2024 Skill Position Draft Reviews Part 7

This final portion of the 2024 skill position draft review will attempt to categorize and group the reviewed players by their career outlook. In total, 40 players were reviewed from the class (41 writeups total, including CJ Stroud’s revisited/ revised profile): 21 WRs, 10 RBs, 6 QBs (would’ve been 7 if analyzing lefties was a current possibility), and 2 TEs. This is in rough proportion to the numbers of players who (based on early impressions) appear likely to have meaningful NFL careers (although Bucky Irving would’ve been included in the RB group if not for time constraints). In other words, based on early profiling, this appears to be a very deep high quality WR class, a relatively shallow RB and TE class, and a quality QB class (with likely 2-4 long term starters).

Before getting to the tiers and ranks, a few words about how this list is organized. RBs and QBs are tiered similarly to previous years– multiple areas of full efficiency in relevant areas (thoracic for QBs, lumbar for RBs) equals star level profile (assuming gating criteria are met in less efficient areas). One area of full efficiency is long term starter/ featured runner level (again, assuming gating criteria (some newly added) are met).

WRs however are tiered differently this year. Categories are now:

Potential alpha WR1– capable of being the focus of a team’s offensive game plan, and can defeat defenses that are scheming to stop them specifically

Secondary receiver– players who do some things very effectively and can become quite productive but are best suited as WR2s on their respective teams. Not quite capable of carrying an offense on their own versus a defense scheming to stop them

Complementary receiver– players who can contribute successfully in a rotation, may have certain high level skills, but are unlikely to become consistently productive on a high level (if looking at this from a fantasy football perspective, these are players who are unlikely to be fantasy relevant, except maybe in short bursts)

Red flags– players who show a combination of traits that seem unlikely to allow them to contribute meaningfully over time. This category is unchanged from previous years. Generally speaking, these players are not written up or studied closely, but exceptions are made for highly drafted/ prominent examples. Prior red flags players are Jalen Reagor, Denzel Mims, and Quentin Johnston (full list).

On the spectrum between– these tiers are for players who may fall somewhere in either category listed, either based on future development (still raw etc), or based on scheme/ usage (or both).

The main distinction between this tier list and prior years’ lists is that previously there were only two categories listed (plus red flags and spectrum tiers). But breaking everything down into just primary receivers and complementary receivers leaves far too much space occupied by “complementary”, which could mean anything from high level 2nd option to scrappy role player. Hopefully this new tier list will be more clearly delineated.

One other note– if there is a space between the names, there is something of a soft tier break. Players listed concurrently (no space between) are roughly in the same mini tier/ grouping.

*On reviewing film to organize and tier this list of players, an error was found in Troy Franklin’s profile. Specifically, Franklin’s medial posterior lumbar efficiency was significantly underestimated (in an area that was studied incorrectly). Correcting this error shows that Franklin’s lumbar efficiency isn’t just high level, it’s genuinely elite. Despite noting in his writeup that Franklin’s medial posterior lumbar efficiency was high level, this still underrepresents an area of truly noteworthy efficiency for an anterior dominant player. When combining his previously identified high level lateral anterior efficiency with the now upgraded medial posterior lumbar efficiency, you get a true ‘yardage eater’ at WR– someone with the leg drive, control, and raw speed to blow by defenders and earn yardage far faster than expected (including with the ball in his hands). Franklin’s lacking thoracic efficiency/ independence is still likely an important negative consideration, as is his lack of upper body strength/ weight. But with such apparently outstanding lower body control and leg drive, Franklin seems likely to be very difficult to defend, and on a wider variety of route types than initially estimated. Likely not quite to alpha WR1 level, but perhaps not far off, especially if he is used properly and kept clean/ healthy.



