Folks, I’ve been putting some early work in scouting the 2023 NFL Draft Class and I’ve been doing some work on wide receivers lately. I’ve watched quite a few guys and I can definitively say that this class is a good receiver class at the top but I’m not sure it has the depth of the last few years.
So what makes a good receiver? You really need two things: Good route running ability and good hands. If you have those two things then you can become a great wide receiver in this league. So many people just look at 40 yard dash times for wide receivers and think that because a guy is fast then they’ll be good. It’s a foolish practice and it’s a trap that many NFL teams have fallen into (*cough* Eagles *cough*).
With that being said, here’s my October edition of the top 5 wide receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft class. These are obviously subject to change as we approach the draft in April.
1. Quentin Johnston, TCU
Johnson is a rare blend of speed, YAC, and route running ability. Oh and he’s 6’4″ and is virtually untacklable. He takes long strides with the ball in his hands and he isn’t afraid to get physical with defenders. Johnston is a unicorn and he will surely be one of the first wide receivers off the board in April.
2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
JSN has barely played this season due to injury but he’s still one of the top receivers in this draft class. He has great YAC ability and good hands. The only thing that may hurt him is that his 40 yard dash time is rumored to be in the high 4.5’s which could hurt his draft stock a bit, though it shouldn’t.
3. Jordan Addison, USC
Addison is a high floor, speed demon who runs good routes and is electric with the ball in his hands. He has the ability to catch passes deep and is highly effective in the intermediate game. Addison will be in the top three for receivers off the board and will make an impact on day one.
4. Kayshon Boutte, LSU
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always been a big fan of Boutte. With that being said, he’s had a really down year this year. At times he’s been disinterested which could point to some potential character issues, but the talent is too good. If he can find a way to close this season out strong he may rise up this list.
5. Josh Downs, UNC
Downs is a slippery player who can sneak behind a defense and get open. He is great with the ball in his hands and he can make players miss. The only downside is that he lacks elite size at just 5’10” which could hurt his draft stock.