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2024 NFL Draft Senior Bowl Primer: Wide Receivers (Fantasy Football)

2024 NFL Draft Senior Bowl Primer: Wide Receivers (Fantasy Football)

NFL Draft season is here, baby!

The flagship event that signals the kickoff for prospect season is back. The Reese’s Senior Bowl cranks up with practice sessions starting on January 30th. We’ll be bringing you a TON of content all week at FantasyPros with daily practice recap live streams on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube and written content.

Welcome to the WR Primer, which covers every wide receiver prospect that will be at this year’s Senior Bowl. Dynasty Rookie Draft season is here. Let’s dive into these prospects.

2024 NFL Draft Senior Bowl Primer: Wide Receivers

Javon Baker (Central Florida)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 8th
    • PFF receiving grade: 24th
    • YAC per reception: 35th

Scouting report:

  • Baker is a well rounded receiver. Quick feet eat and Baker has them. Quick in and out of breaks with crisp change of direction. He offers some YAC ability with a combination of shifty feet, play strength, and good vision in traffic. He also offers abilities as a deep threat with the speed to stretch the field and the ball tracking skills to haul in moon shots.
  • Baker’s strong hands and impressive body control equal a large catch radius. He has plenty of back shoulder catches made in the air on tape while also sporting some shoe string grabs as well. Last season among 98 qualifying receivers he was 20th in contested catch rate. Baker has the ability to develop into a high volume receiver at the next level.

Player Comp: Chris Godwin

Jacob Cowing (Arizona)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 129th
    • PFF receiving grade: 57th
    • YAC per reception: 97th
  • 2022 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 89th
    • PFF receiving grade: 35th
    • YAC per reception: 29th
  • Career
    • 75.3% collegiate slot rate
    • Posted 2.94 & 3.82 YPRR in 2020-2021 seasons
    • aDOT dropped every year from 2020-2023 (from 17.3 to 6.7)

Scouting report:

  • Let’s start this off with the fact that Cowing can play on the perimeter. Solid footwork and set of releases at the line. Plays through contact well during his routes. Adds subtle nuance to his routes. Set up a corner vs. Oregon in 2022 on a post with a lean toward the boundary before jab-stepping and blowing past him on a post with ease.
  • Crisp at the top of his stems, he has fluid hips and can change direction without losing speed. He has plenty of out routes where he pulls a “Hunter Renfrow” and whips back in the opposite direction, creating easy separation.
  • Cowing was utilized from the slot primarily in college but can win all over the field (including deep) with his varied release package and speed. His production was neutered as he progressed through college as his aDOT dropped and he wasn’t utilized as much downfield. He’s not a burner in the open field or a tackle-breaking maven, but he can pick up extra yards after the catch.

Player Comp: Elijah Moore

Johnny Wilson (Florida State)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 51st
    • PFF receiving grade: 95th
    • YAC per reception: 226th
  • 2022 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 4th
    • PFF receiving grade: 25th
    • YAC per reception: 42nd

Scouting report:

  • A receiver, Wilson’s height shouldn’t have the fluidity that he does. Quick feet and smooth hips allow him to be a weapon in the short and intermediate areas. He sinks his hips better than you’d expect from a player with his height. Wilson can get open on a comeback or drag route for days. He has the quicks to get open versus corners and the raw strength to punish them after the catch. The sum of his skill parts allows him to produce YAC either from his surprisingly quick footwork or his upper body strength and leg drive.
  • This is not a knock on Wilson’s ability as a perimeter wide receiver, BUT I want to see him converted to tight end in the NFL. He already has the requisite size with the ability to put on 10 lbs or so without losing his speed and quickness. If there’s a smart NFL franchise out there, they will be handsomely rewarded. Wilson can more than hold his own as a “wide receiver,” but as a tight end, he would have ridiculous upside. He has the skills to win versus linebackers and nickels all day.
  • Another reason to believe that Wilson can make the jump to tight end is his blocking. As a run blocker, he is a DAWG. He has the total strength package to drive guys off the mark and anchor them. Over the last three seasons, among all wide receivers with at least 90 run-blocking snaps, he has ranked eighth, 21st, and first in PFF run-blocking grade.
  • Wilson has a huge catch radius. He will adjust for low throws while also reaching high-point throws that few defenders can get to because of his size. He has plenty of catches in traffic on film to prove his strong hands. His 40.9% contested catch rate last year isn’t truly indicative of his talent, as the ball placement on some of his tight-window throws was sketchy at best. We also have to talk about his 12.8% drop rate in college. Wilson has plenty of concentration drops on film, but I think this is something he can get cleaned up in the NFL. There are too many instances of him making special catches on his film (i.e., the one-handed grab versus Oklahoma in 2022)

