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2023 NFL Draft prospect profile - Rashee Rice, WR , SMU

Is Rice the next under-the-radar receiver to take the NFL by storm?

NCAA Football: Memphis at Southern Methodist Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The wide receiver class in the 2023 NFL Draft is certainly an interesting one.

It might not have a huge depth of talent with the top-end blue chip receivers to which we’ve become accustomed. However, it has an impressive breadth of talent with a lot of draftable wide receivers with a broad range of body types and skill sets.

Prospect: Rashee Rice (11)
Games Watched: vs. UCF (2022), vs. Cincinnati (2022), vs. Houston (2022), vs. Tulane (2022)


Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) |

Career Stats

Games Played: 42

Carries: Receptions: 233
Yards (YPC): 3,111 (13.4 per catch)
Touchdowns: 25

2022 Stats

Games Played: 12

Carries: Receptions: 96
Yards (YPC): 1,355 (14.1 per catch)
Touchdowns: 10

Quick Summary

Best: Play strength, competitive toughness, run-after-catch, burst, blocking
Worst: Catch consistency, ball security, agility
Projection: A rotational receiver with upside in an offense that makes schemes run-after-catch situations.

Game Tape

(Rice is SMU receiver number 11)

Full Report

SMU’s Rashee Rice is a powerful and competitive wide receiver prospect.

Rice primarily played out wide in SMU’s offense, though he aligned in the slot on occasion as well. SMU used him as an individual receiver or as a part of stack and bunch formations to capitalize on his ability as a blocker and runner on wide receiver screens.

Those screen passes formed the bulk of Rice’s involvement in SMU’s offense. He is a good runner with the ball in his hands, and SMU made use of that. He has very good play strength to weather incidental contact, and vision to find running lanes in traffic. Likewise, Rice has enough of an initial burst to generate some separation after the catch and speed to turn that into a decent gain. Rice also has very good play strength and is a very competitive blocker.

He seems to relish laying blocks for his teammates. He quickly establishes his blocks on the outside, strains to sustain them and is capable of driving defensive backs to give his teammates running room. He also quickly transitions from receiver to blocker in the open field and looks for work like an offensive lineman.

When Rice did work as a more traditional receiver, he flashed some impressive savvy as a route runner. He’s physical and does a good job of pressing his stem vertically before working back to the ball. He also does a good job of using subtle hip or head fakes to force corners to open their hips the wrong way before breaking on corner or post routes.

Unfortunately, Rice was asked to run a very limited route tree in SMU’s offense, so we don’t know whether the savvy he flashed on vertical routes would translate to other areas.

He was also frequently asked to run comeback or curl routes, though those didn’t really suit his athletic profile. While Rice has good quickness, he isn’t particularly agile and needs to gather himself and gear down before working back to the ball. That gives opposing defensive backs time to recover and work back to the catch point as well.

Rice’s catch consistency and ball security are easily his biggest concerns. His hands are maddeningly inconsistent, and he will haul in an impressive diving 1-handed catch along the sideline on one play, only to drop an easy reception the next, or have the ball tumble out of his hands while running. He will need to work on his hands and consistency catching the ball and earn teams’ trust before he sees heavy time as a receiver in the NFL.

Overall Grade: 6.7


Rashee Rice projects as a rotational receiver at the NFL level, though he has the upside to grow into a regular contributor in the right offensive scheme.

As it stands now, Rice probably has the highest upside in an offense similar to what is used by Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers. He is a tough, physical player who’s at his best with the ball in his hands – as well as a good blocker.

He’ll need to work on his hands at the NFL level, as well as develop as a route runner and technician. The flashes of savvy from Rice are encouraging and he is capable of making some legitimately impressive grabs down the field. However, it just isn’t consistent enough to be a defining trait of his profile right now – and his low points could do more harm than good against an NFL defense.

There’s a fair bit to like about Rice and he has the ceiling to be a good player in the NFL, but he has some work to do. Rice should have a role right away as special teams player and teams would be well-served by developing packages of plays to make use of his skills early on as he develops.