The Badgers number one receiver from last year, Quintez Cephus, choose to forego his senior season and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft Monday afternoon. In 2019, Cephus earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention while leading the Badgers in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He had 59 catches for 901 yards and 7 touchdowns. His average yards per reception of 15.3 was actually better than highly touted receiving prospects, Jerry Jeudy and Laviska Shenault. Cephus’ 2019 breakout campaign saw him also crack the top seven in the entire Big Ten in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.
At 6’1” 207 pounds, Quintez Cephus has the ideal size for an NFL wide receiver. He also seems to have already grown into his body, a rarity for college receivers, which makes him ready to play immediately. At his size, Cephus isn’t going to wow anybody with his straight-line speed but his quickness is among the best in the draft. With his quickness, this allows him to have incredible big play ability which he often showcased at Wisconsin. Also, Cephus has very good hands that are able to absorb any type of throw.
Even with his skill set, many draft analysts have Cephus being drafted as early as the third round or as late as the fifth. The best-case scenario for Cephus is to be drafted by a team that needs him to be their number three receiver. Cephus’ potential isn’t through the roof, so a team who has title aspirations, say the Patriots, are the ones who will jump all over him in the late rounds.
It happens far too often where a Wisconsin receiver fails to live up to the challenges of the NFL. Even with Quintez Cephus being the best Badgers’ receiver in some time, this will make teams wary. This trend should make Cephus’ draft stock fall somewhere in the fifth round.
The two teams that stick out as potential Cephus suitors that have picks in the fifth round are the Jaguars and the Panthers. Last season, the Jaguars had 23-year-old, D.J. Chark, breakout as the team’s number one receiver for the future. However, with a young quarterback like Gardner Minshew and a young running back in Leonard Fournette, Quintez Cephus could give the Jaguars another young piece to add for the future. With two young, go-to receivers, Jacksonville will be set up well at the wideout position.
Next, the Panthers are in a franchise transition period. The days of MVP Cam Newton are over and it looks like they are in rebuild mode centering around Christian McCaffrey and Kyle Allen. D.J. Moore is a fine number one receiver for Carolina but they lack a true number two guy. Currently, Curtis Samuel is that man but he thrives more in the slot or backfield. Cephus could give Carolina the prototypical number one and two wideouts for the young Kyle Allen to work with.
With a cleared name and bright future, whoever drafts Quintez Cephus in the middle rounds will be getting a big receiver with big playmaking abilities. For Cephus, his best-case scenario is getting drafted by the New England Patriots in the third or fourth round but it seems more likely that he will fall to the Jaguars in the fifth round.