After watching their fellow teams go wide receiver crazy in the back half of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings may have landed the best of them all in Jordan Addison, the former Pittsburgh Panthers Biletnikoff Award winner who finished out his collegiate career as a member of the USC Trojans.
A smart, savvy wide receiver who might be a tad undersized but has been incredibly productive nonetheless, Addison is a fantastic inside-out contributor, an advanced route runner, and the sort of player who a pair of first-round quarterbacks, Kenny Pickett and Caleb Williams, targeted more than anyone else. But who does he compare to as a pro? Well, fear not, for plenty of people who know a lot about football have pro comps for the 21-year-old collegiate Trojan who will make Vikings fans very excited indeed. #Skol
A lot of plays.
A lot of TDs.@Espn_Jordan is bringing it to Minnesota.
: #VikingsDraft on @NFLNetwork, @ABC & @ESPN pic.twitter.com/pwK3FS9x0e
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 28, 2023
3. Emmanuel Sanders
Whether playing for Pittsburgh, in Denver, or for the 49ers, Saints, and Bills over the final two and a half years of his career, there were few targets more reliable over the past decade than Emmanuel Sanders. An inside-out marvel who averaged 770 yards over his 12-year career, with additional utility added as a returner, there was little Sanders couldn’t do as a pro, and, in the opinion of Pro Football Focus, Addison could fill a similar role for the Vikings moving forward.
“Addison was the Biletnikoff Award winner with Pittsburgh in 2021 before transferring to USC. He’s a crafty route runner with the kind of bend to run a full route tree. He caught 159 passes for 2,468 yards and 25 scores over the past two seasons.” PFF wrote. “Addison has one of the higher floors among receivers in the draft class due to his blend of route-running chops and all-around athleticism.”
While Addison probably won’t be returning kicks for the Vikings any time soon, as they need a new WR2 after saying goodbye to Adam Thielen, the 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner was largely used in the slot at Pitt and on the outside for Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans, so his offensive versatility could rival peak Sanders relatively early in his professional career.
2. Tyler Lockett
At Pitt, Addison was one of the most dominant slot receivers the NCAA has seen in years. He thrived in space, using his change of direction ability and route running prowess to shimmy himself free from coverage, and was then able to navigate the open field like a punt returner as he targeted the endzone, a location where he practically owned a timeshare, considering he had 21 touchdowns as a Panther. Looking at his Pitt production alone, it’s not too hard to see similarities to none other than Tyler Lockett, the player NFL.com Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein compared him to in his draft profile.
“Inside/outside wideout with the speed and agility to work confidently on all three levels of the field, but lacking the size and catch strength generally associated with high-impact performers on the next level,” Zierlein wrote. “Addison’s route running features acceleration, dynamic steering and sudden turns at a moment’s notice. While he can get to the spot effectively, he has trouble consistently winning battles when he has coverage company beside him. While Addison failed to make the same impact he did in 2021, his usage at Pitt might be a better indicator of the type of role and production he could be capable of on the next level.”
With Jefferson a slot specialist who can kick outside, Addison provides head coach Kevin O’Connell with yet another moveable chess piece who can pick apart mismatches and target advantageous opponents across a defensive secondary.
1. Jordan Addison
Jordan Addison is 5-foot-11, 173-pound wide receiver with 4.49 speed who can play on the inside, play on the outside, and beat cornerbacks with his brain more so than his brawn. Now who does that sound like? To me, the answer is simple: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
Like Addison, Smith isn’t the biggest wide receiver, isn’t the fastest wide receiver, and can get pushed around by opposing players who get physical at the line of scrimmage and after the catch, but that hasn’t stopped the Alabama product from amassing 2,112 yards as a pro and becoming one of the best number 2 wide receivers in the NFL thanks to the presence of A.J. Brown. If the Vikings decide to use Addison like his fellow Biletnikoff Award winner, filling a number two role next to Jefferson and lining up all over the field to take advantage of mismatches, the Pittsburgh/USC product will be able to feast on single coverage and work his way open against all but the best cornerbacks in the NFL. No matter how you slice it, landing a player many talent evaluators considered the best wide receiver in the draft at pick 23 is a great value.
You can find @Espn_Jordan in the end zone. pic.twitter.com/N9FvaU7ADc
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 28, 2023
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