NFL Draft

Top 10 wide receivers of the 2023 NFL Draft:

Week two of our positional draft rankings is here. After breaking down the top running backs and linebackers in this year’s class, it’s time to talk about these wide receiver prospects. Once again, these are simply my personal rankings, without taking team fits and needs into account. So these boards will look a lot different depending on who you ask and especially with this position, I believe there will be a lot of variance for how teams have guys stacked up.

I believe there’s a pretty clear top tier, which includes four names we’ve all commonly seen get mocked in the first round. I don’t believe there’s a Ja’Marr Chase in this class or that this is as strong a group as we had last year, with Drake London and the two Ohio State guys. However, all four of these names should go on day one. After that, there’s a significant gap to the next group, which is where I have a few names mixed in, who I rarely hear being brought up. The rest of the top ten will all be top-100 prospects for me and at the end, I talk about one more guy, who I really struggled to find a place for. The real strength of this class however is the abundance of day-three targets, where altogether I watched more than 30 prospects with a chance of contributing at the next level.

Let’s dive into this:

Zay Flowers


1. Zay Flowers, Boston College

5’9”, 180 pounds; SR


A three-star recruit in 2019, Flowers carried the ball more than he caught it as a true freshman (22 vs. 27) for just over 500 yards and four touchdowns total. While he did still get involved on some sweep and end-around plays, he did primarily focus on doing damage through the air from year two on, hauling in 178 passes for 2715 yards and 27 TDs over the three ensuing seasons. He earned first-team All-ACC accolades in the latter one and now leaves Boston College as their all-time leader in receiving yards (3056). I believe he deserves a ton of credit for sticking with a BC program that went 3-9 and had highly inconsistent quarterback play during Flowers’ time there.


+ Shows great acceleration off the line and that extra juice to pull away from safeties when matched up with them down the post, And you saw him run away from top-tier athletes like Clemson’s Andrew Booth in 2021, even if the ball wasn’t quite there for him in that matchup

+ Ran a bunch of post routes and deep crossers, where he could run away from whoever ended up being matched up with him – Getting him matched up with a safety as #3 in trips is a recipe for failure, because of the way he can put them on their heels with a vertical stem and then hit another gear as he flattens across the field

+ You clearly see that defensive coordinators circle this guy on the whiteboard, when you watch DBs bracket him vertically with leverage from both sides – There are so many plays where he’s used as a decoy, opening up space underneath – his conditioning/stamina must be off the charts

+ Also has some good moments using head-nods and body leans to set up and turn around defenders as a route-technician

+ Extremely shifty out of his stance to avoid jams in press and reduce the near-shoulder, to not be impeded in his route stem

+ Does a great job of really pushing the corner vertically and then creating separation as he sits down to break back on the ladder (deep curls and comebacks), where he regularly makes guys overrun that point

+ Bends off the either foot without any delay and can eat on those easy-access throws on slants or speed outs after putting his head down for a couple of steps, to get corners in back-up mode

+ Was open constantly, but the quarterback either didn’t have enough time or could place the ball where it needed to be


+ Shows some pretty impressive late adjustments to the ball in the air

+ Makes a lot of challenging catches where he has to dive for low balls on comebacks and deep outs

+ And for a guy of his height, he does a great of positioning his body and attacking the ball in the air, resulting in a contested catch rate of 58.3% last year

+ Put on 11 pounds since the end of season and looks muscular at 183 lbs

+ Once he catches ball deep down the field, he can put on the breaks and make safeties look foolish, who charge in on him

+ Can stick his foot in the ground and juke around defenders out in the flats off quick completions, to turn them into long gains

+ Yet also swipes down the arms of defenders reaching out for himself and has the strength in his lower body to bounce off hits, when he’s catching the ball on the run

+ Doesn’t cheat you with any lack of effort as a blocker, throwing his body into defenders and finding ways to wall them off

+ Only took part in one Shrine Bowl practices, but it just looked different to the rest of the group, gliding by and breaking a strong group of DBs


– Has a tendency of wanting to beat his man quickly on the route and because of that allows defenders to re-enter the picture with the way he makes the break later down the field

– There’s a lack of manipulation prior to and some excessive steps at the break point vs. off-coverage, trying to set up routes versus DBs who are able to stay square to him, as he runs himself into contact

– His limited catch radius does show up at times, when it looks like he’ll sky for high passes, but he is only just able to get his finger-tips on them (only 29 and ¼-inch arms)

– Had nine drops and four fumbles in 2022

This kid has some pretty insane quick-twitch to beat defenders in any direction. I truly believe he can play inside and out, win on all three levels and he has the speed to pull away from anybody before or after the ball gets into his hands. Flowers already flashes some highly impressive moments of leaving defenders behind in the dust as a route-runner. If he can do that more regularly, he’s going to be an extremely tough cover at the next level. Now, with his height and arm length being in the bottom-eighth percentile, there are some limitations in terms of catch radius and ability to shield the ball with his body, but as he continues to work on his craft, defenders aren’t going to be able to put hands on him and he can strike fear in the hearts of opposing coaches, if he actually has somebody that can deliver him the ball accurately.



Jaxon Smith-Njigba


2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

6’1”, 195 pounds; JR


A top-five receiver in the 2020 recruiting class, this guy only caught seven passes as a true freshman, before exploding in year two. Really all you need to know about this young man’s talent is that neither first-rounder Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson led the Buckeyes in receiving yards, but Smith-Njigba did, with 1606 and nine TDs on 95 catches. That earned him third-team All-American recognition. Unfortunately he didn’t even finish one full game this past season due to suffering a hamstring injury, which basically cost him the whole season (five catches for 43 yards trying to go in two other games).


