Matt Waldman’s RSP Pre-NFL Draft Scouting Report of Jonathan Mingo at


Matt Waldman shares his 2023 Pre-Draft NFL Scouting Report of Ole Miss WR Jonathan from the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for free at

Author’s Note: I’m sharing a section of this article from, you can read the full scouting report of Mingo for free at the site.  

This is A Strange Rookie Receiver Class

As with every receiver class, there will be players who don’t play to expectations and players who will wildly exceed them. This year feels like there is a higher potential for a boom-bust group.

This class has 7 players with immediate starter grades and another 9-10 with a significant promise to become starters. There are more players this year (22) than last (16) who I believe can become reliable starters—60-80 catches, 800-1,100 yards, and 6-8 scores—regardless of quarterback talent. Yet, there are only 9 who have the potential to develop into perennial Pro Bowl players compared to the 14 I forecasted for last year.

What the numbers above tell me is that there is more talent in this receiver class than advertised, but it is lacking the refined talent that ultimately dictates lasting NFL success. 2023’s rookie receiver class has a lot of prospects with promising athletic makeups and route-running potential, but there’s also a wide-ranging lack of ball skills:

  • Accurately tracking the target.
  • Adequate body positioning against the coverage to attack the target.
  • Accurate hand positioning relative to the trajectory of the target.
  • Adequate attack of the target.

Considering the range of difficulty in addressing ball skills ranges from moderate to extreme difficulty, the chances of this class matching the production of recent classes are improbable despite the wealth of promise in other facets of their games. The promise is the appeal, the drops are the landmines buried under many of these prospects’ games.

But Drops Aren’t A Sticky Stat…

Congratulations, you read Matt Harmon and Dwain McFarland–as you should. Drops don’t kill the prospects of receivers — at least in the general sense.

In the box score, all drops are equal. On film and with quality charting, all drops aren’t equal.

Dwain and I had this discussion recently and we agree that there’s not enough data at this point to differentiate drops in a statistically meaningful way at this point. We also agree that drops likely differ in value based on the nature of the drop.

Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall, Sammie Coates, Robert Meachem, and Gabriel Davis are known for their drops. Owens and Marshall were excellent primary receivers. Coates and Meachem were early-round picks with excellent athletic profiles but lacked the reliability to become the primary option in an offense. Davis is productive as a secondary starter with big-play ability when the offense schemes his targets to maximize potential success.

Here are their career catch percentages:

  • Owens: 57.7%
  • Marshall: 58.9%
  • Coates: 45.3%
  • Meachem: 61%
  • Davis: 54.1%

The data on its own doesn’t tell us much. Owens and Marshall had lower percentages than Meachem, but Meachem never earned more than 45 receptions and 722 yards during his 7-year career. Marshall played nearly twice as long and only dipped below 45 catches 3 times and 722 yards 4 times. Owens played 15 years and all but one season was better, if not dramatically better, than Meachem’s best year.

Coates and Meachem were athletic enough to match the feats of Marshall and Owens. All four had low catch rates relative to other NFL starters. What this tells us is that, despite the lower catch rates, teams trusted Marshall and Owens more than Coates and Meachem.

Based on the film, Marshall and Owens had focus drops—mistakes predicated on the receiver not looking the ball all the way into their frames because they were preoccupied with running after the catch before they fully secured the ball. This isn’t to say that they didn’t have drops due to lapses with attack, positioning, and tracking, but those mistakes weren’t the primary problem.

The offenses that coached Marshall and Owens knew this and fed these receivers the ball because they knew the benefits far outweighed the drawbacks. This wasn’t the case with Coates and Meachem, whose catching techniques had legitimate holes that went beyond focus issues.

Their lapses limited the routes, coverages, and matchups that quarterbacks felt comfortable targeting them. The same is true of Davis, who generates big plays and solid production for the Bills as a schemed-up first read for plays designed to trick the defense and leave Davis wide-open or as the second or third read who has time to outrun the defense if the Bills’ offensive line and/or Josh Allen can buy enough time.

You won’t see Davis targeted on many down-and-distance situations where the opposing defense’s best corner is matched against Davis on a timing route. These are the plays that separate Marshall and Owens from Davis, Coates, and Meachem.

This is one of the reasons why not all drops are equal and why many of the promising athletes and/or route runners in this class have landmines under their games.

Jonathan Mingo Isn’t One of Them

Mingo is in the RSP’s second tier of promising receivers who make up this mine-strewn territory, but he’s on safer ground because his ball skills have a sound foundation. Mingo didn’t have the type of career that merits high expectations for him as an NFL prospect.

He’s not a top-10 prospect on my board, but he has merited a good grade, which is more important than the linear ranking. He’s a mid-round value in rookie drafts whose tape potentially makes him a safer value than 4-6 receivers with more buzz who will be taken ahead of him

Mingo’s one good statistical year is modest compared to other college prospects: 51 catches, 861 yards, and 5 touchdowns. He played a role that was similar in scope to his predecessor. Dontario Drummond, whose best season was a 76-catch, 1,028-yard, 8-score campaign in 2021.

Considering both had a similar role on the same team, most wouldn’t expect Mingo to be the better prospect than Drummond, a 2022 UDFA signee of the Dallas Cowboys who spent his rookie year on the practice squad. Yet, that’s the difference between box-score scouting and evaluating players based on the context of athletic ability, technical skills, and traits.

The media reports that Mingo’s draft capital is on the rise, which could mean that more teams have developed an appreciation of his game. It could also be a meaningless smokescreen based on the timing of the reported increase.

What’s most important to me is Mingo’s performance against the RSP’s evaluation criteria for receiver play. Based on my evaluation of Mingo, he’s already grading out as a player who, at the very least, can rotate in and out of an offense as a weekly contributor. If the team that drafts Mingo tailors a role to his strengths, he could deliver starter production relative to the volume he earns.

Go to to read the complete scouting report. 

Now in its 18th year of publication, the RSP is one of the two most purchased independent scouting guides by NFL scouts and personnel management, according to SMU’s Director of Recruiting, Alex Brown.

It’s also the only one of the two guides that also considers a fantasy audience that includes a Post-Draft guide with a tiered cheat sheet of over 200 players and used ADP data to calculate a sweet spot for where to maximize value relative to my post-draft views on prospects.

You get the RSP here. When the Post-Draft is ready, I’ll email you and you can download it from the same site.

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