2023 NFL Draft: Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba Earn Day 1 Grades in Latest WR Rankings

Nov 20, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Florida State Seminoles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Florida State Seminoles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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LSU WR Kayshon Boutte Returns To Boost NFL Draft Stock
Dec 3, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (7) carries the ball for a receiving touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first quarter of the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

WR15: Kayshon Boutte (LSU)

Kayshon Boutte entered the 2022 college football season as one of the contenders for the WR1 mantle. Well, it has been quite the fall from grace for the LSU star. Boutte put together an unimpressive final season in Baton Rouge, oftentimes looking dejected and downright giving up on plays before the whistle.

Still, Boutte’s raw talent is undeniable. He is awe-inspiring after the catch and shows flashes of elite play. Boutte is quick and shifty, and spent time on the boundary and in the slot for the Tigers. Consistency is everything for him; if a coaching staff can get him to buy in, he will be a steal in the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft Grade: Fringe Day 2

WR14: Rashee Rice (SMU)

Rashee Rice is a tough projection. When he measured nearly two inches shorter at the Combine than SMU listed him, it raised some red flags for me. Rice is a contested catch, 50/50 specialist. His lack of separation and underwhelming release package was easier to look past when he was 6-foot-2, but at nearly 6 feet, I am less inclined to believe in his ability to dominate jump balls in the NFL.

Nonetheless, Rice’s traits are worth a fringe day two selection. He may not be as tall as expected, but his competitive nature helps mask the lack of size. Rice can create after the catch and has shown an extra gear when he gets some space. Teams will want to see improvement off the snap, but he could easily develop into a starter in the league.

NFL Draft Grade: Fringe Day 2

WR13: Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss)

Jonathan Mingo is everything you want from a receiver physically. He is a smooth athlete who glides down the field and stretches defenses vertically. With a quick first step and amazing long speed, Mingo is a terror for opposing secondary’s.

Mingo is equally as explosive with the ball in his hands. After the catch, the Ole Miss star turns into a running back, oftentimes mirroring the play style of former Rebel, AJ Brown. Mingo possesses ideal size, and even with a thick frame, he remains agile and tough to bring down in space.

The primary cause for concern with Mingo is how he catches the football. Far, far too many times I witnessed Mingo catching the ball with his body rather than snatching it out of the air. This technique resulted in numerous drops during his collegiate career.

It is also likely that the pass catcher spends most of his time as a ‘big slot’ in the NFL, which is becoming more of a standard practice, but still limits some versatility in his projection. Still, with the excitement Mingo brings with the ball in his hands, and the mismatches he creates in coverage, he is worth taking on day two but may slip into day three.

NFL Draft Grade: Fringe Day 2

WR12: Tyler Scott (Cincinnati)

Tyler Scott got lost in the shuffle last season during Cincinnati’s playoff run. With the likes of Desmond Ridder and Alec Pierce taking most of the shine on offense, Scott just showed up, did his job, and went home. In 2021, Scott finished top three on the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

Coming into his final season as a Bearcat, Scott improved his numbers across the board. He is such a smooth separator, and at the same time, Scott explodes for monster gains. It is the controlled chaos that is so intriguing. He also added a slew of new routes to his arsenal in preparation for 2022.

The issues with Scott start with his skinny frame. He is lanky and needs to take snaps from the slot to ensure his release package transfers. Another red flag, Scott dropped seven passes in 88 targets, resulting in a mediocre grade on PFF. The worries don’t erase the good, earning him a late day-two pick on my Big Board.

NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 2

WR11: Cedric Tillman (Tennessee)

Cedric Tillman passes the eye test when you see his 6-foot-3, 213-pound frame. He also tested like a freak at the NFL Combine by posting a 4.54 40-yard dash and equally impressive vertical and broad jumps. These traits show up on his film.

Tillman has never met a 50/50 ball that he didn’t think he was going to win. The Tennessee veteran is known for boxing out defenders with his strength, using this to get better catching angles downfield. Tillman’s elite body control allows him to work the sideline at a high level, giving his quarterback plenty of time to get through progressions.

Tillman is not a perfect prospect, though. He has dealt with a nagging ankle injury during his time with the Volunteers. Another issue in his projection is how often Tillman takes advantage of smaller college defenders. He will be 23 as a rookie and that learning curve could be a steep one coming out of Josh Heupel’s offense. His potential as a WR1 in the league makes him a target on day two.

NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 2