+ Consistently threatens vertically off the snap, with no wasted movement out of his stance, pads over his knees and arms pumping hard

+ Very detailed route-runner, who understands the intricacies of the position

+ Can be deceptive with his eyes and body-language to freeze defenders and almost surprise them out of his breaks, throwing in some nasty trigger steps as he approaches the top of the route

+ Has very flexible hips and ankles to just roll off his feet and bend his routes, when not wanting to lose any speed in his breaks

+ Shows the ability to run by his defender on slot fade routes with a subtle hesitation off the line before getting to top gear

+ Incorporates different tempo in routes to trigger defenders his man, but also to work his way through zone coverages – you almost see him circle around hook defenders and catch the ball between guys over the middle on several occasions

+ Understands when he’s on the backside of the passing concept and can add some shake to his route, to make use of that extra time

+ Effectively widens defenders carrying him down the seams, in order to open up the post for himself as bends that way

+ Realizes when he needs to slow himself down as he’s approaching ancillary zone defenders

+ Just went off against Utah in the 2021/22 Rose Bowl, as the Buckeyes came back for a 48-45 win and this kid caught 15 balls for 347 yards and three TDs


+ Tracks the ball very naturally and displays high-level body-control as he adjusts to it down the field

+ Doesn’t seem fazed by having to reach behind himself and snatching the pass as the defender is allowed to re-enter the catch point, displaying strong hands on several occasions

+ Realizes when it’s better for him to body-catch the ball as he enters tight windows or approaches a linebacker

+ So good at using late hands on over-the-shoulder catches to not allow his man to rake the ball out

+ Turns upfield basically simultaneously with when his hands touch the ball and he routinely pulls himself forward after catching passes at/around the chains

+ Has the burst to consistently end up running down the opposite sideline from where he started on in-breaking or crossing routes, Plus he does an excellent job of swiping down the reach and keeping defenders from slowing him down as they seem to have an angle on him in pursuit

+ Can give a little shake to make guys miss who have him squared up or reduce the surface area to hit, plus sometimes it looks like JSN is covered in grease, when would-be-tacklers slip off him

+ Really good at sliding inside of safeties trying to drive on him as the ball goes there underneath

+ Reminded people that he’s still part of this class at the NFL combine, when he put up the best marks in the three-cone (3.93) and short shuttle (6.57) of anybody in Indianapolis, and he had one of best field workouts I’ve ever seen from a wide receiver, just being so clean out of his transitions and catching every ball with ease


– Spent 83% of his snaps with the Buckeyes in the slot, rarely having to deal with press-coverage and as part of a system that presents a lot of favorable opportunities to produce at a high level, with a ton of space to work with

– Lacks top-tier explosiveness and long speed – you don’t quite see him put safeties on their heels as he’s pushing at them

– Had a below-average 35-inch vertical jump and there isn’t a ton of evidence that he’ll be much of an asset winning in jump-ball situations

– More of a passive blocker in the run game and there’s a certain wind-up with his punch

– Missed all but three games with a hamstring injury last season

Even though two Ohio State receivers were drafted within the first 11 picks of the 2022 NFL Draft, Smith-Njigba might be the most talented and could potentially hear his name called as early as either one of them, as the current favorite for WR1 of this class. He has weirdly been getting punished by people for playing in the slot I feel like, without realizing his skill-set simply made most sense for that spot and the Buckeyes didn’t need him to line up outside, with all the other receivers they’ve had there. While I don’t quite see the same potential, the conversation around JSN very much reminds me of Justin Jefferson coming out of LSU. I don’t believe he has the top gear to be a legit deep threat at the next level and I do think he’s best-served to play mostly in the slot, but he may also catch 100 balls in multiple years and move the chains for you every week, if you let him roam between the numbers. There’s not much on tape that you don’t like, even though he may not blow you away.



Jordan Addison


3. Jordan Addison, USC

5’11”, 175 pounds; JR


A four-star recruit in 2020, Addison immediately became a valuable contributor for Pitt, touching the ball 69 times for 724 yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore, he caught exactly 100 passes for just under 1600 yards and he led the nation with 17 receiving touchdowns, which he was named the Biletnikoff winner and a first-team All-American for. He decided to transfer and pair up with Lincoln Riley and eventual Heisman winner Caleb Williams at USC in 2022, when he only played in 11 games and was “limited” to first-team All-Pac-12, but still up just over 900 yards and eight TDs on 63 touches.


+ Was a dynamic play-maker for the Panthers, who can make things happen on designed touches and winning down the field as somebody they routinely moved around the formation, At USC it felt much more like somebody truly winning as a route-runner

+ Quickly gets up to full speed and can open up the field on deep post routes across the field, creating space between the safeties and the underneath layer of the coverage

+ Very disciplined with staying straight in his initial stem, before fading around his corner on the sideline

+ When leverage dictates that he has to release opposed to the break (direction), he still has that extra gear to get to the point where he needs to be, as his QB puts it there

+ With the way he threatens off the line, he consistently is able to make corners overrun the break point on hitches and curls for easy-looking completions, and he aggressively works back down the stem

+ Has a knack for manipulating DBs and getting them lean against trigger-steps and head-nods

+ Consistently freezes defenders on breaks to the inside by giving a sudden shake, but can also make that hard one-legged plant to get out to the sideline on a 90-degree cut

+ Does a great job of tilting back into the space of defenders and stepping on their toes, as he makes his cut

+ Effectively rolls off either foot to flatten out his routes and being friendly to the quarterback on the fly


+ Makes challenging catches, where he makes having to fully extend for the ball look easy, by slowing its momentum with his fingertips

+ While he does recognize when he’s approaching/being led into a hit and turns his body away when needed, there’s no reluctancy to attack the pass in the air, You see him go airborne over the middle of the field and snatching the ball above his head on multiple occasions

+ Pretty unfazed by arms of defenders restricting his vision on the ball and understands when to not extend his arms too much for the catch

