The NFL Draft’s Most Influential Prospects

The highly anticipated 2024 NFL draft is only a few weeks away and we’ve researched which of the top prospects are the most influential on social media. We analyzed Instagram followers and impression data for the top 50 prospects, as identified by ESPN, to determine the most influential individuals in the talent pool and estimate their potential earnings from social media posts.

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In today's age, a player's success in the NFL isn't solely determined by their performance on the field. Social media has become a powerful tool for athletes to connect with fans, build their personal brand, and attract lucrative endorsements. A strong social media presence can open up new opportunities for players to collaborate with brands, expand their reach, and increase their marketability off the field.

For example, players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Patrick Mahomes II have leveraged their large Instagram followings to secure endorsement deals with major brands, becoming influential figures not only in sports but also in popular culture. By engaging with fans, sharing behind-the-scenes moments, and showcasing their personality online, players can create a loyal fan base and establish themselves as marketable athletes with broad appeal.

Top Prospects

Our research indicates that University of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is a highly impactful influencer in this year's draft class. As of April 3rd, the Illinois native has 463,103 Instagram followers, with the potential to earn $4,250 per post based on his engagement. According to Spotrac, first-round draft picks can earn between $12.1 million and $38.5 million. If McCarthy is selected in the first round, he could earn up to $38.5 million throughout his rookie contract. To put this into perspective, he would need to make over 9,000 posts at his current Instagram follower count to reach a similar earnings level.

Ohio State superstar wide receiver, son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Marvin Harrison Jr., has the second highest potential earnings from his Instagram posts, potentially bringing him in $3,950 per post. He currently has 416,016 followers on the platform. It seems that most mock drafts have Harrison Jr. slated to go in the top 10 of the upcoming draft, meaning that the top WR prospect won’t have to rely on Instagram for a proper paycheck once he enters the league. 

It appears that fans across the country have a soft spot for wide receivers, as Xavier Worthy, wide receiver of the Texas Longhorns sits in third place, potentially leveraging his 330,639 followers into $3,300 per post on Instagram.  According to ESPN, Xavier Worthy is the 33rd-best prospect in this year’s draft, so it’s uncertain whether he goes in the 1st or 2nd round. A 2nd round draftee will earn between $6.3m and $9.9m. 

Caleb Williams is by most analysts predicted to be taken with the first overall pick in this year’s draft. Despite this, his Instagram numbers aren’t as impactful as his colleagues. Right now, the Heisman winner has 308,700 followers on Instagram. This number of followers would earn him an estimated $3,100 per post. Unless something dramatic happens, the quarterback will be picked in the first round of the draft, securing him a hefty paycheck. 

As all the potential first-round draft picks from this study continue to generate interest among fans nationwide, their social media presence is expected to grow, leading to more lucrative opportunities for sponsored content and increased earnings. While they boast impressive numbers on social media, there is still a considerable distance to cover in order to rival the influence and potential earnings of the top stars in the NFL. 

Superstars of Today

Right now it’s free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who is the most influential player in the NFL. His current follower count is more than 17.6m. The superstar could leverage this number of followers into around $70k per post. According to Spotrac, the former Super Bowl winner has earned a whopping $100m throughout his career playing for the Giants, the Browns, the Rams, and the Ravens. Considering his career earnings, it’s clear that he by no means has to rely on Instagram earnings to make a living, but it could be a nice bonus for the free agent. 

There’s no doubt that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrich Mahomes II is a generational talent, but his presence on Instagram doesn’t compare to that of Odell Beckham Jr. The superstar quarterback currently has 6.8m followers on Instagram, leaving him as the second most influential NFL player on Instagram. His follower count could be leveraged into $33.5k in earnings per post. Despite being a high number for a single post, it pales in comparison to the earnings in his current contract. To this date, the three-time Super Bowl MVP has earned $136m, and by the end of his current contract, in 2031, his earnings will have skyrocketed to $497m. For Patrick Maholmes to earn similar numbers just by posting on Instagram, he would have to make 14,866 posts, approximately 6 posts per day from now until the end of 2030. 

The third most influential NFL player on Instagram is Travis Kelce. The Kansas City Chiefs tight end currently has 6.4m followers, potentially earning similar amounts to his quarterback, with an estimated earning of $32k per post. Travis Kelce got a boost on his followers count this past year when his relationship with superstar Taylor Swift became publicly known. Up until today, Travis Kelce has earned $76m by playing in the NFL, demonstrating no urgent need to rely on Instagram earnings to make a living. 