Player Comp: Darren Waller

Ladd McConkey (Georgia)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 35 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 8th
    • PFF receiving grade: 34th
    • YAC per reception: 95th

Scouting report:

  • Destined for the slot in the NFL. McConkey is a solid underneath option but lacks the extra gear to take the top off a defense. His route running prowess allows him to get open in the short and intermediate as he is sudden in movements and crisp at the top of his stem. He plays through contact well in his routes with a good swipe and upper body strength to work through press coverage.
  • McConkey runs like a running back in traffic. Good vision in chaos with the shiftiness to break some tackles and provide YAC. He offers some run game utility with 13 collegiate carries for 216 rushing yards (16.6 ypc) and four scores.

Player Comp: Danny Amendola

Xavier Legette (South Carolina)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 11th
    • PFF receiving grade: 18th
    • YAC per reception: 68th
  • Career
    • 73.6% of his snaps as a boundary receiver

Scouting report:

  • Legette is a long striding boundary receiver. He plays bigger than his listed size suggests. He has superb back shoulder ball skills and body control in the air. Legette has a big catch radius as he high points the ball well with a pair of strong hands.
  • He is a developmental wide receiver that needs to improve on the little things of the position. Legette has good deceleration at the top of his stem for his size, but it can be inconsistent. He’ll have a few routes where he sharply drops his hips and decelerates leaving corners searching and then he’ll be lax and get clunky with his footwork at the top of his stem.
  • Legette needs to sell his vertical push more consistently. Many routes look strong, but then he’ll sneak in some reps where he’s telegraphing his intentions. The need for consistency bleeds over into other areas of his game. He lacks consistent spacial awareness against zone drifting on some routes where he should put the brakes on in space.
  • His releases need work. Legette opts for speed releases on many routes, but he needs to continue to hone his footwork and add more release tactics to the tool bag. His footwork has to continue to improve if he hopes to gain separation off the line in the NFL especially on short area and intermediate routes. He plays bigger than his size would indicate which is a plus in some areas, but it’s not here as he runs and has the footwork speed of a bigger bodied wide receiver.

Player Comp: Mack Hollins

Luke McCaffrey (Rice)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 95th
    • PFF receiving grade: 26th
    • YAC per reception: 84th
  • 2022 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 77th
    • PFF receiving grade: 58th
    • YAC per reception: 179th

Scouting report:

  • A savvy player who could carve out a long career in the NFL, McCaffrey’s background as a quarterback serves him well as a receiver. He has good situational awareness in the red zone, making catches near the boundary and finding soft spots in zone coverage.
  • McCaffrey has a slender build with easy speed and a fluid change of direction. He will be a quarterback’s best friend in the NFL with his strong hands. He had only a 4.1% drop rate last year and came down with plenty of tough catches in traffic while taking huge hits. He has a nice catch radius with the ability to adjust to targets over his head, as well as ankle biters in the red zone.
  • McCaffrey isn’t a burner, but he can be utilized downfield. He has strong ball tracking and displays late hands consistently.

Player Comp: Jakobi Meyers

Devontez Walker (North Carolina)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 71st
    • PFF receiving grade: 177th
    • YAC per reception: 271st

Scouting report:

  • Field stretcher. Walker finished his collegiate career with 16.8 ypr and a 17.1 aDOT. He was a limited route tree player with the majority of his opportunities coming on stop routes and go balls with some screens and posts tossed in. I would have loved to have seen Walker utilized on slants more where he could take advantage of his size and strong hands in traffic.
  • Walker must continue to add to his bag of tricks as a receiver. He will round off his routes and routinely leaves corners unstacked on nine routes which lead to issues at the catch point. Walker’s strong mitts and solid ball placement by Drake Maye helped to mitigate corners at the catch point, but this will be an issue for him in the NFL. He does have some good reps exhibiting good body control and the ability to play above the rim.
  • Walker needs to continue to improve his gear down and sinking his hips on comebacks and curls. He’s a long strider with build up speed that plays better with downfield assignments. Walker likely slots in as a situational deep threat in the NFL unless he can continue to improve in these other areas.

