There are few more exciting positions to evaluate in college football right now than wide receiver. There is more and more talent emerging all over the country, but these 10 wide receivers with 75 or more offensive snaps — sorry Ceedee Lamb — have come away from the first two weeks of college football action with the highest PFF overall grades.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama – 90.5 overall grade
Coming into the season as the No. 2 overall player on the first edition of PFF’s 2020 NFL Draft Big Board, Jeudy has absolutely lived up to the hype to begin the 2019 season. He has been targeted on a ridiculous 25 of his 52 routes run and has turned those targets into 18 receptions for 240 receiving yards and four touchdowns. On a per route basis, no receiver has been more efficient to start the season, as Jeudy’s 4.62 receiving yards per route run leads all players at the position with 50 or more routes. As Duke and New Mexico State can attest, attempting to bring Jeudy down in the open field one-on-one is more often than not a losing proposition.
Justin Jefferson, LSU – 88.5 overall grade
Following a massive performance in LSU’s high-stakes showdown with the Longhorns, Jefferson finds himself as the second-highest graded FBS wide receiver through college football’s second week of action. The Joe Burrow-to-Jefferson connection has been perfect to start the season, notching a passer rating of 158.3 on his targets. When you look at the skillset that he has flashed through the first two games, it isn’t hard to see why. Jefferson has been elusive in the open field with five missed tackles forced, explosive downfield with 17.9 yards per reception and strong at the catch point with three contested catches that have gone for touchdowns.
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota – 88.1 overall grade
Bateman only has 12 receptions through the first two games of the season, but 11 of those 12 receptions have gone for first downs. Bateman has picked up yardage in chunks with 237 receiving yards on just 46 routes run, good for a yards per route run total of 5.15 yards. He’s had a couple of nice jump cuts to leave potential tacklers in his wake along with securing several contested catches over the middle of the field. The highlight of his season to this point, though, came on a one-handed grab down the sideline that went for a touchdown.
Micah Simon, BYU – 88.0 overall grade
Simon delivered one of the top moments from this past weekend with his late-game reception against Tennessee that got the Cougars in position for a game-tying field goal against all odds in a game that they went on to win in overtime. Though that play certainly gave a nice boost to Simon’s overall grade, it wasn’t the only play that Simon has made this season. In all, the junior wide receiver has picked up nine first downs through the air and averaged well over three yards per route run. He’ll have to continue his string of strong play with two ranked teams on the horizon in USC and Washington.
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State – 87.7 overall grade
Wallace was on the draft radar heading into the 2019 season, coming in at 34th on the PFF preseason 2020 NFL Draft Board, and his play to open the year only helps his cause. On just 49 routes run, Wallace has 10 receptions for 272 receiving yards and five touchdowns. I think it’s safe to say that qualifies as a big-play threat. Wallace has flashed his speed by taking several screens the distance, but he’s also shown the ability to high point the football on contested opportunities down the sideline. That combination has landed him among the top-five graded receivers in the league heading into this weekend.
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss – 86.5 overall grade
Another member of the perfect passer rating when targeted club, Moore has 11 receptions for 190 receiving yards and two touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season. He has impressed with his ability to hold onto the ball downfield with a defender closing in on him, securing several passes through contact. The most apparent and dangerous element of his game, however, has been his speed. Moore showcased that speed on a lengthy touchdown against Arkansas where he raced by multiple defenders on his reservation for six. That touchdown was one of six receptions of 15 or more yards for Moore through the first two games.
Ja’Marcus Bradley, Louisiana Lafayette – 85.2 overall grade
When you put on Bradley’s tape, one thing becomes apparent: This is not a man that is easy to tackle in the open field. On the year, he has four missed tackles forced and has turned several of those missed opportunities on the part of the defense into big plays. Bradley is averaging a lofty 17.0 yards per reception on his 12 catches to this point. He’s been able to pair that speed and shiftiness with the ability to come down with the football in contested-catch situations, notching two contested catches on the year in his four opportunities.
Tony Brown, Colorado – 84.5 overall grade
Laviska Shenault has received a lot of hype heading into this season and deservedly so, but his teammate Brown has actually come away with the higher overall grade through the first two weeks of 2019. The biggest play of his season to this point came late in last weekend’s game against Nebraska when Brown hauled in a beautiful game-tying touchdown down the sideline with under a minute to go in the game. He’s only run 38 routes to this point, but Brown has made the most of them with 3.45 receiving yards per route run. Brown has even gotten into the action in the run game with a positively graded block downfield that helped spring a rushing touchdown.
Rondale Moore, Purdue – 82.8 overall grade
There are very few college football players that are more electric than Rondale Moore with the ball in his hands, and it’s showing in the numbers that he has managed to rack up through Purdue’s first two contests. Moore leads all FBS wide receivers with 24 receptions and 342 receiving yards. To go along with that, he ranks in the top five of all players in missed tackles forced after the catch, and only Rashod Bateman has more receptions of 15 or more yards. He’s more than capable of beating his man after the catch or winning downfield with his route running, and his play to this point has him at least in the conversation for the Heisman trophy.
James Proche, SMU – 82.5 overall grade
Proche has fewer than 1,000 receiving yards to go to pass fellow Mustang Emmanuel Sanders in the all-time receiving yardage ranks at SMU, and he’s off on a strong start in that effort with 181 receiving yards through the team’s first two contests. In particular, he came out firing against North Texas last weekend with five yards per route run, two contested catches and a near-perfect passer rating when targeted of 155.8. On his touchdown, a crisp route left him wide open in the middle of the Mean Green zone and capped off a performance that bumped him into the top graded FBS wide receivers on the season.