Four Overrated 2024 Wide Receiver Prospects

Welcome back to NFLTR’s overrated and underrated draft prospect series. Today we’re bringing you four overrated wide receiver prospects, players who are currently projected to go higher than perhaps they should.

Xavier Worthy

This year, there’s a “Big Three” when it comes to receivers. Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU’s Malik Nabers and Washington’s Rome Odunze have separated themselves from the pack and all would be the WR1 in most drafts. They’re all locks for the top ten and are truly elite options at the position.

The rest of the picture at receiver is a lot more muddy, however. Aside from those three aforementioned prospects, no wide receiver is guaranteed to go on Day 1 — and there’s as many as 20 receivers all in contention to be selected by the end of Round 3 on Friday night of draft week.

With as many unique prospects as there are this year, it’s helpful to take a step back and examine some of the players more closely. In preparation for draft weekend, here are four overrated wide receiver prospects to pay attention to, as well as the rest of our overrated/underrated series:

LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr.

The best pure deep threat in the draft, Thomas is a true junior coming off his first season as a full-time starter. He’s played the last two seasons alongside Nabers catching passes from QB Jayden Daniels as part of one of the most electric offenses in college football. Despite his good production and elite speed, Thomas Jr. is limited in other areas of his game, and if he goes in the middle of the first round as some are projecting, he may be over-drafted.

Thomas has a rare size-speed combo. He’s a tall, well-built receiver who can really fly, clocking a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the Combine at 6-3 and 209. In 2023, he caught 68 passes for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns, the latter number leading the FBS.

Ball-tracking, line-of-scrimmage releases and quick hips are some of Thomas’ strongest assets. His speed is legit, and he can stack on top of corners easily. He gets open on underneath routes with good short-area quickness. He has good footwork and vision to get open.

His route tree, however, needs development. He’s mostly limited to verticals, deep posts and underneath slants. He showed a bit more diversity as the season went on, but almost all of his routes send him deep to take the top off a defense or let him catch it underneath and use his speed to pick up extra yards.

He can also struggle against press coverage. He’s got the build to beat press consistently, but he tends to get caught up on contact and doesn’t often use his size to gain leverage or create space. He’s only average in contested catch spots, and he has some bizarre drops on his tape as well.

Thomas’ deep speed and physicality will play right away, but if he wants to be more than a WR3 in the NFL he needs to develop more to his game. He’s young and still learning the position, so he has potential, but it’ll be important for NFL teams not to treat him as a critical WR2 right away. He’s my WR6 — which is lower than consensus — but he does carry considerable upside.

South Carolina WR Xavier Legette

Going from an afterthought in a mediocre offense in 2022 to the focal point of a better South Carolina offense in 2023, Legette jumped from a guy with no NFL future to a player some are projecting in the first round almost overnight.

Unlike some who receive the “athletic project” tag, Legette has at least one year of production to back it up. After four years of never topping 200 yards receiving, Legette tripled his entire career production in 2023, posting 1,255 yards on 71 catches for a monster 17.7 average yards per reception.

At the Combine, Legette measured in at 6-1 and 221, running a 4.39 40-yard dash and dazzling in the explosive drills. This athleticism shows up on tape, too. His change-of-direction ability is eye-popping and he never lets himself get outworked. Legette has rare size and speed for the position and it’s caught scouts’ attention.

Legette’s tape in 2023 was really, really good. He’s got powerful hands and can snatch difficult or contested catches with ease. His size lets him bully smaller players and he excels at doing so subtly to avoid drawing flags. He’s good after the catch and has quick acceleration off the line or out of a break.

That said…he’s not the cleanest route-runner, nor does he have great feel against zone coverages or off-cover cornerbacks. He’s still learning to sustain blocks in the run game, and his releases need work. Right now, much of his route running and release package is just him being bigger, stronger and faster than his opposition. That will need to improve in the NFL.

All this is a bit concerning for a player as old as Legette. He played five years in college and could only earn a full-time role at South Carolina in 2023. Old and inexperienced yet having played a lot of college ball is a major red flag for a prospect. For as good as he looked this past season, it’s a big asterisk next to his name.

