ESPN expert projects Oregon WR Troy Franklin to be first-round NFL Draft pick
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has one Oregon player in the first round of his debut 2024 NFL mock draft.
While some mock drafts have slotted quarterback Bo Nix to a team in the first round and some others have had Rimington Trophy-winning center Jackson Powers-Johnson as a first-rounder, Kiper has wideout Troy Franklin as Oregon’s only Day 1 pick. And he has Franklin going to the Kansas City Chiefs with the 29th overall selection.
Here’s what Kiper wrote on the potential pick:
Did you expect me to go with another position? Kansas City’s receivers really struggled this season, outside of rookie second-rounder Rashee Rice, who might already be their top wideout. Chiefs pass-catchers dropped 38 passes during the regular season, ranking last in the league. That’s why I’m giving them a talented playmaker with this pick.
Franklin averaged 17.1 yards per catch in 2023 and had 23 receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons. He is a big, 6-foot-3 target with deceptive speed who can break tackles after the catch. This isn’t the first time I’ve projected Kansas City to land a receiver in Round 1 — I gave them Zay Flowers in my final 2023 mock — but the hole is too large to not fill here. By the way, this makes seven wideouts in Round 1, which would tie the record for most in a single draft (2004).
The junior from East Palo Alto had one of the greatest seasons in Oregon program history in 2023. In 13 games, he produced a program-record 1,383 yards and a program-record 14 receiving touchdowns. His 81 receptions were also a program record for a single season until Tez Johnson passed him by in the bowl game.
Franklin is a big-play threat at any given moment. He had the fourth-best per-catch average among qualified Pac-12 receivers and brought in just as many 100-yard receiving games as the Biletnikoff winner.