Nebraska Athletic Department

PRO 2023 Rookie Spotlight: Trey Palmer, WR Nebraska

Rookie Spotlight: Trey Palmer, WR Nebraska
Height: 6-0
Weight: 193
Hands: 9 1/2″
Arm: 31 7/8″
40 yard dash: 4.33
2023 Age: 22
NFL Comparison: Danny Gray, Mecole Hardman, Quez Watkins
Breakout Age: 21 (senior)

Offensive Market Share Metrics (Final Season)

Receptions: 35%
Receiving Yards: 39%
Receiving TDs: 53%
Total Production Percentage: 42%

As a high school prospect: Class of 2019; 4-star

– One of the Big 10’s fastest players
– Former track star, holds Louisiana H.S. state record for 200m dash
– Undeniable home-run hitter
– 17th-best PFF receiving grade of 425 FBS qualifiers
– Uber-productive in only year at Nebraska, best final-season production profile of all Senior Bowl WRs in 2023
– Great open-field vision
– Showed the ability to completely take over a football game versus Purdue (2023) – 237 receiving yards, 60 rushing yards, 2 TDs

– Was a non-factor for first three seasons at LSU before transferring to Nebraska
– Frequent body-catcher
– 11 drops in 2022
– Only an average YAC creator, lacks strength as a tackle-breaker
– Trouble with contested-catch situations

Scouting Notes: Palmer was highly touted out of high school and chose to stay home to play at LSU over offers from all of the bluebloods. A track star in high school, Palmer won four straight state championships in the 200m dash and holds the current 1A Louisiana State Record. At LSU, he failed to find massive success playing alongside future NFL receivers like Racey McMath, Terrace Marshall, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. In 2022, he transferred to Nebraska where he quickly developed an excellent chemistry with downfield slinger and fellow transfer QB Casey Thompson; and we finally saw what Palmer was able to do as a featured weapon on offense. Palmer was uber-productive, showing the ability to absolutely take over football games and carry the offense. He can get over the top with relative ease and give his QB a chance to take the big shot downfield, but is also adequate underneath and can do plenty of damage in the open field with the ball in his hands. If he has space after-catch, he’s going to hurt you. His route-running is not smooth and his hands are not as natural as you might expect from such a dynamic difference-maker. His 11 drops in 2022 represent a reason for caution. He also plays small at times — he’s not going to make a living on contested catches and he goes down fairly easily on first contact. Despite some of these attributes not being as strong as one might like, Palmer still graded out at an elite level overall from PFF, notching their 17th-best receiving score among all 2023 FBS qualifiers.

Fantasy Outlook: We’ve compared Palmer to a Danny Gray or Mecole Hardman or Quez Watkins-type of prospect who has speed to burn but comes in a little bit unrefined with certain techniques and subtleties of the position. With an impressive combine, it would not be a shock in the least to see a team go after him in Day 2 betting on the upside and speed as you can never have enough speed in your receiver room, especially if you can parlay it with good open-field vision (which Palmer clearly has) to possibly contribute in the return game. From there, landing spot, target competition and fit in the offense will be of primary importance to Palmer’s fantasy stock. We’ve seen players in this general mold end up becoming anything from busts like Henry Ruggs to boom-bust fantasy assets who can net managers occasional big weeks like Mecole Hardman to even frontline situational fantasy starters like Jeremy Maclin. Palmer is a fine flier to take later on in traditional 1QB 5-round early dynasty rookie drafts in hopes of a good showing through the draft and testing process that might elevate his projected NFL draft capital to that Day 2 range.

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