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2023 NFL Draft - Wide Receiver Big Board

(Mandatory Image Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin / The Lantern)

Written by: Joseph Yun

The 2023 receiver class is again good from top to bottom, repeating a cycle of munificent splendor at the position. So who are the receivers who can get themselves locked into the first round? Who can claim to be in the next wave of second-round talents such as A.J. Brown, Deebo, Elijah Moore, Tee Higgins, and more? How many will get drafted? Are there future all-world superstars like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase in this class?

If you missed any of the previous big board articles, they can be found below:

Note: All statistics courtesy of college football reference and RAS courtesy of Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb)

1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba | 6’0 196 | Junior | Ohio State

- JSN is the latest talented prospect from the Ohio State receiver pipeline, and he takes the crown for WR1 in the class rather handily. He’s the best and most efficient route runner in the class, bar none. While explosive athleticism isn’t his greatest trait, he can take what’s given and make something out of nothing. 2022 was a lost campaign for him as he suffered an injury that limited him to three ineffectual games. 2021 was a banner season as he posted 95 receptions for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns, which led a receiver room with TWO other first-round selections (Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave). Crowning 2021 was a Rose Bowl for the ages, where he relentlessly torched the stout Utah defense. The former five-star recruit opted not to work out at the Combine and instead put on a show at the Pro Day. There are size concerns, as he isn’t the biggest guy which could limit him for roles in the pros. He profiles like a smaller WR1 with his lateral quickness and creative route running. At worst, he’s an overpowered AAAA (a reference to a batter who’s too good for the minor leagues but isn’t good to stick permanently in the majors) type of WR2 who can give you WR1 numbers in a talented receiver room. The former Buckeyes standout is sure to be a first-round selection and is in a battle to be the first receiver off the board. Stylistically, he resembles the emerging star Lions wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown. Athletically, he’s almost an exact match to veteran standout receiver Greg Jennings, who was essential for the Packers and Vikings.

2022 Stats: Five receptions for 43 yards

Round Projection: First

Player / RAS Comp: Amon-Ra St. Brown / Greg Jennings

2. Zay Flowers | 5’9 182 | Senior | Boston College

- Flowers broke out as a sophomore and suffered a lull as a junior (due to quarterback issues) before revitalizing his stock as a senior. He’s a big play threat every time with the ball in his hands due to his short area lateral quickness and speed. Given his lack of size and frame issues, he could be limited to a slot-exclusive role in the pros where he can hammer his superior athleticism home against slower defenders. Also, not the most refined route runner, and at times the offensive scheme held him back. However, the critical flaw in his game is the drops. The former BC man got on the radar again with an outstanding Shrine Game effort that parlayed into a good Combine. He’s the second-ranked receiver on the board due to his athleticism. As an athlete, he profiles similar to former Miami Hurricanes product Sinorice Moss. The play style resembles another ACC receiver in former Hokie Eddie Royal, who made a decent run of things in the NFL as a WR2 type. ZF could be a late Day 1 selection but is likely settling into the early stages of Day 2.

2022 Stats: 78 receptions for 1,022 yards and 12 touchdowns

Round Projection: First to Second

Player / RAS Comp: Eddie Royal / Sinorice Moss

3. Quentin Johnston | 6’2 208 | Junior | TCU

- QJ is a freak athlete who can run like a much smaller receiver. He has outstanding athleticism and lateral quickness for a receiver for his size. After two seasons of modest production, he blew up as a junior, leading the Horned Frogs’ offense to a national title appearance. The fleet-footed receiver can bust open a lot of different coverages against him with his ball skills and deep speed. He’s an explosive athlete in all facets. The former TCU big play machine is arguably the top receiver in the class in size and athleticism, but a lack of route variation hurts him slightly. He profiles athletically similarly to former Baylor standout Denzel Mims, but the play style resembles superstar DeAndre Hopkins. He’s a surefire first-round selection and could be the first receiver taken in April.

2022 Stats: 60 receptions for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns

Round Projection: First

Player / RAS Comp: DeAndre Hopkins / Denzel Mims

4. Jordan Addison | 5’11 171 | Junior | USC

- Addison transferred to USC in what one could call the worst-kept secret of all time in transfer lore. He was outstanding in 2021, going for 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns. While he led the Trojans in receiving as expected, he missed several games with an injury that hampered his production. He doesn’t have the home run breakaway speed, but he does have enough to be serviceable. Addison’s best traits are his route running and top-tier instincts while diagnosing coverages. He’s one of the top route runners in the class and is very spatially aware of oncoming defenders. The size will be an interesting debate for teams regarding his ultimate placement in the pros. The former Trojans receiver was often used in short to the intermediate passing game, so the YAC was racked up. A likely first-round selection, he profiles athletically as DeDe Westbrook, but his play style is similar to Tyler Lockett.

