Time to move on: 2024 WR preview … There is simply no way to sugarcoat it; the 2023 was a pretty big disappointment for this year’s WR class. For starters, as many as 4 different receivers had at least a top 15-20 grade at some point in the build-up to the draft, but in the end none were selected before the 20th pick, although Seattle’s selection of former Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th pick overall did ignite a run on the other three top-rated receivers. however, those four were the only WRs chosen in the opening round this past April ending a three-year stretch in which at least 5 receivers were taken in the first round. As surprising as that development was, the even bigger surprise re this year’s receiver corps was that other than Jonathan Mingo, who was selected by Carolina with the 39th pick, all the other top-rated receivers who had been considered to have at least some late-first potential, including Marvin Mims, Jalin Hyatt, Cedric Tillman, Josh Downs and Rashee Rice, lasted deep into the second day of the draft. Overall, 14 WRs were selected within the first three rounds of this year’s draft, although that was down slightly from an average of around 16 per the previous three drafts.
However, at least where things stand today, that trend doesn’t look like it will necessarily continue next April. Indeed, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison is currently considered to be the top non-QB prospect in the 2024 draft field and there is more than one team out there that has him at #1 period. Harrison, who is the son of the NFL Hall-of-Fame WR of the same name, would also almost assuredly have been one of the first players selected this year had he been draft eligible. He’s listed at 6-4, 205 and this past season had 77 receptions for almost 1,300 yards and 14 TDs. In fact, Ohio State could have the top two receivers in the upcoming draft as fellow Buckeye WR Emeka Egbuka is generally thought to be the next best prospect at the position at this time with at least some top 10 potential, although he clearly isn’t in Harrison’s class. Same for several other top wideouts who figure to be off the board early next fall including Rome Odunze of Washington and 6-6 Johnny Wilson of Florida State, a pair of big-body receivers, along with super quick Xavier Worthy of Texas. At the same time, there is a rather large group of 15-20 next-tier receivers with potential, but a lot of sorting out to be done there. Among potential prospects to watch include Dorian Singer, now at USC after transferring from Arizona; Texas-San Antonio’s Zakhari Franklin, who had 93 receptions last fall including 15 for scores; 6-4 Orande Gadsen of Syracuse; Western Kentucky’s Malachi Corley, who had over 100 catches in 2022; Jalen Calhoun of Duke; and Ali Jennings, a Virginia Tech transfer from Old Dominion.
For now, here is the preliminary ranking for this year’s WR group.