The Latest LSU Wide Receiver Who Looks Primed to Become an NFL Star

Malik Nabers 8 as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 25, 2023.

LSU has turned into one of the top producers of NFL talent at the wide receiver position recently.

Of course, the Vikings got an absolute steal by landing Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and other names like Odell Beckham Jr., Ja’Marr Chase, and Jarvis Landry have carved out key NFL roles for themselves over the years. The latest LSU wide receiver who is looking to make a big name for himself at the WR position is Malik Nabers, and he is the focus of today’s Vikings Draft Thermometer series.


LSU Wide Receiver
Malik Nabers 8 runs the ball during the LSU Tigers Spring Game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA. SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY NETWORK.
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Arm Length: TBD
  • Hand Size: TBD
  • Wingspan: TBD
  • 40-Yard Dash: TBD
  • School: LSU
  • Games Watched: Alabama (2022), Alabama (2023), Florida State (2023), Florida (2023)

Nabers came out of high school as a four-star recruit by 247 Sports as the No. 19 wide receiver and 150th overall ranked player in the Class of 2021. Growing up in Youngsdale, Louisiana, the receiver opted to stay close to home and committed to LSU.

After spending his freshman season as a depth receiver behind players like Jack Bech and Kayshon Boutte, Nabers burst onto the scene in 2022 with new QB Jayden Daniels and totaled over 1000 receiving yards, ranking second in the SEC in that department while also leading the conference in receptions.

Somehow, his 2023 season was even more impressive as Nabers once again led the SEC in receptions while ranking second in the entire FBS in receiving yards, trailing only Rome Odunze. As a result, Nabers was a unanimous All-American and finished his LSU career ranked seventh all-time in SEC history for career receiving yards.

Now, after a long line of LSU receivers have become stars at the NFL level, Nabers is hoping to be the next man up.


Nov 18, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Malik Nabers (8) celebrates his 40-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter against the Georgia State Panthers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021: 28 receptions, 417 yards (14.9 yards/catch), 4 TDs (11 games)
  • 2022: 72 receptions, 1017 yards (14.1 yards/catch), 3 TDs (14 games)
  • 2023: 89 receptions, 1569 yards (17.6 yards/catch), 14 TDs (13 games)


Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Malik Nabers (8) reacts after a play against the Florida Gators during the second half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Nabers is capable of winning at all levels of the field. He utilizes a fantastic, explosive first step off the line of scrimmage and elite agility to immediately gain an advantage in the short passing game. Meanwhile, he thrives in contested catch situations downfield by utilizing strong hands and an incredible vertical to haul in 50/50 balls. He’s a very versatile player capable of contributing in the slot or on the boundary.

Perhaps the best part of Nabers’ game, though, is his ability to make plays after the catch. He has incredible balance and forced 30 missed tackles over the course of the 2023 season, which ranked fourth among all FBS receivers in 2023, per PFF. He averaged 6.6 yards after the catch per reception. LSU utilized him in jet-sweep situations to get him the ball immediately and let him go to work, making this another element that NFL defenses will have to think about.

Finally, Nabers never gives up on a play. Even on the rare occasion that a cornerback was able to stick with him through his first breaks on a route, he is consistently moving around the field, which was key when playing alongside a mobile QB like Jayden Daniels who could keep plays alive by moving around the pocket. Nabers isn’t afraid to get in the mix to lay down some serious blocks downfield for teammates, either.


Tigers reciever Malik Nabers 8 runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Georgia State in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 18, 2023.

While Nabers’ explosiveness off the line is often unmatched, he sometimes struggled with maintaining his top speed. This allowed corners with greater acceleration to catch up with him on vertical go routes, and this could prove to be a problem in the NFL.

He could also benefit from being a touch smoother on his releases. Instead of hard cuts, he occasionally rounds off the top of his routes, allowing defenders time to get back into plays. This may impact his ability to be a true X receiver at the NFL level.

NFL Projection

Malik Nabers 8 dives for a ball as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 25, 2023.
  • Draft Stock: Top 10
  • Immediate Role: Versatile WR1
  • NFL Comp: Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Vikings Draft Thermometer: 5

If Marvin Harrison Jr. didn’t exist, Nabers would likely be the WR1 of this year’s class and potentially the first non-QB off the board. He is a big-play machine who can break out at any second and consistently finds way to win at all three levels of the field. He may need to become a more polished route runner to truly thrive on the boundary, but at the very least, he will regularly torch opposing defenses out of the slot.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via 247 SportsPro Football Focus and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.