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Tue Feb 28th 2023

Second-Tier Rookie Wide Receivers

Last week I looked at second-tier running backs in this rookie class. This week, I'll share my thoughts on the second-tier wide receivers. The first-tier wide receivers are Jordan Addison, Jackson Smith-Njigba, and Quinton Johnston. They will likely be the first wide receivers drafted in the NFL and rookie drafts. They are ranked third, fourth, and fifth behind the first-tier running backs Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs.


It's in the second-tier wide receivers when NFL scouts and dynasty managers will break ranks. The key to a successful draft will be their ability to rank the second tier accurately. The NFL Combine is this week, and the NFL draft is still two months away, so there's time and reason for my rankings to change before dynasty rookie drafts. Still, I like to rank rookies early based on what I've seen from their high school rankings, college production, and highlight tapes before the next inflection point, the NFL Combine, this week.


Here are my early thoughts on the second tier of receivers compared to how the pros rank them at Dynasty League Football (DLF). Unlike last week, when my rankings differed considerably with running backs, our rankings are similar to the wide receivers. 

Zay Flowers - Ranked #6

  • Flowers is a 3-star, 5-10, 177-lb. wide receiver who compiled 3401 total yards and 31 touchdowns in his four years at Boston College. He is my WR-4, while he's DLF's WR-4.
  • Flowers was one of my favorite players to watch on tape because he's an excellent route runner, super quick, has great hands, and plays angrily. He's a bit undersized, but he doesn't need size since he's so great at separating from defensive backs. His breakout year was his sophomore year, when he had ten touchdowns and 892 yards receiving. His production dipped a bit his junior year, but he bounced back with 12 touchdowns and 1077 receiving yards his senior season. He's predicted to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. I hoped to be higher on him than most dynasty managers, but if he's drafted in the first round, everyone will move him up as high as I already have. Two years ago, Amon-Ra St. Brown was my top second-tier guy. Last year it was Jahan Dotson. This year it's Flowers.

Josh Downs - Ranked #8

  • Downs is a 4-star, 5-10, 180-lb. wide receiver who compiled 2464 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in his last two seasons at North Carolina. He is my WR-5, while he's DLF's WR-5.
  • Downs is another player I thought I would be higher on than most analysts, so I was surprised to see that DLF had him ranked as their WR-5 too. He wins similarly to Flowers but is less quick and polished in his route running. He's fast and catches a lot of deep balls, but he is also a great possession receiver, catching 94 and 101 passes in his last two seasons. He plays bigger than his slight frame and won't be relegated to a slot wide receiver in the NFL. His draft capital could affect his rookie rankings quite a bit, but for now, he's my 5th-ranked wide receiver.

Kayshon Boutte - Ranked #9

  • Boutte is a 5-star, 6-0, 190-lb. wide receiver who compiled 1823 total yards and 16 touchdowns in his injury-plagued three years at Louisiana State. He is my WR-6, while he's DLF's WR-6.
  • Boutte is the only 5-star receiver in this second tier, and he was once thought to be the top devy receiver in dynasty leagues after a breakout season his freshman year. He battled injuries throughout his career, and some believe he has some effort and attitude problems too. The combination of these things caused his dynasty stock to fall slightly over the last two seasons. However, his prototypical size, 5-star rating, and breakout age keep him a first-round prospect in dynasty leagues. He's a high-risk-high-reward player that specific NFL teams and dynasty managers will gladly take a risk drafting. Draft capital will mean a lot for Boutte, and his interviews, health, and testing at the NFL Combine will be more critical for him than others in this tier. His risks made me think I would have him ranked lower than the guys at DLF, but we both ended up with him as our WR-7, but I have 9th overall while they have him 12th overall. I'm less risk-averse than I thought.

Jalin Hyatt - Ranked #13

  • Hyatt is a 4-star, 6-0, 175-lb. wide receiver who compiled 1267 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns last season at Tennessee. He is my WR-7, while he's DLF's WR-7.
  • I loved watching Hyatt's 2022 highlight film. He was a touchdown machine last year with 15 touchdowns and a big play waiting to happen with 18.9 yards per reception. His late breakout year, however, causes me some concern. He only had 20 and 21 catches in his first two seasons at Tennessee. I prefer consistent college production and possession receivers that win with route running, so I like Flowers and Downs significantly more than Hyatt. I hope I am wrong, but I get the Kevin White feel when ranking Hyatt. If I'm on the clock to start the second round, I will have trepidation drafting him.