Legette is my WR11, still with a late second- or third-round grade, which speaks to just how deep this wide receiver class is. His age and late breakout are real concerns, but he has a rare blend of size and speed that you just can’t teach. In terms of high upside, you can’t do much better than Legette where he’s projected to go. He’s also far from a sure thing and a major risk if selected in the top 50.

Texas WR Xavier Worthy

Worthy exploded onto the scene as a true freshman and dominated the Big 12 during his three years in college. He has game-breaking speed that changes how defenses have to play because if you lose him for even a moment he will burn you.

That speed is a true weapon and it’s his primary asset. Worthy set the Scouting Combine record with a 4.21 40-yard dash and put up some eye-opening numbers in the jumps. He is explosive and fast in a way that rarely comes through even the NFL ranks. When he’s drafted, he’ll immediately be one of the fastest players in the league.

He could get drafted highly by a team betting on his speed alone or fall a bit due to the limitations in other areas of his game. He’s just not a complete receiver. Worthy should be viewed as a high-upside Day 2 prospect rather than a real contender to go in the first round.

Measuring in at 5’11” and 165, Worthy is thin as a rail. Despite his incredible burst and speed, Worthy is a limited route runner. He doesn’t gain consistent separation on traditional routes. Most of his targets come on designed reads, either on screens or schemed-up deep targets. He has good lateral quickness and agility but struggles to put that to use against cornerbacks, frequently trying to make contested catches despite the speed advantage he possesses.

He also struggles with play strength. He doesn’t often make catches through contact or around a defender. He can’t easily get off press coverage; if a corner is able to jam him at the line, that’s usually enough to end his route. Inconsistent separation and the inability to make contested catches is a worrying combination.

Worthy is my WR12 with a late second- or early third-round grade. He’s too limited of a player to be anything more than a gadget guy or vertical burner in his rookie season. While his speed is a legitimate trump card, there are just too many quality receivers in this draft to move him any higher up the board. If Worthy develops a more diverse route tree and improves his play strength, picking him in this range would be a steal. But if his game doesn’t diversify, he may struggle to get on the field in the NFL.

Florida State WR Keon Coleman

Standing at 6-3 and 213 pounds, Coleman is a physically imposing receiver. Breaking out on the national stage against LSU on Labor Day with a 122-yard, three-touchdown performance, Coleman proved he has takeover ability and seemed to announce himself as one of the top prospects in the class.

He only had one other 100-yard game in 2023, however, highlighting his inconsistency. Once discussed as a first-round option, Coleman is now seen as a second-round player, and I would argue he’s more of a third-round option.

Coleman transferred for his final college year to Florida State from Michigan State, where he was a two-sport athlete, also playing basketball under Tom Izzo. During his lone year at Florida State, Coleman led the team with 658 receiving yards on 50 catches. He stands out for his ability to score in the red zone and he caught 11 touchdowns in 2023.

Contested catches aren’t so contested when Coleman is the target. He is a gifted athlete who knows how to use his size — and his basketball background — to box out defenders at the catch point like he’s going for a rebound. He has strong hands and can make difficult catches in a wide radius. His play speed is faster than you’d expect and he can surprise defenders with his quickness.

Coleman struggles to gain separation consistently, though. On film, he doesn’t have a lot of shiftiness to his game, and defenders have an easier time sticking to him than they probably should. His releases aren’t creative, and while he’s strong enough to play through press coverage, he doesn’t challenge cornerbacks to keep up. He simply lacks the quick twitch necessary to break away from coverage.

Players in this mold often struggle in the NFL. Coleman is a big-bodied, contested catch guru who can’t reliably separate. That is a major red flag for scouts, as players who match that description flame out more times than they become impact contributors. That’s not to say Coleman is destined to fail, but he does check a lot of boxes that should give scouts pause.

Ultimately, Coleman is a limited player of an archetype that struggles in the NFL. He’s my WR16, firmly a third-round player. He’ll be a threat in red zone packages, and if he can learn to create more separation, he can grow into a quality NFL player. If not, however, he’ll struggle to make a significant impact.

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