5 best wide receiver picks in the 2024 NFL Draft

Look for these rookie wide receivers to make immediate impacts on the teams who drafted them.
Marvin Harrison Jr., Roger Goodell, Arizona Cardinals
Marvin Harrison Jr., Roger Goodell, Arizona Cardinals / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

With the NFL being a passing-centric league, it has never been more important to draft and develop wide receiver talents. The good news is the college game is giving the league more and more ready-made prospects. Not all will live up to the draft hype, but odds are, you should be able to land a decent pass catcher at really any point in the first four rounds of an NFL Draft. It is all about value...

However, sometimes you may need to pay a slight premium to go from good to great. A first-round wide receiver used to be panned by some NFL Draft experts. Fate would have it, nearly a quarter of the league used a first-round pick on a wide receiver this year. While not all of these first-round picks will end up panning out, look for many of them to be highly impactful on whatever team they went to.

So what I am going to do today is rank my five favorite wide receiver draft picks made over the weekend in the 2024 NFL Draft. As expected, some of these inclusions are obvious. But what may not be so is the order in which I have these five draft selections. Where you land matters. Some wide receivers are mega talents, but the fit is just not as good as some of the other players on this list.

Let's start with a guy I know well, going to a team that will certainly get the most out of his talent.

5. Georgia Bulldogs WR Ladd McConkey to Los Angeles Chargers

Ladd McConkey should have been a first-round pick. He was WR6 on my theoretical big board. I understand the allure of Xavier Worthy's breakaway speed, but I am all about production, baby. McConkey is going from one of the most exciting offenses in Georgia to another that will get the most out of his talent in the Los Angeles Chargers. This was such a smart pick by Jim Harbaugh.

What you have to remember is that this year, next year, and maybe the one after that, Harbaugh will have a distinct advantage over most other head coaches in their respective war rooms. He either recruited these players, or went up against them. McConkey checks the box with the later. Look for him to be an incredible safety valve for Justin Herbert in this new-look Bolts offense going forward.

I wouldn't say he was a draft steal, but the Chargers got tremendous value in McConkey at No. 34.

4. LSU Tigers WR Brian Thomas Jr. to Jacksonville Jaguars

I loved the pick when it happened. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded back from No. 17 to No. 23 in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. While Minnesota stopped Dallas Turner's unexpected fall, the Jaguars ended up with a perfect replacement for Calvin Ridley in their receiving corps. Brian Thomas Jr. was one helluva a No. 2 receiver at LSU last season. Look for Doug Pederson to set him up for success.

This was one of those picks that kind of got lost in the shuffle. I saw what happened in real time. This is the type of pick-up for the Jaguars that will help them dethrone the Houston Texans in the AFC South race. I expect for Jacksonville to be a top-half team in the AFC yet again. If the pieces fit and come together like they did two years ago, I would not be shocked if they got to the AFC title bout.

A lot of pressure may have been placed on Thomas' shoulders with this pick, but I feel he's built for it.

3. LSU Tigers WR Malik Nabers to New York Giants

I still have major questions about what the New York Giants are trying to do under Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen's watch, but you have to applaud them for doing the right thing in taking LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers with the No. 6 overall pick. The Giants have struggled to have a capable 1,000-yard receiver for years. Nabers could fix that, even if he has a hard time saying Daniel Jones' name.

No doubt about it, the Giants are inherently dysfunctional. There has never been another franchise that has lucked into two Super Bowls quite like this team. In fact, they are closer to the Miami Marlins than they could ever hope to realize. Regardless, I love the fact Nabers is going to New York and could be a superstar with the right quarterback throwing him the ball. I am just not sure that guy is Jones.

This was the right pick to make for the Giants, but they are still a year away from being a year away.

2. Washington Huskies WR Rome Odunze to Chicago Bears

This might be my favorite pick in the entire 2024 NFL Draft. Former Washington star wide receiver Rome Odunze fell to the Chicago Bears at No. 9, where he will now catch passes from Caleb Williams. This connection has the ability to be the best thing to happen to Chicago since Michael Jordan teamed up with Scottie Pippen, or at least since Patrick Kane got linked up with Jonathan Toews.

This was the type of pick that signifies to me that Chicago is ready to compete right away with Williams under center. How quickly they can get on the same page with Shane Waldron and the rest of the Chicago offense will be paramount in just how good this team can be this season. You have to like the Bears' future going forward. The pick makes the Williams pick look even better and vice versa.

As expected, this pick is why I believe the Bears had the best draft of any team in the NFL this spring.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes WR Marvin Harrison Jr. to Arizona Cardinals

Only time will tell what becomes of this draft class. The only thing I know for certain is Marvin Harrison Jr. was the best player in the draft. He has the best NFL pedigree because of his hall-of-fame namesake father. The Arizona Cardinals faced a ton of pressure to potentially move back from No. 4. They just ended up with the next Larry Fitzgerald in the Valley of the Sun. What a great pick-up!

The other thing I love the most about this pick is I expect Harrison will get better quarterback play from Kyler Murray in Arizona than he did from his former high school teammate Kyle McCord while at Ohio State. Although he and McCord may be best buds, only one of them is ready for the bright lights. The other will have to reinvent himself playing for Harrison's father's alma mater of Syracuse.

I am again reminded that Monti Ossenfort might be the NFL's best up-and-coming general manager.

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