2025 NFL Draft: Missouri’s Luther Burden III a Deebo Samuel-like star on the rise

This Missouri star ready to be a burden in the 2025 NFL Draft...in a good way!
Missouri star Luther Burden III
Missouri star Luther Burden III / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

When it comes to the 2024 NFL Draft, there is already a loaded group of dynamic playmakers available for NFL teams to select from at the wide receiver position.  Imagine if Missouri star Luther Burden III was in that group?

A 5-star recruit out of East St. Louis High School, Burden III has lived up to the hype through his first two seasons at Missouri.  After a freshman season in which he hauled in 40 receptions for 346 yards and 6 TDs, the blazing wide receiver broke out during his sophomore season with 86 receptions for 1,212 yards and 9 touchdowns setting him up as the projected top receiver prospect in the 2025 NFL Draft.

At 5-foot-11, 208 pounds, Burden III has that Deebo Samuel size, but what NFL teams will be looking for through the 2024 college football season is whether the Missouri rising star possess that after-the-catch burst of an NFL star like Samuel.  His 340 yards after the catch in 2023 is an indication he will be a burden in the NFL.

2025 NFL Draft: Luther Burden III in the spotlight as the top receiver in 2024

Ranked as the No. 1 receiver prospect by PFF, it is that Deebo similarities that has all eyes on Burden III as the top dog in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Per PFF:

“If you’re looking for the next Deebo Samuel, look no further. Burden has similar size to the San Francisco 49ers’ star receiver (5-foot-11, 208 pounds compared to Samuel’s 6-foot, 215-pound frame) and the two are at their best with the ball in their hands. The sophomore’s 725 yards after the catch were third among all FBS receivers this past season while his 314 receiving yards after contact were the fourth-most. 

Burden also displayed impressive hands and body control this past season, dropping just four of his 94 catchable targets while coming down with 56.5 percent of his contested targets. The former five-star recruit was targeted on 32.7 percent of his receiving snaps this past season, the highest rate among Power Five receivers.”

Ranked ahead of Arizona’s Tetairoa McMillan, Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka, Oregon’s Tez Johnson and Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Xavier Restrepo as the top 5 receivers in 2024, the 2023 Biletnikoff finalist is a powerful runner once he gets the ball in his hands.  His great body control and competitive nature as a receiver who will fight for the ball against any defender should put him on the radar of most teams looking for a top receiver in that 2025 NFL Draft.

In all, with his toughness, athleticism and burst, Burden III will be one of the most talked about playmakers through the 2024 CFB season and a receiver high on many mock drafts through the 2024 NFL season.