NFL Draft – Wide Receivers

NFL Draft 2024 – Wide Receivers

Draft Insiders’ –  Top Prospects

      Frank Coyle/ Publisher

 Marvin Harrison heads an amazing receiving class which features several blue chips prospects at the top and incredible depth into the late rounds. Harrison is a generational prospect with NFL ready skills to provide an impact to an offense. Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze will come off the board between the 5th and 10th selections. Both are highly developed and checked all the boxes in the postseason to be rookie starters in September.

At least 6 or 7 receivers could come off the board in the first round and as many as 10-12 in the first two rounds. Expect 15-18 in the top 100 with as many chosen in the 3rd day along with countless rookie free agents. This position provides the most draft selections annually and this year should also rank as the #1 position NFL front offices select over the seven rounds.

 Here are Draft Insiders’ top 6 Prospects scouting reports, top rankings and positional overview.

Photo – Marvin Harrison – Ohio State (school)

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Wide Receivers – Grade: A+                                             

    NFL Teams need:

  1. Chiefs             5. Titans         
  2. Giants            6. Bears
  3. Bills                7. Cardinals
  4. Panthers       8. Ravens

 Positional Overview:  With the evolution of the expanded NFL passing game over the past decade, receivers have become the dominant performers in a pro-offense. At this year’s NFL Combine, another record of receivers ran sub 4.4 and 4.5 forty times. Xavier Worthy set a new NFL Combine record with an amazing 4,21 sprint. Several other players ran a sub 4.3 time as training produces new manufactured speed.  This year’s group is an exceptionally deep and quality class which may rival the best of classes of all time. This is a very strong group from the top ten through the middle rounds. This is a very deep class with a many blue and red chip prospects. This class has the talent and depth at the position to be a bumper crop which produces many NFL starters and a record number of selections. This position could provide many playmakers with as many as 5-6 1st round choices. The top three prospects Marvin Harrison, Rome Odunze and Malik are true blue playmakers at a high level of development to provide rookie impact.  Brian Thomas, AD Mitchell and Xavier Worthy are each rated as first round receivers. Other receivers, Ladd McConkey, Xavier Leggette, Troy Franklin, Roman Wilson and Malachi Corley all figure in the mid-2nd day. The top 100 could provide a new record of prospects with 15+ chosen. Unheralded prospects, Jermaine Burton, Ricky Piersall, Keon Coleman and Javon Baker are all potential early NFL starters with above average speed and developed skills. Probably 35+ receivers could go over the seven-round event. The underclassmen will once again play a huge factor here. There are a few fast-rising prospects like Ladd McConkey who is moving up quickly off an impressive postseason. There will be many rookie free agents who carry make it grades entering camp. They most likely become practice squad members with most clubs carrying at least two-three receivers for depth.

   NFL Premier Player – Justin Jefferson
Blue Chip – Marvin Harrison
Blue Chip – Rome Odunze
Blue Chip – Malik Nabers
Rising – Ladd McConkey
Falling – Johnny Wilson
Underrated – Jermaine Burton
Overrated – Tez Walker
Sleeper – Ryan Flournay
Boom/Bust – Troy Franklin
Hidden Gem – Ricky Pearsall

       Positional Traits
Best Athlete – Marvin Harrison
Best Hands – Ladd McConkey
Fastest – Xavier Worthy
Quickest – Malik Nabers
Run After Catch – Malachi Corley
Route Runner – Ladd McConkey
Deep Threat – Brian Thomas
Catch In Traffic – Rome Odunze
Blocker – Xavier Legette
Adjustments /Routes – Marvin Harrison
Long term Gem – Roman Wilson
Red Zone jump balls – Ricky Pearsall
Strongest – Rome Odunze

