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Takeaways From The 2023 Rookie WR Class

Puka Nacua will sustain success in the NFL for years to come: Nacua finished with1486 receiving yards, setting the rookie record. To many people including myself, his early season success was considered a product of the offense he was in combined with the absence of Cooper Kupp. He has since proven that his success is rooted deeper in the fact that he is a very good football player. Since the return of Kupp, Nacua has outpaced Kupp in yards with 826 of his own compared to 710 from Kupp. So how is it that a player drafted in the 5th round breaks the rookie receiving record? Well, I would say some of it was a scouting error around the league but not all of it. Nacua was someone who many would say looked bad on paper. His 4.62 40-yd dash at the combine did no favors for his draft stock. The same could be said for his injury history which was flagged by many teams. The success at the NFL level for Puka Nacua goes far beyond anything that can be found at a scouting combine. Nacua is so comfortable operating around defenders to get to spots that put him in a position to make plays. He can play with finesse when he needs but is also not afraid to make physical plays to complete catches. We have seen him take a few monster hits this year while still holding onto the ball. He is also really great at making adjustments mid play and is very crafty allowing broken plays to be turned into big plays. Although he is not the greatest athlete, he makes up for it with football IQ and grit. So long he stays healthy, Nacua is poised for a long and successful career. 

The 2023 class has proven to be smaller but mighty: The current top 8 receivers from the wide receiver position in this class are all 205 pounds and below. This includes Tank Dell, Zay Flowers, Josh Downs and Jordan Addison who were all knocked at some point during the draft process because of their size. Speed and Skill are becoming more and more valuable in today’s NFL. The “go up and get it” possession receivers are becoming less and less popular in the modern game. Quenton Johnston and Jonathan Mingo were the two larger receivers drafted early and both have struggled so far. 

The jury is still out on Marvin Mims: Mims has flashed big play ability in his rookie year, particularly as a Kick/Punt returner. He currently leads the league in both average yards / punt return and average yards / kick return. The next step for him would be to put these big plays together on offense more consistently. He made a beautiful grab a few weeks ago in the game against the Patriots. These catches have come few and far between for Mims as he just has 21 grabs on the season. This is not totally a performance issue, but also a poor situation where he has seen low snap counts on a consistent basis. Mims has eclipsed 50 percent of offensive snaps just twice this season. 

Is Quentin Johnston already a bust?: If I told you that Mike Williams, Josh Palmer and Keenan Allen all missed at least 3 games this year before the season, you probably would have guessed that Quentin Johnston would have more than 405 receiving yards by Week 18. Unfortunately, things have not gone so smoothly for him. Between dropped passes, miscommunications with quarterbacks and just simply not gaining separation, he has simply not been good. A silver lining is that he has looked solid in the few times he has gotten space to

operate in. Signs don’t look great for the rookie receiver, but I would give him a few games into next season before calling him a bust. He is a high character person and seems motivated to succeed. Maybe an offseason where he can work from his NFL experience can help him. Check in with managers who own him in dynasty formats to see if you can acquire him for low value picks. 

The Ravens finally drafted the right guy for Lamar Jackson to propel them: Zay Flowers has expanded the Ravens offense to new heights they have so desperately been searching for since drafting Lamar Jackson. They have signed free agents, drafted other receivers in the first round but none have compared to Zay Flowers. He works flats for them, runs deep routes well and can find soft spots in coverage from 10-20 yards. It is hard to credit just one person but with Flowers as well as new OC Todd Monken being the big changes to this offense, it is much improved from last year. Spacing has looked fantastic for them and it is making life a lot easier for Lamar Jackson. Some had concerns with his size going into the draft which could lead to potential injuries but he has not missed a game yet in his career. Flowers continues to improve as the weeks go on and there is a lot to be excited about as the Ravens prepare for the playoffs. 

2023 Rookie Wide Receiver Dynasty Rankings with Dynasty Grade (Out of 100, based on Rookie WR scale) 

Tier 1 

1. Puka Nacua 

Tier 2 

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba 

3. Zay Flowers 

4. Jordan Addison 

Tier 3 

5. Tank Dell 

6. Rashee Rice 

7. Jayden Reed 

Tier 4 

8. Josh Downs 

9. Marvin Mims 

Tier 5 

10. Quentin Johnston 

11. Jonathan Mingo 

12. Demario Douglas 

Tier 6 

13. Dontayvion Wicks 

14. Michael Wilson

15. Jalin Hyatt 

16. Cedrick Tillman 

17. A.T. Perry 

Tier 7 

18. Tre Tucker 

19. Parker Washington 20. Trey Palmer 

Tier 8 

21. Jake Bobo 

22. Xavier Hutchinson 23. Charlie Jones 

24. Xavier Gipson 

25. Tyler Scott

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