As a former NFL wide receiver, it only feels right to find some underrated wideouts in the 2023 NFL Draft and give them some recognition. I went a little deeper into this class to find my sleeper picks. I went with guys who might be overlooked but can become solid NFL players if given a good situation.
5 WR Sleepers in NFL Draft
Parker Washington, Penn State
Washington reminds me of Golden Tate, in a sense. Washington is just a good football player. Tate was a little sharper with his route running, but Washington is strong at the point of attack. He’s great with the ball in his hands, too. He has almost a running back-type physique.
Washington is only 5-foot-10, 204 pounds, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he makes plays. More than half of his receiving yards in 2022 came after the catch.
Down the field, he attacks the ball in the air. He’s not afraid to go across the middle and get hit. He doesn’t shy away when working through contact. There are a lot of positive things you see on tape.
>> READ: Washington’s Full Scouting Report
Michael Wilson, Stanford
His injuries — he’s suffered season-ending injuries in 2020 and 2022 — are one reason why Wilson will drop in this draft. If he was healthy, he’d be everything NFL teams would want in a receiver.
He does a lot of things well. Wilson is physical at the point of attack, and he can get off the ball at the line of scrimmage. He can create separation and runs decent routes. He can still improve in that area, though.
When you look at what he did at Stanford, he can highpoint the ball and is great after the catch. There is so much he does well, it’s just the injuries that make you question his durability with him being a bigger (6-foot-2, 213 pounds), physical receiver. He’s young, so he has a chance to overcome his injuries.
The injuries are the one thing that concerns me about Wilson. However, his upside and ceiling are very high.
>> READ: Wilson’s Full Scouting Report
Jonathan Mingo, Mississippi
Mingo is another big guy. He’s 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, and he’s physical at the line of scrimmage. He’s good with running after the catch as he gained nearly 400 yards after making receptions. When he makes plays, they’re often big plays. Mingo is one of those guys who can benefit from getting into the right situation with a coach who can help him develop into a better route runner.
Let’s see if he can sink those hips a little bit more and become a little more fluid. He excels at the red zone drills where a receiver has to jump and catch the ball well.
Mingo needs to sharpen his route running and become more aware when he’s running routes. That was one of the things that I did not like. He doesn’t quite process things like some of the receivers in this class.
>> READ: Mingo’s Full Scouting Report
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia
Ford-Wheaton possesses excellent athletic ability. It’s comparable to that of Quentin Johnston (scouting report), who will get picked in the first round. Ford-Wheaton will be drafted later. But, if I’m trying to get bang for my buck, I’d take Ford-Wheaton. This isn’t a knock on Johnston, but they are similar prospects.
Ford-Wheaton isn’t as smooth as Johnston, but that is something coaches can work with him on. So the question becomes, does a team spend a first-round pick on Johnston or does it spend a fourth-round pick on a guy like Ford-Wheaton? He has a lot of upside to develop, and a team wouldn’t have to pay him a lot right away.
Andrei Iosivas, Princeton
Iosivas is another player who has great size. He’s 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, and can go up and attack the ball. He’s physical at the point of attack.
He runs decent routes, but there is a little bit of stiffness that you see sometimes. Iosivas was an Ivy League player who didn’t get to play against the best talent, but he stood out. You have to ask, how did he end up in the Ivy League? I would love to see him in a situation where he can play against top-tier talent, which he’ll do in the NFL.
Iosivas has the size, speed and tangibles. If he gets put in a great situation, which we could say for any receiver, we will see a lot more production from him.
>> READ: Iosivas’ Full Scouting Report
Greg Jennings is a former NFL wide receiver who played for the Packers, Vikings and Dolphins. A two-time Pro Bowl player, Jennings was a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship team and is inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @GregJennings.