Bryce Ford-Wheaton is Giants’ most-intriguing UDFA addition
Immediately following the conclusion of the 2023 NFL draft, teams rushed to sign the best undrafted rookie free agents available.
The New York Giants and general manager Joe Schoen were no different, signing several players and inviting several more to rookie minicamp within hours.
But one name stood out above the rest: West Virginia wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton.
Ford-Wheaton has impressive size at 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds, and his Relative Athletic Scores (RAS) were off the charts. Could the Giants have found a diamond in the rough?
Bryce Ford-Wheaton is a WR prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.97 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 11 out of 3062 WR from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/pI7be1kVNH https://t.co/wlLHGXTyXX pic.twitter.com/0paWELLU36
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2023
.@TheAthletic reported the #Giants added WVU WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton
Great, size, speed, and burst…here’s his mockdraftable pic.twitter.com/Y5Tl7l8Ida
— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) April 30, 2023
The fact that Ford-Wheaton went undrafted was a bit of a head-scratcher for some, but there is a history of inconsistency there. Still, the talent and athleticism seemed to be more than enough for someone to take a chance. NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein had him pegged as a fourth-round pick.
Ford-Wheaton is a big, long wideout specializing in downfield jump-ball victories. He’s a high-riser with an above-average wingspan, but he rarely slips past press coverage easily and fails to separate like he should relative to the blazing speed he showed at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s a raw route runner with tight hips and a lack of attention to detail that allows defenders to anticipate breaks and contest his catches on a regular basis. Ford-Wheaton has the size and hand strength to post victories on 50-50 throws, but he will need to prove he can consistently play to his athletic ability.
Even as a raw player, that type of size and athleticism usually sells. But the inconsistency sent up red flags across the NFL — and one head coach told Ford-Wheaton exactly that.
“Sometimes you look like Calvin Johnson but sometimes you look like you couldn’t start on a JUCO team in Iowa,” Ford-Wheaton recalled being told, via Mike Asti.
The Giants have invested quite a bit into their wide receiver group this offseason, including a trade up for Jalin Hyatt in Round 3 of the draft, but they don’t have many with Ford-Wheaton’s size. At his best, he’s a true ‘X’ receiver with the potential to take over as a WR1.
If head coach Brian Daboll and his staff are able to get the most out of Ford-Wheaton, they may have hit a home run. If not, it’ll end up being a story about what might have been.
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