Let’s get right into the third group in our look at position rankings for the 2023 NFL draft: the wide receivers . This is another interesting group; in that there seems to be some disagreement on the strength of the class. I feel it is a deep class, but not strong at the top.
As always, I will be listing players at their expected NFL positions. Be sure to check out my previous part detailing the running backs, and if you want to check out the draft database that I help update almost daily, you can find it at risendraft.
2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers: The Top 5
- Quentin Johnston, TCU: Johnston flashed his potential last season, and big things were expected. He started off the season slow. He then exploded the last three weeks and now looks to have moved himself into the #1 spot. He has all the size, speed, agility, and upside to be a elite receiver.
- Kayshon Boutte, LSU: Boutte looked like he was on his way to be the #1 wide receiver of the 2023 NFL draft class after his freshman season. He ended up getting injured and missed most of the season. He had 509 yards and 9 TDs in six games. He was expected to blow up in 2022, but really struggled the first five weeks. Has played really well the last two weeks, though, and has a similar level of upside as Johnston.
- Cedric Tillman, Tennessee: Tillman is the quintessential tall, long, and fast deep threat; but he is not just a deep threat. He has the strength and catch radius to produce on all three levels. He blew up in 2021 with 64 catches, 1,081, and 12 TDs. He was off to a good start in 2022 before he got hurt. If he can come back healthy, he could get taken late round 1.
- AT Perry, Wake Forest: Perry is another in a line of big, long, and speedy receivers in this class. He blew up last year with 71 catches, 1,293, and 15 TDs. He can do it all on the field. He has shown improved flexibility in 2022. His numbers are down, mostly due to Hartman missing the first couple games and having four other receivers around him that look to be NFL players. He is a deep threat.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State: JSN, as he is known, had an out-of-nowhere season last year. He had 95 catches for 1,606 yards and 9 TDs. JSN started off slow and then got injured.
2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers: Best of the Rest
6. Rashee Rice, SMU: Rice doesn’t stand out statistically, but he was also surrounded by two other NFL receivers from 2019-2021. He is big, long, and athletic. Has experience in the slot and the outside. He is a physical guy who can get YAC — yards after the catch.
7. Jordan Addison, USC: The former Biletnikoff winner is having a good season for USC, although down statically. A good route runner who gets YAC, his size will probably be a hinderance at the next level. He might even have to play out of the slot.
8. Josh Downs, UNC: Downs has a similar skill set to Addison, but not as good of a route runner. Is in a similar boat in the sense that he might have to play out of the slot a lot due to his size and frame (5’10 171). He has agility and speed.
9. Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State: Hutchinson seems to play well no matter what. A consistent route runner who uses his size and his leaping ability to make amazing catches; OBJ level catches. He is also averaging 108 yards receiving a game. The downside? His speed is just solid.
10. Rome Odunze, Washington: Just a redshirt sophomore, there is a good chance Odunze ends up returning for 2023 to improve his stock and get into the 1st. But with the class not being great at the top, he could declare hoping his upside gets him into the first. He has great size at 6’3 201, with the frame to add some weight/bulk and solid 4.5 speed. He already has 50 catches for 756 yards and 6 TDs. Odunze had a four game stretch where he averaged 140 yards a game.
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