2022 Stats: 59 receptions for 875 yards and eight touchdowns

Round Projection: First

Player / RAS Comp: Tyler Lockett / DeDe Westbrook

5. Marvin Mims, Jr | 5’10 183 | Junior | Oklahoma

- Mims was a reliable weapon for the Sooners, thrice leading the team in yards and touchdowns since his freshman season. He has proven to be a recession-proof receiver, standing out for multiple quarterbacks and coaching staff. The big play talent is a big home run threat with the ball in his hands and is a good route runner. He’s an exceptional athlete who tested very well at the Combine. A serious deep ball playmaker with a career average of 19.5 yards per reception. However, his size is a question for the next level. The former Sooners receiver is a dynamic weapon in the form of an electric slot with outside capabilities. Mims projects as a second-round selection currently. He profiles similarly to veteran playmaker Emmanuel Sanders in style and athletic talent.

2022 Stats: 54 receptions for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns

Round Projection: Second

Player / RAS Comp: Emmanuel Sanders

6. Josh Downs | 5’9 171 | Junior | North Carolina

- After playing behind many future pros as a freshman, Downs broke out in a major way as a sophomore as the primary target. He posted 101 receptions for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021. Injury marred his junior campaign as he missed several games; otherwise, he would’ve reached the lofty heights of 2021 once more. Remarkably, he was productive despite playing with two different quarterbacks who were or are projected very highly in the draft. He’s an electric athlete with speed and lateral quickness to make a decent living in the slot role at the next level. JD is a plus route runner as well despite his size. The former Tar Heel projects to be a Day 2 selection. The stylistic and athletic profile resembles everyone’s favorite trading receiver, Brandin Cooks.

2022 Statistics: 94 receptions for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns

Round Projection: Second to Third

Player / RAS Comp: Brandin Cooks

7. Jayden Reed | 5’10 187 | Senior | Michigan State

- Reed had a great junior season but fell off dramatically as senior due to offensive inconsistency in 2022. He’s a strong YAC playmaker who can out-muscle defenders at the catch point and with the ball in his hands. He made up lost stock at the Senior Bowl with a great showing there. While he isn’t the fastest nor quickest in the class, he does have a speed element. The former Spartan also brings special teams value as a returner with over 1,300 yards and three touchdowns. He transferred in from Western Michigan in 2019 and sat out the 2020 season due to transfer rules at the time. While he likely won’t be a WR1 type, he can be a solid WR2 for a team creative enough. The athletic and stylistic profile suggests a comparison to veteran receiver Kenny Stills. He’ssecond-daysecond day selection at this point.

2022 Stats: 55 receptions for 636 yards and five touchdowns

Round Projection: Second to Third

Player / RAS Comp: Kenny Stills

8. Jalin Hyatt | 6’0 176 | Junior | Tennessee

- After two seasons marinating as the Vols’ third-best receiver, Hyatt exploded onto the scene as a junior. His 2022 was nearly 2.5 times as productive as his previous two seasons. He’s an explosive athlete with a tremendous amount of speed to blow by defenders. He was the primary deep threat for the surging Tennessee offense who made a run at the East title until Hendon Hooker got injured. Hyatt is on the smaller side so naturally he’ll likely get placed in the slot where he can cook up mismatches. The route running isn’t nearly as polished as others in the class but he is above average in that regard. The pure unadulterated speed will entice a team into taking him as a WR2 complement. Physically, he is a direct comparison to Paul Richardson while his athletic traits resemble former Steelers star Mike Wallace. He’ll likely settle into the Day 2 range.

2022 Stats: 67 receptions for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns

Round Projection: Second to Third

Player / RAS Comp: Paul Richardson / Mike Wallace

9. Jonathan Mingo | 6’1 220 | Senior | Ole Miss

- Mingo finally came on as a senior, leading the receiver room in Oxford for the first time. He was a second banana until 2022, sitting behind Dontario Drummond, Elijah Moore, and Braylon Sanders. He’s a bigger receiver who plays more physically than his faster colleagues. He is a great contested catch specialist, evidenced by his vertical jump numbers. While not the quickest nor fastest, he does have some burst capabilities. While not a true blue big-body X receiver, he profiles like one with his play style and strength after the catch. JM also had a solid Senior Bowl showing to cap the 2022 campaign. The former Ole Miss standout physically resembles star 49ers wide back Deebo Samuel and athletically profiles like JuJu Smith-Schuster. He’s on target for a Day 2 selection.

