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Meet the NY Jets’ top WR targets in 2024 NFL draft

Rome Odunze, NFL Draft, NY Jets, Washington
Rome Odunze, Washington Football, NFL Draft, New York Jets, Getty Images

Wide receiver will be near the top of the New York Jets’ shopping list in the 2024 NFL draft

The New York Jets are once again on a collision course for a high NFL draft pick.

While there will be plenty of time for debate over the next few months as to which specific position the Jets should be targeting, few would argue with the assertion that outside of Garrett Wilson, the receiving core is among the team’s biggest weaknesses.

A position group once thought to be one of the strongest on the team has devolved into… this.

Some of it was the Jets’ own fault and some of it wasn’t, but the room is going to need some changes this offseason. The Davante Adams rumors are fun, but landing the Raiders star is far from a guarantee, and he’ll be 31 next season anyway.

The good news is, the 2024 draft class is loaded at the receiver position, with several bona fide studs at the very top.

Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

The term “generational” is thrown around so loosely these days, which starts to take away from the flare and emphasis when the rare player comes around who truly does appear to be once-in-a-generation.

The son of NFL legend Marvin Harrison is certainly one of those truly generational players.

The scouting report on the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Harrison Jr. is easy: he’s already an NFL WR1, playing against college kids. The size, the speed, the route-running, the hands, the body control, the contested-catch ability, the football IQ, even the run-blocking effort, are all at an elite level for a 21-year-old prospect coming out of college.

On top of all that, the Ohio State coaching staff raves about his outstanding character and work ethic off the field.

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

It’s truly unfortunate for Malik Nabers that he just so happened to be in the same draft class as Marvin Harrison Jr., because Nabers would be the runaway top receiver prospect in most other draft classes.

At 6-feet, 200 pounds, Nabers’ build is eerily similar to that of another former LSU superstar in Ja’Marr Chase. The comparisons between the two don’t stop there, though. Nabers finished the 2023 regular season with 34 receptions of 20-plus yards, tying him with Chase for the most in college football over the past five years.

Needless to say, Nabers is a big play waiting to happen. His twitchy, flexible route-running makes him a natural separator and he tracks the deep ball just as well as Chase did coming out of college — which is saying something. In terms of run-after-catch ability, Nabers is second to none in this class. He’s a phenomenal athlete with natural vision as a runner.

The gap between Harrison and Nabers is not wide, and I don’t have an issue classifying the latter as the same tier of prospect as elite guys from previous years, like Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Garrett Wilson, etc.

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Rome Odunze is another prospect who has no business being ranked as anything less than the number one receiver in the draft class. It speaks to just how loaded this year’s crop is that Odunze will likely wind up third on most big boards.

Another prototypical WR1, Odunze stands at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. Hold that build up next to his surprisingly polished route-running, big catch radius and great ball skills, and you’ve got yourself a likely star.

The one thing keeping Odunze out of the same tier as Harrison and Nabers is that his long speed and explosiveness are a notch below the other two. A notch below what they are is still pretty impressive in my book, though.

Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Keon Coleman is an interesting prospect. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he’s built like a true X at the receiver position. His athleticism at that size, though, is what makes him so intriguing as a prospect — the Seminoles had him return punts this year, which, at that size, is pretty unheard of.

When it comes to contested catches, it doesn’t get much better than Coleman. He’s a bully throughout the entirety of his route as well as at the catch point. His ability to track the ball and snag it at its highest point is really impressive. FSU quarterback Jordan Travis frequently looked his way in the red zone because of that uncanny ability to snatch the ball out of the air.

Unlike the last few names, though, there are some legitimate concerns with Coleman.

For someone so freakishly athletic, it’s somewhat surprising how little separation he manages to create from his defender. Of course, his elite contested catch ability negated this weakness in college, but against NFL defenders, he won’t be able to out-muscle at such a high rate. Imagine relying on jump balls against Sauce Gardner — not a good idea.

Make no mistake, though, Coleman is a physical and athletic specimen even by NFL standards and his ball skills are genuinely jaw-dropping at times. He presents a sky-high ceiling, so it will be interesting to see which team takes a shot on him in April.

Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Why does it feel like top-flight LSU wideouts always come in pairs?

While Nabers is undoubtedly the better of the two prospects as things currently stand, Brian Thomas Jr. is among the very best in the class himself. He stands at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, making him set another prototype at the position (this draft clearly has a lot of them).

Thomas has awesome speed and acceleration, making him a legitimate vertical threat both from the outside and in the slot. He’s already fairly advanced at winning off the line of scrimmage and does a good job stacking his defender and tracking the deep ball downfield. His movement skills are fluid, which is good to see, as players of his size can often struggle in that area.

Thomas could use some improvement in his ability to fight through traffic. He’s a little underwhelming in contested-catch scenarios and his footwork is average, but the traits and college production are more than worth taking a shot on in the late first round.

Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina

Devontez Walker is one of the more under-the-radar names in this receiver class at this point in time, but expect him to fly up draft boards as more scouts get eyes on his tape.

Watching North Carolina games, it’s clear that Walker moves differently from everyone else on the field. He has truly elite acceleration and top speed, but it’s his lateral explosiveness that makes him especially dangerous for defenders after the catch. Because of that, his YAC skills are some of the best in the class.

Walker is listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, so size isn’t a concern. He has a big catch radius which, paired up with his impressive ball skills, makes for a dangerous formula for defenses.

One concern with Walker is his ability to combat press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Seeing as defenders only get more physical in the NFL, this will be an important area for him to focus on improving. He also shows some inconsistency as a route-runner, but his movement skills and explosiveness make that something he can get a lot better at with some NFL coaching.

Other names to keep an eye on: Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State), Adonai Mitchell (Texas), Xavier Worthy (Texas), Troy Franklin (Oregon), Xavier Legette (South Carolina)

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