With the conclusion of the Senior Bowl, it’s time to take this newfound data and assess this group of wide receivers from a dynasty fantasy football perspective. Keep in mind, these rankings are mainly influenced by my thoughts on a prospect, but projected draft capital also had an influence on these rankings. I decided to go with an in-depth breakdown on my top 10 receivers of this group, as not each and every one of these guys are on rookie draft radars at the moment. Of course, this can change throughout the process, and I will certainly keep my eye on the prospects I left off this list over the next couple of months. In the meantime, let’s kick this off with number 10.
10. Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
Wicks shined at the Senior Bowl, being named the American Team’s wide receiver practice player of the week. It all starts at the line of scrimmage for Wicks, where his diverse release package, long arms, and physical nature help him win against press on a fairly consistent basis.
Wicks’ role in the NFL will primarily be focused towards his vertical playmaking. He pushes vertically and stacks defensive backs well, and has the combination of size, ball skills, body control, and physicality to win over the top.
Wicks had a breakout 2021 campaign with over 1,200 receiving yards, but 2022 wasn’t the same. This past year, he had just 430 receiving yards on 30 receptions in eight games. A lot of this was due to a scheme and quarterback change that caused this entire Virginia passing attack to flounder, but his 12.5% drop percentage has raised questions about his hands. He doesn’t offer a ton of juice after the catch either, and his lack of elite long speed is my biggest gripe within his vertical playmaking portfolio.
Wicks is a big-play threat, but I’m not anticipating him being some high target earner in the NFL. He had just a 21.4% target share this past season, and even in his monster 2021 season, he posted a mediocre 17.2% target share. And this was all in the ACC, a good conference, but not a premier one for NFL receivers.
9. Puka Nacua, BYU
Puka Nacua’s character made him extremely well liked down in Mobile, a constant everywhere Nacua has been. A great person and fierce competitor with serious vertical playmaking ability. From his solid frame (6’1”, 206 pounds), great vertical leap and body control, plus a physical nature, Nacua consistently won above the rim on contested catches downfield. He even possesses the timing and feel on the perimeter to snap routes back to the line of scrimmage and box out defensive backs.
Nacua’s got some juice with the ball in his hands as well. BYU made it a point to get him manufactured touches, as he’s tallied 357 rushing yards on 39 carries over the past two seasons. He’s got nice field vision and plenty of balance and physicality through contact. However, due to a lack of elite burst, long speed, and agility, I don’t envision Nacua as a premier playmaker with the ball in his hands at the NFL level, despite his success in college.
Nacua will need to refine his game in order to become more than just a vertical receiver. He didn’t face much press coverage in college, but when he did, Nacua struggled. There was a clear lack of production in these spots (zero receptions against Notre Dame), as his release package is underdeveloped. As for his route tree, I like the vertical ability and comeback routes near the sideline, but outside of that, I’ve got questions. He’s not a super sharp or nuanced route-runner in most situations, which explains his lack of separation in quite a few areas on the field.
On top of that, Nacua had a non-spectacular 22.9% college target share as a redshirt junior declare from the IA Independents Conference. He’s currently projected for early day three draft capital, but round three definitely isn’t out of the question.
8. Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
Jonathan Mingo is a well-built receiver with a physical nature and nice athletic tools. He was a big-time vertical receiver at Ole Miss, with 16.9 yards per reception this past season. Mingo has the speed to separate deep, with the size and physicality to win at the catch point. He can also make plays with the ball in his hands, which Ole Miss showcased in their RPO offense. Mingo’s got a solid deal of burst and the ability to break tackles. And this was all in the SEC, college football’s best conference.
However, there are quite a few issues with Mingo that need to be shared. His production really didn’t jump onto the scene until this past season as a Senior, with 861 receiving yards on 51 receptions and a 23.8% target share. Adequate production. Mingo also ran an extremely watered-down route tree, and he lacks attention to detail and in-game reps in both his release packages and route stems.
Mingo is probably a day three pick. There’s upside with all his size, athleticism, and big play ability out of the SEC, but all the holes in his profile leave me skeptical.
7. Andrei Iosivas, Princeton
Andrei Iosivas is quite the unique prospect. There’s lots of tools to get excited about, with a nice frame (6’0”, 212 pounds), good strength, and track star speed. Iosivas can make lots of plays downfield, with the speed to stack defensive backs, and the size plus ball skills to win at the catch point. He’s even got an enticing ability with the ball in his hands, with the acceleration to hit holes, and size to break through tackles. He dominated the Ivy League in all three of his seasons.
I’m sure you noticed it in the introduction, Iosivas is from Princeton. The Ivy League isn’t exactly a factory for NFL prospects, with a low level of competition. A redshirt junior declare from the Ivy League doesn’t bode well for historic NFL receiver hit rates. Iosivas also hasn’t displayed a very developed route tree, nor was he all that great of a separator, even against Ivy League competition.
Iosivas is projected for day three draft capital, but as his name rises to the surface and teams take note of his intriguing tools, I’m certain Iosivas will keep rising as we near the end of April.
6. Nathaniel Dell, Houston
Nathaniel “Tank” Dell’s name has become extremely trendy over the past couple weeks, especially since he lit it up at the Senior Bowl. Dell posted monster production in his final two seasons at Houston. In 2021, he tallied 90 receptions, 1,329 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns. He then went out in 2022 and topped that production, with nearly 110 receptions, 1,400 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns. He was absolutely fed in this offense, as a testament to his 30.8% college target share, a 92nd percentile mark.
He’s an electric athlete with elite short-area quickness, acceleration, change of direction, and speed. Dell can beat press coverage with rapid foot speed, separate vertically by quickly stacking defensive backs, while also making plays with the ball in his hands thanks to his burst and change of direction. This enticingly dynamic skill set may lead to Dell going in either the second or third round of April’s draft.
The two major concerns for Dell are his frame and college competition. He measured in at just 5’8”, 163 pounds during the Senior Bowl. You’d be hard-pressed to find receivers with that frame who have worked out in the NFL. And playing in the American Athletic Conference only puts more questions on the table as to how Dell will translate to the NFL. He also hasn’t showcased an extremely diverse route tree, as quite a bit of his volume was a product of being funneled volume in a very spacious Houston offense.
The comparisons to Tutu Atwell will be made, and it’s a fair one. Atwell profiled very similarly to Dell, as a dynamic athlete with tons of college production. The concern though was his tiny frame out of the ACC. He was selected in the second round of the 2021 Draft to the Los Angeles Rams, who happened to have one of the NFL’s best offensive minds in Sean McVay.
Atwell couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, yet the Rams have still failed to find much of a role for him, and his production has been nonexistent. I do believe Dell is a better prospect, and outliers always exist. He’s not a bad dart throw late in rookie drafts, but I’m afraid it’s more than likely Dell follows a similar path to Atwell in the NFL.