Player Comp: Bryan Edwards

Roman Wilson (Michigan)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 29th
    • PFF receiving grade: 22nd
    • YAC per reception: 178th
  • Career
    • In four years at Michigan, he didn’t earn more than 39 targets or finish with higher than 2.3 YPRR until 2023.
    • 59.9% collegiate slot rate

Scouting report:

  • Solid but unspectacular prospect. Wilson should evolve into a steady pro. Wilson has a quick first step and fluid hips which allows him to gain separation on shallow crossers and stop routes. Wilson has decent speed, but he gets caught from behind in the open field. He doesn’t have a trump card after the catch to create YAC as he has average play strength and isn’t a monstrous tackle breaker. Wilson had only two missed tackles forced and 4.6 yards after the catch per reception (178th).
  • Wilson needs to continue to hone his releases. Wilson can beat zone coverage but the instances that he has faced press coverage have given him fits. He hasn’t exhibited the necessary release package, burst, or upper body strength to beat press coverage. Once a corner gets their hands on him it is game over. Wilson struggles to play through contact during his routes. He should continue to operate as a slot receiver in the NFL.

Player Comp: Alex Erickson

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Malachi Corley (Western Kentucky)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 22nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 26th
    • YAC per reception: 9th
  • 2022 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 27th
    • PFF receiving grade: 10th
    • YAC per reception: 3rd

Scouting report:

  • Corley is built like a running back. He has a compact, thick frame and a sturdy lower half. He utilizes his strong frame and low center of gravity to break arm tackles in the open field.
  • A true slot receiver. Western Kentucky tried to get the ball in his hands in any way possible with screens, pop passes, and handoffs. He was utilized on a ton of screens, slants, and quick-outs. Corley offers some YAC upside with a decent second gear. He has a good feel for attacking zone coverage and finding good areas to sit down in coverage.

Player Comp: Parker Washington

Ricky Pearsall (Florida)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 86th
    • PFF receiving grade: 53rd
    • YAC per reception: 131st

Scouting report:

  • Pearsall has nuanced route running using head fakes and leverage to his advantage. He has a good feel for finding space against zone coverage.
  • Average raw physical traits will limit his upside. He isn’t a sudden mover or explosive player. Routes can be rounded at times. Corners can stay glued to him on crossers or slants with inside leverage as Pearsall doesn’t have the speed to pull away from them.
  • Plus body control and catch radius. He’s no stranger to acrobatic catches in the air or one handed grabs. Pearsall has good ball tracking on deep balls with some nice basket catches.

Player Comp: Rashard Higgins

Jamari Thrash (Louisville)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 59th
    • PFF receiving grade: 46th
    • YAC per reception: 57th
  • 2022 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 14th
    • PFF receiving grade: 28th
    • YAC per reception: 53rd

Scouting report:

  • Smooth operator. Looks like he is gliding on the field. Easy change of direction laterally. His “superpower” and how he wins is with his quick feet specifically gearing down on intermediate routes. Thrash can drop his hips easily on a comeback and leave a corner spinning.
  • Thrash has some nuance to his routes with jab steps and head fakes. He has a good understanding of leverage and how to set up corners. Thrash has good body control especially adjusting to low throws. He is not the strongest at the catch point though with only a 32.6% contested catch rate in college.
  • He’s not a burner. A one speed guy that I question his ability to stretch the field and get on top of corners deep. Could settle in as a possession wide receiver / WR3 for an NFL team.

