In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2019 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting top prospects by position each week leading up to the first day of the draft on April 25th.
Next up is a look at some of the premier wideouts and tight ends according to pundits.
Weight: 226 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: JuJu Smith-Schuster
There may not be a better slot receiver in this year's draft than A.J. Brown.
However, he shouldn't be pigeonholed just to that position, as he's capable of tearing defenses apart no matter where he lines up.
After all, he leaves Ole Miss as the school's all-time leader in receiving yards despite playing only three seasons.
Brown impressed right off the bat, hauling in 29 passes for 412 yards and two TDs as a true freshman. However, it was his breakout sophomore campaign that really put him on the map as he caught 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brown somehow managed to top that season in 2018, earning first-team All-SEC honors by hauling in 85 passes for a team-record 1,320 yards and six touchdowns.
So, what makes Brown so effective?
Pundits rave about his work ethic and competitive nature, and are in love with his route-running as he's so quick in and out of his breaks. Meanwhile, good luck trying to tackle him once he catches the rock as he repeatedly embarrasses would-be tacklers.
Thus, following a record-setting career at an SEC powerhouse, draft experts expect Brown to make a quick adjustment to the pro game, noting how he can be an impact player from day one.
40-Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds
Bench Press: 19 reps
Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches
Broad Jump: 120.0 inches
Weight: 166 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: DeSean Jackson
Marquise Brown's nickname is "Hollywood" after his hometown in Florida.
However, he certainly plays with the same type of sizzle and panache that makes it a fitting moniker for several reasons. After all, the 5-9, 166-pound wideout keeps drawing comparisons to Tyreek Hill, DeSean Jackson and some of the most explosive playmakers at the position over the past decade.
Brown clearly is a unique talent, and he maximized those abilities over a memorable two-year stint at Oklahoma. He started 21 of the 27 games he appeared in, totaling 132 catches for 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns. A year ago, Brown hauled in 75 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 scores, averaging 17.6 yards per reception. He is a true big play threat as he tied for the most 40-plus yard (11), 50-plus yard (seven) and 60-plus yard (four) catches in the country.
Overall, with pure speed at a premium, Brown has the potential to turn into one of the NFL's biggest playmakers.
School: Arizona State
Weight: 228 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Allen Robinson
Open up any scouting report on N'Keal Harry and you'd swear you were reading about Mike Williams.
A big, physical wideout who outmuscles cornerbacks and constantly wins the 50-50 ball, the 6-2, 228-pounder appears to be a carbon copy of the Chargers' highly productive wideout. Blessed with reliable hands, he proved to be a quarterback's best friend over a standout three-year career at Arizona State.
Overall, Harry appeared in 37 games for the Sun Devils, finishing with 213 catches for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. While he had a solid freshman campaign, Harry broke out his sophomore year as he caught 82 passes for 1,142 yards and eight TDs. He was just as effective a year ago, notching 73 receptions for 1,088 yards and a career-best nine TDs.
All in all, you can understand why he's generating significant buzz as we near the NFL Draft, and figures to be a surefire bet to be one of the first wide receivers off the board.
40-Yard Dash: 4.53 seconds
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 38.5 inches
Broad Jump: 122.0 inches
School: Ohio State
Weight: 208 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Justin Hardee
Not many pundits peg the Bolts to take a wide receiver in the first round.
However, one name that's been linked to the Chargers as a day one or two pick is Terry McLaurin as experts feel he is a perfect fit in Los Angeles' system.
The 6-0, 208-pound former Ohio State Buckeye pretty much checks all the boxes you look for in a wideout. He possesses lightning fast top end speed, breezing past cornerbacks throughout a memorable collegiate career. However, McLaurin is far from just a speedster as he has manhandled opponents as a physical wideout. He also earns rave reviews as a route runner, using his physical gifts and high football IQ to get open.
McLaurin played in 54 games over four seasons, totaling 75 catches for 1,251 yards and 19 touchdowns. He steadily improved each season, setting career-highs across the board in reception (35), yards (701) and touchdowns (11). He also averaged a gaudy 20.0 yards per catch a year ago.
McLaurin also showcased his talents at the Senior Bowl. After standing out during the week of practice, he dominated in the game itself as he hauled in four passes for 53 yards. As if that wasn't enough, he added in one rush for 20 yards.
Clearly, McLaurin boasts the natural skills to thrive in the NFL. Add in his well-earned reputation as a special teams ace and you can understand why teams believe he can contribute from day one in a multitude of areas.
40-Yard Dash: 4.35 seconds
Bench Press: 18 reps
Vertical Jump: 37.5 inches
Broad Jump: 125.0 inches
School: Ole Miss
Weight: 228 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Josh Gordon
You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard of D.K. Metcalf by now.
After all, the Ole Miss wideout authored a Combine performance for the ages that we'll be talking about for years to come.
Metcalf proved to be a freak of nature with rare size and speed as it's not often you see a chiseled 6-3, 228-pounder run a 4.33 40-yard dash. If that wasn't enough, he jumped through the roof, putting together a performance that had Indy buzzing.
Of course, what matters most is how you perform on the field, and Metcalf proved at Ole Miss he has all the makings of a number one receiver.
