Connect with us


Ranking Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, and Others



It’s widely expected that the 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver class will bring far more top-end talent than the 2023 group. It’s dangerous to commit to those kinds of assumptions too early in a given cycle. But early on in our preseason evaluations, the 2024 WR crop is living up to the hype. Who are the top 10 WR prospects in 2024 as it stands?

Ranking the Top WRs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Zay Flowers, Josh Downs, and Jordan Addison were all solid prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, along with Quentin Johnston and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. But a prevailing thought among evaluators was that the 2023 class lacked much in the way of blue-chip talent at the WR position, and it also lacked top-end depth.

While it’s too early to commit to any stance one way or the other, it looks as though the 2024 NFL Draft WR group may compensate for the 2023 group’s failings, and then some. Whatever you need, the 2024 class appears to have it: Size, athleticism, alpha ability, versatility, and more.

10) Will Sheppard, Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt isn’t always synonymous with high-level NFL Draft talent, but the Commodores have a wide receiver prospect worth keeping an eye on in Will Sheppard. Sheppard has been productive at Vanderbilt despite a lack of consistency in the passing game, and he has the traits to win over evaluators in the long run over the course of the 2024 cycle.

MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades!

At a lean 6’3″, 200 pounds, Sheppard passes the size evaluation like so many other WRs in the class do. But at that size, Sheppard is a nimble and explosive athlete who can glide and sink as a route runner. He offers exceptional catching instincts and body control in midair, and he’s a stubborn RAC threat with his wiry build and leg churn.

9) Mario Williams, USC

Jordan Addison took the spotlight in the USC receiving corps in 2022, but the Trojans have even more talent to offer in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. Mario Williams was a high four-star recruit and a top-50 prospect coming out of high school, and he’s primed to take on heightened volume in the 2023 campaign, catching passes from Caleb Williams.

At 5’9″, 185 pounds, Mario Williams fits the mold of a dynamic slot WR. He’s explosive out of transitions and a fleet-footed mover, but his amped-up lateral motion is what truly makes him dangerous, both as a separator and a RAC threat. There are many ways to use Williams, but he can also create space and separate independently.

8) Troy Franklin, Oregon

Troy Franklin was one of the primary beneficiaries during Bo Nix’s breakout 2022 season at Oregon. The former top-50 recruit put up 61 catches for 891 yards and nine touchdowns as the Ducks’ primary pass-catching weapon, and he returns as a high-upside 2024 NFL Draft prospect, with a particular penchant for capitalizing on 50/50 opportunities.

At 6’3″, 178 pounds, Franklin is a spindly receiver with imposing length, but he also flashes surprising sink capacity and stop/start ability for his size. He can still strive for greater efficiency as a route runner, and he has room to add more mass to his frame. That said, Franklin’s natural talent is clear, and he has a strong foundation to build on.

7) Jalen McMillan, Washington

The Washington Huskies could have a receiver duo with a dynamic similar to Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle — only even better. Odunze is the complete three-level size/speed threat, while Jalen McMillan is the speed demon with a lean 6’1″ frame. But beyond his vertical speed, McMillan also offers a complete profile at WR.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

McMillan’s long-strider explosiveness is an asset in space, but McMillan converts on his opportunities with some of the best natural ball-tracking ability in the class. Meanwhile, as a route runner, he flashes exceptional zone awareness and short-area control, and he can surgically parse through coverages with this combination.

6) Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse

The Syracuse Orange exceeded expectations in 2022. But unexpectedly, it was the team’s offense that led the way and not the defense. The headliner of the Syracuse offense? A 6’5″, 216-pound hybrid receiving threat in Oronde Gadsden II. Coming off a 61-catch, 969-yard, six-touchdown campaign, Gadsden has the production, and he has the tools as well.

With his blend of size and athleticism, Gadsden blurs the line between wide receiver and tight end and profiles as an excellent big slot WR at the next level. He’s a streamlined athlete who can attack space with his accelerative capacity, and he has some of the strongest hands in the class through contested situations.

