Let’s get right into the third group in our look at my final 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 mid-season rankings, and if you want to check out the draft database that I 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. After starting off slow, he then had two big games in the middle of the season and two towards the end. He has all the size, speed, agility, and upside to be a elite receiver; he just needs to find consistency.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State: JSN, as he is known, had an out-of-nowhere season last year: 95 catches, 1,606 yards, and 9 TDs. JSN started off 2022 a little slow then got injured and didn’t really play the rest of the season. Teams just need to understand his role in the NFL will be as a slot receiver, but he can be a really good one.
- Rashee Rice, SMU: Rice didn’t stand out statistically from 2019-2021, but that was because of the other receivers on the roster. He is big, long, and athletic. Has experience in the slot and the outside. He is a physical guy who can get YAC.
- 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 yards, and 15 TDs. He can do it all on the field and demonstrated improved flexibility in 2022. His numbers were down a bit, mostly due to Hartman missing the first couple games and having four other receivers around him that look to be NFL players.
- Cedric Tillman, Tennessee: Tillman is the quintessential tall, long, 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 and ended up playing just six games and of course got overshadowed a bit by Jalin Hyatt’s season.
Best of the Rest 6-10
6. Jordan Addison, USC: The former Biletnikoff winner had a ok season for USC, although down statically, and inconsistent. A good route runner who gets YAC, his size will be a hinderance at the NFL level. Because of this, he might have to primarily play out of the slot. Addison also had a poor workout at the combine.
7. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee: The former Volunteer came out of nowhere in 2022, catching 67 balls for 1267 yards and 15 TDs; his previous season he only had 226 yards and 2 TDs. He has speed to burn, but weights just 176 pounds. 89% of his career snaps came in the slot and the route tree he was asked to run was limited.
8. Zay Flowers, Boston College: Flowers was really known as just a deep threat early in his career, but he really expanded his repertoire in 2022 and had a big season with 78 catches for 1077 yards and 12 TDs. His size at 5’9 182 will almost assuredly limit him to mostly playing out of the slot, but because of his speed he can still be a high impact player.
9. Josh Downs, UNC: Downs is of similar size and skill set to Zay Flowers, but is a little less dynamic. Downs is similar t0 Flowers in that he might have to play in the slot. That said, his size and frame (5’9 171) works well with his agility and speed. Furthermore, he did play most of his snaps in the slot.
10. Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss: Mingo is a player that has slowly climbed up my board since the start of the season and has really rocketed up since I was able to do a deep dive. He has everything you want physically and temperament wise. He does not stand out statistically due to the offense he played in. Mingo can beat DBs over the top, take a slant to the house, and bully DBs in the run game. The former Rebel still needs work of course, but has as much upside as anyone in the top 5.