Rashee Rice - Ranked #16

  • Rice is a 3-star, 6-1, 189-lb. wide receiver who compiled 3111 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns in his four years at Southern Methodist. He is my WR-8, while he's DLF's WR-8.
  • I may rank Rice ahead of Hyatt because he had a more consistent college career, albeit in a much weaker conference. Rice's reception and touchdown numbers increase every year of his career. His senior year ended with an incredibly productive 96 receptions, 1355 yards, and ten touchdowns. He wins with his size by boxing defenders out on posts and back-shoulder throws. He'll line up outside in the NFL and be a great red-zone target. It's hard not to compare him to Courtland Sutton when watching tape since they both played for SMU and won in similar ways. Rice can't become a superstar wide receiver, but he can become a reliable starter on dynasty teams.

Xavier Hutchinson - Ranked #18

  • Hutchinson is a 3-star, 6-3, 210-lb. wide receiver who compiled 2947 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in his three years at Iowa State. He is my WR-9, while he's DLF's WR-13.
  • Here we finally have a big difference in my ranking compared to DLF's. He's my 18th-ranked player overall, while he's DLF's 36th. I may be biased because I was at the Texas vs. Iowa State game this year when Hutchinson was unstoppable. Every time they lined up, the Longhorns knew they were looking for Hutchinson, and they could not stop him. He had ten catches for 154 yards in that game but did not score a touchdown. With just 15 career touchdowns in 37 games played, Hutchinson's lack of touchdowns is the only knock on his production profile. He broke out his freshman year with 64 catches and 771 yards and improved each of the next two years, ending last year with 107 catches and 1171 yards. His draft capital will play a significant role in his final rookie ranking, but there will be at least one NFL team who likes him as much as I do. 

Charlie Jones - Ranked #21

  • Jones is a 2-star, 6-0, 188-lb. wide receiver who compiled 1361 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his lone year at Purdue. He is my WR-10, while he's DLF's WR-19.
  • Jones started his college career at Buffalo and spent the next two seasons at Iowa before bursting onto the scene his final season at Purdue. He had a total of 39 catches in his first three seasons and nearly tripled that total last season with 110 catches. He led the nation in receptions and was second in receiving yards last season. He's a one-year wonder like Jalin Hyatt, but I like how he amassed his yardage with 110 catches compared to Hyatt's 67. It's too easy to compare him to another white receiver, but he has a little Cooper Kupp to his game and reminded me most of Jordy Nelson, who had 122 catches his last season at Kansas State. He's the only 2-star recruit in this tier, but if he can test in the same range as other wide receivers in the NFL Combine, he'll deserve a spot in this tier. For now, I am way higher on Jones than other analysts.  

A.T. Perry - Ranked #22

  • Perry is a 3-star, 6-5, 206-lb. wide receiver who compiled 2389 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns in his final two years at Wake Forest. He is my WR-11, while he's DLF's WR-15.
  • Perry compiles his stats with big plays downfield. He's averaged 15.5, 14.4, 18.2, and 13.5 yards per catch during his four years at Wake Forest. He had 152 catches, 2389 yards, and 26 touchdowns in his final two seasons. He's the tallest receiver in this group of second-tier guys and can be an effective weapon in the red zone. He didn't appear particularly fast in his highlight film, but he was always open deep. I'll be curious to see how he tests in the NFL Combine. If he's faster than he looks, he will remain ranked in this range. If he's slower than the rest of his peers, I'll move him down some. His college production for two years in a row speaks for itself, though.

Parker Washington - Ranked #24

  • Washington is a 4-star, 5-10, 212-lb. wide receiver who compiled 1920 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his three years at Penn State. He is my WR-12, while he's DLF's WR-11.
  • Washington is the last of my second-tier receivers. I considered moving him down to tier three because he never had a breakout season at Penn State. His best season was his second, when he had a modest 64 catches for 820 yards. However, I kept him in tier two because his tape intrigued me. He's a shifty route runner with great hands and a competitive spirit. He's a little smaller than him, but he reminded me of Jarvis Landry. He could have a similar role on an NFL that wants a receiver who can be intelligent, reliable, consistent, and add a little attitude to the team. Poor draft capital could move him out of this second tier, but decent draft capital could keep him here as a back-of-the-second-round rookie pick for me.

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