5) Xavier Worthy, Texas

Xavier Worthy (8) celebrates a touchdown against West Virginia.
Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (8) celebrates a touchdown that put Texas up 7-0 over West Virginia during the game at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on Oct. 1, 2022. Xxx Austex10 Jpg Usa Tx

Xavier Worthy is an anomaly. You rarely ever see wide receivers in the 160-pound range at the college level, let alone the NFL level. Worthy not only plays at this weight but dominates at it. As a true freshman in 2021, he erupted for 62 catches for 982 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he mirrored that production in 2022, even with QB instability.

At 6’1″, Worthy is a long, wiry receiver who can dissect defenses with searing speed and explosiveness. But beyond his elite vertical element, Worthy is advanced beyond his years at using stride variations and double-moves to bait defenders, and he has a rare sense of timing and control at the catch point.

4) Rome Odunze, Washington

Had he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, Rome Odunze would have been a first-round candidate on my board. While nabbing 75 catches for 1,145 yards and seven TDs in 2022, Odunze flashed a truly complete skill set. He has size and elite catching instincts, and he’s also an incredibly smooth separator who can slither through defenders as a RAC threat.

Reports share that Odunze dominated in Washington spring practices and bulked up to 215 pounds. We might be in store for a leveled-up Odunze in 2023, and that’s a very exciting thought. He’s a nuanced route runner already, and he has the size and athleticism to separate himself at the top of the class.

3) Malik Nabers, LSU

For better or worse, the success of WR prospects like Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson has placed a heightened default expectation on LSU receivers each cycle. Kayshon Boutte was unable to meet those expectations in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, but Malik Nabers has the talent, and attention to detail, to succeed in doing so.

The 6’0″, 195-pound Nabers racked up 72 catches for 1,017 yards and three touchdowns in 2022, showing off a vast array of tools in the process. He’s an athletic powder keg and a stack specialist as a route runner who can effortlessly flow to passes with his hands. And after the catch, he’s a tough competitor with size-defying contact balance and RAC ability.

2) Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State

If Marvin Harrison Jr. is the Ja’Marr Chase of the 2024 NFL Draft cycle, then Emeka Egbuka might be the Justin Jefferson to his Chase. That’s high praise, especially when you look at what Jefferson has become in the NFL. But if Harrison is a blue-chip prospect, Egbuka isn’t far behind — and he has all the traits to be an early first-round pick with his teammate.

At 6’1″, 205 pounds, Egbuka has good size, length, and frame density. He shares some similarities with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but Egbuka is visibly faster, more explosive, and more physical and balanced after the catch. His playstyle grants him sweeping alignment versatility, and he’s also a menace against zone coverage with his burst, flexibility, and spatial awareness.

Who Is the Best WR in the 2024 NFL Draft?

It’s still very early — about as early as it can be in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. But even so, there’s one player who’s already separated himself as the likely front-runner to start the annual march.

1) Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

This is the part where we try to be as excitable as we can about Marvin Harrison Jr. without resorting to hyperbole. Here it goes: This guy is the next Calvin Johnson.

Alright, that didn’t go well. We can reel it back a bit, but there’s only so much room to do so when talking about a talent like Harrison. For a select few prospects, it’s safe to get a little overexcited. Harrison is one of those players. He has the tools and the all-encompassing ability to be a true central piece for an NFL passing attack.

MORE: Top QBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Harrison — the son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr. — certainly looks the part at 6’4″, 205 pounds. Size and athleticism are where it starts with Harrison, but he brings so much more to the table. He’s a truly elite catcher of the football with hands of steel, and he has the route nuance, targeted physicality, and flexibility to win one-on-one against DBs 3-4 inches shorter.