Player Comp: Russell Gage

Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (Georgia)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 40 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 45th
    • PFF receiving grade: 98th
    • YAC per reception: 201st

Scouting report:

  • Rosemy-Jacksaint should settle in as a dependable WR4/5 in the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him convert to a big slot or a 50/50 slot/outside player at the next level and carve out a long career.
  • He has solid feet with the ability to gear down and turn on a dime, but his explosive ability and raw speed are questionable. Rosemy-Jacksaint isn’t an above-the-rim player, but he’s an intermediate possession receiver that coaches and quarterbacks will love. He excels at slants/crossers and comebacks.
  • Rosemy-Jacksaint has vice-grip hands. He extends and plucks the ball out of the air away from his body. He had only two drops across 105 collegiate targets and a 63.6% contested catch rate in his final season.
  • He’s not a YAC threat. Rosemy-Jacksaint runs upright and is easy to bring down in the open field with only four missed tackles and 4.1 YAC per reception in four years of college.
  • Coaches will love him in the run game. He can seal the edge and consistently stands up defenders and anchors well. Over the last two seasons, among 249 and 265 qualifying wide receivers, he was 11th and 14th in PFF run blocking grade (minimum 200 run blocking snaps).

Player Comp: Zach Pascal

Ainias Smith (Texas A&M)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 72nd
    • PFF receiving grade: 39th
    • YAC per reception: 47th
  • Career
    • 70.1% collegiate slot rate

Scouting report:

  • The former running back weaves through traffic like a back. Smith has easy speed and quick twitch after the catch with the ability to earn yards after the catch. Fluid hips and nimble feet allow him to win in the short areas of the field against corners.
  • Smith was a slot option in college and projects for the same work in the NFL. Smith operated with a healthy dose of stop routes, manufactured touches, and slants where he was asked to run to daylight versus zone.

Player Comp: Demetric Felton

Brenden Rice (USC)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 25th
    • PFF receiving grade: 39th
    • YAC per reception: 127th
  • 2022 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 143rd
    • PFF receiving grade: 123rd
    • YAC per reception: 74th

Scouting report:

  • Average burst off the line. Rice needs to continue to add to his release package. He doesn’t have the raw speed to rely only on his wheels as he doesn’t have the raw juice to run by corners.
  • Rice can get pushed off his routes by physical corners or jammed up mid-route. He doesn’t flash the speed or route running/release chops to get behind corners deep consistently. He’s not a fluid mover, as he looks lumbering at times to get up to top speed, and his change of direction can get clunky.
  • Rice is a decent underneath target with ok hands. He has issues at the catch point with physical corners, with a 48.6% career contest catch rate. His lack of play strength shows up here. Many times, 50/50 balls for Rice are 35/65 balls. Drops have not been a huge issue, though.

Player Comp: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

Jordan Whittington (Texas)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 218th
    • PFF receiving grade: 208th
    • YAC per reception: 101st

Scouting report:

  • Slot receiver with plenty of gadget usage. Whittington was utilized out of the backfield on angle and wheel routes, with screens, handoffs, etc. He is an upright runner who looks like a throw-back power back in the open field. He doesn’t run with that type of gusto, though. Whittington’s upright running style can be brought down relatively easily if he doesn’t have a head of steam built up.
  • Out of the slot, Whittington has a ton of rounded routes. He lacks suddenness at the top of his stem. There are plenty of reps where he looks like he’s running half-speed. His short-area quickness is nice at times, though, which makes it head-scratching because he has multiple whip routes on film where he leaves defenders flailing at air.

Player Comp: Laviska Shenault with a low battery

Jha’Quan Jackson (Tulane)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 40 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 71st
    • PFF receiving grade: 121st
    • YAC per reception: 88th
  • Career
    • Return experience. 59 collegiate punt returns with an 11.5 average. 25 kick returns in 2021 with a 22.0 yards per return.

Scouting report: (no all-22 available)

  • N/A

Player Comp: N/A

Ryan Flournoy (Southeast Missouri State)

Stats:

  • 2023 (among all FBS/FCS WRs minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 49th
    • PFF receiving grade: 59th
    • YAC per reception: 43rd
  • 2023 (among all FBS/FCS WRs minimum 50 targets)
    • Yards per route run: 46th
    • PFF receiving grade: 36th
    • YAC per reception: 93rd

Scouting report: (no all-22 available)

  • N/A

Player Comp: N/A

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