+ For a smaller build, Addison maintains space in the boundary for the ball to arrive and uses his body to shield the ball, while instantly pulling it into his body, so it can’t be dislodged late

+ Had an incredible play against Virginia, where a DB basically had the interception already, but Addison came back to the ball, took it away from the defender and took it for a 60+ yard TD

+ Uses the momentum of the ball to turn through either shoulder and get vertical

+ Brings some deceptive body-language and great start-stop ability after the catch

+ Has that innate feel for bodies around him once the ball is in his hands and can incorporate different footwork on the fly, to make defenders stop their feet and create angles for himself


– Rather unproven working against press-coverage or being challenged in his stem altogether, with how much he’s put in the slot and off the line generally – those Oregon State corners were able to make him adjust a bit by getting physical with him

– Would benefit from selling the break on stutter-fades and similar route more intensely, to get the DB to react

– There’s room for improvement in Addison’s feel for drifting towards open space or just getting to a secondary route more quickly

– Had 21 drops over his first two years, just taking his eyes off the ball a little too early at times

– Doesn’t mind putting hands on DBs, but isn’t actively seeking out or controlling guys and his team was better served used him as an fake bubble option or having him sell vertical routes


This is not the kind of receiver, who you roll out onto the field and he stands out above the group physically. Running a 4.49 at 173 pounds at the combine was a bit disappointing, but you turn on the film for Addison and he’s just making DBs look slow. Nobody in this class manipulates the guy across from him and is able to create separation as a route-running specialist as effectively as this guy. At Pitt, to me he appeared like more of a big-play threat, but when he got to USC, his ability to win before the ball is in his hands, really was on display. And for a guy of his stature, Addison is tremendous at coming up with the ball on contested catch opportunities. He’s ready to go week one more so than anybody else in this class.



Quentin Johnston


4. Quentin Johnston, TCU

6’3”, 205 pounds; JR


One of the top-100 recruits in 2020, Johnston was a first-team All-Big XII selection in 2021, thanks to 33 catches for 612 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 19.8 yards per catch in his first two seasons with the Horned Frogs, with basically the same per-touch output as a freshman. This past season that number slightly went down, but he more than doubled is career-receptions (60) for 1069 yards and six TDs. That earned him first-team All-Big Ten accolades for the second year in a row.


+ For being a big-bodied wideout, Johnston rapidly gets up to full speed with the long strides to win down the field, He ran a ton of vertical routes as the Horned Frogs X or Z receiver, either clearing out space on the front-side or being a real threat on backside alerts versus solo coverage

+ Can slow-play his release and then blow by his man, Even against outside shades, you see him stutter or jab inside and then display the explosiveness to beat them to the far shoulder

+ Very sudden in short areas and already pretty good at swatting away the hands of defenders as he works across their face, and consistently gains a couple of steps on his name on drag routes

+ There’s a few deep comebacks on tape, where he makes the corner overrun the break-point by like five yards because of how he scares guys with his ability to run by

+ On curls you see him sort of sell the take-off without actually getting past the outside shoulder and use his arms to slightly push off

+ Can put safeties on their heels when pushing vertically out of the slot and create large passing downs breaking either way


+ His ball-tracking down the field is next level and you don’t see him distracted by DBs trying to pin his near-arm, making a couple impressive one-handed grabs with the other one

+ Shows the ability to sky for the ball and swallow it with his palms over his head, Yet he also brings the focus in tight areas to stomach the ball and make sure it’s not being punched out, In the 2022 Kansas State game, he was really working the middle of the field and looked unbothered by bodies around him

+ Had a couple of “big-boy” plays against Oklahoma in 2021, once skying for a sideline grab with bodies around him and running away from the pursuit for a TD, plus a moss-like catch, where he truly ripped the ball away from the corner on a goal-line fade

+ Has the speed to catch a crossing route and defeat pursuit to the opposite sideline

+ However, if he catches a curl or dig, he packs a rapid spin move the other way to defeat the defender driving down on him, plus then he possesses the frame to have tacklers slip off him

+ And the way he can start-stop in the open field for a guy his size is kind of scary – forced a missed tackle on nearly every third catch last year (19 on 60 receptions)

+ In the run game, he will add in some hesitation off the line to get corners on their heels and then land his hands inside their chest

+ You see Johnston have to crack back or adjust to safeties, as they try to shoot through a lane, and get a solid piece of those, to spring the ball-carrier to the outside

+ Had a monster performance in their win over Kansas in 2022, with 14 catches for 201 yards and a TD, but my favorite highlight on the day of his was him blocking both DBs to his side, in order to set up a long touchdown on a screen to one of his fellow receivers

+ Only did the jumps at the combine, but showcased his explosiveness with a 40.5-inch vert and a 10’5” broad


– Didn’t run many intricate routes, mostly going across or down the field at full speed

– Has room to improve how he tilts in his routes down the field opens up space for himself, to just bend of one foot on seven- and eight-routes (particularly out of the slot)

– Barely cracked 100 receiving yards through the first month of the ’22 season, before having his breakout game against Kansas, and was completely taken out of the National Championship game, catching just one pass for three yards in the 65-7 blowout loss to Georgia (although he might’ve had a touchdown on a shallow post route out of the slot, if the ball was thrown his way)

– Allows the ball to get into his chest and leaves his feet unnecessarily on way too many occasions as he approaches the catch

– Doesn’t utilize his size in contested situations nearly enough, hauling in only eight of 23 of such opportunities last season


In contrast to what I said about USC’s Jordan Addison, Johnston is exactly the type of receiver that makes DBs’ knees shake as he jogs out of the huddle. His explosiveness and deep speed, combined the way he can stop his momentum and run away from guys as he sticks his foot in the ground, is pretty insane. The skill-set is absolutely there to be an alpha X-receiver at the next level. Unfortunately, he’s still far from realizing that potential. The way he can set up defenders as a route-runner, how he approaches the ball on a consistent basis and the fact he just doesn’t use his physicality when he’s battling for the ball with smaller defenders, are all underwhelming. I’m not sure if he’s the most natural catcher of the ball and therefore I can’t put him at the top of the list, even though I believe he has the highest ceiling of the class.



