It’s widely expected that the 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver class will bring far more top-end talent than the 2023 group. It’s dangerous to commit to those kinds of assumptions too early in a given cycle. But early on in our preseason evaluations, the 2024 WR crop is living up to the hype. Who are the top 10 WR prospects in 2024 as it stands?
Ranking the Top WRs in the 2024 NFL Draft
Zay Flowers, Josh Downs, and Jordan Addison were all solid prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, along with Quentin Johnston and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. But a prevailing thought among evaluators was that the 2023 class lacked much in the way of blue-chip talent at the WR position, and it also lacked top-end depth.
While it’s too early to commit to any stance one way or the other, it looks as though the 2024 NFL Draft WR group may compensate for the 2023 group’s failings, and then some. Whatever you need, the 2024 class appears to have it: Size, athleticism, alpha ability, versatility, and more.
10) Will Sheppard, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt isn’t always synonymous with high-level NFL Draft talent, but the Commodores have a wide receiver prospect worth keeping an eye on in Will Sheppard. Sheppard has been productive at Vanderbilt despite a lack of consistency in the passing game, and he has the traits to win over evaluators in the long run over the course of the 2024 cycle.
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At a lean 6’3″, 200 pounds, Sheppard passes the size evaluation like so many other WRs in the class do. But at that size, Sheppard is a nimble and explosive athlete who can glide and sink as a route runner. He offers exceptional catching instincts and body control in midair, and he’s a stubborn RAC threat with his wiry build and leg churn.
9) Mario Williams, USC
Jordan Addison took the spotlight in the USC receiving corps in 2022, but the Trojans have even more talent to offer in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. Mario Williams was a high four-star recruit and a top-50 prospect coming out of high school, and he’s primed to take on heightened volume in the 2023 campaign, catching passes from Caleb Williams.
At 5’9″, 185 pounds, Mario Williams fits the mold of a dynamic slot WR. He’s explosive out of transitions and a fleet-footed mover, but his amped-up lateral motion is what truly makes him dangerous, both as a separator and a RAC threat. There are many ways to use Williams, but he can also create space and separate independently.
8) Troy Franklin, Oregon
Troy Franklin was one of the primary beneficiaries during Bo Nix’s breakout 2022 season at Oregon. The former top-50 recruit put up 61 catches for 891 yards and nine touchdowns as the Ducks’ primary pass-catching weapon, and he returns as a high-upside 2024 NFL Draft prospect, with a particular penchant for capitalizing on 50/50 opportunities.
At 6’3″, 178 pounds, Franklin is a spindly receiver with imposing length, but he also flashes surprising sink capacity and stop/start ability for his size. He can still strive for greater efficiency as a route runner, and he has room to add more mass to his frame. That said, Franklin’s natural talent is clear, and he has a strong foundation to build on.
7) Jalen McMillan, Washington
The Washington Huskies could have a receiver duo with a dynamic similar to Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle — only even better. Odunze is the complete three-level size/speed threat, while Jalen McMillan is the speed demon with a lean 6’1″ frame. But beyond his vertical speed, McMillan also offers a complete profile at WR.
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McMillan’s long-strider explosiveness is an asset in space, but McMillan converts on his opportunities with some of the best natural ball-tracking ability in the class. Meanwhile, as a route runner, he flashes exceptional zone awareness and short-area control, and he can surgically parse through coverages with this combination.
6) Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse
The Syracuse Orange exceeded expectations in 2022. But unexpectedly, it was the team’s offense that led the way and not the defense. The headliner of the Syracuse offense? A 6’5″, 216-pound hybrid receiving threat in Oronde Gadsden II. Coming off a 61-catch, 969-yard, six-touchdown campaign, Gadsden has the production, and he has the tools as well.
With his blend of size and athleticism, Gadsden blurs the line between wide receiver and tight end and profiles as an excellent big slot WR at the next level. He’s a streamlined athlete who can attack space with his accelerative capacity, and he has some of the strongest hands in the class through contested situations.
