Top WRs at the 2024 NFL Combine: Focus Shifts to Rome Odunze, Brian Thomas Jr. With Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers Choosing Not To Run

With Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers not taking the field, which WR could see his stock rise by stealing the show at the 2024 NFL Combine?

If you can’t get enough football and have been consuming droves of NFL content over the last few months, then you’ve probably heard about the top-tier prospects and overall depth of talent at the wide receiver position entering the 2024 NFL Draft process.

Those of you who were excited about getting a closer look at Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers taking part in athletic testing events and receiver drills among their contemporaries will have to settle for watching the other slew of talented pass-catching prospects at the NFL Combine, with both players electing not to work out in Indianapolis.

With the top two receivers not taking the field for drills this year, which receivers should you watch out for in Indianapolis?

Top 2024 NFL Combine Wide Receivers

The evolution of the wide receiver position has been captivating to watch unfold over the last 20 years.

Sure, there is still a high premium placed on players who excel on the outside as X- or Z-receivers, but the revolution of the widely popular 11 personnel packages across the league has elevated the value of productive pass catchers who primarily operate out the slot.

This exceptional group of future playmakers will have the chance to showcase their athleticism in testing events like the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle, and 3-cone drill.

After testing and measurements are completed, these wideouts will then take to the field to display their ball skills and route-running prowess in various drills.

Those include running the gauntlet (receivers run across the field in a straight line while catching passes alternating between both sides), over-the-shoulder catching drill, sideline tap drill (players must complete the catch process and quickly get both feet down inbounds on the sideline), and catching passes while running slant, out, curl, dig, post-corner, and go routes.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the receivers who could excel in this environment.

Rome Odunze, Washington

When attempting to rank the incoming receiver prospects entering the league, the name appearing right behind — and in some cases before — the likes of Harrison and Nabers is the hyper-productive Rome Odunze from the Washington Huskies.

You could argue that Odunze had the best individual season of any receiver in the country while showcasing drastic improvement in contested-catch situations in his final collegiate campaign as a Husky.

Odunze is a former track runner who could test very well in the 40-yard dash and could silence those critics who doubt he has the top speed to be a consistent vertical threat at the NFL.

Some may believe he is taking a risk by running at all in Indianapolis, with his draft stock already projected to be in the range of a top-10 pick. Still, the possibility of climbing the big board at the WR position does exist if Odunze tears up the combine as the alpha in the room without Harrison and Nabers.

Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

The attention and praise Nabers is receiving from the draft community is well warranted, but he isn’t the only pass catcher entering the 2024 NFL Draft from LSU who could hear his name called on Day 1.

Brian Thomas Jr. boasts the type of height, length, and suddenness that project very well to make him a dominant presence as an X-receiver at the pro level.

His overall prospect profile features only one true year of elite collegiate production, but that can be overlooked very quickly if he runs in the low 4.4s with a 6’4”, 205-pound frame.

Another area to keep an eye on during his Combine performance is the route-running portion of his day.

His college route tree mostly existed on the vertical plane, with a large amount of in-breaking routes. There were also some balance hiccups when attempting to gear down at the breakpoint. It would be nice to see him have a clean day in this department against no defenders, with all his prospective future employers in attendance.

Ladd McConkey, Georgia

Georgia’s Ladd McConkey was one name you kept hearing when talking about the ‘winners’ from the Senior Bowl practices.

If you watched his tape, it likely didn’t come as a surprise that he was consistently winning off the line of scrimmage against press coverage and easily creating separation at the breakpoint with a diverse set of techniques he uses at the top of the route.

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My expectations are to see him set a blistering pace in the 20-yard shuttle or 3-cone drill with his exceptional foot quickness and ability to accelerate out of cuts by staying in the drive phase longer than most receivers.

Additionally, if he manages to post a 40-time in the 4.45 range, I believe we could see his draft stock rise into the late second round considering his NFL-ready slot receiver and satellite-player skill set entering the league.

Wide Receivers Invited to the 2024 NFL Combine

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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