Bryce Ford-Wheaton, WR, West Virginia | NFL Draft Scouting Report

The 2023 NFL Draft class might lack a legitimate top-tier receiver as in years past, but there is a surprising amount of depth and upside to be found in the middle to later rounds. That’s right where West Virginia WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton could hear his name called. While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Ford-Wheaton’s scouting report suggest about his NFL Draft stock?

Bryce Ford-Wheaton NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Saftey
  • School: Pittsburgh
  • Year: Redshirt Junior

A three-star prospect coming out of high school, Ford-Wheaton had plenty of expectations entering college. While a standout player in his own right as the No. 27 prospect in North Carolina, Ford-Wheaton is a third-generation Mountaineer behind his grandfather, Garrett Ford Sr., and uncle Garrett Ford Jr., who were standout running backs for the Mountaineers.

Ford-Wheaton redshirted his freshman year and saw his first action in 2019, where he played in 11 games while making two starts, finishing the season with 12 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns while showcasing his big-play prowess with a 50-yard touchdown against Kansas State.

Ford-Wheaton started all nine games at receiver in the COVID-shortened season of 2020 and recorded 27 catches, fourth-best on the team, with 416 yards and three touchdowns. Ford-Wheaton became the first player in West Virginia history to wear No. 0 and was also named the Iron Mountaineer Award winner, presented to the most outstanding performers in WVU’s offseason strength and conditioning program.

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As a redshirt sophomore, Ford-Wheaton tied for second on the team with 42 catches and 575 yards with three touchdowns as an All-Big 12 fourth-team selection. Ford-Wheaton also won off the field, as he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in sports management in just his third year on campus. He was named to the Big 12 Commissioners honor roll and Garrett Ford Academic honor roll at West Virginia.

In 2022, Ford-Wheaton led West Virginia in receptions (62), receiving touchdowns (seven), and was second on the team with 675 receiving yards. He ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in receptions per game (5.2) and became the first Mountaineer to have receiving touchdowns in back-to-back games since Davis Sills back in 2018.

While he still needs to develop a complete technical profile, Ford-Wheaton put on an athletic display at the NFL Combine. Measuring in at 6’4″ and 221 pounds with 33 1/2″ arms and 9 3/8″ hands, Ford-Wheaton ran a ridiculous 4.38 40-yard with a 1.51 10-yard split and jumped out of the building with a 41″ vert and a 10’9″ broad jump.

While this unquestionably helped Ford-Wheaton’s draft stock, it is simply one part of an all-encompassing profile. What does Ford-Wheaton’s scouting report say about his strengths and weaknesses as a draft prospect?

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Bryce Ford-Wheaton

Strengths: Large, sure-handed receiver who turned in a sensational Combine performance. Sells routes, comes back to the ball, and extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Possesses soft as well as strong hands and snatches the ball out of the air. Gets vertical and high points the ball to beat defenders for the contested grab.

Fights with his hands to separate from defenders and effectively times receptions. Possesses eye/hand coordination. Physical, uses his frame to shield away defenders, and plays hard. Combine numbers included a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and a 41-inch vertical jump. Gives effort blocking downfield and gets results.

Weaknesses: Does not play to his 40 time. Cannot run to the deep throw. Lacks quickness. Rounds off routes and struggles to separate. Never had great yardage numbers for West Virginia.

Overall: Ford-Wheaton is a large receiver with long arms and big hands. He possesses the physical skills to be a productive wideout on Sundays, though he must improve his route running and learn to play to the 40 time he ran at the Combine.

Bryce Ford-Wheaton Combine Measurements and Results

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 221 pounds
  • Arm Length: 33 1/2″
  • Hand Size: 9 3/8″
  • Bench Press: DNP
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.38 seconds
  • Vertical Jump: 41″
  • Broad Jump: 10’9″
  • Short Shuttle: 4.15
  • Three-cone: 6.97

West Virginia WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton Current Draft Projection

The opinions on the 2023 NFL draft class of wide receivers have varied as pundits finalize their thoughts on the class. Is it underwhelming, or is there quite a bit of talent and depth which makes up for the lack of a legitimate unquestionable No. 1 prospect?

Personally, I think there’s quite a bit of underrated talent out there at the position, and 2023 represents a chance for teams to fill their depth chart with upside. Ford-Wheaton is a prime example, as he currently comes in as the WR33 and the No. 226 overall-ranked player on Tony Pauline’s Big Board. With a draft grade of 3.32, Ford-Wheaton has an estimated draft projection that places him around the sixth round.

MORE: 2023 WR Draft Class

From a size and speed standpoint, Ford-Wheaton has the intangibles which will likely make him go earlier than some expect in the NFL Draft. While you can refine a skill with coaching, you can’t teach 6’4″ and 4.38 speed. Odds are Ford-Wheaton will need to impress coaches by doing the little things right on kick coverage and special teams before he is given a sizable chunk of offensive reps.

Still, Ford-Wheaton is raw. He has 1,867 total yards in four seasons and posted an alarming 11.2% drop rate. He’s a one-dimensional player but also very intriguing because of his size and speed. What Ford-Wheaton will become at the NFL level is up for debate, but one thing is certain: We will hear his name called during the 2023 NFL Draft.

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