football Edit

Spring football preview: WR

Over the next week, will take a look at the key story lines and players at each position group, ahead of the start of spring football. Today, we continue at receiver.

PREVIOUSLY: Quarterback | Running back |

Spring 2016 projected depth chart

Nate Brown

Cam Hilton

DeSean Blair

Emanuel Hall

Johnathon Johnson

Keyon Dilosa

J'Mon Moore

Ray Wingo

Justin Smith

Eric Laurent

Ronnell Perkins

Richaud Floyd

Chris Black

After an impressive and abbreviated 2015 preseason camp, all eyes will be back on Johnathon Johnson.
After an impressive and abbreviated 2015 preseason camp, all eyes will be back on Johnathon Johnson.

1. Moving targets at receiver

It's very tough to project where the receivers will play in Josh Heupel's new offense, so expect our projected depth chart to be off. However, in looking at Missouri's receivers, the majority of the scholarship players slant heavier to slot receivers, and there could be a real log-jam at the position.

The real fun battle to watch will be between Cam Hilton, Johnathon Johnson and Chris Black. Hilton showed strong flashes of talent when he was moved to receiver in 2015; Johnson was arguably the offense's most electric player in preseason camp before breaking his ankle and taking a redshirt. Black, a graduate transfer from Alabama, enters with a lot of expectations.

If those three remain healthy, expect a lot of movement, because their talent alone dictates that all should be on the field at the same time.

2. A steadying presence

Missouri missed a safety net at receiver in a very disappointing 2015 campaign. There was no receiver that could guarantee a catch and positive yards at the very least; the group was plagued by dropped passes, inconsistent routes and a lack of focus.

Obviously, there were myriad issues around the offense that played into that, but still -- Missouri needs a guy to step up and be the consistent, if not spectacular, pass-catcher that any solid offense has.

The early candidate to fill that role should be Nate Brown, who has shown good hands while being moved around the receiving corps. He seems to be more of a natural fit on the outside, and given Missouri's crop of slot receivers, it seems only logical that he'll move back in that direction.

3. A chance for the youngsters

With many of the older players not seizing opportunities in 2015, Missouri should take a very long look at the younger players to fill its receiving group in 2016. This spring will be a huge proving ground for Johnson, Hilton and Hall, in addition to the big Justin Smith. Expectations abound for that group. We haven't heard much about Richaud Floyd, and Ronnell Perkins has bounced between safety and receiver, but there's plenty of youth to challenge the older players that haven't delivered with consistency at this point.