Honorable Mentions

  • Keon Coleman, Florida State
  • Adonai Mitchell, Texas
  • Johnny Wilson, Florida State
  • Dorian Singer, USC
  • Ladd McConkey, Georgia
  • Jaylin Noel, Iowa State
  • Devontez Walker, North Carolina
  • Malik Benson, Alabama
  • Ja’Corey Brooks, Alabama
  • Jacob Cowing, Arizona

Source link


Making History and Breaking Streaks, 10 Stats To Know From the Bengals’ Week 3 Win




The Cincinnati Bengals honored their past and saved their future Monday night with a 19-16 victory against the Los Angeles Rams to avoid falling in a 0-3 hole, and to improve to 3-0 in Ring of Honor games.

Joe Burrow gutted it out through a calf injury, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase came within one catch of tying the franchise record, the defense was dominant and kicker Evan McPherson had one of his best games as a pro.

Here are 10 notable stats coming out of yet another victorious Ring of Honor game:

From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!

10 Stats To Know From the Bengals’ Week 3 Win

1. The Bengals have won six consecutive home night games in the regular season and playoffs dating back to Marvin Lewis’ final season. That means Zac Taylor has never lost a home night game (kickoff time of 6:30 p.m. ET or later).

Not only are the six consecutive wins a franchise record for a team that typically has struggled in prime time, but it is also the longest active streak in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers each have won five in a row.

2. Prior to Monday night, the Bengals had been 1-26 in regular season games during the Zac Taylor era when scoring fewer than 20 points. The only other win was a 15-10 triumph at Denver in Week 15, 2021.

3. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson took full advantage of the Rams losing starting left tackle Alaric Jackson to a second-quarter knee injury, recording two sacks on a career-high 10 pressures while having another sack wiped out by a questionable Sam Hubbard facemask penalty.

MORE: Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

Hendrickson’s previous high in pressures was eight in the Week 16 home game against Baltimore in 2021. It was his 11th career multi-sack game and sixth as a member of the Bengals.

4. Lou Anarumo’s defense recorded six sacks against the Rams, tied for the most since he came to Cincinnati in 2019. The only other six-sack game was the 2019 season finale against the Cleveland Browns which kept the Bengals from setting a franchise record for most losses in a season.

5. Monday marked the sixth game of Burrow’s career in which he failed to throw a touchdown pass, and it was the first in which the team won. A big reason for that was what Anarumo and the defense were able to do. It also marked the fifth time in Bengals history a quarterback has attempted at least 49 passes in a game without throwing a touchdown.

The previous four all resulted in losses. Andy Dalton had 53 in a 22-20 overtime loss at Miami in 2013. Boomer Esiason had 53 in a 30-16 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1987. Carson Palmer attempted 52 in a 23-9 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2004. And Ken Anderson threw 49 in a 20-17 loss at Denver in 1984.

6. Logan Wilson’s two interceptions have him one shy of the league lead shared by former teammate Jessie Bates III in Atlanta and the New York Jets’ Jordan Whitehead.

Wilson’s nine interceptions since he entered the league are by far the most among all linebackers since the start of 2020. Buffalo’s Matt Milano has six, and no other linebacker has more than five.

7. Evan McPherson missed a 56-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive before making kicks of 54, 53, 49 and 48 yards. The 204 field goal yards were one shy of his career high, which he set in Week 11 of 2021 at Las Vegas when he went 4-for-4. It was McPherson’s third career game with multiple field goals of 50 or more yards.

McPherson has 16 field goals of 50+ yards in just over two seasons, doubling the previous franchise record of eight shared by Doug Pelfrey and Mike Nugent. McPherson is 16 of 20 for his career on kicks of 50+ yards, and his .800 success rate is the fourth highest since at least 1991, trailing Daniel Carlson (.828), Chase McLaughlin (.818), and Chris Boswell (.818). Justin Tucker, whom some argue is the best kicker in history, is 58 of 83 from beyond 50 (.699).

8. Ja’Marr Chase’s 12 receptions were one shy of the Bengals record of 13 set by Carl Pickens in a 204-yard game against the Steelers in 1998. Chase’s 22 receptions this season are tied for ninth in the league, and his seven third-down catches resulting in first downs are tied with Las Vegas’ Davante Adams for second, two behind Carolina’s Adam Thielen’s league-leading 11.

