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NFL draft rumor: WRs less likely to go in first round than expected

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the only receiver noted with a first round grade in this year’s NFL draft

Syndication: USA TODAY Joshua A. Bickel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Just two and a half weeks away from the 2023 NFL draft and we can expect rumors to fly. While the Cleveland Browns don’t have picks in the first or second round, some of the rumors about the top of this year’s NFL draft could have an impact on the team. With eight selections, including six combined in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, GM Andrew Berry could move up if a player falls.

One position that tends to get a lot of attention is at wide receiver. WR Jaxon Smith-Njibga from The Ohio State University Buckeyes is the big name at the position despite not being the biggest player. As a whole, the receiver class of 2023 is full of smaller, quicker receivers.

Quentin Johnston of the TCU Horned Frogs is one of the few big guys in this year’s draft.

Despite that, we have seen many NFL mock drafts with receivers littered throughout the first round. According to Jim Nagy, Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, teams don’t see as much top-end talent as fans and media might:

It is important to note that most NFL teams have far fewer first-round grades than the 32 picks in that round. It is quite possible for Nagy’s information to be accurate and multiple receivers still to go in the first round as second-round grades are often the highest available late on day one of the draft.

For the Browns, this could explain their willingness to trade out of pick #42:

It could also lead to more receivers being available late in the second and into the third round than we currently expect.

The consensus big board has just six WRs within the first 70 players with Cedric Tillman, Marvin Mims, Tank Dell, Tyler Scott and other names rated after that. If the grouping of midround receivers leads to a fall for a guy Berry has his eyes on, we could see Cleveland get aggressive to pluck that receiver to add to their weapons.