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Phil Steele: Top 25 WRs for 2025 NFL Draft ahead of the 2024 college football season

Wide Receiver has quickly become one of the most important positions for N.F.L teams, which means more and more teams are looking for their next star players in the NFL draft.

Before each college football season, Phil Steele releases his magazine previewing the season. During that 2024 college football preview, he also previewed aspects of the 2025 NFL Draft. That includes the Top 25 WRs expected to be available in the draft.

It’s going to be a stacked group of talented WRs in the 2025 NFL Draft and while there’s plenty of room to change the roster down the road, here are the Top 25 wide receivers available, according to Steele.

Luther Burden broke through in 2022 with an excellent freshman campaign. He then backed that up in 2023 by becoming one of the nation’s top wide receivers, with 86 receptions for 1,212 yards and nine touchdowns. That was good enough to earn First-Team All-SEC designation.

Thanks to the performance, there are high expectations that Burden will take another step forward in his third college season. After that, he has the option to go to the draft. Assuming he chooses to go to the NFL next, he will likely be a top pick.

The Ohio State Buckeyes consistently have one of the best WR rooms in the country. This will continue in 2024 with a group led by Emeka Egbuka. He will try to replace some of the production that the first WR made in the 2024 NFL Draft. Marvin Harrison Jrprovided last season.

Egbuka has already proven himself to be a phenomenally talented option for Ohio State’s offense. As a junior in 2023, he had 41 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. That was actually a step back statistically from 2022, when he had 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games.

When head coach Jedd Fish Arizona, there was concern that top players would leave the program with him. However, many of them chose to stay and move on to a new coaching staff and a new conference. That group also includes Tetairoa McMillan.

McMillan was phenomenal in his first two seasons at Arizona. In 25 games, he has 129 receptions for 2,104 yards and 18 touchdowns. That made him a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2023 and made him look like a top option in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Tory Horton is older than many of the other leading WRs available in the 2025 NFL Draft. His college career began in 2020. At the time, he was at Nevada before transferring to Colorado State. Along the way, he was a two-time First Team All-Mountain West selection.

Horton is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he had at least 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. That consistent production, especially if he can repeat it for a third straight season in 2024, is something NFL teams will love to see. He is certainly expected to have a similar season given his experience and past results.

Kaden Prather is one of many WRs in Maryland looking to have a strong 2024 season. With that, he is also expected to be one of the top receivers eligible for the draft next spring after impressing scouts all season. He is especially impressive thanks to his ideal size and athleticism.

Before coming to Maryland in 2023, Prather played for West Virginia. He has had productive statistical seasons at both schools. In 2022, playing for West Virginia, he had 51 receptions for 501 yards and three touchdowns. He then had 42 receptions for 666 yards and five touchdowns at Maryland in 2023.

The next player on Phil Steele’s list of eligible WRs is Iowa State’s Jayden Higgins. He has had a season in which he immediately made his impact felt. In 2023, Higgins had 53 receptions for 983 yards and six touchdowns.

Higgins, like several other WRs highly rated by Steele, transferred before transferring to Iowa State. In his case, he started his career at Eastern Kentucky before making the jump to the FBS level. He’s proven he can compete at that higher level and now he’s trying to show it wasn’t a fluke.

Elic Ayomanor, a wide receiver from Stanford, has played just one season of college football. That’s because he missed 2022 with an injury before making his mark in 2023 with 62 receptions for 1,013 yards and six touchdowns. That helped him earn the John Cornish Award as Canada’s top college football player.

Considering Ayomanor has only played one full college season, how he does in 2024 will go a long way in determining both his draft stock and whether he even chooses to enter the draft. However, he has clearly shown that he is a capable receiver.

Perhaps considered undersized for an NFL wide receiver, there has never been any doubt about Evan Stewart’s raw talent. He was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2022 and the eighth-ranked player nationally, according to the On3 Industry Rankings. Stewart initially went to Texas A&M before transferring to Oregon for this season.

In his two previous seasons at Texas A&M, Evan Stewart played a total of 18 games. During that time, he had 91 receptions for 1,163 yards and six touchdowns. Building on that and staying healthy is hugely important for him at Oregon in 2024.

One of the more interesting WR prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft is likely Kentucky’s Barion Brown. That’s because he’s known as a weapon on special teams for the Wildcats, even being named a First-Team All-American and a Second-Team All-SEC selection in 2023, thanks in large part to his special teams prowess.

In 26 career games at Kentucky, Brown has 93 receptions for 1,167 yards and eight touchdowns. He also returned four punts for touchdowns during his career. Three of those kick returns came during his sophomore campaign in 2023.

Rounding out the top 10 eligible receivers for Phil Steele’s college year is Tennessee’s Bru McCoy. That’s after a season in which he was only able to play five games for the Volunteers. However, he has shown his ability in the past, going back to the era in which he played USC.

At 24 years old, McCoy will be on the older side for receivers entering the league. However, in an explosive Tennessee offense, he has a chance to put up huge numbers and impress teams at the next level. However, the most important thing is to stay healthy throughout the season.

Steele’s 11-25 WRs for the 2025 NFL Draft

11. Isaiah Bond, Texas
12. Deion Burks, Oklahoma
13. Tre Harris, Ole ma’am
14. Tez JohnsonOregon
15. Nick AndersonOklahoma
16. J. Michael Sturdivant, UCLA
17. Jalen Royals, State of Utah
18. Tai FeltonMaryland
19. KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Chestnut brown
20. Ricky Wit III, UNLV
21. Roc Taylor, Memphis
22. Dillon Bell, Georgia
23. Da’Quan FeltonVirginia Tech
24. Squirrel WhiteTennessee
25. Xavier RestrepoMiami