. He’s everything you could ask for from a high draft pick, climbing the ladder and ripping away 50/50 balls. Look no further than his TD catch against Michigan in Week 13 for a perfect example.
If the throw is within reasonable reach, Wilson is going to put his twitchy hands to leather — just feast your eyes on his next-level TD catch around the 13:30 mark of the second quarter against Purdue in Week 11. In early preparation for his eventual NFL advancement, Wilson already put in plenty of effort getting both feet in bounds during his sideline work.
As for his improvisational skills, Wilson does do a nice job of finding openings on scramble drills but, for whatever reason, it’s also the setting for many of his concentration drops. However, Garrett is quick to recognize when his QB is about to go off-platform and makes a quick transition away from design to work back for safety-blanket deliveries.
Wilson unleashes a wealth of after-the-catch weapons in the open field using a snatch-and-run approach. We see perfect examples from Wilson on designed screens, where he transforms into a broken tackle gizmo. Wilcon consistently snaps ankles with head, hip and knee jukes. He also drops his pad level appropriately when he recognizes contact is imminent.
|Receiving Tools (Graded on a 0-100 scale)
You can see his overall receiving evaluation in the table above for yourself. Wilson is not without areas where he can grow as a professional. You can count the once-or-thrice in a generation skill position talents that make that seamless transition on one hand. Nobody should anticipate perfection from Wilson, but an instant impact in dyno is entirely the expectation. NFL teams are fully aware of the special talents Wilson offers. And they will pay dearly to acquire him.
As for his attitude, in a generation ripe with flopping and crying to the officials, it’s energizing to see talents of Wilson’s caliber ending max-effort routes clearly held/interfered with and, after a quick look around, heading back to the huddle for the next play. All business, complete focus and no attitude concerns whatsoever.
As an avid Hollywood film buff, there’s nothing more refreshing than witnessing individuals basing their acting techniques on their own personalities. Efforts to force complete personality changes into their acting are difficult to stomach. It’s a similar scenario to football. When individuals attempt to force themselves into a playing style they feel is necessary to a role, we end up with bad football. Wilson plays this game using his unique, genuine personality and we are all presented with the blessings of that gift.
Is Wilson slightly built? No question. But we live in an age of middle-of-the-field contact limitations, and Wilson is precisely the type of wideout safeties attempted to intimidate/eliminate years ago. Wilson makes everything appear so easy, leaving defensive efforts to contain in the dust. You cannot defend a perfect pass, nor can you consistently defend an athlete capable of altering his speeds, adjusting his routes and making the highlight reel plays downfield that appear to come so natural for Wilson.
Some may toss their favorite flavor of QB into the mix to be the first off the board in a Superflex format, but not so in the eyes of this analyst. Wilson comes in right alongside Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III as the ‘22 talents that should lead off all rookie drafts, independent of the scoring format.
|Garrett Wilson's Career Production
2021 Video Recommendations: Week 1 at Minnesota, Week 2 vs. Oregon, Week 5 at Rutgers, Week 6 vs. Maryland, Week 9 vs. Penn State, Week 11 vs. Purdue, Week 12 vs. Michigan State and Week 13 at Michigan
Optimal Landing Spots: Needless to state, all 32 teams would benefit from his addition
Film Review Comp (2021): Rashod Bateman
Overall Comp (Factoring size, athleticism, tape and level of collegiate production): Chris Godwin