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2024 NFL Draft Winners & Losers: Wide Receivers

The NFL draft is a few days over, but we need to discuss some veterans at receiver who were winners and losers from the NFL draft.

While everyone is so worried about the rookies, it’s time to dive into the veterans impacted by the NFL draft. We will go through some winners and losers in the wide receiver position. 


Darnell Mooney, ATL

Mooney secretly won during the NFL draft. During the draft coverage, there wasn’t much noise about the Falcons taking a receiver at the 1.08 pick. The Falcons didn’t consider a skilled position player until round six of the draft.

That means Mooney will have the opportunity to be the second or third option among pass catchers (not including the backfield) with a veteran quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Mooney showed with adequate volume that he could produce in fantasy. His 2021 season of 1,055 receiving yards and four touchdowns showed he could produce borderline WR2 numbers. In this Falcons offense, Mooney will not have to worry about being the first option, allowing him to see softer coverage. 

Mooney is locked into the Falcons for the next three seasons with Cousins or potential one-day rookie Michael Penix Jr. If Mooney can average around 80 to 90 targets, he’ll have a chance to be a borderline flex option most weeks. It’s a great time to buy Mooney in fantasy since his value is low, with two disappointing seasons in Chicago. The Falcons didn’t bring in much competition for the WR2 role, so the Falcons have faith in Mooney, which makes him a winner. 

Terry McLaurin, WAS

Yes, the Commanders added Ben Sinnott and Luke McCaffrey to the roster. Those moves don’t scare me off McLaurin from seeing WR1 targets in the offense. He is getting a significant upgrade at the quarterback position with Jayden Daniels with the second pick of the NFL draft. McLaurin has dealt with Case Keenum, aging Alex Smith, Taylor Heinicke, and Sam Howell throughout his NFL career. Let’s not forget the many other below-average quarterbacks who also started. Despite all that, McLaurin has had four straight 1,000-yard seasons. 

Photo Courtesy of Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

One thing McLaurin will love is having Daniels’s arm on deep balls. He had a fantastic deep ball completion percentage of 63% with 22 touchdowns and zero picks. His ball placement is terrific, allowing his receiver to make an actual play. McLaurin had the eighth most deep targets in the league last season but had a target quality rating of 71st. For once, McLaurin will have an upside quarterback throwing him the ball. For a contending team, it’s a great time to buy McLaurin, and he should have one of the best seasons of his career in 2024.

Jameson Williams, DET

Williams was a former first-round pick during the 2022 NFL draft. He has had a slower start to the NFL than most would have thought. Williams started to show some flashes during the NFL playoffs. Last season, the Lions made us believe Williams wouldn’t get a chance to live up to his draft capital. The team traded for Donavan Peoples-Jones, which failed. The 2024 class had some elite deep threats that the Lions seem to pass on and focus on their defense. This proves that Williams will have every opportunity to be the WR2 for this team and have a breakout 2024 season. Williams is a player worth buying low on because he is attached to this high-power Lions offense.


Jonathan Mingo, CAR

Jonathan Mingo is a loser from this NFL draft. He was a high second-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Mingo played poorly as a rookie and couldn’t find much separation during the season. He ranked 67th in target separation and gave no help to rookie quarterback Bryce Young. The team already traded for Diontae Johnson, and they have aging veteran Adam Thielen, who did fantastic last year. The team drafted Xavier Legette and Ja’Tavion Sanders to boost the passing offense.

Photo Courtesy of David Jensen/Icon Sportswire

The Panthers offense should be better under the new coaching regime, but the regime didn’t draft Mingo. Dave Canales and the company did trade up to get Legette and Sanders to have their guys on offense. Legette is a natural separator on the field, and Sanders is a mismatch for a linebacker covering him. If Mingo doesn’t show major improvement in his game this offseason, especially after how the draft went, things could get worse for Mingo. Mingo may only be, at best, a WR3 in the offense and, at worst, be the next Terrace Marshall for this Panthers team. 

Gabe Davis, JAX

The Jaguars took Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round of the NFL draft. They clearly felt like they needed a difference-maker at the receiver position, so they went out and went Thomas. He is a big-frame downfield threat at receiver who broke out in 2023, leading all FBS with 17 receiving touchdowns. If Thomas can develop, he could be an elite dominant receiver for the Jaguars. You don’t spend a first-round pick on a receiver and not give him every opportunity to be your day-one starter. 

This hurts Davis, who I thought could have one final shot at being that elite player we’ve seen a glimpse of. While it could still happen, the likelihood seems less with Thomas, who is an overall better talent. The Jaguars did give Davis decent money, so his job is likely safe in the starting lineup due to his blocking ability. Zay Jones was cut today, another sign of the Jaguars’ intentions. Thomas has an elite upside that Davis does not possess. 

New England WRs

The Patriots receivers who were on the roster pre-NFL draft were just put on notice. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a shell of his former self and isn’t the same player he was in Pittsburgh. Kendrick Bourne had a great season and signed a contract, but he is coming off a major injury. DeMario Douglas was solid, but he could still be replaced if needed. Tyquan Thorton and Kayshon Boutte look like they are about to be preseason roster cuts. They are losers because the Patriots drafted two excellent receivers during the draft. 

Ja’Lynn Polk was drafted in the second round and could quickly develop into a strong WR2 for the offense. He has magnet hands and can use his ball skills to bring anything that comes his way. He has enough speed to push downfield to be a threat and knows how to get himself open on the field. In the fourth round, the team took on Javon Baker. I had Baker in the top ten among the receiver prospects. He has the talent to be a true X receiver at the NFL Level. Baker is a physical ball winner who has excellent route-running ability. Both players could easily be day-one starters for a team looking for weapons on the offense.

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