2019 Draft Snapshot: Wide receivers

We’re fast approaching the 2019 NFL Draft.

The first round of the annual event will begin at 7 p.m. (CT) on April 25 in Nashville.

The Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party will coincide with the opening night. It is scheduled from 6 to 11 p.m. on April 25 at U.S. Bank Stadium and will feature live coverage of the draft by “Voice of the Vikings” Paul Allen and KFAN. Tickets are available for purchase here.

The second and third rounds will be held on April 26, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. (CT).

The fourth round will start at 11 a.m. (CT) on April 27 and be followed by Rounds 5-7.

The Vikings currently have eight selections in the draft, beginning with the 18th overall pick.

Vikings.com is taking a glance at the top prospects at each position leading up to the draft.

Schedule

April 11: Running backs

April 12: Tight ends

April 15: Quarterbacks

April 16: Wide receivers

April 17: Offensive tackles

April 18: Centers and guards

April 19: Defensive tackles

April 22: Defensive ends/edge rushers

April 23: Linebackers

April 24: Cornerbacks

April 25: Safeties

Where the Vikings Stand

The Vikings are led by Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, fan favorites who make up perhaps the best wide receiver duo in the league. And neither is going anywhere for a while. Thielen signed a multi-year extension on Monday, and Diggs signed one this past June. After the stars, there are plenty of candidates who could earn snaps going forward. Former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell enters his fourth season in the NFL, and Chad Beebe impressed in training camp and limited snaps in 2018. Brandon Zylstra looks to build off the rookie season he mainly spent on special teams. Jeff Badet spent the 2018 season on the practice squad. Minnesota added Jordan Taylor, who was recently with Denver, on Monday.

Recent Draft History (over past five years)

Total number of receivers taken: 165

Round 1: 20 (2 in 2018, 3 in 2017, 4 in 2016, 6 in 2015, 5 in 2014)

Round 2: 21 (6 in 2018, 3 in 2017, 3 in 2016, 2 in 2015, 7 in 2014)

Round 3: 21 (2 in 2018, 8 in 2017, 2 in 2016, 5 in 2015, 4 in 2014)

Round 4: 26 (5 in 2018, 7 in 2017, 5 in 2016, 4 in 2015, 5 in 2014)

Round 5: 23 (4 in 2018, 5 in 2017, 5 in 2016, 6 in 2015, 3 in 2014)

Round 6: 26 (9 in 2018, 1 in 2017, 6 in 2016, 5 in 2015, 5 in 2014)

Round 7: 28 (6 in 2018, 5 in 2017, 6 in 2016, 6 in 2015, 5 in 2014)

Teams look for wide receivers all throughout the draft, as there are usually a handful of them picked in each and every round. College stars are usually gone in the first round, but there are plenty of wide receivers who make a name for themselves by getting drafted later on. Diggs, for example, was a fifth-round pick in 2015. Five of the seven wide receivers on the roster, including Thielen, weren’t drafted.

The Prospects (based on rankings by Dane Brugler of The Athletic)

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1. D.K. Metcalf

Mississippi, Redshirt Sophomore, 6-foot-3, 228 pounds

2018 stats: Started Mississippi’s first seven games before suffering a season-ending neck injury in mid-October; recorded 26 catches for 569 yards and five touchdowns

Quotable: “Your hard work is always going to get noticed somewhere. If it’s not getting noticed early, somebody’s going to notice along the line.” — Metcalf on football advice from his dad, Terrence, who was an offensive lineman with the Bears from 2002 to 2008

Expert take: He is a “first off the bus” type of player with his broad-shouldered, ripped frame, displaying the gifted athleticism to create mismatches against cornerbacks. Metcalf is rough around the edges and needs to fine-tune his routes and finishing skills, but he has the freakish qualities to be an enforcer wideout and grow into a team’s No. 1 pass catcher. — Brugler

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2. Marquise Brown

Oklahoma, Junior, 5-9, 166

2018 stats: 75 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games

Quotable: “I get utilized wherever, but I let the performance speak for itself. I’ll play inside, outside, wherever you need me.” — Brown on his versatility

Coach speak: “His speed is good on any football field, in any league, anywhere. It’s a game-changer, and people recognize that.” — Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley on Brown’s play-making ability

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3. A.J. Brown

Mississippi, Junior, 6-foot, 226

2018 stats: 85 receptions for 1,320 yards (15.5 yards per reception) and six touchdowns

Quotable: “Just the love for the game. I’m very passionate. I love what I’m doing. I love the process of it.” — Brown on why he chose football over baseball as a pro career

Expert take: Brown feasted on slants, crossers and shallow patterns in the Ole Miss offense and his tape feels like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, missing a worthy sample size of downfield and outside-the-number routes. Brown is a very natural route runner and pass catcher with the athletic profile and competitive character that make it easy to bet on his upside as an NFL starter.Brugler