     Wide Receiver Rankings

1 Marvin Harrison                    Ohio State
2 Malik Nabers                        LSU
3 Rome Odunze                      Washington
4 Brian Thomas                       LSU
5 AD Mitchell                           Texas
6 Xavier Worthy                       Texas
7 Ladd McConkey                   Georgia
8 Troy Franklin                        Oregon
9 Xavier Legette                      South Carolina
10 Keon Coleman                      Florida State
11 Roman Wilson                      Michigan
12 Malachi Corley                      Western Kentucky
13 Jermaine Burton                   Alabama
14 Ricky Pearsall                       Florida
15 Javon Baker                         UCF
16 Jalen McMillan                      Washington
17 Tez Walker                           North Carolina
18 Brenden Rice                       Southern Cal
19 Johnny Wilson                      Florida State
20 Luke McCaffrey                    Rice

Wide Receiver Scouting Reports

1 Marvin Harrison #18 – 6-4, 205                       Ohio State – Sp. 4.40   
NFL Comparison: Justin Jefferson                 Rating 93
Gazelle like playmaker has excelled since starting in the Buckeyes’ passing game, totaling over 2600 yards receiving and 31 TDs in just three seasons. Earned annual All-American and Big Ten honors.  Son of HOF receiver Marvin Harrison. Twitchy athlete with the skill set to be a true #1 receiver. Great length and leaping skills create a very difficult single matchup. Excellent body control and hands to make the tough catch and win most 50/50 balls. Rare lower body flexibility to change directions and retain his speed, comparable to a 180 lb. athlete. Keyed on by defenses weekly and challenged by NFL type corners and was still a dominant weapon in the potent OSU attack. age. Developed the full route tree with impact both inside and outside. Natural soft hands with huge receiving radius to be a very tough matchup for contested passes. Reads coverage quickly and makes fast adjustments to provide a reliable target. Deadly on the crossing patterns and red zone plays where his quickness, length, instincts and separation speed make him a very difficult matchup. Generational receiver with All-Pro skill set. Top 3-4 prospect. Impact weapon for the club which has components in place. Demands special attention in every key situation.
                                                             Draft Projection: 1st Round

2 Malik Nabers #8 – 6-0, 195                             LSU – Sp. 4.40 
            NFL Comparison: Odell Beckham                   Rating 92
Elusive playmaker declared for the NFL Draft after a dominant performance in the SEC, earning first team honors. Athletic receiver combines excellent quickness and the ability to retain his speed at the breakpoint to separate consistently. Freshman All-American and put 1000 yard receiving years together his final two seasons. Exceptionally quick feet translate very well to route running and separating in coverage. Soft hands and natural running talent to break plays regularly. Very good speed with the burst to separate in the deep game and hit the big play. Keen understanding of coverage with the quickness to retain his speed in his breaks and provide a very dependable target especially through the middle zones. Plays both inside and outside, though best suited for the slot where his ability to get movement and many single matchups makes him exceptionally dangerous. Smooth weapon and capable of providing immediate impact in a passing game. Top 5-8 prospect with rookie starting talent to become a fixture in offense.
                                                              Draft Projection: 1st Round
3 Rome Odunze #1 – 6-3, 210                           Washington – Sp. 4.45 
            NFL Comparison: A.J. Brown                          Rating 92
Strong sure handed playmaker was the most dominant receiver in the nation in 2023. Earned first team All-American and Pac 12 honors working with QB Michael Pennix. Prototypical athlete for the position with big strong frame, soft hands and large receiving radius to make contested catches. Moves easy in his routes with the speed and tackle breaking ability to make big plays. Totaled over 3200 career receiving yards with 214 receptions, 24 TDs and 15.3-yard average. Shows natural receiving skills with crisp routes, good body control and sound coverage reads to provide a well-developed target and finished prospect for the pro game. High level of development with the mental toughness and preparation to start as a rookie. Blue-chip prospect with high level of production despite special attention weekly. Probable Pro Bowl receiver in the right setting and working with a quality veteran. Great work ethic and attitude with the special athleticism to put it all together. Top 5 prospect with skill set to hit the ground quickly and become a major addition to an offense. Imposing physical specimen and NFL ready. Ideal for the Chargers or Giants.
                                                                    Draft Projection: 1st Round