After a broken foot forced him to redshirt his freshman year after only two games, he returned with a vengeance in 2017, catching 39 passes for 646 yards and seven touchdowns. Metcalf took things to a new level in 2018, catching 26 passes for 569 yards and five touchdowns through seven games, good enough for a 21.9 yards per catch average. Unfortunately, a neck injury cost him the rest of his sophomore campaign, but that didn't stop him from declaring for the draft as he had nothing left to prove.
Fortunately, Metcalf has put any injury worries out of mind with a dominating leadup to the draft. In fact, he's been so impressive that some pundits think he may be a top 10 selection.
40-Yard Dash: 4.33 seconds
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 40.5 inches
Broad Jump: 134.0 inches
School: Ohio State
Weight: 205 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Percy Harvin
Teams looking to add an athletic speedster to their wide receiver corps have likely had Parris Campbell in their sights for some time.
The Ohio State star is one of the most electric playmakers in the 2019 NFL Draft. He'll blow by corners if they fail to get a hand on him at the line of scrimmage, separating from defenders with ease. In addition, he's a blur with the ball in his hands, capable of taking it all the way for six no matter where he is on the field. As if that wasn't enough, his 6-0, 205-pound frame is rare for someone with that type of skillset.
Put it all together and you understand why Campbell was such a stud for the Buckeyes.
He appeared in 49 games over his collegiate career, catching 141 passes for 1,767 yards and 15 touchdowns. While he proved capable early in his career, it was a breakout senior season that really put him on the map. Campbell caught 90 passes for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago, setting a school record with those 90 receptions while becoming only the fifth Buckeye to ever break the 1,000-yard plateau. He elevated his game when needed most, evidenced by a dominant performance against Michigan in which he caught six passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns, including a 78-yard catch-and-run TD.
40-Yard Dash: 4.31 seconds
Bench Press: 11 reps
Vertical Jump: 40.0 inches
Broad Jump: 135.0 inches
Weight: 249 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Eric Ebron
If you were to create a tight end from scratch built for the modern NFL, odds are he'd look a lot like Noah Fant.
He is an absolute mismatch in the passing game, possessing all the traits you look for in a receiving tight end. His blazing 4.5 40-yard speed is almost unheard of for a tight end, while his agility and burst make him a rare athlete for the position.
A touchdown machine, Fant's 19 career scores are not only the most ever by an Iowa tight end, but also rank as the fourth most of any player in school history. They're also the third best of any tight end in Big Ten history.
However, Fant did far more than just catch touchdowns.
The Iowa star appeared in 35 games over three seasons, catching 78 passes for 1,083 yards in addition to those 19 scores. His top season came a year ago as he posted 39 receptions for 519 yards and seven scores in 2018.
Overall, with a successful collegiate stint in the books and a skillset that projects for further growth in the NFL, Fant is uniquely positioned to make a big impact as a rookie in 2019.
40-Yard Dash: 4.50 seconds
Bench Press: 20 reps
Vertical Jump: 39.5 inches
Broad Jump: 127.0 inches
Weight: 251 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Travis Kelce
T.J. Hockenson is the most celebrated tight end prospect since Hunter Henry in 2016.
It's easy to see why.
This year's winner of the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end, Hockenson hauled in 49 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. All in all, he totaled 73 receptions for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns over his two-year Hawkeye career.
A massive target at 6-5, 251-pounds, Hockenson uses his entire frame to his advantage. Try to guard him with a defensive back and he'll beat you with his brute strength. Opt to put a linebacker on him? Well, he'll just use his speed and athleticism to get open. As if that wasn't enough, Hockenson is a terrific blocker, which is increasingly rare to find these days for a tight end who's also so good in the passing game.
For all those reasons and more, some pundits believe Hockenson may pound for pound be the top prospect in the entire draft.
40-Yard Dash: 4.70 seconds
Bench Press: 17 reps
Vertical Jump: 37.5 inches
Broad Jump: 123.0 inches
Irv Smith Jr.
Weight: 242 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Ben Watson
A pair of top-notch Iowa tight ends are understandably getting the lion's share of buzz heading into the draft.
However, the position is as deep as any this year, and Irv Smith Jr. is another tight end some consider a lock to go in the first round. In fact, his ability to play fullback or H-back and operate out of the backfield brings a different dimension to his game.
It can often be hard to get playing time early at Alabama, and that was the case for Smith. However, his performance in recent seasons speaks for itself. In fact, his seven touchdowns a year ago rank as the most by a tight end in program history.
The 6-2, 242-pounder appeared in 38 games over three seasons, catching 58 passes for 838 yards and 10 touchdowns. Most of his damage came in 2018 as he hauled in 44 receptions for 710 passes and 10 touchdowns.
Overall, Alabama routinely pumps out NFL talent, and Smith's career with the Crimson Tide indicates he's well-positioned to dominate in the pros as well.
40-Yard Dash: 4.63 seconds
Bench Press: 19 reps
Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches
Broad Jump: 110.0 inches
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above represent those of individual authors and do not represent the opinions or policies of the Chargers' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives.
Take a closer look at some of the top wide receiver and tight end prospects available in this year's NFL Draft.