• The vaunted Ohio State duo makes more than an appearance: Marvin Harrison Jr. tops the list, while Emeka Egbuka comes in at No. 3 in these early rankings.
• A potential surprise at No. 2: LSU's Malik Nabers recorded 1,017 receiving yards in 2022, 48.6% of which came after the catch.
• Texas boasts its own electric pair: Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy are both early top-10 2024 NFL Draft prospects at the position.
Estimated Reading Time: 8 mins
The potential 2024 NFL Draft class is deep and talented with notable names who will look to flood the first round like we’ve seen in years past.
Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. likely would have been the best receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft and, now as a draft-eligible junior, tops this list. Beyond him, we have some studs at Texas in Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell, a massive receiver at Florida State in Johnny Wilson and a handful of slot studs who have the potential to be big-volume guys in the NFL.
1. MARVIN HARRISON JR., OHIO STATE
Right now, Marvin Harrison Jr. is getting top-three-overall-pick kind of hype for the 2024 NFL Draft. If you’re looking for us to temper that hype, you’re going to be disappointed.
Harrison, son of NFL Hall of Famer and Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison Sr., is as alluring as they come. His 6-foot-4, 210-pound measurables check the boxes for a WR1. Right away you can tell he grew up playing the position with how precise and calculated his hands and feet are at the snap out of his release, especially against press coverage. His hands are excellent, as evidenced by his 60.0% contested catch percentage last season. But he’s not just a big possession guy; his 36 explosive plays (passing plays of 15 yards or more) were the most for a wide receiver in the FBS in 2022.
He’s the total package, and one of the top receivers we’ve seen come through college football in recent years (and that’s really saying something).
2. MALIK NABERS, LSU
The 6-foot, 200-pound Nabers is a true playmaker. He recorded 1,017 receiving yards in 2022, and 48.6% of those came after the catch. He’s also made his case as one of the most natural and reliable pass catchers in the class with a 93.5% catchable-pass percentage and a 61.9% contested-catch percentage. He looks smooth as he accelerates and explodes out of his breaks. He’s also not limited to playing in the slot or on the outside; he can do it all.
It’s hard to watch his 2022 tape and not see a future difference-maker at the pro level.
3. EMEKA EGBUKA, OHIO STATE
Yes, you’re reading that right. Ohio State has two receivers in the top three of this list.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Egbuka would be the top wide receiver on almost any other team in the country if he wasn’t with the Buckeyes. He recorded an 85.5 receiving grade in 2022 with a 52.8% contested-catch percentage. He displays an elite level of short-area quickness and pairs that with great flexibility to sink his hips for precise and explosive change of direction. That makes him a standout separation player for throwing windows and yards after the catch.
In 2022, only 17.9% of his total receiving snaps came as the inside slot receiver, but that alignment feels like where Egbuka could thrive at the next level. Give this guy some two-way route options against defensive backs in space, and he’ll pick them apart with his skill set.
4. ADONAI MITCHELL, TEXAS
Adonai Mitchell, often called just “AD,” will be catching passes in a new offense in 2023. The former three-star receiver was at Georgia for the past two seasons, playing in 21 games with 15 starts. In 2022, he missed nine games due to a high ankle sprain but played in six games with three starts. He transferred to Texas for the 2022 season.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Mitchell might not be a polished product yet, but he is a promising one. His feet are lightning quick out of his releases, and that helps him navigate and avoid press coverage, as well as close zone defenders. His flexibility and fluidity look to be the foundation of a really nice route runner. He may need to continue putting on weight to improve the strength profile in his game (contested catching as well as just taking and dictating contact). Mitchell being this high on the list is me betting his top-end flashes will turn into consistency — a bet I’m willing to make right now.
It will be a crowded and talented receiver room at Texas in 2023, but Mitchell should get plenty of looks.
5. JOHNNY WILSON, FLORIDA STATE
Anyone in the scouting realm, no matter their level of experience, has, at one time, fallen for a big, strong, contested-catch receiver who didn’t pan out in the pros. I certainly can raise my hand on that (J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Kelvin Harmon are two who come to mind). But Wilson has me believing again.