2022 Stats: 51 receptions for 861 yards and five touchdowns

Round Projection: Second

Player / RAS Comp: Deebo Samuel / JuJu Smith Schuster

10. Xavier Hutchinson | 6’1 203 | Senior | Iowa State

- Hutch was the natural successor to former ISU standout Hakeem Butler, starting in 2020. He increased his year-to-year production, breaking the 100-catch and 1,100-yard barrier in 2022. While not the fastest nor biggest receiver, he did well enough in Mobile to garner further looks from teams. The former Cyclones' talent profiles like a bigger receiver who’s best suited to play the X position more than the slot due to a lack of ideal lateral agility for that role. He’s an expert at making jump ball catches look routine. A solid route runner as well. Hutchinson will likely be selected during Day 2, while his floor may be mid-Day 3. His athletic and style profile resembles former Miami Hurricanes receiver, Leonard Hankerson.

2022 Stats: 107 receptions for 1,171 yards and six touchdowns

Round Projection: Third to Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Leonard Hankerson

11. Ronnie Bell | 5’11 191 | Senior | Michigan

- Bell is finally in the draft class after breaking out as a fifth-year senior. He led the team in receiving yards three times and twice total in his career. He’s an electric athlete with the ball in his hands above average lateral quickness and speed. The former Michigan receiver was used in various roles, including as an outside receiver, the slot, and on sweep plays. He profiles as a slot receiver with great hands plus the verticality at the next level. An early Day 3 selection is likely his ceiling in the process. This Wolverines playmaker profiles like veteran Andre Roberts in play style and athleticism.

2022 Stats: 62 receptions for 889 yards and four touchdowns

Round Projection: Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Andre Roberts / Russell Gage

12. Rashee Rice | 6’0 205 | Senior | SMU

- Rice parlayed an outstanding 2022 season into a Senior Bowl invite where he shined and had an argument for WR1 there. Production was great, as he had more yards in 2022 than the previous two seasons combined. He’s an excellent athlete who can beat any defender deep while having the strength to make 50-50 balls look easy. The size is pretty good as well. Cornerbacks have difficulty catching up to him as he’s very explosive and sudden in his release. He projects as an in-between late Day 2 and early Day 3 selection due to the depth of the class. The former SMU receiver’s play style and athleticism resemble former star receiver Torrey Smith, who had a long career being a speedy WR2 for several teams.

2022 Stats: 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and ten touchdowns

Round Projection: Third to Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Torrey Smith

13. Nathaniel “Tank” Dell | 5’8 165 | Redshirt Senior | Houston

- If there’s a receiver who could settle the Senior Bowl WR1 debate, it’s Tank. He was dominant in Mobile after a much-ballyhooed senior season. He was ultra-productive over the past two seasons, posting consecutive 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdown campaigns. Houston does run a variant of the famed Leach Air Raid, so statistics are gaudy. He’s an explosive, twitched-up athlete who can blow the top off of any defense. Houston utilized him in various roles, including the slot, outside, and toss sweeps. Get the ball in his hands and watch him fly around. The size or lack of it is concerning, however. He profiles as a middle to late Day 3 selection for a team that can best use his athleticism in open space. The former Cougars receiver's play style and athleticism profile are similar to another Air Raid playmaker Keke Coutee.

2022 Stats: 109 receptions for 1,398 yards and 17 touchdowns

Round Projection: Third

Player / RAS Comp: Keke Coutee

14. Kayshon Boutte 5’11 195 | Junior | LSU

- Boutte had a relatively uninspiring Combine compared to the hype that preceded him. On top of that, he had a “down” 2021 campaign thanks to injury, scheme change, and quarterback inconsistency. When he’s on, he’s a YAC monster due to above-average lateral quickness and great route-running skills. He has experience as a slot and outside but is likely better suited in the slot role due to his size and exploitable athleticism against slower defenders. The former Bayou Bengal playmaker led his team in yardage twice in three campaigns. If he can go to a team with an established WR1, he can be a perfect WR2 complement that can eventually grow into a top-dog role. He projects as a late Day 2 selection with an early Day 3 floor. The pro comparison is long-time veteran Marvin Jones.

2022 Stats: 48 receptions for 538 yards and two touchdowns

Round Projection: Third to Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Marvin Jones

15. Tre Tucker | 5’8 182 | Senior | Cincinatti

- Tucker was part of a dynamic duo alongside Tyler Scott for several seasons. He’s a slight, quick twitch explosive athlete who can shake and bake any defender he runs up against. The former Bearcats receiver is simply one of the best receivers in the class with the ball in his hands. He also provides special teams value as a returner using his lateral and deep speed. The prospect is a four-year kick return specialist with a 24.9-yard average and two touchdowns in his career. In terms of yardage, he beat his previous two seasons combined as a senior, even with an inconsistent quarterback. However, the size will work against him as more prominently sized defenders will likely bully him off the line in press coverage. Regardless, if a creative OC can scheme him open as a slot receiver, using his open-field ability. He’s trending toward being an early to middle Day 3 selection. Tucker’s athletic profile matches up to former Western Michigan receiver D’Wayne Eskridge.

