The 2022 NFL Draft class for wide receivers was always going to pale in comparison to the past two classes. With “generational talents” atop the last couple of draft classes, comparing 2022 to 2021 or 2020 is almost unfair. That being said, the 2022 WR class is still loaded with talent throughout the seven rounds. In fact, this class may be the best in some time in terms of depth at the wide receiver position. With this in mind, today, we look at the Colts’ draft needs and some potential wide receiver targets for Indianapolis in the 2022 NFL Draft.
2022 NFL Draft wide receivers the Colts could target
While their offensive line was disappointing to start the 2021 season, Indianapolis’ unit righted the ship a bit. They could still use help in pass protection, so a lineman could be warranted in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, it’s become increasingly clear that the Colts need to add another viable receiver to their passing attack.
Here are some of the top targets they could look to add at varying stages of the 2022 NFL Draft. Currently, the Colts are without a first-round pick — their first selection is scheduled to come midway through the second round at pick No. 52.
Round 2 wide receiver options are aplenty
Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
Jalen Tolbert is a big-framed man with terrific speed. He runs a full route tree and can high-point the football with the best in the class. Tolbert had below-average quarterback play during his career at South Alabama, but he still set program records for receiving yards. He finished third in career receiving yardage among Sun Belt receivers and pencils in as a clear-cut WR2 on an NFL roster.
Romeo Doubs, Nevada
Romeo Doubs continually impressed over his career at Nevada. He’s a contested-catch dominator and creates burst with his suddenness. Doubs is an explosive guy with positional versatility to boot.
Justyn Ross, Clemson
Justyn Ross never proved to live up to the hype of his 2018 season after injuries took their toll. However, he proved in 2021 that he could still play at a high level, and the injuries seem to be behind him. If he can return to that 2018 form, Ross would be the steal of the draft.
Other names to know in Round 2: Zay Flowers, Boston College.
Round 3 wide receivers offer upside
If the Colts decide to go elsewhere in Round 2, don’t fret! Indy still has a variety of options to draft at the receiver position in Round 3.
Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
A Nebraska transfer to Kentucky, Wan’Dale Robinson exploded on the national scene in 2021. He quickly became a favorite threat for Kentucky QB Will Levis, showcasing terrific ball-tracking skills in the process. Robinson found the open space in coverages all the same as he can run past defenders with great speed. More than just a slot receiver, Robinson could be an every-down kind of pass catcher at the NFL level.
Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech
With one of the best combinations of size and athleticism in this class, Erik Ezukanma isn’t your typical Air Raid receiver. Even at 6’3″, 220 pounds, Ezukanma is a slippery guy with the ball in his hands, routinely racking up the yards after the catch. He’s a talented contested-catch guy to boot, rounding out as an impressive overall receiver.
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M
As slippery as the day is long, Ainias Smith is a willing special-teams contributor and an elusive guy in the open field. He can turn a bubble screen into a 50-yard touchdown or come down with a back-shoulder throw on the sidelines. Smith is a well-rounded athlete with a ton of upside.
Potential Round 4 targets
In a deep WR draft class, who could the Colts look at in Round 4? Let’s explore options on Day 3.
Chris Autman-Bell, Minnesota
Chris Autman-Bell has terrific hands and a fierce get-off at the line of scrimmage. CRAB, as he’s known in the Twin Cities, also possesses elite-level awareness of the position. He’d benefit from work in the weight room to get stronger at the catch point, but he has enough of the traits you’d like to see in a WR3 in the NFL.
Khalil Shakir, Boise State
One of the more productive receivers in college football over the past few years, Shakir is a shifty man. He routinely finds space against all types of coverages and knows how to shake defenders afterward. What separates Shakir from other Day 3 receivers is his ability to understand what’s happening around him on offense. All too often in 2021, the Boise State passing attack was nearly stymied due to lack of pass protection.
Shakir’s rapport with his quarterback and knowledge of what was happening when protection broke down made way for plenty of big-time plays when the Broncos needed it most.
Fringe-level Round 5 receivers
There are more intriguing pass-catching options available for the Colts in Round 5. We know someone talented will slip through the cracks — could it be these WRs?
Calvin Austin III, Memphis
An ultra-productive receiver in a suboptimal position in 2021, Calvin Austin III simply produces. He ripped off back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 yards and did so with impressive after-the-catch skills. He isn’t the biggest guy, but he’s reliable over the middle all the same.
Charleston Rambo, Miami (FL)
Charleston Rambo turned it on down the stretch of the 2021 season. If he’s available this late, you can bet he’s an intriguing player for a bevy of franchises. It wasn’t but two years ago when he was a lock to be drafted on Day 2 at the latest. Rambo has a lot to prove through the offseason circuit, but there’s no denying he has a ton of skills he can harness at a moment’s notice.
Don’t miss out on these receivers in Rounds 6-7
Even at the tail end of the draft, the Colts could find a usable receiver. Let’s get to it!
Jerreth Sterns, Western Kentucky
The emergence of WKU QB Bailey Zappe made way for the emergence of his top receiving threat. Jerreth Sterns is a terrific all-around receiver who wins with his awareness. He may not be the fastest nor the biggest, but that didn’t stop him from racking up 1,718 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this past season.
Jequez Ezzard, Sam Houston State
A name to know, Jequez Ezzard is set to become a riser if all reports of his prowess at Sam Houston State come true this offseason. At just 5’10”, 195 pounds, he doesn’t possess the elite size you’d like, but he plays like a much bigger receiver. He’s physical at the catch point, dominant after the catch, and a willing special-teams contributor. Ezzard was first-team All-WAC as both a receiver and returner this past season.
Other names to know in the later rounds for the Colts: Kyle Phillips, UCLA; Jaylon Robinson, UCF; Alec Pierce, Cincinnati; Jayden Reed, Michigan State.