April 13, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Top Wide Receivers Part 2

10 min read
Who are the tight ends to know about in the 2024 NFL Draft? @CodyFolden breaks it down with the first part of his top ten list.

2024 WR Prospects: Part 2

By: Cody Folden

The first Wide Receiver article is out. A standout between part 1 and part 2 is that there are teammates on both lists. Like I said in part 1, NIL is becoming a big aspect of how teams are built. We will be seeing wide receiver teammates with identical or high draft capital. 

Emeka Egbuka would be on this list if he didn't go back to school, yet he did. If he had declared for the draft, that would have been 4 teams. They could have had 8 of the top 10 wide receivers. Yet he did not. There are only 3 in Texas, LSU, and Washington.

Film breakdowns and testing will factor in. But, as of now, this specific article is for BEFORE the scouting combine. We will release new and updated articles after the combine and the draft. These other two major events will tell us a lot of information.

This wide receiver class is deep. Like others doing rookie spotlights, there are arguments for many guys. We have some elite prospects in Part 2, and we have some guys that were good in Part 1. 

I would expect about 20 to 25 wide receivers to go in this draft. Therefore, I assume this will be the top 10 list with the most movement, especially around the 9 and 10 spots. Before then, you could argue the order of the top 8 but I will assume they are the top 8 regardless. 

 

We will continue this list with #5 - 

 

#5 - Troy Franklin (Oregon)

 

 

Honestly, I had a hard time believing the Troy Franklin hype at the start of the season because he was so hyped up. After watching his season tape I now understand why people are jacked up about him. 

Troy Franklin had a 3-year college career at Oregon. He posted stats of 160 receptions for 2483 yards and 25 touchdowns. He improved statistically every year. Constant improvement to me shows he has a good work ethic. He is willing to get better at his craft.

Franklin comes in with a slight frame, no denying that. But, he uses his athleticism and knowledge of the wide receiver position to his advantage. He has average play strength. However, Franklin is exceptional with his body control and fluidity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps9AqCs-wmY

He is great at changing direction, of controlling his speed, and has seamless transitions in his route running. What sticks out even more is how he excels on sideline throws. There are far too many occasions he bails out his quarterback Bo Nix. 

He has the whole route tree to his advantage with his speed. But, he has trouble tracking the ball on go or vertical routes. There was a consistent thread of plays where he started running before securing the catch. This would lead to drops.

I don’t think he has a drop problem. It is more that he needs to slow down his brain. He is processing the play almost as fast as his feet are running, instead of letting his instincts take over. Franklin will be highly touted, and I would not be surprised to see Franklin go in the middle to late 1st round.

 

With that, the landing spot will be key to Franklin. He is the first one on this list, that if he goes to a WR-needy team, he can be inserted and have an impact right away. He is going to test well. If there is only one position group you are going to watch at the combine, make it be the wide receivers. 

 

#4 is the second Texas wide receiver on the list:

#4 -  Xavier Worthy (Texas)

 

 

Xavier Worthy, another UT wide receiver showed out this year. In his 3 years at Texas, he accrued 197 receptions for 2755 yards and 26 touchdowns. He stands at 6 foot 1 and 165 pounds. We have ourselves another slight frame wide receiver. There are a few things I like, just a tad more than Franklin, to put him over him in the rankings.

Worthy's reliable hands are the first thing. By reliable, I mean that he will always make the catch, even when he is covered or about to get hit. Ewers puts Worthy in tight window situations multiple times, and Worthy will always move the sticks.

He is a smooth route runner and has great balance after the catch. This is a major reason why he has high yards after the catch. He also has an elite burst to get open and is explosive in every part of the field.

At the line of scrimmage, he can beat his defender, especially if they are bigger than Worthy. At his route breaks to gain separations and gets behind the defenders. When he is behind the defenders, you will not catch him. This results in multiple big plays. He needs to learn how to sit down in zone coverage a little better. This will help him turn and face his quarterback so he can get Worthy the ball.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZjAiDpGkRY

Worthy complements his teammates well. He is a decent down-the-field blocker. He will block at the line of scrimmage and be successful. He will also take on the best defenders or double teams. This will open up the field for other weapons in the offense. He shows that he will do anything to win.  

I expect Worthy to be another wide receiver to be in the late first or second round, based on need. Worthy has no real shot at being an outside wide receiver in the NFL. This will make him fall a little more than Franklin will. Worthy has grit though. Whatever team gets him will love that he will do anything to get on the football field.

 

There is an argument to be had with the next two guys. As of now, this is where it stacks up. At number 3:

 

#3 - Rome Odunze (Washington)

 

 

The 4-year product out of Washington had one of the most productive careers on the list. He made 214 receptions, 3272 yards, and 24 touchdowns. Rome Odunze is 6 foot 3 and 220 pounds. He has the potential for a solid NFL career. He has the build, the stats, and the confidence in his game. A major problem that is the easiest to resolve is the outside voices.

Odunze does not need anyone speaking for him. As long as he gets those people in check, I think he will be either the wide receiver 2 or 3 off the board. Odunze could let his stats do the talking and do all of this internally. He was successful at Washington. You can also see how supportive and how much better his teammates were while he was there as well. So, when the scouting combine comes, this isn't even an issue.

Odunze is a fluid route runner and makes it look easy. He also helps his quarterback out, like Franklin, but better with sideline catches. He is a little too finesse sometimes. His route adjustments are a little too nuanced.

