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NFL Draft top wide receiver prospects: Coveted players in the offing this year

Wide receivers remain a hot commodity in the NFL, which makes this year's draft class extremely interesting to those teams looking to expand their offenses in 2023.

There may not be a Ja'Marr Chase-level prospect this year, but there are some promising pass-catchers with a range of skillsets that can make a lot of noise next season.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba - Ohio State

Smith-Njigba, who is -160 to be the first WR Drafted, was primarily a slot receiver in college, where he starred in a frightening Buckeyes receiver corps alongside future first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in 2021. 

But at 6-1 and 196 pounds, he has the sort of size that could easily translate to playing on the outside in the NFL, although some doubt he has the speed to run past defenses. 

His 4.53 pro day time for the 40-yard dash was respectable, but he really excelled in the change-of-direction drills - the three-cone and short shuttle - producing all-time elite marks. 

Sadly, there is little recent game film to go off because he suffered an injury in the first game of the year and barely played, finishing the season with just five catches. 

However, he gained more receiving yards than Wilson or Olave during a phenomenal sophomore season that produced impressive stats like 14.2 yards per target and 4.1 yards per route - which very few college receivers have ever bettered. 

Smith-Njigba also stepped up big time in the Rose Bowl when his two teammates opted out, which should make him a can't-miss-prospect for a number of wide-receiver-needy teams set to select in or close to the top 10.

Zay Flowers - Boston College

Flowers, available at +350 to be the first WR Drafted, blossomed in his final year at Boston College, hauling in 78 catches for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior campaign. 

His exceptional stat sheet looks more impressive given the Eagles were a struggling team and he has recently shot up a number of draft boards based on his Combine showing. 

He clocked a hot 4.42 for the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, which puts him inside the top 20% of wide receivers speed-wise. 

The Florida native, who grew up as one of 14 siblings, has also drawn praise for his route-running, separation ability, and explosiveness in the open field. 

Flowers lined up in a variety of positions and ran nearly every route imaginable at college, but some of his game film shows the 5-9, 180-pound prospect struggling to shake off tacklers, which could create concern about his game-breaking ability at the next level.

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Quentin Johnson - TCU

Johnson is a big-bodied wide receiver that creates mismatches in the secondary and, although he may lack the finesse of others in this draft class, that may not stop him being taken ahead of them. 

The wideout weighed in at 208 pounds and posted no official 40 time at the Combine, although he did recently run a 4.49 at the Horned Frogs' pro day. 

He stands 6-3 tall, but looks bigger on tape when going up against smaller defenders, who he was able to physically intimidate and dominate in college. 

In 2022, he posted solid numbers with 60 catches from 98 targets in 14 games for 1,069 yards and six TDs. He was TCU QB Max Duggan's go-to guy in the biggest games, and he came up with the goods. 

Johnson caught a combined 22 passes for 386 yards and two scores in close early-season victories over Kansas and Oklahoma State, added four catches for 139 yards in the Big 12 championship game against Kansas State, and another six for 163 in the CFP semifinal against Michigan. 

A rare package of size and speed should ensure he goes in the first round, although perhaps quite late depending on the needs of the teams that own the late selections.

Jordan Addison - USC

Addison could be a real steal for a brave general manager willing to go against the prevailing sentiment that has seen the USC star slide down some mick draft boards. 

The 6-0, 175-pound prospect posted some average workout numbers and below-average measurables at the Combine, including a disappointing 4.49 dash clock. 

But he was the 2021 Fred Biletnikoff award winner for an outstanding season at Pitt where he racked up almost 1600 yards receiving on the end of Kenny Pickett's arm strength. 

He transferred to the Trojans and posted less impressive numbers in 2022, but was used more as an outside receiver. 

Addison remains one of the best route runners in the class, with an excellent understanding of how to set up defenders and exploit space. 

A solid all-rounder, he also has the smarts to make a real impact in the NFL from day one, which will interest some teams in a rebuilding phase.

Jalin Hyatt - Tennessee

Hyatt has the sort of elite speed that will ensure he becomes an integral part of an NFL offense as a rookie. His deep-threat capability is illustrated by the fact that he recorded 11 receptions of 40+ yards for the Vols in 2022. 

And his Combine numbers leap off the page for speed and explosiveness - his 4.40 40-yard dash puts him in the 86th percentile for WRs and the 1.50 10-yard split a little higher. 

His 40" vertical jump and 11'3" broad jumps were also exceptional. Speed at WR is highly coveted in today's game and Hyatt's will ensure that he is drafted either late in the first or early in the second round later this month.

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