NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Highest-graded wide receivers in every category

2NHH084 December 31, 2022: Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) celebrates his second touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half of the 2022 Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Scott Kinser/CSM) (Credit Image: © Scott Kinser/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

LSU’s Malik Nabers proved nearly uncoverable: The dynamic SEC standout ranks first in a number of categories, including PFF receiving grade vs. single coverage and receiving grade on deep targets.

Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. is clutch in critical moments:  The 2023 Biletnikoff Award winner stands atop the class in two pivotal categories: late-down and red-zone receiving grades.

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The 2024 NFL Draft season is well underway, with the NFL scouting combine and individual pro days in the rearview.

Every player brings a unique skill set to the table. We’re breaking down the draft class’ best players in each and every facet for every position to get a more informed view of the NFL hopefuls.

Here are PFF’s highest-graded wide receiver prospects in each key grading facet.

Receiving Grade lined up at outside receiver

Hayden Hatten, Idaho: 91.4

The FCS standout earned a 90.0-plus receiving grade in back-to-back seasons coming out of Idaho. He made his home on the outside, playing 68.7% of his career snaps as an outside receiver.

Hatten averaged 3.06 yards per route run from the outside in 2023, the second-best mark among qualifying wide receivers. He racked up 27 receptions of 15 or more yards and came down with 47.8% of his contested targets.

Receiving Grade lined up in the slot

Malik Nabers, LSU: 92.6

The fourth-ranked prospect in this year’s class showcased his versatility by lining up all over the field in 2023. He averaged 4.35 yards per route run from the inside, the most by any prospect with 100 or more slot snaps.

He and teammate Brian Thomas Jr. are the only prospects who exceeded a 154.0 passer rating when targeted from the slot.

Receiving Grade on short targets

Malik Washington, Virginia: 90.7

Virginia’s slot specialist was nearly automatic when targeted between 1 and 9 yards downfield, hauling 86.4% of his targets, the best rate of any receiver prospect with 25 or more opportunities.

Receiving Grade on intermediate targets

Xavier Legette, South Carolina: 94.0

The South Carolina receiver secured 100% of his catchable intermediate targets, one of just two prospects in the class to do so on 20 or more catchable targets.

Click here to see Xavier Legette's 2024 NFL Draft profile!

Receiving Grade on deep targets

Malik Nabers, LSU: 97.8

Nabers took advantage of corners with his ability to get in and out of breaks on double moves, which allowed him to erupt for 19 receptions on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield. He averaged 32.8 yards per reception and generated a 148.3 passer rating when targeted.

Receiving Grade on late downs

Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State & Malik Washington, Virginia: 89.3

Harrison flashed his clutch gene all season long by making crucial grabs in high-leverage, late-down situations. On third and fourth downs, Harrison racked up a class-leading seven touchdowns and nine receptions of 15 or more yards, and he averaged 3.29 yards per route run.

Washington also produced impressive volume in late-down situations, recording 33 receptions and 22 first-down conversions, which led the class. The Virginia receiver’s strong hands also allowed him to haul in 85.7% of his contested targets.

Receiving Grade on contested targets

Rome Odunze, Washington: 95.2

The projected early first-round pick possesses phenomenal play strength and excellent hands that allow him to consistently bring down balls through contact.

Odunze secured 75% of his contested targets and ultimately led the class with 21 contested receptions, 19 of which went for a first down or touchdown.

Receiving Grade vs. Single Coverage

Malik Nabers, LSU: 95.3

Against single coverage, the LSU standout produced a receiving grade more than two points higher than the next-closest prospect. What sets Nabers apart is his ability to make the first defender miss, as he forced a class-leading eight missed tackles vs. single coverage.

Click here to see Marvin Harrison Jr.'s 2024 NFL Draft profile!

Receiving Grade vs. Zone Coverage

Malik Washington, Virginia: 91.5

As one may expect from a slot specialist, Washington is incredibly adept in finding space to work through zone and underneath coverages. Against these looks, Washington clocked 78 receptions for 873 yards, both of which paced the rookie class.

Red-zone Receiving Grade 

Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State: 87.8

Inside the 20-yard line, Harrison racked up 10 receiving touchdowns and averaged 11.7 yards per reception, with the former leading all of this year’s prospects.

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