Although it’s early in the evaluation process, it doesn’t look the 2017 NFL Draft will feature many wide receivers taken in the first round. That doesn’t mean there aren’t quality options available, however, as the position could end up as the one with the most selections that make an immediate impact as rookies.
Related: 2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
One of those intriguing prospects is Ohio State redshirt sophomore Noah Brown. Brown shocked many people when he announced in early January that he would be turning pro. Though he showed promise athletically, his stat line was fairly pedestrian.
Brown caught 32 passes for just 402 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. Aside from Ohio State's win over Oklahoma in September where he hauled in four touchdowns, he was never an integral part of the Buckeye offense. In fact, he caught just six passes for 79 yards and no scores during the last four games of the season.
But as he proved against the Sooners, Brown can be a dangerous weapon — he just needs to be involved in the offense and given targets. His big frame (6-2, 220) will make him hard to miss at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this February, but it's his speed and hands that could set him apart from his peers.
A solid 40 time, combined with crisp route-running and catching every ball that hits his hands is what he needs to move up from his initial projection as a third- or fourth-round selection. If everything falls into place, he could enter the conversation early in the second round.
The fact that Brown has shown an ability to do a little of everything — including seeing snaps as an H-back and contributing on special teams — also should help his cause. That will certainly draw the attention of teams like Kansas City, New England and Green Bay. All three are constantly in search of big, versatile receivers.
Because of his inexperience, Brown will be looked at as a gamble with high upside no matter what. It will be his performance at the Combine that will ultimately decide how much of risk teams are willing to take.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.