He has trouble getting open when the play breaks down. I would also like to see him, with his size, be a little better at shedding the defenders hands at the line of scrimmage.

Odunze is one of the best ball trackers in this class. Penix was never afraid to throw Odunze open. Where he can improve is catches in traffic. He sometimes hears footsteps and decides to play another down. His release point within the first five yards could become a little more explosive. This way, defensive backs won't bully him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV5pOBNfOOg

Odunze is confident. He attacks the ball. When it is in the air, he snatches it quickly to get it to his body. This is a skill a lot of receivers do not have but is crucial in the NFL. The defenders are faster, stronger, and bigger. So, the faster the hands you have, the less time is given to the defender to get their hands up and make a play.

As stated above, Odunze should be the second or third guy taken. It should be in the first round. It will all depend on what you are looking for in a receiver. Other than the number 1 guy on this list, Odunze is the only one fully ready to be an outside wide receiver. Expect him to go in the 20s of the first round. 

 

Coming in at number 2, the last teammate on the list:

 

#2 - Malik Nabers (LSU)

 

 

Malik Nabers is the best “smaller” product in terms of height and weight. He stands at 6 foot 1 and weighs 200 pounds. During his 3 year career at LSU, he accrued 189 receptions, 3003 yards and 21 touchdowns. Like the other teammates on this list, Nabers complemented Brian Thomas Jr into a great year. Nabers let Thomas play to his strengths and he did the same.

With that, Nabers will need more time to develop. He can play any position of wide receiver you need him to. But, to be a true number one, you need to be reliable as a downfield target and the boundary. Nabers strength right now is in the slot. Give him time to develop his route tree. With that, he'll become an outside WR and he will flourish.

Nabers has improved every year. He is a technician at using his hands to shed defenders and catch. He has superb footwork and a filthy set of moves to create separation. This makes him excel in the short and intermediate routes on the field. Between the numbers, Nabers is a weapon.

His lower half is so strong that defensive backs will think twice about taking him on 1-on-1. He will bounce off of you easily, which I think will translate and open up an offense. His burst and short-area quickness will get him to become a reliable wide receiver for whichever team does take him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk3JWLlJ_-E

He is too often caught downfield. His speed may not be the fastest, but with enough space, he can break one. He doesn't have that extra gear to pull away. However, he may not need it if he is already in open space. This is only an issue if he has a go route. He must slow down for the ball, catch it, and speed up.

I have been trying to predict who goes first between Odunze and Nabers. Frankly, I can't give you an answer. I would give Nabers a slight edge. It's because of how disruptive he could be to defenses at the line of scrimmage. A team with an already established number 1 could snatch him up. Expect him to go in the late teens or 20s of the first round of the draft.

 

Coming in at 1, the final spot for this article, and the best wide receiver prospect in the draft this year: 

 

#1 - Marvin Harrison Jr (Ohio State)

 

 

Marvin Harrison Jr is everything the NFL wants in a wide receiver prospect. He has the size, at 6 foot 3 and 210 pounds. He also has the production, with 155 receptions, 2613 yards, and 31 touchdowns. Plus, he has the bloodline. Marvin Harrison Jr. has what I need to see out of Odunze and Nabers.

Marvin Harrison Jr is a wide receiver technician. His footwork, route running, and hands are amazing. He has elite speed and acceleration. Also, he knows when to start and stop to gain leverage or separation. Some say his release off the line of scrimmage needs work. But, I am not one of them. I think his long legs do him a disservice. They don't show how good of a release and burst he has.

While Harrison has many great qualities, he is still a prospect who can do some tuning in parts of his game. First, I would like him to put on some more muscle. This would help him recover from the nagging injuries. He didn't miss a lot of time, but the team that drafts him needs him for the full season.

Too often, after he catches the ball, he gets tackled right away. Unlike Nabers, who can bounce off contact and gain more yardage, Marvin seems to go down too easily after first contact. Another thing I need to see is his ball security to tighten up. If I can see that he holds the ball too loose and away from his body, then actual scouts, defensive coaches, and players can too.

The best part of Harrison’s game is his contested catch. He has the best body control and knows how to high-point and track the ball. He made a middle-of-the-road quarterback in Kyle McCord look amazing at times. However, the quarterback's play also had some negative effects on Harrison. It made the other top wide receiver prospects get closer to him.

I need to see some sharper cuts in his route breaks. He relies on his size and athleticism a little too much to get open. While I think he can, as I have reiterated time and time again. Defenders in the NFL are bigger, faster, and stronger. Hone in that craft so you don't lose it. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG9hYtqLjQU

Marvin Harrison Jr will be a top 5 pick in the draft. He is the best wide receiver in the draft. The scouting combine and pro day shouldn’t do much for him because he is already at the top. I am far more excited to watch his interviews to see where his head is at.

 

 

The top 10 lists are out. What do you agree with, what do you disagree with? Who did I massively undervalue, or overvalue? After the combine that is FINALLY almost here, I will adjust some of the rankings. I will put out an article closer to the draft so pro days can also happen and all the testing is complete.   

If you’re lucky, I may even try to project where some prospects go and have some player comparisons for them. Regardless, an article will come out with how I rank them. If someone is on the list that isn't on it now, they will get a quick rundown. Thank you for reading and happy dynasty draft season. It is the best time of the year.

 

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