The sons of yesterday’s stars are emerging as NFL Draft prospects. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the headliner of the 2024 NFL Draft class, but the scouting report of Brenden Rice — son of Jerry Rice — also bears careful consideration. What does the younger Rice bring, and can he achieve NFL success as a legacy prospect?
Brenden Rice Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 6’2 1/8″
- Weight: 212
- Length: 32 5/8″
- Wingspan: 78 3/8″
- Hand: 9 3/8″
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: USC
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
It’s incredible that Marvin Harrison Jr. is in the 2024 NFL Draft, and yet, he’s not the most recognizable legacy prospect in the WR group. That honor goes to Rice, who is the son of Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest WR of all time.
The younger Rice began his collegiate career at Colorado, totaling 27 receptions for 419 yards and five touchdowns across his first 17 games. Past playing WR, he was also a solid kick returner, averaging 26.6 yards per return on 19 attempts.
In 2022, Rice transferred to USC to play for Lincoln Riley and set career highs in receptions (39), yards (611), and touchdowns (four) in his first season with the Trojans. In 2023, he expanded beyond those numbers, logging 45 catches for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Rice averaged 17.6 yards per catch in his breakout 2023 campaign and scored a touchdown on over 25% of his catches. As a big-play threat, he’s already carving out a legacy of his own, but the Senior Bowl standout could also be trending toward NFL stardom. Does he have what it takes to achieve that?
Brenden Rice Scouting Report
- Plus-sized receiver with excellent length, compactly-held mass, and wiry play strength.
- Elite explosive threat who carries instant long-track vertical acceleration out of stance.
- Has the high-end vertical speed to stack defenders late in reps and stretch the field.
- Sudden explosiveness allows him to stagger back into space quickly out of route stems.
- Can utilize his size and physicality to compound separation with violent jabs and swipes.
- Can effectively use speed to press upfield into stems, then divert laterally with twitch.
- Flashes enough flexibility to chop his feet, retract his strides, and sink infield at stems.
- Has good blind spot awareness and can swerve across DB angles while keeping speed.
- Has the curvilinear acceleration to bend angles at stems while stressing vertically.
- Can suddenly cut inside and sink on slants after beating press with two-hand attacks.
- Flashes impressive lateral twitch and short-area energy on releases, off-setting DBs.
- Able to use his length to elongate his reach and snare passes far beyond his frame.
- Has the hand strength to secure high-difficulty passes and sustain through contact.
- Playing with Caleb Williams refined his off-script awareness, adaptability, and proactivity.
- Physical, tenacious blocker with off-script adaptability who uses his size exhaustively.
- Can be prone to wasted motion on releases and is, at times, inefficient working upfield.
- Has some stiffness in his midsection, sometimes struggling to sink on comeback routes.
- Lacks elite stopping ability and needs to take extra steps before cutting inside on digs.
- Hinge flexibility is underwhelming at times, which can lead to delays on stem transitions.
- Can’t always pinch tight angles on routes after chopping his feet and transitioning.
- Sometimes overruns and struggles to work back to the ball when attacking vertically.
- Occasionally short-arms passes on the vertical plane and can track more consistently.
- Fluctuations with ball tracking can draw him out of proper positioning and impact hands.
- On occasion, plays with his hands too wide when gathering RAC passes, sourcing drops.
- Though he has the hand strength to compensate, hand technique can be inconsistent.
- Wasn’t a consistent RAC threat, predominantly working with vertical concepts at USC.
- At times, can be more precise with his targeted physicality working through contact.
- Overall week-to-week consistency was a question mark at USC.
Current Draft Projection and Summary
Rice grades out as a fringe top-100 prospect on my 2024 NFL Draft board. He’s worth mid-to-late Day 2 capital for a team in need of a vertical threat with multi-phase upside and blocking utility. On early Day 3, he’d be an exceptional value pick.
Being the son of arguably the greatest WR of all time places lofty expectations on the younger Rice by default. Those expectations are unfair at times, but Rice does have plenty of appeal as a developmental WR prospect with tantalizing potential — if he can reach his peak.
Already, Rice is a venerable vertical threat with an elite mix of size, length, and speed. He explodes upfield, has the reach and strength to pry through DB physicality, and has the wide catch radius and strong hands to snare passes in the intermediate and deep ranges.
An underrated part of Rice’s profile, past his elite size-speed combination, is his reliability as an off-script outlet for QBs. Playing with Williams, he gained a sharp awareness in off-script situations. He routinely made himself available for Williams, shaking DBs with unpredictable movements, and attacked the football when it came his way.
Rice can still seek greater consistency as a route runner past vertical concepts, and he doesn’t have elite flexibility in that phase. But Rice does have enough flexibility and curvilinear acceleration to build on his arsenal. He has the twitch and quickness to underpin a deep release package, and he can use his physicality to compound separation.
Rice’s 2024 NFL Draft evaluation requires more projection than most. Even in the vertical plane — his most natural realm — his ball tracking and hand technique can be more consistent as well.
But Rice has enough functional utility to be a dynamic and durable rotational piece early on, and he could grow to be a solid starter at the X-receiver spot.
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