Jalin Hyatt


5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

6’0”, 180 pounds; JR


A top-200 overall recruit in the 2020 class despite being listed at a miniscule 153 pounds, Hyatt put up very similar stat lines in his first two years with the Vols, combining for just over 500 yards and four touchdowns on 41 catches, before breaking out in 2022, when UT was lost now-Bears receiver Velus Jones Jr. to the draft and their top guy coming into the season in Cedrick Tillman was missing time. Altogether he caught 67 passes for 1267 yards and 15 touchdowns, making him a unanimous All-American and winning him the Biletnikoff award, given to the best receiver in the country.


+ This guy has legit track speed – his 100- and 200-meter rally were faster than 98% of D1 wide receivers, That combination of blazing speed and ability to track the ball down the field makes his dangerous deep threat

+ He does a great job of creating space towards the post, as he threatens the outside with the vertical stem and then takes his speed up a notch as he sticks his foot in the ground to bend towards the middle, often combined with giving a nod towards the sideline

+ When matched up with guys one-on-one in the slot who give him a respectable cushion, he still has that extra gear to gain a couple of steps on them, And you regularly see him split the corner and safety, who end up trying to bracket him in quarters coverages

+ There were plenty of vertical option routes, where Hyatt displayed the ability to make the right decisions on the fly

+ His speed was also used regularly to create space for fellow receivers on wheel routes (off motion), although Hendon Hooker hit him for several big plays when defenses didn’t pass him off accordingly as well

+ With the way he can threaten vertically, he can create plenty of space as he snaps off routes and create easy access towards the middle of the field, where he can just run away from guys

+ Has the ankle flexibility to roll through cuts and turn his body fluidly


+ Put on about ten pounds in the 2022 offseason, to be able to beat press-coverage and break tackles more effectively, which we did see come to effect in his breakout campaign

+ Shows no fear to attack the ball at its earliest point and extending away from his threat, even though he knows a hit is imminent, as he goes over the middle

+ Unlike many deep threats, Hyatt tracks the ball and extends his arms accordingly, to not miss an opportunity to cash in (only five drops across 72 catchable targets last season)

+ Consistently was able to deal with screen passes and hitches being thrown over his head and having to adjust his approach

+ Catching the ball on the run, Hyatt can blaze by anybody and defeat pursuit angles along the way

+ Uses swipe-downs with his arms effectively to knock away the reach of would-be tacklers

+ Despite still certainly lacking some size, Hyatt does not shy away from mixing it up with bigger corners and safeties

+ His big moment of 2022 was scoring five(!) touchdowns against Alabama on six catches (for 207 yards) in Tennessee’s huge upset win, running by several future pros


– Not the most refined route-runner, who wins largely on a vertical plane – seams/slot fades/posts and wheels – the NFL may look at him as a pure vertical slot

– There’s a little too much sauce when Hyatt’s running pretty simple in- or out-breakers underneath, and he doesn’t stop as well as he starts

– A lot of his production did come from coverage busts and his 17 screen passes caught

– Has only faced 62 total snaps against press coverage in his career, and on those of those he was put in stacks, where they would cross-release anyway

– Hasn’t show much of an ability to win at the catch point through contact, He only had three contested catches in 2022 – although that is largely about him running away from people


Hyatt’s role at Tennessee was almost comical. It was all vertical routes out of the slot, hitches and screens. Unfortunately we don’t have any agility numbers on him (yet), because the ability to stop and turn are what I question in terms of how his future team can expand his route tree when he gets there. You love the speed and ball-tracking, but at this point he’s a pretty one-dimensional receiver. What he provides right now can certainly be valuable for his future offense, using that speed horizontally and vertically, but how high his draft stock may rise will be dependent on what coaches can envision him to become. To me that’s not quite worthy of a first-round pick.



A.T. Perry


6. A.T. Perry, Wake Forest

6’4”, 200 pounds; RS JR


This former three-star recruit caught just 19 passes for less than 300 yards (and two TDs) through his first two years, before exploding onto the scene in 2021 with 71 grabs for just under 1300 yards and 15(!) touchdowns, earning himself first-team All-ACC. He repeated those honors this past season, with slightly worse numbers in one fewer game, whilst not having starting quarterback Sam Hartmann available to throw him the ball for stretches.


+ Very quick feet for a guy his size and he’s so good at manipulating corners off the snap

+ Can gain inside leverage against corners shaded that way by quickly hopping towards the sideline and then jumping underneath, or nodding inside and creating more room for himself down the sideline

+ While elusive and flexible for a big receiver, he can also become the enforcer on his releases and attack the DB’s chest, in order to give himself a clean runway

+ Continues to work the hands trying to stack guys vertically and will extend the inside arm as DBs try to pin it

+ Perry may need some room to build up, but once he’s rolling, he can run by corners on post routes, when getting matched up with them down the field, And he does a great job of opening up that area of the field for himself with the way he stems vertically

+ Will change up speeds on the fly and be deceptive with his body-language

+ There’s not many 6’4” guys who teams ask to run blaze-out as drive-starters – Perry is one of them

+ Does well to pro-actively lean into contact, to create separation with subtle chicken-wing moves at the break point – really eats over the middle of the field on dig routes that way

+ Is able stop his momentum by sitting in the chair better than almost any receivers his height – Runs beautiful curl and comeback route, where he really sells that take-off down the sideline and then sticks his foot in the ground as the corner flips his hips, before actively working back down the ladder

+ Such a fluid mover and was asked to run some pretty intricate double-moves, where he could naturally sink his hips and come back out