2022 Stats: 52 receptions for 672 yards and three touchdowns

Round Projection: Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: DeAndre Carter

16. Cedric Tillman | 6’3 213 | Redshirt Senior | Tennessee

- Tillman had a standout 2021 season, going for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns before ceding WR1 honors to Jalin Hyatt. He suffered an ankle issue during the 2022 season, limiting his numbers. The former Volunteers wideout profiles like a big body X with his frame and skill set. He was primarily used as a boundary receiver in Knoxville. The redshirt senior projects to be an early Day 3 selection due to the depth of the class. He’s a bit underrated due to the lack of 2022 production and the emergence of Hyatt, overshadowing his talent. His physical profile resembles former Clemson and now wealthy Chargers receiver Mike Williams.

2022 Stats: 37 receptions for 417 yards and three touchdowns

Round Projection: Fourth

Player Comp: Mike Williams (Clemson)

17. Parker Washington | 5’9 204 | Junior | Penn State

- Washington finally got a chance to lead the PSU receiver room in 2022 after being the Robin to first-round receiver Jahan Dotson’s Batman for two years.However, his production fell slightly after a great 2021 due to quarterback problems and injury. Ultra athletic playmaker makes the OBJ-like special catches look routine. He was used all over the field in the slot and on the perimeter in college but profiles like a slot asset. The height is a little smaller, but that was an expected result. He’s built like a running back instead of a small receiver. A team with a smart and innovative OC will utilize him in a Deebo-like role out of the slot. He projects as an early to middle Day 3 selection but could sneak into late Day 2. The athletic profile matches up to former Kentucky athlete Lynn Bowden.

2022 Stats: 46 receptions for 611 yards and two touchdowns

Round Projection: Fourth to Fifth

Player Comp: Lynn Bowden

18. Andrei Iosivas | 6’3 205 | Senior | Princeton

- The former Princeton receiver lit up the Senior Bowl practices and got himself on the radar even further. Which led to a Combine invite that he thoroughly took advantage of. Iosivas is a deep speed threat that can take the top off any defense. His height/weight measurement and the speed profile him as a pure X receiver type. He’s not the most laterally quick but isn’t too stiff to beat people on the short to intermediate stuff. Some teams will fall in love with the over-the-top speed and select him a round or two higher, but he will likely settle into the fifth round. His athletic profile and play style reminds me of former Michigan standout Braylon Edwards.

2022 Stats: 66 receptions for 943 yards and seven touchdowns

Round Projection: Fifth

Player / RAS Comp: Braylon Edwards

19. Rakim Jarrett | 5’11 192 | Junior | Maryland

- Jarrett was a former five-star recruit that chose to stay home at College Park, similar to Stefon Diggs once did. He’s an all-around athlete who’s a plus route runner. The former Terrapin star was in the ascendency after an electric 2021 but fell off due to an injury to quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. He was part of a potentially dynamic duo with Dontay Demus before injuries hit the Terps. 2021 was the high water mark for his career, posting 829 yards and five touchdowns. He was used in various roles, including on sweeps, and the slot. The testing numbers and the tape bears out a comparison to former USC and veteran Nelson Agholor. He’s projected to go in the fifth to the sixth round range.

2022 Stats: 40 receptions for 471 yards and three touchdowns

Round Projection: Fifth to Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Nelson Agholor

20. Tyler Scott | 5’10 177 | Junior | Cincinnati

- Scott is a burner with a legitimate deep speed that can blow the top off any defense it throws at him. He’s a quick-twitch burst receiver who can blow by any defender caught unaware. The athleticism is quite profound given his size. He played a joint number two alongside fellow 2023 classmate Tre Tucker in 2021 behind Colts receiver Alec Pierce. The former Bearcats receiver led the team in the three counting categories despite the dropoff in quarterback play. He projects as a sixth-round pick that can be used as a dynamic slot weapon with home run ability. Travis Benjamin is one comparison that comes to mind for the electrifying weapon.

2022 Stats: 54 receptions for 899 yards and nine touchdowns

Round Projection: Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Travis Benjamin

21. Grant DuBose | 6’2 201 | Senior | Charlotte

- DuBose was a two-year starter from Charlotte who stood out at the Senior Bowl. He’s a bigger receiver at 6’2 who doesn’t have the quickest 40 times but plays faster. Primarily an X receiver but could be an intriguing slot asset in the right package who could outmuscle smaller defenders. After two relatively equal productive campaigns, a great Senior Bowl effort got him on the radar. He could go a little higher than the sixth round but a middle Day 3 selection is his likely sweet spot. The former 49ers receiver profiles similarly to former Clemson and longtime veteran Sammy Watkins in style and athleticism.

2022 Stats: 64 receptions for 792 yards and nine touchdowns

Round Projection: Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Sammy Watkins


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