by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of NFL Draft Buzz.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - USC, Wide Receiver, Brenden Rice
Name- Brenden Rice
Pos- Wide Receiver
HT/WT- 6’3” 210 lbs.
Home – Chandler, AZ
What does Brenden Rice have in common with Marvin Harrison Jr.? They both have hall of fame fathers who played wide receiver in the NFL. Jerry Rice is arguably the best receiver of all time and has passed a lot of his traits on to Brenden. The younger Rice made the 2019 PrepStar All-West Region and first team All-Arizona. He also played basketball and ran track in high school and committed to the University of Colorado.
In his freshman season at Colorado, Rice played in 6 games and made his presence known in a short amount of time. He hauled in 6 passes for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also returned just 1 punt, but it went 81 yards for a touchdown.
As a sophomore in 2021, he got more playing time for the Buffaloes, playing in 11 games and caught 21 passes for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was also used as a weapon in the return game, averaging 27.6 yards per kick return. After two successful seasons in Colorado, he decided to enter the transfer portal and decided to play ball at USC for the Trojans.
Despite a crowded wide receiver room last year, which included first round pick Jordan Addison, he was a productive wide receiver in a backup role, hauling in 39 passes for 611 yards and 4 touchdowns.
This season, he has taken on a more prominent role while still playing with a bunch of skillful wide receivers. In 6 games, he is averaging 20.7 yards per catch and has 21 receptions for 434 yards and leads the team with 7 touchdowns.
He has a huge catch radius and thrives in winning battles for 50/50 balls. He gets off the line of scrimmage fast and with his length, puts instant pressure on the defense. He has naturally good hands and catches everything away from his body, using his height and length to high point throws. He has remarkable “after the catch” skills and turns into a playmaker instantly once a reception is made. He also brings kick and punt return skills to the NFL, which could bump him over a comparable receiver. He is always aware of where he is on the field and is skilled at contorting his body in order to keep his feet in bounds.
However, Rice is not a very physical wide receiver and with his slender frame, may have trouble releasing off the line against stronger opponents at the next level. He lacks consistency over the length of his college career, having a huge game and then disappearing for a game or two. He is limited in the routes that he has run so far in college and is not as productive in quick slants or screen situations as scouts may want to see. At times, he gives up on plays by not rerouting when the quarterback is flushed from the pocket.
Brenden Rice has a lot of Buffalo Bills WR Gabe Davis in his play. Both have good hands and high point the ball well. Both receivers have enough speed to get behind the defense and enough agility to gain separation. Brenden Rice has a higher ceiling than the 2020 4th round pick, though, and could become a star down the line.
Fast straight line
Yards after catch
High point–50/50 balls
Gives up too soon
Brenden Rice has one year of eligibility left after this season and should be in no hurry to go to the NFL. He will get selected but could benefit from one more year at USC.
Draft 412 Draft Projection - Round 5 or Round 6