Why the Slide?: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

In the early months of 2024, there were some projections of Oregon wide receiver Troy Franklin being a first-round pick. Franklin helped lead a prolific Ducks offense as the No. 1 receiver for Bo Nix in 2023, and Franklin dominated the Pac-12, catching 81 passes for 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns. To go along with being 6-foot-3, 187 pounds, Franklin showed dangerous vertical speed and looked like a mismatch weapon for the NFL. While Franklin was not a consensus first-round projection, many thought he would likely go in the second round. Thus, it was a surprise when Franklin slipped to the fourth round of 2024 NFL Draft.

In speaking to multiple team sources, there was variety in reasons why Franklin slid. One evaluator said their team had a medical issue with Franklin, and another team said they had an off-the-field concern. An NFC director of player personnel said, “I don’t know. He was rated pretty high throughout most of the year. The projected floor was Round 2 … the depth of the position may have been a factor.” Thus, there was not a singular clear reason that caused Franklin to slide.

Franklin fall was ended by the Denver Broncos, which was a good landing spot for him. He will be reunited with Nix, and they have years of working together, which should help ease their transitions to the NFL. In the immediate future, Franklin might face difficulty finding playing time. Currently, the Broncos have experienced starting wide receivers in Courtland Sutton, Josh Reynolds and Tim Patrick.

Franklin will enter in a competition for playing time with those veterans and 2023 second-round pick Marvin Mims. In a year or two, those three veterans could be down to one or none and Franklin could be a long-term starter with Mims. Franklin could use the time until then to develop and try to add some strength to his thin frame. He has a shot to have a good career with the Broncos, and sliding to them to continue playing with Nix could end up being a blessing in disguise for Franklin.


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