9. Tee Higgins seemed to have at least a handful of passes go off his hands, but officially he was charged with two drops, which still is a significant number given that he only had four drops all of the last season. The last time Higgins had more than one drop in a game was Week 5 of 2021 in an overtime loss to Green Bay. Higgins finished with just two catches on eight targets for 21 yards.

10. Charlie Jones probably is going to be among the league leaders in punt return average for a while by virtue of his 81-yard touchdown in Week 2. But nights like Monday will keep him in the running for the top spot. Jones had four returns for 45 yards, an 11.3-yard average.

Last year’s league leader, New England’s Marcus Jones, averaged 12.5 on the season. Charlie Jones currently is tied with Philadelphia’s Britain Covey for second with an 18.8-yard average. New Orleans’ Rashid Shaheed leads the way at 24.5. Jones also recorded his first career catch Monday night.

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Source link

Continue Reading


How the Swelce Phenomenon Began




A love story begins again as the two worlds of football and the music industry collide as Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce continue to be the talk across the NFL.

We discuss a guide and timeline for Swifites and NFL fans to enjoy all too well, since it hits different.

Who Is Taylor Swift Anyway?

Although Swift has been a household name in pop music for over a decade, let’s discuss why Swift has done more than write about relationships and ex-boyfriends.

Swift is a singer-songwriter with countless awards, nominations, and honorary distinctions throughout her career. During this time, she had been nominated for over 500 awards and has won 324, including 12 Grammy Awards.

She has 10 studio albums in her discography, not including her re-recorded Taylor’s Versions of her first six studio albums, which she has yet to release fully.

She has recently broken records for her current running tour, the Eras Tour, which is currently on its international leg and will start back up in November.

Swifties follow a mastermind that constantly has her fans searching for easter eggs to what she will do next. Swift admitted that she leaves hints for fans years in advance.

How Travis Kelce Has Gone to New Heights

Kelce is a two-time Super Bowl-winning tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs.

He was a third-round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and is now considered one of football’s greatest and most versatile tight ends. Kelce is a four-time first-team All-Pro selection and eight-time Pro Bowler.

So far in his career, he has played 825 games, racking up 10,439 receiving yards and 71 touchdowns.

The tight end holds the NFL record for the most consecutive and overall seasons with 1,000 yards receiving by a tight end, the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season with 1,416 back in 2020, and the record for most receptions by any NFL tight end in their first 10 seasons (814).

Kelce started the Eighty-Seven & Running Foundation, empowering disadvantaged youth to succeed with mentoring, training, motivation, and other opportunities.

On a Sunday at a Chiefs Game, We Watched It Begin Again: A Look at the ‘Swelce’ Timeline

July 2023

July 7-8: This is where the flashbacks start as the Eras Tour made two stops at Arrowhead Stadium. Kelce was spotted at the Tour by fans at the show.

July 26: Some time, mystical time, passed until Kelce went on the New Heights Show, a podcast he hosts with his brother Jason Kelce, and discussed his disappointment of not meeting Swift at the Eras Tour.

The tight end said, “I was disappointed that she doesn’t talk before or after her shows because she has to save her voice for the 44 songs that she sings…So I was a little butt-hurt I didn’t get to hand her one of the bracelets I made for her.”

September 2023

September 14: Jason Kelce appeared on the Thursday Night Football postgame show and was asked about Swift and his younger brother, mentioning that he had seen the rumors but couldn’t comment on their relationship status.

“I don’t really know what’s going on there. I know Trav is having fun, and we’ll see what happens with whoever he ends up with,” said Jason.

September 20: Jason Kelce appeared on the WIP Morning Show, saying he thought the rumors about the pop sensation and tight end were true. Ain’t it funny how rumors fly?

