Brugler: Top 3 route runners in NFL Draft are …

NFL: Combine: Wide receiver Calvin Ridley has good hands in addition to his route running. --Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

— By Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com —

NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Dane Brugler ranks his top three wide receivers for the NFL Draft as Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, Maryland’s D.J. Moore and Memphis’ Anthony Miller.

Brugler ranks Ridley as No. 11 on his latest Big Board, with Moore at 14 and Miller at 36.

Somebody on Twitter asked him a more nuanced question, though: Which receivers in the draft are the best route runners?

His answer:

  1. Ridley.
  2. Penn State’s DeaSean Hamilton.
  3. Colorado State’s Michael Gallup.

In Brugler’s 7-round mock draft, he has Hamilton going 95th overall to the New England Patriots near the end of the third round. He pegs Gallup as being selected 79th by the Arizona Cardinals.

Here is Brugler’s analysis of his top three route runners from his 2018 NFL Draft Guide, which is available for purchase and download:

On Ridley:
“Dynamic and detailed route runner, creating his own separation. … Every route looks the same off the line of scrimmage, setting up defenders with body language and multiple gears. … Explosive plant-and-go athlete at the stem, accelerating with burst off his plant foot to not only maintain his speed, but increase his pace.”

On Hamilton:
“Crafty route-runner with subtle tempo to leverage patterns. Evades at the line of scrimmage with assorted release moves. Understands route depth and works his way to open spaces. Coordinated feet and stem-shake to separate. … Overall, Hamilton doesn’t have noteworthy size, strength or speed and needs to be more consistent finishing catches, but his route savvy and “always available” approach make him a quarterback’s best friend in the Doug Baldwin mold.”

On Gallup:
“Detailed route-runner and each step has a purpose. … Comfortable with a diverse route tree. … Transitions his momentum in/out of cuts to maintain speed on posts/corner routes. … Makes mid-patterns adjustments based on coverage reads. … Overall, there isn’t much that distinguishes Gallup from a size/speed standpoint, but he is reliable and understands how to get the most out of his skill-set, which will translate well to the NFL game.”

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