Cost-Effective WR Prospects Who Could Fit Right in with the Vikings in 2024

The NFL Scouting Combine is an annual event where college football players demonstrate their physical, mental, and interview abilities in front of coaches, general managers, and scouts of National Football League teams.

This event offers a standardized setting for NFL teams to evaluate upcoming rookies. With the value of the receiver position being one of the highest in the league, it’s essential for NFL teams to invest in late-round picks in the position. College football has been preparing more receivers for the NFL every year, and it’s paid off. Puka Nacua, Demario Douglas, and Dontayvion Wicks all look like, at minimum, good contributors going forward. Each was drafted after the 159th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Minnesota Vikings have Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison written in as starters for 2024, but K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell are both pending free agents. Outside of Jalen Nailor, who has yet to be more than the fifth receiver, the Vikings must add depth to the receiver room. A mega contract is looming for Justin Jefferson, and decisions are to be made on Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter. The Vikings aren’t in a position to spend money on a third and fourth receiver in free agency. Fortunately, the 2024 NFL Draft is chock full of receiving talent, and quality receivers will be pushed down to late in the third day.

Open Role

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) carries the ball for an incomplete touchdown during the first half of the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

K.J. Osborn, Boundary WR3

  • 64% Out-Wide Snap Location;
  • Average Depth of Target (aDOT) 9.2;
  • 49.3% of targets were received in the “short center field” or “intermediate center field.”

Criteria

Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Primarily plays on the boundary with a 60%+ out-wide snap location
  • At least 40% of their targets are in the center field
  • The aDOT is between 11 and 15
  • Projected draft round of five or later
  • Criteria matching cost-effective wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine 
  • Only four receivers in the class matched the criteria. Utah’s DeVaughn Vele matched but just barely met the requirements. The following three receivers are excellent matches.

WR Prospects to Keep an Eye on

WR Prospects
SDSU’s wide receiver Jaxon Janke (10) misses the pass on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023 at Dana J. Dykhouse in Brookings.

Jaxon Janke, South Dakota State

86% Out-Wide Snap Location, 45.6% Targets in Center Field, 12.9 aDOT, Undrafted Round Projection

Janke is a traditional X-receiver capable of operating from the perimeter full-time. He has a long frame, plays with physicality, and has quick feet, too. He handles press well enough but faces competition level questions as a small school prospect. However, South Dakota State is putting out NFL talent, and Janke’s talent deserves to be drafted with them.

Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, Georgia

88% Out-Wide Snap Location, 53.3% Targets in Center Field, 11.7 aDOT, Sixth Round Projection

Rosemy-Jacksaint is looking to carry momentum from the Senior Bowl, where he was mossing people left and right. Rosemy-Jacksaint, like most Georgia receivers, was underutilized in college. He projects as a strong possession receiver with just enough speed to work vertically. He should rise up draft boards if he tests well at the NFL Scouting Combine despite the poor statistical resume.

Ryan Flournoy, Southeast Missouri State

88% Out-Wide Snap Location, 41.8% Targets in Center Field, 11.4 aDOT, Undrafted Round Projection

Despite being off the radar as a small school prospect, Flournoy made Bruce Feldman’s “College Football Freaks List.” Here’s what Feldman had to say about Flournoy, “He vertical-jumps 41 inches, broad-jumped 10-10 1/2; has been laser-timed at 4.40 in the 40 with a 4.35 hand time. His shuttle time this offseason was 4.22, and his L-drill is 6.66, which is less than a tenth of a second off Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s 6.57, which was the quickest time of anyone at the 2023 NFL combine. Flournoy also has bench-pressed 350 pounds, power-cleaned 325 and squatted 510.”

NOTE: Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus. Round projections are provided by the NFL Mock Draft Database.

Final Thoughts

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell reacts with wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) before the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With the potential departure of K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell, the Minnesota Vikings need to add depth to their receiver room. Fortunately, the 2024 NFL Draft has plenty of receiving talent, and quality receivers will be available in the later rounds.

The Vikings’ potential opening role for a boundary WR3 can be filled by players like Jaxon Janke, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, and Ryan Flournoy, who have all shown potential and have the necessary criteria to fit the role. With the NFL Scouting Combine approaching, keep an eye on how these players perform because they might be performing for the Minnesota Vikings next.

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