2023 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Breakdown

2023 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Breakdown

NCAA

2023 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Breakdown

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AP Photo/Michael Clubb

It’s never too early to take a look at the 2023 NFL Draft, prospect wise. Over the next few weeks I’ll be going position by position breaking down the prospect groups at each level and noting some players to keep an eye on. 

The 2023 wide receiver class is extensive, the talent is clear from top to bottom and for what seems like the 5th year in a row this class could be “the best ever”. Like the previous classes, not one wide receiver stands alone at the top and there is a clear battle over the season to see who could be the overall wide receiver one. Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Kayshon Boutte seem to be the front runners but can another name appear? I have it covered. 

 

The Top 3: 

It’s pretty clear the race to be wide receiver one this year is down to three players, the previously mentioned Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Ohio State, Kayshon Boutte from LSU, and Jordan Addison from USC. All three possess a different playstyle and bring different traits to the table for an NFL team. 

Smith-Njigba broke onto the scene in 2021 after recording 95 receptions for 1606 yards and nine touchdowns while competing for touches with first round picks Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. He also had the infamous Rose Bowl game which saw him collect 15 receptions, 347 yards and three touchdowns as the clear cut leading wide receiver. Many have Smith-Njigba as their top wide receiver among draft boards, but why? He’s a smooth receiver in his routes and also possesses a good frame at 6 foot, 197 pounds. He doesn’t have top end speed but he will beat a defender if they don’t respect the limited speed he has. He’s willing to go up at the catch point and has great body control. Something every team likes, especially in the red zone. 

Kayshon Boutte hasn’t had the same production as JSN, only recording 83 receptions for 1244 yards and 14 touchdowns since 2020 in 16 games. However, his QB play and offensive play calling has been a total letdown. Contrary to many boards I believe that Kayshon Boutte is the BEST wide receiver in this class, right now. Standing at a very similar 6 foot, 192 frame to Smith-Njigba he possesses a higher end level of speed and his jump ball ability has proven to be more effective. Boutte also has soft hands that are able to grab any pass that is targeted at him, and he quickly turns up field to utilize his agility, and awareness after the catch. Boutte might be one of the best YAC wide receivers in the NFL as a rookie. 

Jordan Addison has been the most productive receiver of the three after recording 100 receptions, 1593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021 alone which saw him win the Biletnikoff award. As a true Freshman, Addison also put up 60 receptions for 666 yards and four touchdowns. Addison transferred to a different offense in USC which will feature more designed looks over the middle and down the sideline. With a top 10 QB in Caleb Williams throwing him the ball, it won’t be a shock to see Addison replicate his production in 2022. He’s one of the most athletic players on the field at 6 foot 1, 180 pounds. Addison is your traditional “X” receiver, with strong route running, good deep speed and a strong yard after the catch ability. 

 

Which of the three will end up as the first drafted in 2023, or will someone else rise above them? That’s one of the biggest things to watch for in the 2022 season, but it’s an extremely talented class either way. 

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