WRs

Alpha #1 WRs/ Potential Stars:

Marvin Harrison Jr
Rome Odunze (will likely need time to mature, potentially highest ceiling in the class)

Malik Nabers (slot/ YAC, lacks contested catch strength)
Ladd McConkey (slot/ Z, lacks play strength)


Somewhere on the spectrum between secondary and alpha receivers (could possibly ascend to become alphas over time):

Javon Baker (likely to become very productive, possibly ascend to alpha WR level over time)

Brian Thomas Jr (wide range of career outcomes, superlative baseline athleticism)
Xavier Legette (extremely wide range of career outcomes, very raw/ very high ceiling)

*Troy Franklin (unlikely to become true alpha due to lacking thoracic efficiency, also likely very hard to defend/ going to be quite productive)


Secondary Receivers:

Ricky Pearsall (does everything at a high level, nothing at an elite level)
Roman Wilson (high level traditional slot WR)

Xavier Worthy (extremely explosive/ fast and good short area elusiveness. Poor hands/ thoracic efficiency and diminutive size will likely prevent consistent production. Extremely wide range of outcomes on a game to game basis. Ideal fit in KC, likely going to be very productive on schemed touches)

Jermaine Burton (high level deep/ intermediate separator)

Devaughn Vele (smooth fluid intermediate/ deep route runner, excellent hands)


Somewhere on the spectrum between complementary and secondary receivers:

Tez Walker (high level boundary/ deep threat, could become high end secondary option with time/ development)
Luke McCaffrey (very high ceiling, still extremely raw/ early in transition from QB)

Keon Coleman (very wide range of career outcomes, still very young and raw in transition from basketball)

Jalen McMillan (strong intermediate/ deep threat, excellent cuts/ breaks)

Casey Washington (wide range of career outcomes, contested catch/ deep crossing route specialist to start, could become high level secondary threat over time)

Ja’Lynn Polk (strong utility as a blocker and with excellent zone awareness and strength, difficulty generating separation against man)


Complementary receivers:

Adonai Mitchell (strong deep threat with size/ speed/ hands)
Malik Washington (excellent overall athlete but size and lack of elite burst/ separation likely limit production)
Malachi Corley (excellent athlete but YAC specialist who may lack enough elusiveness to produce on a high level as either runner or receiver)



QBs

Elite prospects (multiple areas of full thoracic efficiency, likely to become franchise QBs, potential stars):

Caleb Williams (top 5 NFL arm, noticeable anterior cervical stunting/ slow horizontal field reading)
Drake Maye (top 10 NFL arm, no obvious biomechanical weaknesses)


Shows starter level physical talent, field reading hard to evaluate (one area of full thoracic efficiency plus excellent running ability; cervical efficiency hard to gauge):

Jayden Daniels


Starter level physical talent, shows subpar field reading (one area of full thoracic efficiency, poor apparent cervical efficiency):

Spencer Rattler


Does not show starter level physical talent (no areas of full thoracic efficiency):

Bo Nix (shows excellent cervical efficiency/ field reading)

JJ McCarthy (shows subpar anterior cervical efficiency/ horizontal field reading)


Unable to be analyzed using current methods (leftie)

Michael Penix Jr


RBs

Potential Featured Runners (showing one area of full lumbar efficiency):

Ray Davis (all around threat)

Blake Corum (rusher first and foremost)

Frank Gore Jr (undersized and buried on depth chart)


Possible short- medium term starters and or productive committee members:

Trey Benson
Jaylen Wright
MarShawn Lloyd


Committee members who excel in a specific area:

Blake Watson (space/ receiving back)

Audric Estime (power running behind lead blockers)


Complementary backs (unlikely to become an effective starter over time or excel in any specific role):

Jonathon Brooks


Red flags for workload/ injury:

Tyrone Tracy



This has been by far the most comprehensive study of any draft class since these reviews began (somewhat sporadically) in 2016. Thank you to any patient reader who managed to read all 7(!) parts of this series without glazing over or remodeling your desk space with your head. Hopefully the accuracy of these analyses/ predictions will be worth the many words used to craft them.