+ Against zone coverage, he slightly drifts to eliminate ancillary defenders frequently


+ Tracks the ball exceptionally well arriving across the inside and towards the outside shoulder on those touch passes from QB Sam Hartmann

+ Presents a massive catch-radius with the wingspan that would amount to the average 6’10” person and plays above the rim as well as anybody in this class (hauled in 11 of 25 contested catch opportunities)

+ Fluidly pirouettes around for back-shoulder catches, snatching and pulling it into his body, combined with a subtle swipe-bay of the defender

+ Understands where hits are coming from and how to turn away from them, to protect the ball, really pinning it against his chest at times when needed

+ Instantly gets upfield for positive yardage after the catch and seems to have those eyes in the back of his helmet, with the way he gets around that safety driving down on him as he hauls in the pass, The same is true on dig routes, when he reverses back out to the sideline as the corner tries to chase him down

+ Perry has a real knack for drawing flags, not only by forcing DBs to grab cloth against him running routes, but also the way he makes them engage in contact at the catch point – he got four huge ones in the Clemson game, which allowed them to take that contest to overtime, where he scored the touchdown that initially put them ahead

+ Watching him against Army last season, they basically bracketed him on every single snap when he was the single receiver from the second quarter on

+ Chooses good angles and breaks down in space to shield defenders in the run game

+ Consistently is able to gain the inside position and force corners to workm around him, if they want to make an impact in that regard

+ Surprised a lot of people in a positive sense, with a 4.47 in the 40 and an 11’1” broad jump (96th percentile among WRs)


– Presents more of a gangly frame and I’m not sure how much muscle he can still pack on

– Lacks that extra gear once the ball is in his hands to run away from the defense

– And that also shows up when he can’t hit that last notch, to get under those high-arching passes that appear to be a step too far out in front

– Wake Forest’s odd offensive system certainly played its part in this, but Perry doesn’t bring the same type of urgency on every single route and blocking assignment

– Slightly leaves his feet on some passes he really doesn’t need to and can drop the ball because of it (eight drops on 89 catchable targets last season)


Perry is a pretty unique guy in this wide receiver class. He doesn’t the top-end speed to just run by people or dances around defenders after the catch necessarily, but he has enough of both to be effective and he’s an extremely savvy player. His suddenness to win off the line at that height, how he creates separation later in the route and the way he can win on high-point passes are all tremendous. I don’t think he’s dynamic enough to be a legit number one, but if he’s your secondary receiver option, who can play either outside spot and win through contact to start or finish, I think he can be a very productive player. For a really small group of receivers this year, he brings some qualities you don’t really find otherwise.



Josh Downs


7. Josh Downs, North Carolina

5’9”, 175 pounds; JR


One of the top-100 overall recruits in 2020, after catching just seven passes (and turning three of those into touchdowns) as a true freshman, Downs was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2021, hauling in 101 passes for 1335 yards and eight TDs. He missed a couple of games last year (11 played), but still caught 94 balls for 1029 yards and 11 TDs, making him a second-team All-American.


+ When he’s asked to threaten vertically, Downs has that burst off the line to open the eyes of defensive coordinators

+ If they put a safety on him in man or in match quarters, he can burn them quickly, Plus when he forces those guys to give him extra cashion, in-breakers become more dangerous

+ However, this guy is really good at changing up speeds or step-sequencing and allowing concepts to develop properly, attacking areas of the field as they’re being cleared out and maximizing the space as he makes that secondary break, such as drag-and-up routes and deep over/bender variations, where he just shows a certain feel for how to navigate around bodies

+ You give Downs those free releases as the inside guy in bunch sets and his ability to break either way, becomes very dangerous, particularly if the middle is cleared out and he has room to run, with the safeties having to make a tough tackle

+ When facing defenders in soft press, he can give those guys a bunch of different looks off the line, to keep them off balance

+ His agility in tight quarters and the way he varies his foot speed along with leaning one way, to create angles for himself against defenders, is tremendous

+ Understands how to manipulate DBs with deceptive body-language at the top of routes and his Tarheel QB Drake Maye was consistently able to hit him on curls, square-ins and outs right out of the break, where defenders hadn’t been able to redirect forward yet


+ Regularly asked to sit down in the hash area and make those five-yard catches to stay ahead of the chains, plus if safeties shoot down too recklessly, he can make them miss and quickly pick up yardage

+ What I really like in that regard is the way he sells that little extra burst just before stopping as somebody sinks with him and forces that guy to give away vision on the QB, before attacking back towards the ball and snatching it

+ Showcases an advanced understanding for route adjustments against zone coverage, slowing down how he comes out of breaks and sliding towards the open space

+ He’s had to deal with some odd angles of the ball arriving on those bubble screens out of bunch sets and having to adjust to off ball-placement on those

+ His drop total went from ten in 2021 to just three last year on basically the same amount of catchable targets

+ Attacks the ball in the air better than many guys, who have four or five inches on him – hauled in 13 of 18 passes in contested situations last season (only 3-of-14 in 2021)

+ Generally, Downs’ has that bursty running style with the ball in his hands, being able to kick into another gear and beat pursuit defenders across the field, but also to cross them up in the open field, Plus he has slipperiness to him, to pull through wraps

+ Displays excellent awareness for where he is on the field and the bodies around him and adjusts his upfield-turn dependent on where defenders are coming from and turns the near-shoulder away from contact effectively

+ Used as a gadget element by this offense, running fly sweeps, backside bubble options, etc., On those he also does a great job hesitating, nodding one way to set up his blockers and slice through lanes opened up for him – averaged 7.5 yards after the catch in 2021


. His short arms (30 and 3/8) do come into play when you think he’d pluck a ball on the run, but he has to slow down or has to go off one hand

– Almost exclusively operated out of the slot for UNC and if guys are able to actually land jams playing on the line, his size may become a real issue