5) Xavier Worthy, Texas
Xavier Worthy is an anomaly. You rarely ever see wide receivers in the 160-pound range at the college level, let alone the NFL level. Worthy not only plays at this weight but dominates at it. As a true freshman in 2021, he erupted for 62 catches for 982 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he mirrored that production in 2022, even with QB instability.
At 6’1″, Worthy is a long, wiry receiver who can dissect defenses with searing speed and explosiveness. But beyond his elite vertical element, Worthy is advanced beyond his years at using stride variations and double-moves to bait defenders, and he has a rare sense of timing and control at the catch point.
4) Rome Odunze, Washington
Had he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, Rome Odunze would have been a first-round candidate on my board. While nabbing 75 catches for 1,145 yards and seven TDs in 2022, Odunze flashed a truly complete skill set. He has size and elite catching instincts, and he’s also an incredibly smooth separator who can slither through defenders as a RAC threat.
Reports share that Odunze dominated in Washington spring practices and bulked up to 215 pounds. We might be in store for a leveled-up Odunze in 2023, and that’s a very exciting thought. He’s a nuanced route runner already, and he has the size and athleticism to separate himself at the top of the class.
3) Malik Nabers, LSU
For better or worse, the success of WR prospects like Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson has placed a heightened default expectation on LSU receivers each cycle. Kayshon Boutte was unable to meet those expectations in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, but Malik Nabers has the talent, and attention to detail, to succeed in doing so.
The 6’0″, 195-pound Nabers racked up 72 catches for 1,017 yards and three touchdowns in 2022, showing off a vast array of tools in the process. He’s an athletic powder keg and a stack specialist as a route runner who can effortlessly flow to passes with his hands. And after the catch, he’s a tough competitor with size-defying contact balance and RAC ability.
2) Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State
If Marvin Harrison Jr. is the Ja’Marr Chase of the 2024 NFL Draft cycle, then Emeka Egbuka might be the Justin Jefferson to his Chase. That’s high praise, especially when you look at what Jefferson has become in the NFL. But if Harrison is a blue-chip prospect, Egbuka isn’t far behind — and he has all the traits to be an early first-round pick with his teammate.
At 6’1″, 205 pounds, Egbuka has good size, length, and frame density. He shares some similarities with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but Egbuka is visibly faster, more explosive, and more physical and balanced after the catch. His playstyle grants him sweeping alignment versatility, and he’s also a menace against zone coverage with his burst, flexibility, and spatial awareness.
Who Is the Best WR in the 2024 NFL Draft?
It’s still very early — about as early as it can be in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. But even so, there’s one player who’s already separated himself as the likely front-runner to start the annual march.
1) Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
This is the part where we try to be as excitable as we can about Marvin Harrison Jr. without resorting to hyperbole. Here it goes: This guy is the next Calvin Johnson.
Alright, that didn’t go well. We can reel it back a bit, but there’s only so much room to do so when talking about a talent like Harrison. For a select few prospects, it’s safe to get a little overexcited. Harrison is one of those players. He has the tools and the all-encompassing ability to be a true central piece for an NFL passing attack.
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Harrison — the son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr. — certainly looks the part at 6’4″, 205 pounds. Size and athleticism are where it starts with Harrison, but he brings so much more to the table. He’s a truly elite catcher of the football with hands of steel, and he has the route nuance, targeted physicality, and flexibility to win one-on-one against DBs 3-4 inches shorter.
- Keon Coleman, Florida State
- Adonai Mitchell, Texas
- Johnny Wilson, Florida State
- Dorian Singer, USC
- Ladd McConkey, Georgia
- Jaylin Noel, Iowa State
- Devontez Walker, North Carolina
- Malik Benson, Alabama
- Ja’Corey Brooks, Alabama
- Jacob Cowing, Arizona