A Look at the First Round Wide Receivers Selected in 2024 NFL Draft

May 10, 2024 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

For the first time since 2004 and only the second time in history, seven (7) receivers were taken in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Three of those were among the top 9 picks with Marvin Harrison, Jr. of Ohio State topping the list. Harrison was the first player taken that doesn't play quarterback when the Arizona Cardinals selected him the 4th over-all pick.

Georgia Tight End Brock Bowers was also selected in the first round, at No. 13 by the Las Vegas Raiders.

The New York Giants took Malik Nabers of LSU at No. 6 and the Chicago Bears selected Rome Odunze of Washington at No. 9 to join Harrison as Top 9 picks.

Those top three receivers collectively racked up 4,428 yards and 41 touchdowns in their final college football season.

NFL Draft - Wide Receivers - First Round

  • 4: Arizona Cardinals - WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio Stat
  • 6: New York Giants - WR Malik Nabers, LSU
  • 9: Chicago Bears - WR Rome Odunze, Washington 
  • 23: Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU
  • 28: Kansas City Chiefs - WR Xavier Worthy, Texas (via trade with Bills)
  • 31: San Francisco 49ers - WR Ricky Pearsall, Florida
  • 32: Carolina Panthers - WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina (via trade with the Bills)

The vast amount of talent available at the wide receiver position in 2024 was truly remarkable. As testimony to that statement, Malik Washington of Virginia was the 2nd-leading receiver in 2023 and wasn't taken until the 6th round at No. 184 over-all by the Miami Dolphins. He lead all receivers in number of passes caught with 110 and was 4th in total receiving yards with 1,426.

In all, 35 wide receivers were taken by the time the draft was completed. The electrifying Keon Coleman (Florida State) somehow had to wait until the first pick of the second round to be drafted when he was selected by the Buffalo Bills.

Ladd McConkey of Georgia, who became another household name in college last season, followed Coleman when the LA Chargers made him the second pick of the second round.

Harrison was the 2023 winner of the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation's top pass-catcher after a season that saw the junior rank 9th with an average of 100.9 yards per game. He was tied for third in touchdowns with 14.

Brian Thomas, Jr. joined teammate Nabers in the first round. The LSU wideout went to the Jacksonville Jaguars to give Trevor Lawrence a much-needed target. He led all receivers in touchdowns in 2023 with 17, scoring two or more TD's in six separate games.

As you can tell, several different wide receivers topped different statistical categories in the 2023 college ranks. Thomas had the most touchdowns, Odunze had the most yards, Washington had the most receptions, and Nabers had the most yards per game.

Meanwhile, UCF's Javon Baker had the highest average yards per catch at 22.97, but wasn't chosen until the fourth round at No. 110 over-all by the New England Patriots.

Look Ahead

It was indeed, a deep draft for the wide receiver position in 2024, but somewhat surprisingly, college football wasn't decimated by the draft as the 2024 group is also strong.

Pro Football Focus ranked the top five returnees, with Luther Burden III of Missouri topping the list, followed by Arizona's Tetairoa McMillan, Ohio State's Emeka Egbuka, Oregon's Tez Johnson and Miami's (FL) Xavier Restrepo.

Evan Stewart of Oregon joins teammate Johnson on that list.

We will look forward to watching the 2024 NFL crop of receivers, but also can't wait to see how the next class develops.