– Also, his exaggerated start-stop route-running may not really fly in the NFL

– Tends to get too enamored with want to juke defenders, when there’s no space and he should just try to drive through contact for another yard or two potentially (averaged just four YAC last season)

– Simply lacks the size to really set the tone as a blocker, mostly just throwing a shoulder into defenders who need to go through him and not actively approaching them


Receivers like Downs are very fun to watch. Unfortunately a lot of guys in that role regularly struggle to find a place on an NFL field. What makes him a little different to many of those super-quick slot receivers is how advanced his understanding for how to find space against zone coverage already is and how big he plays at the catch point. I think he’s a slot only and for teams that ask those guys to come tight into the formation or peel back on bigger bodies on plays out to the perimeter, he won’t be a fit. Yet, with the way he can consistently get open against man or zone, along with the make-you-miss ability after the catch, he may become his future quarterback’s new favorite target. He just needs to become more efficient once the ball is in his hands.



Marvin Mims


8. Marvin Mims, Oklahoma

5’11”, 180 pounds; JR


A top-200 overall recruit in 2020, Mims is a guy in the mold of another former OU receiver in Marquise Brown at 5’11”, 175 pounds. He came in as a freshman in 2020 and immediately became Spencer Rattler’s favorite target, catching 37 passes for 610 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games. The following season he caught five passes and touchdowns less, but went for 95 yards more, averaging 22(!) yards per grab. Last year despite a new quarterback under center, he hauled in a career-high 54 passes for 1083 yards and six TDs, earning himself first-team All-Big 12 accolades.


+ Has the 4.38 speed to blow by people, illustrated by his insane 16.7-yard average depth of target

+ Altogether he hauled in 34 of 66 targets of 20+ air yards for his career, as one of the most feared deep threats in the country

+ Was routinely used to threaten defenses by zooming up the seams, If your safeties plays flat-footed, Mims will quickly punish them on slot fade or corner rotues

+ And if you leave this guy soloed up as the Z towards the field and you don’t put hands on him, Mims will blow by the corner more often than not – your QB better be ready to loft that far-hash fade

+ Does a great job of using body-leans and micro-movements to avoid being hung up with contact of defenders hanging in zone coverage

+ Despite his size, Mims is a pretty patient route-runner, who understands when to burst past ancillary coverage and when to slow down as he enters throwing windows

+ Overall he’s one of the most natural receivers you’ll find at alternating and changing up his speed on the fly

+ You saw him make quite a few catches behind linebackers and approaching safeties trying to take his head off, but he managed to haul in those targets typically


+ While he may not have the measurables to be known as a jump-ball receiver, Mims does a great job of tracking the ball and working for advantageous positions down the field

+ You never see him panic or slow down excessively if the arrival of the ball is a little different than expected

+ Has come up with several incredible acrobatic grabs with a defender on him during his time with the Sooners (hauled in six of 11 contested catch opportunities last season)

+ Made a couple of incredible grabs on third-and-long against Texas in 2021 to put the Sooners in position to ultimately win the game on a huge comeback

+ On several occasions, you saw this guy’s toughness to hold onto the ball through and pop straight back up from big hits

+ Smoothly turns upfield after the catch and takes his shoulders down, so defenders converging on him can’t wrap up much of him

+ May lack the size to be an impactful blocker and get knocked back at first contact, but he doesn’t shy away from putting hands on linebackers splitting the distance and does a nice job of choosing as well as adjusting his angles on the fly

+ OU asked him to take care of the safety on crack-downs fairly regularly and he got the job done for the most part


– Mims is certainly on the very low end of the spectrum as far as size goes, making him a slot option only for some systems, or at least a Z playing off the line

– Was allowed to constantly work against off-coverage and was rarely challenged in his route development

– You don’t see many sharp breaks and him routing guys up one-on-one – has room to become more effective with the way he sets up that point

– With the NFL putting safety and bigger players generally in the slot these days, there may be some mismatches with those nickel defenders in the run game


To me, Mims has become one of the more underrated receivers in this class. For some reason, he’s often being disregarded because he is small, when really that’s the overarching theme for the majority of guys in this draft. Similar to North Carolina’s Josh Downs, there are some challenges with projecting his game will translate to the next level, considering how many player profiles like this don’t find a way to stick in the NFL. However, I believe those two names are a lot closer to each other than consensus boards would indicate, I believe. Mims has blazing speed, tracks the deep ball exceptionally well, has better success in contested situations than you’d anticipate and unlike many guys who played a similar role/at a similar size in college, he takes what is there after the catch and is a willing blocker.



Xavier Hutchinson


9. Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State

6’2”, 205 pounds; RS SR


After a couple of years in junior college, Hutchinson was a top-ten JUCO wide receiver recruit in 2020 and immediately produced with the Cyclones- After 64 catches for 771 yards and four touchdowns in his debut season, he just cracked the 1000-yard total mark as a senior on 85 touches, along with five scores, which made him a first-team All-Big-12 selection. Thanks to the COVID exception, he was allowed to return for one more year and was even better, with career-highs across the board (107-1171-six), making him a second-team All-American.


