The 2024 NFL Draft is one of the best wide receiver classes in recent memory. It is littered with both top-end talent and great depth. Let's take a closer look at the top five receivers in the class and their NFL doppelgangers.
5. LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. - Former Steeler Martavis Bryant
-Towering 6'4", speedy deep threat
-Impressive ball tracking
Both Thomas Jr. and Bryant share similar physical statures and skill sets. They both use their huge frame and rare speed to excel as deep threats, making them nightmares for defenses to contain. Thomas Jr.'s ability to take the top off of the defense is reminiscent of Bryant's game-breaking ability. However, both have struggled with consistency at times as a complete receiver, raising questions about their ability to translate flashes of brilliance into sustained production. One big question remains; Can Thomas Jr. develop into a more well-rounded receiver, or will he be a one-trick pony?
4. FSU's Keon Coleman - Denver Broncos Courtland Sutton
-Powerful and physical presence (6'4", 210 lbs)
-Contested catch specialist
-Unexpected agility for their size
Forget finesse, Coleman and Sutton are all about physical dominance. Their size and strength make them matchup nightmares in the red zone, easily outmuscling defenders and high-pointing throws. But they're more than just brutes. Both possess a surprising amount of savvy and agility after the catch, adding another dimension to their game. However, questions linger about their ability to create separation against tight coverage. Will Coleman refine his route-running and become a complete receiver, mirroring Sutton's success in the NFL?
3. Washington's Rome Odunze - Cleveland Brown Amari Cooper
-Polished route runner with size (6'3", 215 lbs)
-Strong hands and consistent open-field presence
-Classic Z-receiver potential
If smooth and efficient were wide receiver archetypes, Odunze and Cooper would be their poster boys. They both excel at finding open spaces consistently, making them ideal possession receivers who rack up first downs. Their size and strong hands allow them to win jump balls and navigate tight coverage effectively. However, some evaluators might have concerns about Odunze's finesse style of play and if he is only a high-end number-two receiver. Can Odunze overcome these speculations and establish himself as a reliable number-one receiver like Cooper, or will he find his niche as a complementary piece?
2. Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. - Former Cincinnati Bengal A.J Green
-Elite hands and body control
-Graceful route runner with great sideline awareness
-Makes difficult catches look routine
This comparison is almost too perfect. Harrison Jr. possesses the same 6'4" frame, elite hands, and uncanny body control that made A.J. Green one of the best in the league. Their movements are graceful and efficient, maximizing their size to their advantage and showcasing an innate understanding of leverage and sideline awareness. Both are touchdown machines, capable of winning jump balls and making acrobatic grabs in tight spaces. A.J. Green was a superstar, but he never was an elite YAC creator, mainly due to his longer strides. Harrison Jr. is great at almost every aspect of being a wide receiver, but he shares the same limitations in the open field. Nevertheless, I expect the same pro-bowl-caliber career for Harrison Jr as Green.
1. LSU's Malik Nabers - New York Giants version of Odell Beckham Jr.
-Explosive playmaker with elite twitch and elusiveness
-Run-after-the-catch ability with second-gear burst
-Exceptional ball tracking and route-running skills
While Harrison Jr. might be the consensus choice for the top receiver, Nabers offers a different kind of excitement. He's the dynamic playmaker, the player who can change the game with a single touch. Like Beckham Jr., he possesses elite suddenness, lower-body explosion, and elusiveness that make him a nightmare for defenders in the open field. His second gear after the catch resembles OBJ's early days, routinely turning short screens and slants into long touchdowns.
He's a dynamic playmaker who can take the top off the defense and create mismatches all over the field. However, he is only 6'0" and 200 lbs and that might be the separating factor for some teams between Nabers and Harrison Jr. Only time will tell if he can become the next Beckham Jr and silence any lingering questions about his size.