Expert Analysis


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2024 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top WRs in This Year's Class

Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) runs away from Michigan Wolverines defensive back Rod Moore (9) during the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24.

There is still much work to be done for NFL teams as they start the initial stacking on their draft boards. In a previous article, I wrote about how I believe the quarterback position in the 2024 NFL Draft will be a very strong class. I believe another deep position in this year's draft will be wide receiver. 

Last year, there were four wide receivers drafted in the first round. Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State) started the run when the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 20th pick. After he was selected, Quentin Johnston (TCU) went 21st to the Los Angeles Chargers. Zay Flowers went 22nd to the Baltimore Ravens, and Jordan Addison went 23rd to the Minnesota Vikings.

You can make a strong argument that three of the four wide receivers selected in the first round have had a major impact on the the teams that selected them. Johnston was the only wide receiver selected in the first round who struggled in his rookie season. 

Other rookie wide receivers were drafted later — for example, Tank Dell in the third round by the Houston Texans and Puka Nacua in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Rams — and have had an immediate impact on their teams. 

The 2024 wide receiver class could have as many as six drafted in the first round, depending on how everything materializes through the pre-draft process.

Let’s take a look at those top receivers. 

Top Wide Receivers in the 2024 Draft Class 

Marvin Harrison Jr. — Ohio State 

2023 Stats: 67 receptions, 1,211 yards, 14 TDs

2023 Tape  In Ohio State's matchup against Indiana, Marvin Harrison Jr. was targeted eight times, but quarterback accuracy limited his production. I was a little disappointed in Harrison Jr.'s urgency on some snaps.

He caught a touchdown downfield but was jammed out of bounds on his release downfield. That mistake was on him, not the quarterback. Hopefully, my sense of him playing not to get hurt this year is wrong. And his body language showed he was frustrated with some of the throws. 

Against Purdue, he had a few drops. 

In Ohio State's past two games, Harrison Jr. was a different beast and played like the best non-quarterback in next year’s draft. He was more engaged and played with a sense of urgency. He showed great speed and made a great adjustment from slot down the seam to locate the ball in the air for a touchdown.

He's definitely a unique player at the position and should be a top-five Draft pick. He looks like a future Hall of Famer at the next level.

Against Michigan, Harrison Jr. had five receptions on nine targets. There was a slant route that became an interception in the first quarter where he could have given better effort to try and knock the ball down — but he still looked like the best non-quarterback in the Draft. 

2022 Tape — Harrison Jr. has excellent size and plays with good speed. He shows excellent body control and play strength. He is one of the smoothest, most polished route runners I have seen coming out of college. Harrison Jr. is very savvy and has subtle movements at the stem of his routes that get defensive backs back on their heels.

Harrison Jr. shows excellent feel to adjust his routes and get open for the quarterback on the move. His naturally soft hands snatch the ball and pluck it away from his body. He has a natural feel for tracking deep balls, and he wins in contested situations.

It's hard to poke any holes in his game. Coming out of college, Harrison Jr. reminds me of Justin Jefferson — but better. Harrison Jr. has a natural feel for getting feet down in bounds and demonstrates a smooth, fluid weaving style as a runner after the catch.

Harrison Jr. should be a top-five pick.

LSU WR Malik Nabers
Malik Nabers (8) runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Malik Nabers — LSU

2023 Stats: 86 receptions, 1,546 yards, 14 touchdowns

2023 Tape — Malik Nabers had 13 receptions — he caught 13 of 13 targets — 239 yards and two touchdowns vs. Mississippi State. He made plays at all levels of the field and caught balls well in traffic.

Nabers is a very smooth route runner who can get defensive backs on their heels. In that game, Nabers was very smooth with a double move on a touchdown catch and did an excellent job with late hands on a go-ball.

This week, he made a move to be the third wide receiver off the board. (His quarterback helped, as well.) 

In eight of Nabers' past nine games, he had 100-plus receiving yards. He had big games vs. Missouri and Alabama this year.

For me, he would have stacked ahead of all four of the wide receivers taken in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Nabers should make a major impact for whichever team drafts him.

2022 Tape — He showed good enough size and is an explosive athlete with quickness and body control. He has good speed but usually has to set up a deep route with double moves. He very quickly twitched into and out of his routes.

Nabers can separate in man coverage and has a natural feel to settle in zones. He comes off as a veteran, savvy-type route runner with good hands. He extends the catch and will hang on, knowing he is going to get hit.

Nabers needs to be more consistent downfield in contested situations, but he is a quick-twitch athlete when he has the ball in his hands. In LSU's championship game vs. Georgia, Nabers had 128 yards and had 163 yards in the Tigers' bowl game — he finished the season strong.

Nabers has Jaxon Smith-Njigba–type route skills but with better speed. Nabers can separate in man coverage and has a natural feel to settle in zones.

Washington WR Rome Odunze
Washington Huskies wide receiver Rome Odunze (1) celebrates a touchdown during the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

Rome Odunze — Washington 

2023 Stats: 81 receptions, 1,428 yards, 13 touchdowns

2023 Tape — Rome Odunze picked up where he left off last season in the Huskies' season opener against Boise State. He is a big, strong, physical wide receiver who knows how to get open. While he's a little tight as an athlete and lacks top-end speed, he has strong hands and can make the contested catch.

Against Oregon in the regular-season matchup, Odunze had eight receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He displayed excellent size, strength and athletic ability.

He did a great job tracking the deep ball and using his body to shield defenders away from the ball. Odunze's competitiveness in contested situations stands out on the tape. He made big plays and seems to be a go-to receiver during critical situations in the game. 

Odunze is fast enough, and a fluid route runner.

He finished the season strong with more than 100 yards receiving in the last four games — including in the Pac-12 Championship Game — helping defeat the Ducks for a second time this season and earning the Huskies a spot in the College Football Playoffs. 

2022 Tape — Odunze showed as a big, physical wide receiver who is a good athlete but lacks explosive speed. He will need some work vs. press at the line of scrimmage.

Odunze shows adequate speed upfield into and out of routes and can separate on routes back to the quarterback. He does not have deep speed to take the top off coverage but can set up defensive backs with double moves downfield, as he did in the Huskies' game against Washington State.

Odunze has strong hands and will extend to catch, and while he's OK with 50/50 balls, he needs to be more consistent. After the catch with the ball in his hands, he's not really electric.

Best of the Rest

Keon Coleman — Florida State

Adonai Mitchell — Texas 

Xavier Worthy — Texas 

Jalen McMillan — Washington 

Brian Thomas Jr. — LSU