+ Explosive and sudden off the line, to defeat press-coverage and then has enough juice to stack his corner vertically

+ Varies his step-sequencing in his releases and is consistently able to attack the edges of defenders trying to mirror his releases, bringing a strong swipe with near-arm to avoid getting tugged

+ I love the way he kind of walks out of his stance for one step and then shoots underneath to create space on shallow crossers

+ Doesn’t telegraph routes, by staying disciplined with the initial stem and not getting over his skis to a point where he has to gear down prematurely

+ Can really drop his pads and snap off curls

+ Presents an attractive target on glance and dig routes, where you can pin the ball against his chest or put it out in front of him, along with protecting it when it comes it below his knees

+ When the Cyclones allowed him to operate out of the slot, I thought Hutchinson’s ability to bend off the inside foot and create separation on breaks out to the sideline was pretty impressive, along with the discipline to keep stemming on a line beforehand

+ Recognizes when to flatten or drift on his angles later on during plays against zone coverage, and doesn’t waste much time getting into a secondary route


+ Thanks to his long arms and leaping ability, Hutchinson presents a large catch-radius and he’s been very reliable, with a drop rate of just 4.9%

+ Combines that with plus ball-skills, to adjust his body mid-air leads quite a few great catches above the rim, or at least he forces the DB to interfere with him

+ Tracks the deep ball at a high level, yet if he has to adjust to the back-shoulder, he uses his hands very well, to create an opening for the pass to arrive

+ Has dealt with slight off-target placement quite a bit (especially in 2022) and takes advantage of his frame by forcing defenders to go through him, if they want to get a hand on the pass

+ Understands where the bodies around him are as he secures the catch and either keeps running away from them or gets vertical, as he’s approaching a hang-defender or ancillary coverage in genera

+ Regularly fights for extra yardage and you see him spin out of several tackles, as well as stretch forward, Yet he wraps the ball tightly and won’t allow defenders to punch it loose – only one career fumble across 256 touches

+ With a 28.8% target share in 2021, it was all him and tight-end Charlie Kolar for Iowa State, and last season that number actually increased to 33.7% as “the dude”

+ Smart and invested blocker, who recognizes pre-snap defensive movement and adjust his initial angles accordingly

+ Even when his corner blitzes, you see Hutchinson be able to at least get a piece of them regularly


– Has to be more patient with setting up double-moves and not rush into the secondary break

– When the distance the pass travels before getting to him, Hutchinson can be a little off with the way he addresses the ball, with sort of an elongated stretching of both arms together

– Doesn’t provide any high-level athletic traits and will be labelled as a possession receiver by some, thanks to an average depth of target of just 9.1 for his career

– Lacks that extra gear to actually detach vertically

– I like his fight with the ball in his hands, but he’s not somebody with that extra burst, who really scares defense, because he may break one the distance (4.18 YAC on average last season)


Hutchinson has been one of my favorite receivers in the country for a couple of years now and I always thought his game just translates very well to the next level. He’s not going to wow you with blazing speed to run by defenders or dynamic moves to dance around guys, but he simply gets the job done. Consistently you’ll see him dictate routes and create an angle for the ball to arrive, plus his ability to adjust his body in the air and win above the rim is up there with the very best in this class. I certainly think he can play the X, because he’s springy off the line to win on slant routes and make corners flip their hips, before he breaks them off. However, I actually like him best in the role of a power slot, thanks to intelligence working against zone and the asset he can be as a blocker.



Tank Dell


10. Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, Houston

5’8″, 165 pounds; RS SR


A former top-200 JUCO recruit in 2020, after showing some flashes as a freshman (29-428-3) in eight games, Dell jumped onto the scene in 2021, with 90 catches for 1329 yards and 12 touchdowns. His numbers were even better as a junior (109-1398-17) and he made the AAC’s first-team in back-to-back years, as one of the premier play-makers in that conference.


+ Consistently is a vertical threat off the ball, with the way he runs with his pads over his knees and keeps his head down

+ When defenders try to challenge him at the line, you see the elusiveness and active hands to leave them behind in the dust, At times he would take half a step back and side-swipe the guy’s reach before running by him

+ Understands how to open up the post for himself by the way he stems off the snap and then can burn corners quickly when isolated with them

+ Has that final gear to separate from defenders when his quarterback has let the ball fly, and then tracks it exceptionally well over his head

+ You can feel the gravity this guy has, when you see safeties in two-high looks just continue to gain ground when Dell pushes vertically from the slot

+ Yet, his speed to run away from his man or clear the hook-defenders working across the field, can get him lost or get somebody else open behind him

+ So impressive with the way he can stop on a dime and make DBs overrun the break point, along with an effective swipe-through to avoid being tugged

+ Seemed to constantly be open on curl routes because of how scared DBs were about his deep speed, as well as beat them across their face on slant routes with hard jab-steps

+ Is aware of late coverage-rotations and how delay his approach ever so slightly, in order to not run himself into defenders replacing teammates in their assignments

+ Shows a good feel for soft-spots and when to slow down when entering those versus zone shells


+ Plucks the ball out of the air at full extension and doesn’t allow the catch to slow him down

+ Has a couple of really impressive catches on tape, where he has to elevate for the ball and a defender’s swiping through the catch point, but he still secures the ball (hauled in seven of 13 attempts in contested situation)

+ Can quickly pull away from the pursuit if you just flip it out to him on a bubble screen and your safety better take a conservative angle towards the sideline

+ So sudden with the ball in his hands, to make people miss without losing much speed, being able to put on the breaks against guys who overpursue, incorporate dead-legs, etc.

+ And he can stack those moves on top of each other to navigate around multiple defenders – forced 19 missed tackles last year

+ Was responsible for 71(!) first downs this past season, moving the chains much more consistently than guys labelled as deep threats typically, And he scored a touchdown in each of his final ten games, including the game-winner on his final collegiate snap versus Louisiana in the Independence Bowl

+ May not impose his will on anybody, but Dell does look for work as a blocker once one of his teammates catches the ball or the run bounces out his way

+ Basically cooked everybody to put in front of him at the Senior Bowl, because of the way he could scare them with his juice off the ball, the way he incorporated head- and shoulder-nods and his ability to stop on a dime


– Does feature a fairly slender frame and didn’t really have to prove himself against press-coverage, being able to take advantage of all of those three releases, where defenders were put at his mercy (currently there are no starting WRs in the NFL below 170 pounds)

– Overdoes it with releases against off-man defenders, with hop-steps and excessive steps, that cost him time

