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2025 NFL Draft - Early Wide Receiver Prospect Rankings

Luther Burden - College, NCAA, Draft, Prospects, CFB, Missouri

Heading into 2023, everybody knew that Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze made up the top of a heavy wide receiver class. That held true, and all three studs heard their names called in the top-10 selections.

Looking ahead to next season, two receivers have cemented themselves ahead of the rest of the pack. Both Luther Burden III and Tetairoa McMillan will be entering their junior seasons after lighting up opposing defenses as sophomores.

Behind the top-two clear-cut receivers, the pack is a bit more murky. Emeka Egbuka stands out at No. 3, but he skipped out on the opportunity to go pro this past season and returned to Ohio State. Behind him, there is even more uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to opportunity, and there is plenty of opportunity for a relatively unknown receiver to play themselves into Round 1.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

Tier 1 - The Studs

1.) Luther Burden III, Missouri

Luther Burden was a five-star recruit heading to Missouri, but he took time to get acclimated to the college level as most freshmen do. In his first season, he only had 375 receiving yards but put up six touchdowns.

Burden broke out as a sophomore in 2023, grabbing 86 receptions for 1,212 yards and nine touchdowns for a Missouri team that overachieved and beat Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

He stands 5-foot-11, 208 pounds, and blends elite playmaking with versatility. Burden can undoubtedly be a WR1 at the NFL level and will be selected in Round 1. He will likely be in the conversation for the 1.01 in rookie drafts a year from now.

2.) Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona

Tetairoa McMillan came out of high school as a four-star prospect and was the No. 4 receiver prospect in the class of 2022. He dominated from the get-go, grabbing 39 catches for 702 yards and eight touchdowns as a true freshman. McMillan put his name on the map with a breakout sophomore season, catching 90 passes for 1,402 yards and 10 scores.

His 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame makes him a matchup nightmare and gives him an incredible catch radius. His size and catch radius are his most elite traits, although he truly moves like a receiver and gets off of the line with plenty of burst. McMillan is practically locked in as a first-round pick and will be another player to watch as a potential 1.01 rookie draft selection.

 

Tier 2 - High Upside

3.) Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State

Emeka Egbuka opted to return to Ohio State after an injury-plagued 2023 season. After his 1,151-yard season as a sophomore, Egbuka was considered by many as a future first-round pick. Injuries and a downgrade at quarterback plagued him in 2023; however, he is back and projects as the top target in Ohio State’s offense for 2024.

Egbuka stands 6-foot-1, 206 pounds, and is a very versatile player. His combination of speed, hands, and route running will make him a highly coveted player and he could even sneak into that top tier with an elite season in 2024. 

Egbuka has always been the second fiddle to Marvin Harrison Jr. but will have the opportunity to showcase his talents this season and prove he belongs back in the first-round conversation.

4.) Evan Stewart, Oregon

Evan Stewart has shown flashes since joining Texas A&M as a five-star receiver but has never put together a complete season. His career highs in yards and touchdowns are 649 and four, respectively, but this season he could blow that out of the water. 

Stewart suffered from inconsistent quarterback play during his time with the Aggies, but this past offseason, he transferred to Oregon where he will line up across from Tez Johnson in Troy Franklin’s old role. The system is designed for receivers to stand out, and the 6-foot-0, 175-pounder still has all of the athletic traits that made him a top-five recruit coming out of high school.

Stewart is the most volatile of the top four prospects between now and the 2025 NFL Draft. A great season could push him to the top of this list, while another poor showing could see him fall out of the draft altogether.

5.) Travis Hunter, Colorado

Travis Hunter took the college football world by storm as a five-star recruit when he flipped from Florida State to join Deion Sanders at Jackson State. He was used primarily on the defensive side of the ball as a true freshman, where he stood out, but also scored four receiving touchdowns at the FCS level.

Hunter followed Sanders to Colorado as a sophomore and lit up the college football world, rarely coming off of the field. He was just as impressive at receiver as he was at cornerback, catching 57 passes for 721 yards and five touchdowns while also tallying three interceptions. 

Playing two ways in college is no easy feat, but it is even more improbable at the NFL level. While most view Hunter as a cornerback prospect, he could also be a very dangerous receiver should he opt to pursue the position. He will more than likely be a Round 1 selection in 2025 -- it is just a matter of whether he will line up on the offensive or defensive side of the ball at the next level.

 

Tier 3 - The Rest

Aside from the prospects mentioned above, no receiver has really separated themselves from the pack. These next 10 collegiate receivers will have an opportunity to play themselves into a high draft slot but could also fall completely out of the draft or opt to return to school if they have eligibility remaining.

Keep an eye on the performance of these 10 receivers in 2024, as they have all shown flashes of NFL talent.

6.) Tory Horton, Colorado State

7.) Elic Ayomanor, Stanford

8.) Isaiah Bond, Texas

9.) Antwane Wells Jr., Ole Miss

10.) Tre Harris, Ole Miss

11.) Tez Johnson, Oregon

12.) Barion Brown, Kentucky

13.) Deion Burks, Oklahoma

14.) J. Michael Sturdivant, UCLA

15.) Xavier Restrepo, Miami

Colorado State’s Tory Horton is entering his fifth season of college football, starting his career with Nevada in 2020. Horton was considered a sleeper prospect for the 2024 class, but he opted to return to Colorado State for the 2024 season to further boost his stock. He has ideal NFL size at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and has recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in college. A third would certainly excite scouts.

Elic Ayomanor burst onto the scene with his record-breaking performance in the overtime win over Colorado, in which he grabbed 13 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns. With ideal NFL size at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Ayomanor is firmly on the NFL radar after surpassing 1,000 yards as a sophomore.

Isaiah Bond was the second fiddle to Jermaine Burton in Alabama’s passing attack last season, securing 668 yards and four touchdowns. He is a smaller receiver, but if all pans out, he could be a capable WR2 at the NFL level. He will have a chance this year to prove that he can be a go-to receiver as he joins Quinn Ewers at Texas after Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell departed for the NFL.

Antwane Wells Jr. was Spencer Rattler’s go-to receiver in 2022, but injuries kept him off the field in 2023. He joins an absolutely loaded Ole Miss offense in hopes of proving that he still has WR1 abilities. Tre Harris, who has back-to-back 900+ receiving yard seasons, will be running on the opposite side of him.

Tez Johnson, Barion Brown, and Deion Burks are all on the smaller side but win with their speed. Johnson, Bo Nix’s adopted brother, had 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns a season ago. Brown will look to emerge as the top playmaker for Kentucky, while Burks will look to build on his breakout at Purdue as one of Oklahoma’s top receiving options.

J. Michael Sturdivant has the NFL size but lacks significant production due to quarterback inconsistencies. Xavier Restrepo broke out as a slot receiver last season with 1,092 yards and six touchdowns and should continue to rise as Miami’s offense takes off under transfer quarterback Cam Ward.



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