In today's competitive landscape, social media presence can play a significant role in shaping a player's career trajectory. For NFL draft prospects, a strong following on platforms like Instagram can attract the attention of teams, sponsors, and fans, potentially influencing their draft stock and future opportunities in the league.

Players with a large social media following may have a built-in fan base that can drive merchandise sales, ticket sales, and overall brand recognition. Teams may also be more inclined to select players with a strong social media presence, as it indicates their marketability and ability to engage with fans both on and off the field. Additionally, sponsors may be more likely to offer endorsement deals to players with a significant social media following, further boosting their visibility and earning potential.

Overall, a player's social media influence and engagement can have a profound impact on their career in the NFL, shaping their marketability, endorsement opportunities, and overall popularity among fans, teams, and sponsors. By understanding and leveraging the power of social media, players can enhance their off-field opportunities and solidify their status as influential figures in the sports world.

Below is a breakdown of the 50 top prospects' Instagram followers and their estimated earnings per post. 

NamePositionInstagram @Followers (3/4-2024)Estimated earnings per post
J.J. McCarthyQBjjmccarthy463,103$4,250.00
Marvin Harrison Jr.WRmarvinharrisonjr416,017$3,950.00
Xavier WorthyWRworthyyy330,639$3,300.00
Caleb WilliamsQBayeeecaleb308,700$3,100.00
Bo NixQBbonix10270,658$2,850.00
Jayden DanielsQBthatkidjayden209,172$2,300.00
Keon ColemanWRkeoncoleman3195,946$2,200.00
Kool-Aid McKinstryCBkoolaid.glizxzy169,718$1,950.00
Brock BowersTEbrockbowers147,963$1,750.00
Terrion ArnoldCBterrionarnold116,989$1,450.00
Malik NabersWRcantguard_malik96,342$1,300.00
Drake MayeQBdrake.maye92,976$1,250.00
Ladd McConkeyWRladd.mcconkey94,973$1,250.00
Ricky PearsallWRricky.pearsall67,929$990.00
Cooper DeJeanCBcooperdejean66,655$934.50
Adonai MitchellWRmocitymitch61,048$892.00
Rome OdunzeWRromeodunze58,613$862.50
Dallas TurnerOLBnolimitdall54,127$815.50
Javon BullardSjavon.bullard44,072$698.50
Jared VerseDEjversee42,451$674.50
Byron Murphy IIDTb2tymes_40,477$657.50
Darius RobinsonDEdrobceo40,459$657.50
Nate WigginsCB1of1wiggs39,528$640.00
Amarius MimsOTamariusmims34,300$575.00
T'Vondre SweatDTtvondre._32,708$552.00
Xavier LegetteWRxavier_legette29,752$516.50
Brian Thomas Jr.WRbrian.thomas1128,308$493.00
Jonathon BrooksRBjonathonbrooks28,211$493.00
Kamari LassiterCBkamari.lassiter27,521$487.00
Chop RobinsonOLBchopyoungbull24,283$399.00
Kris JenkinsDTkjj_1821,565$399.00
JC LathamOTt.k.jay20,414$387.50
Ennis Rakestraw Jr.CB_6.2strong_20,898$387.50
Chris BraswellOLBcbj.1018,916$364.00
Kingsley SuamataiaOTbaby_kingz7617,469$346.50
Jackson Powers-JohnsonCbigjax5416,929$334.50
Payton WilsonILBptwilsonn15,380$305.50
Joe AltOTjalt1614,946$305.50
Braden FiskeDTbradenfiske1812,562$269.50
Olumuyiwa FashanuOTo_fashanu312,311$258.50
Edgerrin CooperILBedgerrin.cooper10,306$234.50
Laiatu LatuOLBlaiatulatu10,821$234.50
Quinyon MitchellCBprezz1dent8,485$182.00
Jer'Zhan NewtonDTjohnny_newton58,395$182.00
Tyler GuytonOT60notgoin7,582$182.00
Troy FautanuOTtroyfautanu5,645$152.50
Bralen TriceDEbraytrice5,865$152.50
Graham BartonCgraham.barton3,381$100.00
Jordan MorganOTj_morgan013,308$94.00
Taliese FuagaOTtaliese_fuaga2,484$76.00
Top 50 prospects of the 2024 NFL Draft

In the upcoming draft, it will be interesting to note if the players' draft order correlates with their social media influence. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the development of followers for all top prospects in the league. 

