Evaluating A Muddled Extensive Receiver Class

The 2023 NFL Draft will likely be right here earlier than we all know it as we’re already into Week 4 of the faculty soccer season. Professional Soccer Community’s Scouting Pocket book returns with a glance behind the truths of scouting, particularly when trying on the 2023 NFL Draft.

2023 NFL Draft: Discovering the “reality” in scouting a muddled WR class

Ian Cummings: Popping out of the summer time analysis course of, it appeared as if each different particular person had a unique selection for his or her preliminary WR1 within the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. Some selected Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Others selected LSU’s Kayshon Boutte. A number of extra had been drawn to the defending Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison at USC. And a choose few — myself included — gravitated to the high-end traits of TCU’s Quentin Johnston.

Three weeks have handed within the 2022 school soccer season, and one may argue that no readability has come on this entrance. Actually, three of the 4 aforementioned WR1 candidates have been extremely underwhelming from a manufacturing perspective.

Boutte has 10 receptions for 93 yards in three video games. Smith-Njigba has simply 4 catches for 36 yards after lacking time with an damage and nonetheless hasn’t confirmed he can win constantly outdoors the slot. And Johnston — maybe a sufferer of an underwhelming TCU offense — has simply 5 catches for 44 yards in two contests.

The lone producer from this group has been Addison. He’s picked up proper the place he left off at Pitt, with 18 catches for 295 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first three video games with the Trojans. Should you had Addison as your WR1 forward of the season, nothing has occurred to alter that. However questions do nonetheless stay with him. His reference to Caleb Williams is undoubtedly electrical and is doing good issues for his inventory. However Addison’s nonetheless visibly underweight, and he could possibly be a extra environment friendly route runner.

To summarize, there’s nonetheless no runaway candidate for the WR1 mantle within the 2023 NFL Draft. And three of the 4 hottest choices haven’t solely been stagnant, however notably underwhelming. As evaluators, how will we reply to this improvement?

I believe an important factor is to be affected person. We’re solely three weeks into the season. There’s nonetheless loads of time for all of those receivers to search out their stride. It’s additionally necessary to pay attention to contextual components that could be impacting manufacturing. However above all, preserve a deal with the traits themselves and keep away from utilizing the category’ obscurity to dig your toes in on one prospect.

It’s at all times necessary to be versatile and impartial along with your evaluations — each when the category is murky, and maybe even extra so when there are perceived favorites at a place. That’s very true with this yr’s WR class. Proper now, there is no such thing as a consensus WR1. However we don’t want a definitive reply proper now, nor do we wish one. As a result of the second you promote your self to a solution and dig your self in, it may be tough to re-evaluate when it’s essential.

Perhaps Johnston gears up after the bye week and begins to understand his potential. Perhaps Addison continues on his dominant tempo and supplies increasingly purpose for confidence. Or perhaps an outsider altogether joins the fray amidst the highest receivers — somebody like Rashee Rice maybe.

However mid-season, within the warmth of the second, it may be straightforward to hurry to judgment — good or unhealthy. The reality is, nobody is aware of but how this class goes to settle. Being averse to anointing prospects and being open to all outcomes, is an effective way to stay fluid in a fluid scenario.


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