– Allows the ball to get into his body and pins it against his chest on routine catches, when he could extend for it – dropped 21 passes over the past two seasons combined in part because of that

– Will get overwhelmed by bigger slot defenders in the run game, who run right through his chest – you see him straight-up bounce backwards as guys attack him


If your team misses out on Boston College’s Zay Flowers in the first round, I think Tank Dell is a slighter, but very exciting option later on day two. He’s so sudden with or without the ball, he has a legit extra gear to blow by fast defensive backs and he tracks the ball exceptionally well, to stay focused even if the flight of the ball leads him back into contact. Unlike Zay, I don’t believe you want Tank to extensively play on the line, but much of the intrigue with him is based on the threat he presents as you move him along the formation and either let him create issues in the structure of defense, as he uses that momentum to his advantage or you put the ball in his hands in creative ways, thanks to the way he can make people look silly on the run. The slender build will be a hold-up for some teams, but if he just works on always catching the ball away from his frame, I think he brings plenty of juice to pretty much any offense.



What to do with him?


Kayshon Boutte


Kayshon Boutte, LSU

5’11”, 195 pounds; JR


The number two wide receiver recruit in 2020, Boutte caught 45 passes for 735 yards and five touchdowns over ten games as a true freshman, despite the sub-par quarterback play for LSU. He racked up 503 yards in six games in his second season before breaking his ankle. Last year he started off the wrong foot with the new coaching staff under Chip Kelly (even removing all LSU-related photos from his social media profiles), but did end up with 48 grabs for 538 yards. And his decision to ultimately declare for this draft was also head-scratching, after he initially said he’s return to the Tigers for 2023.


+ Watching his 2021 tape, I thought Boutte kind of looked like Ja’Marr Chase in that number one jersey

+ Has those sudden feet and that instant burst off the line, which make him tough to put a hand on

+ Can reduce the inside shoulder to avoid contact and get a step on corners on straight go routes, but also beat guys across their face releasing inside with a strong follow-through

+ Overall displays plus flexibility to tilt away from defenders, without having to get too far off his landmarks (as well as pivot off the foot he’s snapping his hips around towards)

+ Can sit in the chair and come to a stop or make challenging cuts, particularly on those 90-degree breakers, while seemingly gaining speed as he shoots inside on slants/glances

+ Attacks the blind-spots of defenders well and makes corners overrun the break point on curl routes regularly

+ Presents an attractive target on deep out routes after stemming inside and selling like he’ll go to the middle of the field

+ Went from a little under half the snaps in 2021 to spending 72.1% in the slot last season, where he showed good awareness for gearing down as he approached soft spots in zone coverage and bringing his head around once he cleared the second level vertically

+ And the vertical push off the snap against bigger nickel defenders, regularly put those guys on their heels (creating space to work back down the stem)


+ Excels at using his hands to create separation from his man down the field, by swiping down the opponent’s reach, and displays tremendous concentration, letting the ball drop into the bucket

+ In general, he really snatches the ball out of the air, away from his body, and presents elite ball-skills with how easy it is for him to adjust down the field

+ Already showcased impressive sideline awareness, being able to get his feet down in bounds

+ Brings that running back mindset with the ball in his hands – ten missed tackles forced on 49 touches last season

+ Has the juice to catch a slant route, work across the field and run away from the defense on the opposite sideline

+ Uses head-fakes to freeze and the stiff-arm in brilliant fashion, to not allow defenders to cut him down at his legs

+ LSU made it a priority to put the ball in his hands on slip screens, swings off orbit motions and fly sweeps

+ He did have to deal with several off-target throws that didn’t allow him to make the most of those and led him away from contact

+ Had one of the most fun touchdowns of the 2021 season, when he beat one of the UCLA corners on a dig route and let that guy run into the umpire, allowing him to break away for a long touchdown

+ Sells that outside release so well that he typically pulls the corner with his him on take-offs

+ When he attacks the chest of corners, he shows forceful hands to not get swiped by


– Can win off the line and be present himself a target on fade routes, but he doesn’t have that pull-away speed to expand that separation vertically, and would benefit from swatting down the reach of his man to be able to stack

– Doesn’t do a whole lot in terms of manipulations at the break point against defenders in off-coverage

– His contested catch rate of 33.0% for his career is underwhelming, especially for a guy who should do a lot of his damage over the middle of the field (45.5% in 2022) – a 29-inch vert at the combine isn’t much of a positive sign in terms of being able to win above the rim either

– With passes thrown a hip-level or below, you’d like to see Boutte catch and run with it, rather than allowing it’s momentum to take him to the turf or drop them altogether (seven drops on 55 catchable targets last season)


This is one of the most controversial names in the entire draft and one I struggle to even place in any sort of ranking, due to the circumstances. Boutte was my number two wide receiver heading into this past season, but he simply did not look invested enough and I believe hurt himself by coming out this year, when he has the natural talent to emerge again as a first-round prospect. Without the necessary information about his ankle and what I can expect from him in terms of work-ethic/football character, I don’t feel comfortable stacking him up with the rest of this group, but ultimately if a team does think he’ll be able to stay on the field with the right mindset, I’d have no problem with him going as high WR6. The suddenness off the line, the natural ability to sink and explode out of his break, the ball-skills and the special YAC skills are all right there if you go back to the ’21 tape. I just don’t have access to him and am therefore able to gage if he’ll bring that to my team.





The next names up:

Michael Wilson (Stanford), Cedric Tillmann (Tennessee), Rashee Rice (SMU), Jayden Reed (Michigan State), Parker Washington (Penn State), Tyler Scott (Cincinnati), Demario Douglas (Liberty), Ronnie Bell (Michigan), Jalen Moreno-Cropper (Fresno State), Puka Nacua (BYU), Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss) & Dontayvion Wicks (Virginia)


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