Wilson isn’t just big. He’s really big. 6-foot-6 and 237 pounds, to be exact. Both of those numbers are in the 98th percentile for the position. But he appears to have some finesse in his game to go along with his dominant size. His physical advantage will obviously be his bread and butter, but taking into account weight-adjusted expectation, he actually gets off the line of scrimmage and seems to break on his routes better than most who would carry the “big WR” label. He’s a true “X” receiver who also has reps of strong blocking.
6. XAVIER WORTHY, TEXAS
While Worthy isn’t in the top five of this position, it seems he easily could end up in the top three when the 2024 NFL Draft rolls around. That's because his career is a tale of two seasons right now.
As a freshman, The 6-foot-1, 164-pound Worthy was incredibly productive. He set the Texas freshman receiving records for most receiving yards in a season, most receiving yards in a game, most receiving touchdowns in a season, most receiving touchdowns in a game, most receptions in a game and most receptions in a season. But in 2022 he just didn’t look the same; he had some head-scratching drops and wasn't the same player. After the season, it came out that he was playing half the year with a broken hand, which would explain why his drops went from three to seven, and his catchable passes caught rate fell from 91.3% to 85.3%. His playmaking ability suffered as well, dropping from 14 missed tackles forced in 2021 to just four total in 2022. The same trend showed up with his yards-after-catch numbers.
Worthy is a fantastic athlete with very good long speed and good body control. If that catching consistency bounces back up in 2023, expect him to be a riser.
7. LADD McCONKEY, GEORGIA
As I began my deep dive into McConkey’s film, I wondered if I’d just see a player who was a product of the system and a high volume of targets. But, to quote the well-known Shaq meme, “I owe you an apology. I wasn't really familiar with your game.”
McConkey is the ideal smaller slot receiver. His quickness and acceleration are elite, as is his footwork out of his release at the line of scrimmage. This makes for an already polished and deadly route runner. But it’s not like he’s just quick, either. His long speed and ability to threaten vertically might not be top-tier, but it’s nothing to sleep on. Almost 50% of his yards in 2022 came after the catch, which only adds to how dangerous he is as a slot receiver when you give him space. On top of all that, he’s as willing a blocker as you’ll find for a player who is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds.
8. ROME ODUNZE, WASHINGTON
Odunze is an alluring receiver, especially for his size. Coming in at 6-foot-2 1/2 and about 217 pounds puts him well above the 50th percentile for a receiver in both height and weight. But then you turn on the tape and see he’s quite the athlete for his size, as well. The fluidity is what really stood out for me. Big guys tend to be stiffer in their movements. If you think about it literally, it’s more body weight and, thus, more muscle to move, therefore it’s going to be harder to do. But Odunze makes it look natural. His contested-catch percentages have been low the past two years, at 16.5% and 25% in 2021 and 2022, but I believe those numbers can improve with the strength I’ve seen elsewhere in his game.
9. ANTWANE “JUICE” WELLS JR., SOUTH CAROLINA
Wells has been on a long journey to get to this point as a senior. He started his career at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He then transferred to James Madison and broke receiving record there in his second season before transferring again, this time to South Carolina, where he led the Gamecocks in receiving in his first season.
Wells’ best trait right now is his mentality with the ball in the air. He truly attacks it. He’s always trying to highpoint the ball, fully extend his arms to go and get it and, most importantly, out-muscle the defender closest to him. He hauled in an impressive 95.3% of the catchable passes thrown his way in 2022. He also showed off good athletic ability, with 58.9% of his receiving yards coming after the catch.
He has my vote as the receiver not getting talked about enough right now headed into the season.
10. MOOSE MUHAMMAD III, TEXAS A&M
Marvin Harrison Jr. isn’t the only one on this list with NFL bloodlines. Muhsin “Moose” Muhammad III is the son of Mushin Muhammad, the legendary Carolina Panthers receiver. Those NFL ties show up quickly in Moose’s film; he’s a natural off the line of scrimmage with his footwork, and he’s nuanced in his routes. He understands when to eat up space between him and his defenders and when to create it for bigger throwing windows. He also has good size at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds.
He played in the slot 19.7% of his receiving reps in 2022, and I think that is a good trend for him. His game, like Egbuka's, best translates to the pros as a player who can manipulate space.