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Zakhari Franklin 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Zakhari Franklin

Zakhari Franklin
(Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Zakhari Franklin 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Next up on the docket to get their 2024 NFL Draft profile is Ole Miss’ Zakhari Franklin. Franklin was an uber-productive receiver for UTSA, but injuries robbed him of his final collegiate season for the Rebels. Could we be looking at a sneaky late-round draft pick? Let’s talk about it.

Franklin, a former two-star recruit out of Texas, committed to UTSA and played there for four seasons before transferring to Ole Miss. Franklin saw the field a bit during his first two seasons, but his final two seasons are where he shined. During those final two seasons, he accumulated 174 catches for 2,164 yards and a staggering 27 touchdowns. However, as mentioned above, he was injured almost the entire season after picking up a knee injury in fall camp, finishing his final season with four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.

I highlighted Zakhari Franklin in my pre-season SEC preview as potentially being one of the main parts of this offense and was bummed we didn’t get to see him in a bigger conference because I believe there are some really nice traits about his game.

You aren’t jamming Franklin off the line in press coverage. He does a great job using his hands and quick feet to fight through press and get into his route. The route tree is solid enough and shows nice footwork and knee bend to make the cuts and breaks you need. Drops aren’t a huge issue in his game, which is always a relief. I also loved what I saw on the underneath routes and letting him work in the open field, which leads me to believe he could start out doing kick/punt return potentially.

I don’t really love that he will be turning 24 during the upcoming NFL season, but obviously nothing he can control. Kind of a slimmer frame to be working as an outside receiver as well (6’1, 185 lbs) so he might be used more as a slot receiver, in which case the route tree will need to expand. Thought he did a nice job on go routes, but noticed he tried to let the ball fall in on throws where that wasn’t possible. I’d like to see him use his hands a bit more and snag the ball.

I really believe that Zakhari Franklin could have had a nice season in the SEC this year, and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see that. I bet his draft stock would be way higher than it is. As it stands, I have a sixth-round grade on him, and I think that if he can stay healthy he might make a decent addition to an NFL team. Might not be a huge contributor early in his career, but that back half of the rookie deal is where you’ll get some value.

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