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Harrison Obvious Choice to Lead Rookie WRs in Receiving Yards

In the 2024 NFL Draft first round, it was clear that offense was at the forefront of just about every team’s mind. The first 14 picks of the draft were all on the offensive side of the ball, the longest such stretch in any draft. Seven wide receivers were also selected in the first round, which tied a record set in 2004. That makes the NFL odds for the rookie with the most receiving yards very interesting.

In addition, three wide receivers were taken with the nine picks. The Arizona Cardinals selected Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 4 pick, the New York Giants selected Malik Nabers at No. 6 and the Chicago Bears added Rome Odunze with the ninth overall pick. All three receivers have a good chance of leading this rookie class in receiving yards.

Harrison Obvious Choice to Lead Rookie WRs in Receiving Yards
Marvin Harrison Jr. #18 of the Ohio State Buckeye | Sam Hodde/Getty Images/AFP

However, last season, Puka Nacua, who was selected in the fifth round, led all rookies in receiving yards while setting a league record for rookies with 1,486 yards. There might be too much talent at the top of the 2024 draft for that to happen this season.

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Harrison Lands in Perfect Situation

The crown jewel of this potentially elite wide receiver draft class was Harrison. He was the first wideout selected in the 2024 draft for good reasons. In his last two seasons at Ohio State, Harrison had over 1,200 receiving yards, with 14 touchdowns in each.

Harrison was easily one of college football’s most dominating wide receivers over the last two seasons, so he seemed an obvious choice to be the first one off the board. However, that is not the only reason he is the clear favorite, with his odds set at even to lead all rookies in receiving yards.

The biggest reason Harrison should lead all rookies in receiving yards is because of the team that drafted him. The Cardinals have a legitimate starting quarterback in Kyler Murray, who has been to the Pro Bowl twice in five seasons but has only played more than 13 games three times. Furthermore, there was no No.1 wide receiver on the Cardinals last season. Trey McBride, a tight end, led the Cardinals in receiving yards in 2023 with 825.

There is a clear void in the Cardinals’ offense that Harrison can easily step into. He is also not going to a team with quarterback issues but one that has actually had success, helping him become the clear favorite to lead all rookies in receiving yards.

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Nabers Ready for Giant Season

Like Harrison, Nabers has been drafted into a pretty good situation as a rookie wide receiver and could quickly become the New York Giants‘ No.1 option. That is why Nabers has the second-lowest odds of leading all rookies in receiving yards, set at +165.

Last season, the Giants’ wide receiver room could have been better. No receiver had over 800 receiving yards on the season, with Darius Slayton getting the closest at 770. However, the lack of receiving yards might have been because starting quarterback Daniel Jones only played in six games because of injuries. There is some talent in the receiver room, including Wan’Dale Robinson, a second-round pick in 2022, and Jalin Hyatt, a rookie last season, but neither is a clear No.1 threat like Nabers could be.

Now that Jones is set to be the Giant’s Week 1 starter, the passing offense might get back on track, and the addition of Nabers as a true No.1 receiver could be a game-changer. At LSU last season, Nabers had 1,569 racing yards and 14 touchdowns, which was the breakout season he needed to be selected sixth overall.

The biggest hindrance to Nabers’s big season could be New York’s offensive system. The Giants’ passing offense was ranked 31st last season, partly due to injuries, but it does make it hard to believe that a system can be built around Nabers. He will still be the No.1 option, but that might not mean much if the offense around him is still struggling.


Underdogs With a Chance

It is not surprising to see the ninth overall pick, Odunze, be an underdog with odds at +225 to lead all rookies in receiving yards, but it makes sense. The Bears made massive moves to help their first overall pick, quarterback Caleb Williams, feel comfortable. The Bears already had two solid receiving threats in D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet on the roster before trading for Keenan Allen.

While Odunze put up big numbers last season at Washington with 1,640 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, there might be too many mouths to feed on the Bears. The two receivers selected in front of him will be immediate No.1 receivers on the depth chart while Odunze has to wait for his time to shine.

The second underdog is Keon Coleman, who was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the 33rd overall pick and the first selection of the second round. While Coleman did not put up big numbers at Florida State last season (658 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns), he might have to on the Bills.

The Bills traded away quarterback Josh Allen’s top receiver, Stefon Diggs, opening up an opportunity for Coleman. It seems like in OTAs, Allen and Coleman have started to build up a connection, which could lead to a big season for the rookie receiver. Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and if Coleman becomes a receiver he looks for first, it could lead to a lot of yards.


Best Betting Option is in the Desert

It would be nice for NFL picks not to go with the favorite to lead rookies in receiving yards, but it is hard not to bet on Harrison. He has the obvious talent to be a No.1 receiving threat and has fallen into the arms of a Cardinals team that needs him. Plus, the Cardinals already have a Pro Bowl-level quarterback that will know how to get Harrison the ball.

All of the other players on this list could make things competitive but still have at least one question mark that could hold them back. There is no such thing for Harrison.



Question Of The Day

Do the Cardinals have a chance to make the playoffs now?

The Cardinals still have many roster issues, so their odds of missing the playoffs are -400. However, Marvin Harrison Jr. is still a massive upgrade for the offense, making the Cardinals a more interesting team this season.

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