4 Brian Thomas #11 – 6-3, 210                         LSU – Sp. 4.35 
            NFL Comparison: Tee Higgins                        Rating 90
Big body wideout complete a breakout performance in 2023, earning first team SEC honors. Coupled with star QB Jayden Daniels to form an amazing tandem with receiver Malik Nabers. Thomas totaled 17 receiving TDs for over 1100 yards and a 17.3 yard average per catch. Large strong frame to fight off coverage and tacklers, though the burst to separate quickly and get deep consistently. At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.33 time with a 1.50 ten-yard split. That speed translated very well to the field and his initial burst is very deceptive to create early on the play. Strong body allows him to post up cover men, along with the burst off the line to be a threat in the deep game. His speed presses coverage where his size also becomes a matchup problem. Dangerous on the go and intermediate routes. At times, he can also gather too much at the breakpoint. Shows strong reliable hands with a big radius to win contested balls. Makes yardage after the catch with good tackle breaking power. Prototypical starter with big play ability. TD ratio of 1 for every reception is exceptional. Explosiveness, speed and size create intriguing potential. Must refine route running to be ready for starting duty. Very impressive 2023 season with probably earn him a mid first round grade, though needs to refine his game.
                                                                        Draft Projection: 1st Round

5 AD Mitchell #5 – 6-2, 200                                Texas   – Sp. 4.35         
NFL Comparison: CeeDee Lamb                     Rating 89
Athletic strong receiver completed an impressive final season with Texas after transferring from Georgia. Big framed smooth prospect played in two very deep receiving corps which limited his touches in college. Shows top speed (4.34) with a quick initial burst which allows him to separate consistently from cover men. Long frame and tough over the middle and in any 50/50 ball situations. Earned invitation to the NFL Combine and was very impressive with 39” VL and 11’4” BJ along with 4.34 sprint. Prototypical skill set and his ability translates well to the field. Top leaper with potential #1 receiver talent, though not completely developed after two stops and limited reps. Needs work on refining his route running and defensive recognition. Learning to use his big frame more effective on contested passes to secure the ball consistently. Though at a nice LOD, he has further refinement before ready to earn starting time. Type with big ceiling, though faces an early learning curve. Possible surprise #1 pick, though more a good 2nd round value who can pay big dividends in time. Top 40 prospect with impact ability in the right setting and alignment.
                                                          Draft Projection: 1st-2nd Round

6 Ladd McConkey #84 – 5-11, 187                     Georgia – Sp. 4.40       
            NFL Comparison: Julian Edelman                   Rating 89
Savvy speedy playmaker completed an unheralded, though productive career in the deep Bulldog receiving corps. Despite limited reps, he is very developed in all receiving skills, especially route running, defense recognition and pass catching. His ability to separate in coverage rivals cagey veterans. He is exceptionally quick at the breakpoint with crisp footwork to separate very well to provide a sure target. Soft natural hands with the ability to extend and make the tough catch. Explosive on the snap to pressure coverage and eat up the cushion with sharp cutting skills. He retains his 4.4 speed and it translates well to the field. His quick footwork beats man coverage regularly especially if he comes clean off the line. Expanded receiving game and runs a complete route tree from different positions. Good running skills with the instant acceleration to hit a seam and break a long gainer. Must continue to get stronger to win contested balls and break tackles. Type with the deceptive speed to surprise secondaries. Capable of working the slot and outside with a very high level of development to help day one. Needs improved strength to prove durable in the NFL, though played 39 games over short three seasons. Impact weapon gives a passer an uncanny target to move the chains and make the critical play. Highly developed to provide rookie impact for a smart play caller to move him around in formations. Gem with big time play making skills.
                                                            Draft Projection: 1st-2nd Round

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