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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Josh Imatorbhebhe

  • The Draft Network
  • January 1, 2021
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Illinois wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe is one of the most impressive pure athletes at the wide receiver position to enter this year’s draft class. A USC transfer and a former 4-star prospect, Imatorbhebhe offers size, ball skills, and explosiveness on the perimeter. There’s plenty of room for added development with his route-running, but the raw athletic profile and skill set of Imatorbhebhe will make him an enticing investment opportunity in this year’s draft. Production and playing experience will temper his status as a prospect, but nevertheless, this is exactly the kind of player you’ll gladly take an early Day 3 flyer on in the hopes that you can develop him into what his potential indicates he could be. Imatorbhebhe has above-average vertical speed, but the high point skills to be an absolute terror at the catch point in a vertical passing offense. There’s no certainty he’ll reach that ceiling if he’s unable to further flesh out his game, but he’s got a trump card that should carry him into some level of contribution regardless of how much growth he shows from here. 

Ideal Role: Developmental starting X-receiver.

Scheme Fit: Vertical passing offense.


Written by Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Minnesota (2019), Michigan (2019), Michigan State (2019), Nebraska (2020), Iowa (2020)

Best Game Studied: Michigan State (2019) 

Worst Game Studied: Minnesota (2019) 

Route Running: He’s not going to offer you a great deal of appeal on hard angles because he’s a longer strider and he was charged with ample vertical routes such as nines, posts, and deep overs. Imatorbhebhe does have success working on the back shoulder on vertical stems. He’s best as a salesman pushing vertically and breaking opposite of the hips of the defender.  

Hands: This should be considered an area of strength. Imatorbhebhe shows good concentration with defenders on his frame and is persistent to attack the football. He’s fully capable at the fringes of his catch radius and will successfully extend on back-shoulder throws to box out and still secure the catch.

Separation: If he’s afforded soft cushions, Imatorbhebhe can work the underneath patterns but he’s not as dynamic here with his ability to sit down quickly. He’s not overly advanced in creating false steps and when he looks to stack press coverage, he needs aid from his inside hand to create the space for a ball to drop over his shoulder. 

Release Package: Imatorbhebhe isn’t going to shake anyone out of their cleats, but with his strength and build-up speed, he’s capable of winning at the line of scrimmage. You wish he had a little bit more burst in his first few steps to really threaten and sell vertically. but without it, he’ll need to continue to refine hand fighting in the contact window.  

Run After Catch: You won’t be very inspired on this front but Imatorbhebhe does have some potential here. He’s big and physical and will break meek challenges in the open field or at the catch point—but you’ll need to hit him in stride (Michigan State 2019) to net big chunk gains after the catch. 

Ball Skills: This is where he’ll feast. Put him against smaller defenders and Imatorbhebhe will win reps like a power forward in the low post. Given high-point opportunities, he'll meet the football at the highest point. His catch radius is enormous and there are some really nice body adjustments to contort and adjust to errant throws. 

Football IQ: Imatorbhebhe will enter the NFL with just 25 games played at the college level on his resume. He’s not overly nuanced in route diversity, but he’s certainly a natural tracking the football in the air. He’s clean with addressing the ball in flight and he has shown subtleties in extending and hand fighting to create daylight at the top of the route. 

Versatility: As things currently stand, there isn’t a lot of flexibility in terms of working Imatorbhebhe onto the field. If he’s unable to wrangle reps as a possession receiver on the perimeter early on, he may be forced to ride the bench early in his career while he levels up his game. Given his twitch, he may warrant consideration in a special teams role as he bides his time as a developmental player. 

Competitive Toughness: Physical, physical, physical. Imatorbhebhe will bully defenders on vertical stems and shows effectiveness in hand fighting to break free and create a crease as the ball arrives. Imatorbhebhe will offer plenty of effective reps in run support on the perimeter as well—don’t be shy about running toward him when set to the strength outside. 

Big-Play Ability: Take shots down the field freely and prosper! Vertical receiving is where he shines the best, which is a testament to his ability to win with the ball in the air when you consider his ability to stack in vertical targets is only modest. Imatorbhebhe did rumble after the catch on a handful of occasions after breaking a tackle on in-stride targets, too. 

Prospect Comparison: Miles Austin (2006 NFL Draft, Undrafted Free Agent)


TDN Consensus: 71.63/100

Joe Marino: 70.00/100

Kyle Crabbs: 74.50/100

Jordan Reid: 72.00/100

Drae Harris: 70.00/100

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