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Three Outstanding 2024 Draft Risers And Their NFL Comparisons : Wide Receiver Edition

The 2023 NFL Season is flying by before our eyes, and soon it will be the offseason again. With the offseason comes one of the most exciting parts of the league, which is the NFL Draft. With teams being eliminated from playoff contention and major injuries occurring, teams have taken to the mock draft simulators more than ever.


Of course, the mock draft simulators are based on the respective site's draft rankings, which vary from site to site. Draft stocks also change a lot due to new information such as combine results, pro-day performances, and possible draft exhibitions and all-star events, such as the Senior Bowl. Here are three wide receivers that I think will fit this description and will be draft risers come April.


Wide Receiver Draft Risers 2024

Jermaine Burton

6'0" 194 pounds. Senior, University of Alabama

PFF's Big Board Rank: 47 (WR10)


The former University of Georgia receiver transferred to SEC rival, the University of Alabama. That itself should show you this is a madman. Also would have to include his incident postgame with the Tennessee cheerleader.


Despite his antics, Burton's film and production on the field have shown that he is capable of playing at the next level. He shows amazing body control, which I think is among the best in his class and an underrated aspect of his game. He also has shown physical toughness for his average-sized frame.



What I love most about Burton's game is his versatility. He has lined up everywhere from multiple receiver spots whether that was out wide or in the slot. He was also involved with pre-snap motions, which can translate well with the NFL he is starting to incorporate them more into offenses. Not only can he play in the short field and create yards after the catch, but he can also stretch the field and take the top off of defenses. He ranked second in the nation for average depth of target (ADoT) at 21 yards.


His keen deep tracking ability has helped in his elite deep ball production. He has a knack for making plays on multiple levels and has demonstrated good football IQ multiple times. Burton posted a PFF receiving grade of 84.6 in 2023 and also logged 2.97 yards per route run. These numbers scream playmaker, and not that of the tenth-best receiver in this class. Burton's stock will rise come April.




Pro Comparison: Stefon Diggs

Diggs may seem like a gaudy comparison, but Diggs and Burton stand at 6'0 and 194 pounds with 4.4 speed, amazing agility, route-work, and the ability to make amazing catches consistently.


Possible fits: Carolina Panthers

Burton reuniting with Bryce Young while filling a position the Panthers desperately need.


Brian Thomas Jr.

6'4" 205 pounds. Junior, LSU

PFF Big Board Rank: 24 (WR4)


Brian Thomas Jr. has been, and still is, a fun film-watch. His 6'4" 205-pound frame in combination with his speed makes him look like a threat everywhere on the field. His footwork for his size has also been worth noting. He led all of college football with 15 touchdowns. He was also tied for sixth in the nation on deep catches with 14 and third in deep yards with 632.

His main flaw has been his inconsistency with technique at the catch point, as he tends to basket-catch or catch with his body instead of mainly his hands. It's not that he isn't capable of doing so, because we have seen Thomas make several amazing plays with his hands, but extending your frame away from your body (and the defender as well) can increase his efficiency on contested targets. This is a weakness that you don't see hold him back too often because he creates enough separation on deep routes for him to secure the catch however he is most comfortable.


Pro Comparison: Tyler Boyd

Both have similar athletic and physical profiles with big playmaking and contested catch ability with similar catching techniques.


Possible Team Fit: Cincinnati Bengals

Almost self-explanatory, but with both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd both pending departrures, they will need another talented big-bodied WR. This also creates a dangerous LSU trio agenda with Burrow and Chase.


Troy Franklin

6'3" 187 pounds. Junior, Oregon

PFF Big Board Rank: 27 (WR5)


Franklin is another receiver who has a dangerous combination of size and speed. At 6'3" and 187 pounds, he tends to be a mismatch for a lot of defenders. In addition to his great athletic profile, he has also displayed good spatial awareness, especially when working along the sidelines.


Coincidentally, he was tied with Brian Thomas Jr. for sixth in the nation in deep catches with 14 and finished seventh in deep yards with 558. In 2023, Franklin posted a PFF receiving grade of 87.3, overall grade of 85.0 and gained 3.32 yards per route run, which puts him in elite deep-threat prospect territory. He also posted an 80.4 grade against man coverage, which shows his ability to get open at the next level.


He also demonstrates adequate football IQ, especially on extended and broken plays. He has a great blend of strong hands and an extended frame window that makes the QB's job a lot easier. His focus and concentration at the catch point at times have also been remarkable.


Pro Comparisons: Christian Watson, DJ Chark

Both Watson and Chark have shown they are capable of stretching the field with home run ability at their sizes, which Franklin does well.


Possible Team Fits: Washington Commanders

Washington needs a WR who can stretch the field but also be a redzone target with size, as they don't have WRs above 6'0".


These three receivers will only climb the board from now until April, as I expect them to perform well during their Pro Days, Senior Bowl, and the Combine. Stay tuned for the next edition of my 2024 Draft Risers, where I'll highlight three players from another position group!



 

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