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4. Parris Campbell

Ohio State, Redshirt Senior, 6-0, 205

2018 stats: 88 catches for 1,062 yards and 12 touchdowns

Quotable: “I think my ceiling is high for the position. I made the transition [from running back] when I got to college. It was a struggle for me early on, but I continued to work, and it got to the place I am now. But definitely I think my ceiling aside, I think I have a lot of potential to still reach for sure.” — Campbell on not yet reaching his potential

Teammate talk: “We all knew how fast he was, but as far as his route-running, him tracking the ball, he worked on that tremendously throughout the offseason, and it has paid off for him. I feel like he definitely showed scouts, NFL people that he can catch the ball, that he can run good routes.” — former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins on Campbell’s 2018 season

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5. Kelvin Harmon

North Carolina State, Junior, 6-2, 221

2018 stats: 81 catches for 1,186 yards and seven touchdowns

Quotable: “Competing for the ball, competing to go block for my teammates, always going hard in practice, wanting to win all the time and go harder than the man in front of me.” — Harmon on his on-field strengths

Expert take: Harmon might show up as average in the speed and quickness departments, but he knows how to play and he plays to his strengths. He has issues separating against tight man coverage, so he uses his frame, play strength and ball skills to own a bigger piece of a smaller catch space. He has a big-dog swagger.NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein on Harmon

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6. N’Keal Harry

Arizona State, Junior, 6-2, 228

2018 stats: 73 receptions for 1,088 yards with 10 touchdowns; 9 punt returns for 152 yards and a touchdown

Quotable: “My favorite route probably would be a fade route. I love going up for the ball, I love high-pointing the ball. That’d probably be my favorite one.” — Harry

Coach speak: He’s very competitive and he competes every time he’s involved in the team concept, whether it’s the weight room or whether it’s running, whether it’s at practice. He likes winning. He likes the competition of competition. — Arizona State coach Herm Edwards

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7. Deebo Samuel

South Carolina, Redshirt Senior, 5-foot-11, 214 pounds

2018 stats: 62 receptions for 882 yards with 11 touchdowns; 23 kickoff returns for 570 yards (24.8 yards per return) and a touchdown

Quotable: “Separation is key as a receiver because you don’t want to always catch a contested ball. An easy ball is a great ball as well.” — Samuel on making things easier on himself

Expert take: Samuel isn’t a true burner, but he moves with twitch, contact balance and the vision to find open space. Samuel’s ideal offensive identity will depend on scheme, but he is one of the better YAC players in this draft class with his ability to find space, projecting best in the slot and as a return man. — Brugler

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8. Riley Ridley

Georgia, Junior, 6-1, 199

2018 stats: 44 receptions for 570 yards with nine touchdowns

Quotable: “We been through some hard times, and to see the things my brother has done and the place I’m headed, when you can put a smile on your mom’s face, there’s nothing like that.” — Ridley on making it to the NFL along with his older brother, Calvin

Expert take: Physical possession receiver who wins with attention to detail in his routes, plus body control and sure hands. Ridley isn’t the fastest receiver on the block, but there is enough under the engine to race cornerbacks down the field if he’s challenged on an island.Zierlein on Ridley

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9. Hakeem Butler

Iowa State, Redshirt Junior, 6-5, 227

2018 stats: 60 receptions for 1,318 yards with nine touchdowns

Quotable: “You think there’s been a lot of buzz about me? I disagree with that. I don’t think there’s been enough buzz. But we’re gonna fix that soon.” — Butler on his pre-draft hype

Expert take: He’s got rare size and length, and he has some circus catches, as you know when you study him. His catch rate is just ridiculous. He’s outstanding down in the red zone. — NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah on Butler’s skill set

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10. Andy Isabella

Massachusetts, Senior, 5-9, 188

2018 stats: 102 receptions for 1,698 yards with 13 touchdowns; 11 rushes for 79 yards and a score

Quotable: “It has been good. He’s really tough on us about working, but I like that style of coaching. He would have us running like eight 40s and then five routes and then run eight more 40s full-speed. The first day working with him, I sat on the field and spent 30 minutes dragging myself to the car. And then the next day we were out doing the same thing. Now we have a relationship where I cannot be afraid to talk to him. He is teaching me a lot.” — Isabella on working with Vikings legend and Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss

Expert take: While he has quick hands, his focus and reliability can be disrupted by crowded catch points. Isabella’s undersized frame and catch radius might limit his role, but his explosive athleticism and receiving instincts will be a problem for NFL defenses, projecting best in the slot where he can manipulate space. — Brugler

An image from September 9, 2018 regular season home game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings won 24-16.

Vikings Draft Party

April 25 at U.S. Bank Stadium

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