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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brenden Rice (WR – USC)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brenden Rice (WR – USC)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at USC receiver Brenden Rice.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brenden Rice

Brenden Rice (WR – USC)

6’3” – 210 lbs.

Background:

Father is Jerry Rice. Three-star recruit who originally attended Colorado, where he caught six passes in 2020 and 21-299-3 (14.2) as a starter the following year before transferring to USC, where he’s started for the past two years. Posted 39-611-4 (15.7) in 2022, and then 37-644-11 (17.4) through the regular season this year before declaring.

Positives:

Three-year starter with incredible bloodlines. Big, well-built receiver who takes the vast majority of his snaps outside. Usually uses a skip release that demonstrates clean footwork and his knowledge of how to change speeds and keep defenders off-balance. Stems look nice and clean. Knows how to flatten out his routes at the stem to keep defenders out of phase. Established himself as a dangerous vertical threat/goal line option this season. Has a strong pair of hands and presents a big target for the quarterback. Aggressively goes up to high-point throws and compete at the catch point. Tracks and adjusts to throws well down the sidelines. Shows good awareness and body control near the sidelines. Was very effective on contested catches prior to this year. Has some elusiveness and vision after the catch, with the power to run through arm tackles.

Negatives:

Hasn’t been a very high-volume option in any of his three seasons; somewhat feast-or-famine output from game to game, where he dominates occasionally but fades into the background too often. Took the vast majority of his snaps on the side of the formation during the games reviewed, which sometimes indicates issues running routes from the opposite side. Route tree was somewhat simple, with a lot of deep shots, fades, back-shoulder throws, shallows, hitches, and quick slants. Speed is adequate for his size, but probably won’t be taking the top off of defenses at the next level. Not quite as flexible as some of the other receivers in the class. Struggled to come down with contested catches this year (three of twelve.) Doesn’t break a ton of tackles.

Summary:

A big and strong target who runs clean routes and has the power and aggressiveness at the catch point to win over the top and near the goal line, but whose production often came in spurts. He has a strong pair of hands, and could provide a safety blanket for quarterbacks because of his wide radius. Stands a pretty good chance of sneaking into the second day because of his bloodlines and tools, although it wouldn’t be a total surprise if he lasted until the early third day.

Projection: Round 3-4

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