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2024 NFL Draft prospect profile: Brenden Rice, WR, USC

Can Brenden Rice step out of his father’s shadow?

NCAA Football: UCLA at Southern California Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t uncommon to have the scions of Football Families enter the draft But the 2024 draft class is notable for having the sons of three of the best to ever play their positions come out together.

That weight of expectation is a lot to put on a young man, and few stand in deeper, longer shadow than USC wide receiver Brenden Rice.

Rice is, of course, the son of Jerry Rice, and will be heavily scrutinized for the fact.

The New York Giants have an obvious need at wide receiver. Could they give Rice the opportunity to forge his own legacy?

Prospect: Brenden Rice (2)
Games Watched: vs. Notre Dame (2023), vs. Utah (2023), vs. Washington (2023), vs. Oregon (2023)

Measurables

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 212 pounds
Hand size: 9 3/8 inches
Arm length: 32 5/8 inches

Strengths

  • Size
  • Blocking
  • Competitive toughness
  • Catch radius
  • Quickness

Brenden Rice is a good sized, tough, and surprisingly quick receiving prospect.

Rice has a good frame for an outside receiver at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, with solid length and thickness in his upper and lower body. He primarily aligned on the outside for USC, though he did play from the slot on occasion.

He has surprising short-area quickness and agility for a bigger receiver, and made use of that in several areas of his game.

Rice does a good job of pressing the stems of his routes vertically, running into defenders’ chests and forcing them back on his heels. His agility and short-area quickness allow him to make sharp breaks for a big receiver and quickly work back to the ball. He does a good job of extending to maximize his catch radius, frame the ball, and pluck it out of the air. Rice’s quickness and size is also useful in the red zone, and he only had two games in 2023 without a touchdown.

Interestingly, and despite the connotations that come along with his last name, the best part of Rice’s game at this point is his blocking. Brenden Rice is a legitimately great blocker who is not only willing, but brings good play strength and technique. It’s an unappreciated area of wide receiver play, but good blocking from the receiver position is a factor in many of the best running games.

Part and parcel with that is his competitive toughness. Rice routinely gives good effort when playing without the ball and fights to allow his teammates to make plays.

Weaknesses

  • Long speed
  • Explosiveness
  • Adjustments

Rice has solid but not great athleticism. He isn’t particularly explosive, nor does he have great long speed on tape. That can limit his ability to get open down the field as well as pick up yards after the catch.

Rice only has an average release package. He gets into his routes well against zone coverage but struggles to clear man coverage.

He can struggle to separate from tight coverage down the field. Likewise, he can also be disturbed at catch point despite his size and strength. Rice can also have issues locating, tracking, and adjusting to the ball in the air.

Game Tape

(Rice is USC receiver number 2)

Projection

Brenden Rice projects as a second or third receiver at the NFL level. He would be at his best as possession receiver in an offense that features a run or screen-heavy attack out of 11-personnel packages.

He does a good job of working back to the ball in the short to intermediate area of the field, using his quickness to separate out of his breaks. Rice also does a good job of making himself available on scramble drills or in the red zone.

Rice is a very good perimeter blocker who does a great job of getting into position, engaging defenders, and sustaining his blocks for as long as necessary. He has some savvy as a route runner and smoothly transitions from receiver into blocker down the field. Teams that run offenses similar to the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers will find a lot of value in Rice’s blocking, as well as his ability to get open in the red zone.

Does he fit the Giants?
Yes, in a similar role as Isaiah Hodgins.

Final Word: A solid Day 2 pick