2024 Second-Year Scouting Report: Jonathan Mingo


The NFL’s new rookie class gets all the attention over the summer. They’re the flashy new pieces for fantasy football, and of course they can be anything.

But last year’s rookies aren’t fully formed yet. The players entering their second seasons aren’t the fancy new thing anymore. That can open up some value in fantasy drafts for players still due to break out, and it can lead to fantasy mistakes on players who had a good first season and turn out to be a mirage. Everyone knows Year 1 to Year 2 is the biggest potential jump an NFL player can make, but this still happens.

Over the course of the summer, we’re going to revisit last year’s rookie class in our Second-Year Scouting Report series, looking at the incoming sophomore NFL players to see what went right in their rookie season, what went wrong and what we can expect going forward.

Jonathan Mingo, WR, Carolina Panthers 

Jonathan Mingo emerged as one of the most debated prospects of the 2023 NFL Draft despite a modest college career at Ole Miss, where he accumulated just 1,758 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns over four years. But his exceptional Senior Bowl and combine performances turned heads. With impressive metrics, including a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, a 39.5-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-9 broad jump and 22 reps on the bench press (225 lbs), Mingo became a second-round selection for the Panthers at 39th overall.

The combination of his physical attributes and draft capital fueled considerable hype, as many saw a clear path to significant targets for him in Year 1. There was a belief that players with his physical traits and draft pedigree rarely fail. However, Mingo’s early-career trajectory has been a disappointment, suggesting he may be on the path to becoming a bust.

What Went Wrong

Jonathan Mingo’s rookie season was marred by a combination of factors, some within his control and others not. Notably, he struggled with poor technique at the catch point and often failed to create separation, resulting in only 43 receptions out of 85 targets – a subpar conversion rate for any receiver, let alone a rookie. While some of these incompletions can be attributed to errant passes, not all can be excused by poor ball placement.

Mingo’s lack of yards after the catch was concerning, especially considering it was a strength of his at Ole Miss. A mere 3.7 yards per reception fell far short of expectations. With only 418 receiving yards, he ranked 13th among rookie wide receivers and 16th among all rookies – a disappointing output for a player selected as the fifth wide receiver in the draft. Additionally, his yards per route run of 0.78 (via PFF), ranked him 25th among rookie wideouts.

Adding to these challenges, Mingo failed to score a single touchdown throughout the season. Collectively, these struggles translated into a lackluster fantasy season with a mere 63.3 points in half PPR, resulting in a WR84 finish.

What Went Right

Very Little.

Mingo faced considerable challenges, as discussed earlier, but there were notable bright spots. He managed to carve out a decent role in a shallow wide receiver room, finishing second on the team with 85 targets and 43 receptions. This was all while playing 578 passing snaps (fifth-most among rookies) and running a route on 93.3% of these snaps according to PFF. Additionally, he showcased glimpses of the explosive playmaking ability observed during his time at Ole Miss, registering six “big-time plays” (defined as 20+ yard plays), via ESPN, leaving a glimmer of hope for a second-year breakout. 

Prognosis Entering 2024

Mingo’s near future appears uncertain following the Panthers’ addition of another top-40 pick in Xavier Legette during this year’s draft and the acquisition of Dionate Johnson via trade. Johnson and Adam Thielen are likely going to lead the receiving corps and command the largest target shares, while Mingo and Legette will be competing for the limited remaining opportunities. Mingo being a second-year pro may initially hold an advantage over Legette, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Legette surpass him early on. Considering this, I’m steering clear of Mingo in redraft leagues in 2024.

Dynasty Outlook

This upcoming season carries significant weight for Mingo, particularly considering his bleak dynasty outlook. After a lackluster rookie year, the Panthers bolstered their receiving corps, including the addition of Johnson, who is poised to assume the WR1 role and potentially secure a contract extension. The other major addition is Legette, who has a playing style reminiscent of Mingo’s.

Legette poses the most significant long-term threat to Mingo and could render him irrelevant within the offense. Both players entered the NFL with questions about their overall completeness as receivers, leaving us to wonder which of the two will develop faster. The one who does is likely to claim the primary WR2 spot in the coming years, leaving the other on the sidelines.

For these reasons, it’s safe to explore Mingo’s value in dynasty leagues sooner rather than later and pivot away from him if possible.

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