5 wide receivers the Browns should target in the 2023 NFL Draft
3. Kayshon Boutte, LSU
LSU’s Kayshon Boutte was once viewed as a no-doubt first-round prospect, following in the footsteps of former Tigers, Odell Beckham Jr., Justin Jefferson, and Ja’Marr Chase. At this point leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, injury history and “character concerns” are causing Boutte’s draft stock to fall.
Possibly right into the waiting arms of the Cleveland Browns.
The draft stock of Boutte has been so polarizing that despite his pedigree, he initially announced that he would be returning to Baton Rouge for his senior season, before changing courses and declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft. Talent and ability are not the questions with Boutte. To sum it up, the issue is consistency.
To start, as they say, the best ability is availability. Boutte required two surgeries on an injured ankle that caused him to miss the end of his sophomore season and led him to a slow start after recovering into this past year.
While Boutte did get back into impressive playing form, the injury prevented him from putting up some of these monster, productive seasons that some other prospects were able to post. Further, some are concerned that with such an injury “history,” these issues will carry over to the next level. Some also questioned his work ethic coming back from the injury, but I was certainly not there, so I cannot speak to that at all.
On the field, the main area where I see Boutte struggle is with drops. It seems that he often lapses with his concentration and lets a ball go right through his hands. While there’s plenty of impressive catches and plays littered throughout his tape, Browns fans may be reluctant to give him a fair chance if he comes out as a rookie and has a couple of focus drops, as the team has seen recently.
Similar to guys like Jefferson and Chase before him, Boutte does not have one super glaring strength in his game. He doesn’t have blinding speed, but he can finish off plays. He isn’t the biggest receiver out there, but he is built well and knows how to use his body. He isn’t the crispest route runner, but he knows how to get open. Boutte just seems to find a way to make plays and there is no teaching that.
I actually see quite a bit of Cooper and even a little bit of Peoples-Jones in Boutte’s game. He isn’t the freak-athlete, speed guy that many Browns fans are looking for, but he truly could be the best wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft. His slipping draft stock could be a big win for the Browns if they take a chance on him.