September 21: Travis Kelce then showed everyone incredible things when he appeared on the Pat McAfee show and said it was hilarious how much traction the entire situation was. But it’s been like a game of telephone with the rumors flying around, especially at the hands of everything his brother previously stated.

But there was no bad blood for the brothers. Travis went on to say that he put the ball in Swift’s court to check out a game, saying, “I told her that I’ve seen her rock a stage in Arrowhead, and she might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit.”

September 24: This leads back to Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Chiefs playing the Bears, where we watched it begin again for Kelce and Swift.

She made the whole place shimmer as she was spotted sitting beside Travis’ mom, Donna Kelce, in his suite, and the NFL became the NFL (Taylor’s Version).

During the game, Kelce hit his peak at seven receptions for 69 yards and found a blank space in the end zone for one touchdown.

After the game, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was asked on the FOX Broadcast if he felt pressure to throw a touchdown pass to Kelce, responding, “I felt a little bit of pressure, and I knew I had to get it to Trav.”

Mahomes also mentioned that Kelce wanted to get in the end zone just as much as the Swifties wanted him to.

The night ended with pictures and videos of Kelce and Swift getting in his getaway car leaving Arrowhead Stadium.

The NFL Is in It’s Swiftie Era

The NFL universe couldn’t shake it off, as the two were the talk of sports media everywhere.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick weighed in on the situation during his radio hit on the Greg Hill Show, stating, “I would say that Travis Kelce has had a lot of big catches in his career. This would be the biggest.”

However, Belichick was proclaimed a Swifite after attending the Eras Tour at Gillette Stadium, calling her tough for playing in the pouring rain.

Dallas Cowboys DE Micah Parsons also weighed on the rumored relationship on The Edge podcast, expressing his approval.

“Big hype for you, dog. You know what it is, dog. Like damn, you shot from deep, and you scored. You Stephen Curry, my brother. You might be the Steph of football. That’s dope. I can’t even lie,” said Parsons.

The lion is a Swfitie and loves the Fearless Era, specifically with the song ‘You Belong With Me.’

So it goes: the NFL does root for the anti-hero when it’s Swift and Kelce.

Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast

Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Cowboys Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Cowboys Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Source link

Continue Reading


Throwing a Flag on the Dallas Cowboys’ Season?




With the Dallas Cowboys coming off a 28-16 loss against the Arizona Cardinals, there are many more questions than answers.

This week on the PFN Dallas Cowboys podcast, we discuss the Cowboys vs. Cardinals matchup and its biggest takeaways.

From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!

The Cowboys First Loss of the Season and How To Move Forward

We break down the Cowboys’ humbling loss against the Cardinals. What went wrong for the team, and is it worth worrying about going forward?

We also discuss the defense’s uncharacteristic performance and what Dan Quinn had to say about it in his press conference.

MORE: Two Biggest Dallas Cowboys Failures in Loss to Arizona Cardinals

The team’s red-zone struggles continued in Week 3, and we looked at what stopped them from scoring. What can Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy do this week to ensure the team capitalizes in the red zone to end good drives with a touchdown?

We also turn the page to discuss key matchups in the Cowboys’ Week 4 game against the New England Patriots.

Injury Updates

With a week full of unexpected injuries, we discuss how missing three starting offensive linemen and Trevon Diggs impacted this game.

What Is Dalton Miller’s ‘Hot or Not’ Take of the Week?

This week, Dalton Miller’s take is that the Cowboys need to play Markquese Bell and Juanyeh Thomas more than Donovan Wilson. Find out why Miller thinks the safety room has such a significant impact on the defense’s success.

Tune in every week to find out what his “hot or not” takes will be.

Who Was Our ‘MVPFN’ of the Game?

Miller and Jess Nevarez tell you which players won their “MVPFN” of the game and why both of these players can be difference-makers for the Cowboys.

This week, Miller and Nevarez gave one offensive player and one special teams player that gave the team glimmers of hope in Week 3. Tune in every week to see who our “MVPFNs” are from each game.

Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast

Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Cowboys Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Cowboys Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Source link

Continue Reading