Image courtesy of J.T. Toth.
As this year comes to a close, Draft 412 will take a look at the 2023 and 2024 draft classes by position. The following is a current “Best Of” list for both offense and defense, taking a look back at the top players from last year’s draft party and ahead to the coming NFL selection process in April.
From Draft 412 to you…Happy Holidays and get your mock drafts ready!!
In today’s NFL, every GM is looking for that next gamebreaker—the player who can take the top off a defense like Tyreek Hill, or just be an impossible one-on-one cover like Justin Jefferson.
The 2023 NFL Draft had 33 wide receivers selected and here are the best of last year’s selections:
1- LA Rams - Puka Nacua
Nacua, a 5th round pick out of BYU, was thrusted into the starting lineup after a long term injury to the Ram’s all-world Cooper Kupp. What happened, nobody could predict.
Nacua has 87 catches for 1,163 yards and 4 touchdowns in just 14 games with the Rams. He has filled in for Kupp and then some. He runs excellent routes and is tough over the middle for the Rams, who got the steal of the draft.
2- MIN - Jordan Addison
Jordan Addison was the 4th receiver selected in 2023 and was the 23rd overall selection in the draft. There were many pundits out there who felt the first round was too high for Addison and that playing next to Justin Jefferson would hold him back. But with Jefferson missing half of the season, Addison stepped up and became the Vikings' best weapon at wide receiver.
After week 15, Addison has 62 catches for 824 yards and 9 touchdowns for Minnesota. The Vikings have the makings of a scary wide receiver room for years to come with Addison and Jefferson.
3- HOU - Tank Dell
Saying the Houston Texans had a successful draft in 2023 is the understatement of the year. Not only did they get their future signal caller in C.J. Stroud and the best edge rusher in the draft in Will Anderson Jr., but they also secured a receiver who has the makings of a long term solution for years to come.
Nathaniel “Tank” Dell was selected in the 3rd round, 69th overall and has stepped right into the starting lineup. So far, he has played in 11 games and has hauled in 47 receptions for 709 yards and 9 touchdowns. Look for Stroud and Dell to continue to only get better next year and become one of the league's most consistent touchdown tandems.
As we move from the 2023 draft to the 2024 NFL Draft, here is Draft 412’s Top Ten Receiver prospects:
1- Marvin Harrison Jr. - Ohio State
The top WR prospect to enter the draft since Larry Fitzgerald in 2004. Harrison Jr. has the size, speed and hands to be the next great wideout in the NFL.
2. Rome Odunze - Washington
Rome Odunze was one of the nation’s top deep threats for the Huskies this season. He has the ability to beat a defender with an explosion off the snap and uncanny body control to put himself in position to make every catch.
3. Malik Nabers - LSU
Nabers was a big reason his quarterback won the Heisman Trophy. He led the nation in receiving yards with 1,546 and averaged 18.0 yards per catch, showing his big play ability.
4. Keon Coleman - Florida State
Don’t just look at Keon Coleman’s numbers this season, but look at the pure athleticism he brings to the position. Florida State had a more balanced offense than most teams and lost their quarterback toward the end of the season. Coleman has tools to be a special one at the next level.
5. Troy Franklin - Oregon
Nobody improved his draft stock as much as Troy Franklin did in 2023. Franklin was part of an explosive Ducks offense and tallied 81 catches for 1,383 yards (5th in nation) and scored 14 touchdowns. He’s a twitchy receiver and almost impossible to mirror. He should be a handful at the NFL level. Steeler fans… think Antonio Brown.
6. Emeka Egbuka - Ohio State
Egbuka may have been considered the “sidekick” to Marvin Harrison Jr. in college, but this speedy wide receiver should make a name for himself in the NFL as well. He played through injuries most of the season so his numbers won’t wow scouts, but his pure speed and athleticism will.
7. Xavier Worthy - Texas
Worthy is 6’1” with elite speed and can take the top off of NFL defenses. He still needs to add some bulk to his slight frame, but his speed alone will have teams calling him on day two.
8. Ja’Lynn Polk - Washington
Polk was the perfect complement to Rome Odunze this past season and took advantage of single coverage all year long, putting up 1,000 yards for the Huskies. Polk changes speeds in a way that makes him hard to mirror and he turns into a running back as soon as a catch is made.
9. Xavier Legette - South Carolina
Xavier Legette is a player who has produced throughout his career but is not a household name… yet. This past season, he and Spencer Rattler hooked up 71 times for 1,255 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is a player to watch for in the 3rd or 4th round that will be a steal for his new team.
10. Adonai Mitchell - Texas
Mitchell is another high riser and “#2” receiver who lined up across from a superstar. Mitchell was single covered most of the season by teams trying to stop Xavier Worthy and proved that he had the tools to beat press and zone coverage all year. At 6’4”, he has the height and enough speed to be a problem for defenses at the next level.