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Florio's NFL/Fantasy Football Scouting Report: Malik Nabers, Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze

Malik Nabers - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, WR, NFL Draft Sleepers

Back in the day, there was a narrative about the “third-year breakout” for wide receivers. But in the last decade, we have seen more and more rookies make an immediate impact both in the NFL and in fantasy football. Two of the three-highest-scoring PPR seasons by a rookie WR have happened in the last three years. Four of the top five have happened in the last decade, as well as seven of the top 11. 

Rookie receivers being able to make an immediate impact is nothing new. But this receiver class may be the best since the elite class kicked this all off in 2014. Three receivers could all be elite both right away and for years to come. And there is a ton of depth after those first three go off the board. 

But the three at the top of the class stand head and shoulders above the rest. In any year, any of the three would be the undoubted WR1 of the class. But to me, it is more of a 1A, 1B, and even 1C type of scenario. This article will provide my scouting report on the three elite options. There will be more articles in this series breaking down the rest of this receiver class! 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Scouting the Elite Three Receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft Class

Malik Nabers is my WR1 heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. That is not for clicks or to be edgy -- it is because he is amazing at football. Nabers is the fastest player on pretty much any field he ever steps on. But the reason he is my top receiver is because he can win in any way. 

Nabers is an excellent field-stretcher who can track the ball extremely well. He flashes his hands late on the long ball, which will make it tough on DBs to break up. He ran a ton of vertical routes in college and often won. In fact, as great of a year as he and Jayden Daniels both had, Daniels missed Nabers a couple of times deep. He has tremendous hands and the capability to contort his body however he has to in order to secure a catch. He should have no problem winning contested catches at the next level. 

Nabers is also elite after the catch. He can stop on a dime, has a nasty hesitation step, and can both make defenders miss or just run through them and pick up yards after contact. He should be a YAC beast at the NFL level. That to me is what gives him the slight edge over the next receiver, as Nabers is just better after the catch and a little more versatile. He is as big of a threat to score on a pass with 1 air yard as one with 20-plus air yards.

While watching him, this is one thing I wrote: “his speed paired with twitchiness, his ability to come back to the ball, his hands with the ability to adjust and contort his body should just make life hell on opposing DBs.”

Nabers excelled against man and zone coverage at LSU. Plus, he can line up out wide, from the slot, and on and off the line. The biggest knock on Nabers is that he just made it look so easy. He did not need to be a route-running technician as he often just blew by his defenders. He could use some polishing here, but there is nothing to worry about with him moving to the next level. 

Perhaps it is the LSU purple and gold, but when I watch Nabers play, I was reminded consistently of Justin Jefferson. Nabers can do it all in the NFL and we should see that translate right away. His landing spot will impact his fantasy value, but Nabers can be a fantasy WR2 right away. While I would not bank on him finishing as one, he certainly has the upside to finish as a WR1 right away if he falls to the right spot. 

Marvin Harrison Jr. is a generational talent that you have likely heard about for years. He is a lock to be a top-10 pick and make a big splash in fantasy. What jumps out the moment you start watching him play is his size and his ability to use it. Harrison is extremely physical and can play through contact. He excels at tracking the ball downfield and can adjust to the ball extremely well. He is the best at keeping his hands in and not extending until the last possible second on the deep ball. This makes it extremely tough for DBs to break up these passes and is very Davante Adams-like (more on that later!). 

He thrives against man and zone coverage, has grown man hands, and is nearly unstoppable on slants and out routes. He uses his hands well against press and can win in a variety of ways at the line of scrimmage. He is a contested-catch monster and should have a ton of highlight-reel plays at the next level. He also does a great job of getting his feet down and in bounds when he has to. He should be an immediate force both downfield and in the red zone, which is exactly the type of player that makes for an elite fantasy asset. 

Harrison put up great numbers and even better film despite his QB play in 2023, not leaving a lot to be desired. My biggest knock on him, though, was he is more of a straight-line runner who burned defenders with pure speed and athleticism. He could be a better separator. There are plenty of pass breakups where he has a defender all over him. He also won plenty in those situations as he can play through contact, but having a defender in his hip pocket is not ideal. Additionally, after the catch, he is a straight-line runner, who at times will use one move, but often runs into contact. The after-the-catch ability is the biggest reason why I have Nabers slightly ahead heading into the draft. 

Still, Harrison should excel at the next level. He reminds me of a taller, perhaps faster, version of Davante Adams. I also see a little A.J. Green in his game. One way to describe him could be Adams in a Green-type frame. Landing spot and the QB he is tied to will impact things, but Harrison projects to be a fantasy WR2 for me from the moment he enters the league. He easily could finish as a WR1 if he ends up in Arizona catching passes from Kyler Murray

Rome Odunze rounds out the elite options in this class. His physical presence stands out the moment you start watching him play. Odunze can win in a variety of ways. He can win downfield and can high point and secure the football with his strong hands. He was a contested-catch monster in college and I do not see any reason that should change at the NFL level. He has a strong ability to track the deep ball and can adjust his speed to make sure he is under the throw. Odunze has excellent body control and can adjust and contort his body. He is also a master at working the sideline. 

Not only can he win downfield, but he should be an absolute force in the red zone right away in his NFL career. He had a ton of highlight-worthy catches in college and should do the same in the league. He has a knack for using his body to box out a defender and create some separation. He thrived against both man and zone coverage and routinely beat double-teams in college. He can get open at all three levels. Odunze projects to be a true X receiver in the NFL. 

Odunze can win after the catch, but he has a "run through you not around you" style. He is not super elusive or twitchy, but he plays physically in this regard as well and routinely breaks tackles. A DB's best bet is to try and wrap his ankles because going up high is a business decision not many are going to want to make. 

Just like the previous two, Odunze should be a fantasy stud right away and throughout his career. He can win downfield and in the red zone, meaning he should be able to quickly score fantasy points in chunks. Does this description remind you of anyone? To me, when watching him play, I kept thinking of Mike Evans. His landing spot will determine his fantasy value in Year 1, but he could be a WR3 with the upside to finish higher in the right spot.

Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio.



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