** Update April 29 **

Now that the draft is over, we decided to look at which of the prospects outlined above saw the biggest increase in followers. Not only did we check the numbers when first writing this piece, we also checked in leading up to the draft (April 23), and today (April 29).

Below is the list of the players names, their followers on April 3, April 23, and April 29, sorted by which players saw the biggest percentage increase in followers since been drafted.

NameFollowers (3/4-2024)Followers (23/4-2024)Followers (29/4-2024)% increase
Troy Fautanu5,6456,02845,035697.79%
Quinyon Mitchell8,4859,05165,378670.51%
Jordan Morgan3,3083,34517,788437.73%
Tyler Guyton7,5827,68435,136363.41%
Graham Barton3,3813,5839,663185.80%
Taliese Fuaga2,4842,7377,027182.89%
Laiatu Latu10,82112,22626,421144.16%
Rome Odunze58,61362,059138,940137.05%
Edgerrin Cooper10,30610,43624,412136.87%
Joe Alt14,94616,46634,385130.06%
Drake Maye92,97695,220205,722121.26%
Ricky Pearsall67,92968,655149,074119.46%
Olumuyiwa Fashanu12,31112,48425,630108.19%
Xavier Legette29,75231,24959,945101.48%
Nate Wiggins39,52839,75275,22790.31%
Payton Wilson15,38015,59428,53385.52%
Jackson Powers-Johnson16,92917,82330,61980.87%
Cooper DeJean66,65573,805113,77770.70%
Byron Murphy II40,47744,30668,32468.80%
Kingsley Suamataia17,46917,49629,40468.32%
Malik Nabers96,342103,947162,06568.22%
JC Latham20,41420,72334,23567.70%
Chop Robinson24,28324,83539,71663.55%
Brian Thomas Jr.28,30832,34245,47560.64%
Dallas Turner54,12756,09186,43259.68%
Jer'Zhan Newton8,3958,60713,07355.72%
Bralen Trice5,8655,9678,77249.57%
Braden Fiske12,56212,88418,67148.63%
Keon Coleman195,946197,740274,55340.12%
Jonathon Brooks28,21129,24539,17238.85%
Amarius Mims34,30034,84946,47935.51%
Ennis Rakestraw Jr.20,89820,82927,97833.88%
Kris Jenkins21,56521,97928,84333.75%
Javon Bullard44,07244,45958,32532.34%
Terrion Arnold116,989118,526153,88031.53%
Kamari Lassiter27,52127,99235,74529.88%
Caleb Williams308,700313,907400,78029.83%
Jared Verse42,45143,24253,96427.12%
Xavier Worthy330,639332,742416,52325.98%
Jayden Daniels209,172214,013259,30723.97%
Adonai Mitchell61,04862,17675,55123.76%
Bo Nix270,658270,716327,83521.13%
Brock Bowers147,963149,692174,46517.91%
Chris Braswell18,91618,89122,23517.55%
T'Vondre Sweat32,70832,99537,97316.10%
Kool-Aid McKinstry169,718172,435193,92114.26%
J.J. McCarthy463,103464,274528,83514.19%
Ladd McConkey94,97396,119106,77512.43%
Marvin Harrison Jr.416,017419,790443,5886.63%

In sheer numbers, it was Drake Maye, New England Patriots new quarterback who got the most new followers. His numbers went up more than 110,000 since being selected 3rd overall. These 110,000 new followers translate to an increase of 121% in his follower count. First overall pick, Caleb Williams, got the second most new followers, welcoming 92,080 since April 3rd, with only 5,000 of them joining between April 3 and April 23. Xavier Worthy, the fastest to ever run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, got the 3rd most new followers following the draft. 85,554 new followers were gained following his selection be the Kanas City Chiefs.


We used the top prospects heading into the draft as identified by ESPN. Follower counts and Instagram engagement was analyzed using the tool, which we also leveraged to determine the estimated earnings per sponsored post. All data is collected and checked as of April 3rd, 2024. All information related to earnings, for both current players and rookies, was gathered using Spotrac.

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