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    2024 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Tiers: How the NFL Views the Upcoming WR Class

    The 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver class has been routinely praised for its depth, but how does the NFL view this incoming crop of pass catchers?

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    With the calendar turning to April, we’re officially in draft month. The focus sharpens on the upcoming class, with the future NFL destination about to be decided for hundreds of college football’s finest.

    There has already been intense optimism about the 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver class, and in this week’s column, we’re bucketing these talented pass catchers into tiers using inside information to understand how the NFL views these receiving prospects.

    2024 NFL Draft WR Tiers: From Long-Term Starters to Rotational Backup Options

    In this column, we’re going inside how our sources (coaches and the scouting community) project these 2024 NFL Draft wide receivers to the next level for the entirety of their careers.

    These are not rankings. Instead, it’s how the people we’ve spoken with see these players performing over time, and we explain below what each tier represents.

    2024 NFL Draft WRs: Tier 1

    Tier Explanation: These players are projected to be long-term starters over the course of their career (6-10 years) and are expected to play well into the second contract with the team that drafts them due to their high skill level. They also possess unique traits (explosiveness, versatility, play-making ability), which places them in this top tier.

    What’s interesting about these three receivers is that they all bring something different to the table in terms of skill set.

    Coaches and executives see Marvin Harrison Jr. as the readiest to start immediately at the next level, while Malik Nabers has the most versatility of the three players. Harrison, due to his size and great overall game (hands, route running), has drawn the comparison to former NFL WR Larry Fitzgerald.

    Two NFL sources whom we’ve spoken with have Nabers graded above the other two due to his ability to explode in and out of his breaks and make impact plays at a variety of receiver positions (inside and outside). They also added it’s hard to find a true weakness in his game.

    Odunze has the prototypical size (6’2” 7/8) for the “X” position but showed the ability to win on inside routes. Players of his size typically don’t possess the versatility he displayed over his four seasons of play at Washington, so it will be interesting to see how he’s deployed at the NFL level.

    2024 NFL Draft WRs: Tier 2

    Tier Explanation: These players project to start eventually, and they bring something very good to the table in various ways that give them an excellent chance to be a factor for years to come. However, they don’t possess the skill set of the top three players at the position, which is why they’re not in the first tier.

    Brian Thomas Jr. is really well-liked by the coaching and scouting community due to his size and vertical ability. And while he can be a bit of a finesse receiver at times, his tape from last season at LSU shows a huge upside to his game.

    Xavier Worthy’s 40-time during the NFL Combine set a record (4.21 seconds), but it’s his play speed that really stands out. And, as one NFL source said, any comparison to John Ross is way off base because Worthy is way more skilled than Ross, who was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft (ninth overall).

    While his lack of bulk will be questioned (5’11 1/4″, 165 pounds at the Combine), a coaching source who graded his tape recently told us that he doesn’t play small for someone of his size.

    The key for Worthy at the next level is to take advantage of not only his vertical speed but also to get the ball in his hands quickly on end-arounds, reverses, etc., as he can be a factor in a variety of ways earlier in his career if he’s with the right coaching staff.

    KEEP READING: Top WRs in the 2024 NFL Draft

    Xavier Legette is clearly the wild card at this position.

    We’re told he’s built like a tight end but moves like a receiver. We’re also told he was a “tone-setter” in practices during his five seasons of play at South Carolina, and last year’s breakout season was no fluke.

    It seems that most of the sources we’ve spoken to about Legette feel like he has perhaps the most upside of any player available at this position for this year’s draft, but coaches who will wind up working with him have to have a detailed plan due to the “uniqueness” of his game.

    2024 NFL Draft WRs: Tier 3

    Tier Explanation: These players aren’t a good bet to start during their rookie season, but they certainly have a strong chance to challenge for a more significant role in the future. They all seem to bring something interesting to the table (speed, versatility, or a unique trait) that gives them a chance at a solid role during their first NFL season.

    This year’s overall group of receivers is seen around the NFL as perhaps the deepest in the last 10 years, and plenty of players in this tier figure to have a decent chance to start during their four-year rookie contract. Some may even start at some point during their rookie season.

    Ladd McConkey is seen as one of the best route runners for this year’s draft, and Ricky Pearsall isn’t far behind.

    We’re told that some teams see Pearsall only playing inside at the next level despite his ability to line up inside or outside at the collegiate level.

    As for McConkey, teams generally see him as a “Z” receiver, meaning he’ll be moved around to take advantage of matchups and his short-area quickness. He also figures to line up some inside at the next level.

    Sources are split on Roman Wilson, who is coming off a very good week of Senior Bowl practices earlier this year — some question whether or not he’ll be able to get off press coverage at the next level.

    The knock on Troy Franklin is his weight (176 pounds at the Combine) and playing strength, but he can fly, and sources say he has some of the best upside of the receivers projected to go off the board in Round 2 or 3. His ability to get off the line quickly shows up on tape and really stands out. The key for him at the next level is to build up his body frame.

    We’re told some teams see Jalen McMillan as a vertical inside player who will need to be freed up to take advantage of his deceptive speed. Word is he plays faster than his 40-time (4.47 seconds).

    As for Devontez Walker, while there’s a rawness to his game, some coaches we spoke with believe there’s a ton of upside to work with, and with some patience, he could be a significant factor down the road.

    2024 NFL Draft WRs: Tier 4

    Tier Explanation: The players listed here are expected to be backups, but they are projected to be included in the rotation at their position over the course of their careers and should be able to carve out a role over time.

    GET DRAFTING: Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    While these players are projected to be backups, our sources mentioned Johnny Wilson as the most intriguing of the group for his size (6’6 3/8″, 230 pounds), and one veteran offensive coach said he would not look at him as a tight end as of now and would rather use his size in a variety of areas (red zone especially) before considering moving him to another position.

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