MOBILE, Ala. — The Senior Bowl has showcased plenty of talented wide receiver prospects in the past, including recent alums Terry McLaurin, Brandon Aiyuk, Michael Pittman Jr. This year’s group features some of the best receivers in college football. Below are three I am intrigued to watch this week.
All height and weight measurements were provided by the Senior Bowl following the weigh-in process.
Rashee Rice, SMU
Rashee Rice, who measured in at 6-feet, 200 pounds, has a chance to become a first-round prospect, but he will have to showcase his talents this week. His video proves he's a quality athlete, a true-alpha player and a threat for yards after the catch. The Senior Bowl corners need to be ready to deal with Rice's physicality all week. When the ball is in the air, not many corners can get to the highest point over him.
Rice's video included a lot of free releases against soft coverage, so I want to focus on how he releases off the line this week against tighter coverage. Rice also played in a receiver-friendly offense that spread the field and created a lot of space for him to work. Since he worked on the boundary so often, his route tree was limited. His ceiling is one of the highest in this class, and I am intrigued to see his development.
Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
Watching Dontayvion Wicks in 2021, you could easily see his talent, but Virginia changed its offense this season, leading to his lack of production in 2022. Wicks, who measured in at 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, can win on a lot of vertical routes, and in 2021, 67% of his receiving yards came on throws at least 15 air yards down the field.
In 2022, the production fell off, but he’ll have a chance to showcase his talent this week. I want to see him win off the line of scrimmage and show his down-the-field talent from a year ago.
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Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State
Hutchinson sets up defenders at the top of his routes with the best of them in this class. He wins with skill over speed. This past year he was elevated into a big role, producing 107 receptions for 1171 yards and six touchdowns. Hutchinson, who measured in at 6-foot-1, 207 pounds, was the focal point of Iowa State's offense, and teams couldn’t figure out how to slow him down.
He’s a versatile WR who can play in the slot and function underneath or split out wide and use his different releases to win off the line of scrimmage. Without the elite athleticism, Hutchinson doesn’t profile as an alpha receiver, but there is plenty of room for him to grow as a dependable WR2 option in the NFL.