The wide receiver class in the 2023 NFL Draft is anything but ordinary. It’s a group of players that is full of outliers. In fact, there are so many players who are outliers compared to the NFL’s archetype for a wide receiver, it’s fair to say that the prototypical receivers are the exceptions.
And this is even true at the top of the depth chart, which causing headaches for plenty of evaluators.
USC receiver Jordan Addison has been regarded as the top receiver in the draft and was a fringe Top 10 prospect during the 2022 college season. However, he’s slipped over the course of the draft process. Addison is smaller than teams prefer, and he also had a disappointing workout at the NFL Scouting Combine.
That, of course, could work to the advantage of the New York Giants. It was unthinkable during the season that Addison could drop to the Giants. But now, it might just happen. So what kind of player is he?
Games Played: 35
Yards (YPC): 3,134 (14.3 per catch)
Games Played: 11
Yards (YPC): 875 (14.8)
Best: Ball skills, body control, route running, quickness and agility
Worst: Size, speed and explosiveness
Projection: A starting slot or possession receiver in a Spread or West Coast offense.
USC’s Jordan Addison is a productive and versatile receiver prospect.
Addison transferred from Pittsburgh to USC prior to the 2022 season. He primarily played in the slot in Pittsburgh’s offense, but lined up all over the USC formation in Lincoln Riley’s offense. Addison played in the slot, as a wide receiver, and in the backfield as a “running back”. He was used to attack all areas of the field and was used as a ball carrier on sweeps.
Addison is a smart, detailed, and savvy route runner. He has a very efficient release package and is able to defeat press coverage at the line of scrimmage. He makes good use of his quickness and hands to get off the line of scrimmage without his timing being disrupted. He does a good job of using his route tempo as a weapon and presses his route stem vertically whenever possible. Addison has quick feet and a flexible lower body, allowing him to sink his hips and make sharp breaks to generate separation with his routes.
He also has excellent ball skills down the field. Addison does a great job of locating, tracking, and adjusting to the ball in the air. He’s a natural “hands” catcher who attacks the ball at the catch point and plucks it out of the air away from his body. He also has great body control to contort his body and adjust to off-target throws. His body control and hands also allow him to maximize his catch radius and play much bigger than he measures. He proved to be a legitimate threat in the red zone and in short-yardage situations thanks to that body control as well as his route running and quickness.
Addison is a dangerous player after the catch. He has the burst to generate separation from defenders, the agility to make would-be tacklers miss in close quarters, and solid vision as well. USC also took advantage of that by putting Addison in jet motion prior to the snap. Teams were forced to respect the threat he poses with the ball in his hands, creating opportunities elsewhere in the offense.
While Addison has been a very reliable and productive receiver, he lacks anything like elite measurables. He’s undersized for an NFL receiver at 5-foot-11 and 171 pounds. Likewise, he’s definitely a “quicker than fast” player, who plays faster than he times. Addison is slightly built and lacks play strength compared to most outside receivers. He can struggle against physical coverage throughout his route and at the catch point.
He will come in under some critical thresholds for some teams, and he also had an underwhelming workout at the Scouting Combine, which could knock him down some teams’ draft boards.
Also, while Addison did line up outside at USC, most of his experience is in the slot. Between that and concerns regarding his size, teams could look at Addison as a “slot only” player at the NFL level.
Overall Grade: 8.0
Jordan Addison projects as a starting slot or possession receiver at the NFL level.
He would be best in a West Coast offense that uses timing and precision route running to stress defenses and create separation. He has the football IQ and pro-ready route running to excel in those schemes, and they would also hide his weaknesses to some extent. Addison was able to play on the line of scrimmage at USC, but he will likely be better as a Slot or Flanker at the NFL level. NFL corners are, on average, bigger, more athletic, and more technically sound than their collegiate counterparts, and Addison could struggle against them to start his career.
His size will certainly be a concern for some teams – not just regarding his match-ups with NFL defenders, but also with regards to his durability.,
USC schemed touches for Addison, and his future NFL team would do well to look at some of those concepts. Addison is a versatile player, and while he shouldn’t be force-fed touches at the NFL level, he has the upside to help a team right away and be a productive receiver right away.