Alex Wesley: From Sleeper To Senior Bowl

Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When the Senior Bowl revealed a strong portion of their rosters yesterday, one particular wide receiver name stuck out: Alex Wesley from Northern Colorado. I will be the first to admit, I only recognized Wesley by name alone, as I had yet to look into his game.

In order to be fully prepared for Mobile, I will scout all of the wide receiver prospects. Generally I have already done this by the the rosters have been announced, but Wesley was a bit of a curveball.

Looking into his game and background, it’s easy to see why Wesley has gotten the invite over some other well-known receivers from Power 5 schools.

Wesley is 6’0 and 184 pounds, and an incredible athlete who clearly outmatches the FCS cornerbacks he regularly sees. He has consecutive seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards despite playing just 10 games in both seasons.

To get an idea for exactly the type of athlete Wesley is, look no further than his track and field background.

At the 2018 NCAA Track and Field championships, Wesley finished 14th in the country in the 400 meter with a time of 45.91s. For just a part-time track and field athlete, that combination of speed and endurance is truly an impressive feat. He’s surely got plenty of juice in his legs.

As a wide receiver, Wesley is often used on routes on a vertical plane. This has contributed to his yards per catch average of 18.4 over the past two seasons. Even in Northern Colorado’s game against Colorado last season, Wesley shook loose of 2018 second-round pick Isaiah Oliver for a long touchdown.

A glimpse of Wesley's ability to stretch the field with speed, at the top of the screen:

With his athleticism, being a vertical threat was to be expected. However, Wesley combines that speed with plus ball skills, making him a difficult cover for any defensive back. The secondary from Weber State learned that the hard way:

Wesley uses his speed to be a dynamic ball carrier, able to knife through small creases or turn on the jets to get the edge. He makes the players at his level look like they're moving in slow motion:

Wesley's future fit on an NFL roster seems like a clear one, a vertical threat who can also be used as a space player. Teams will want to use him to take the top of the defense, as well as get the ball in his hands on fly sweeps or screens.

The area where Wesley can really make some money in Mobile will be in his intermediate route running. Proving that aspect of his game will speak to a well-rounded, refined game not normally seen out of wide receiver prospects from lower levels.

At the 2018 Senior Bowl, Justin Watson from Pennsylvania was a late addition to the roster. He parlayed a positive showing at the event into a 5th round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For “small-school” receivers, the Senior Bowl provides them an opportunity to show their ability against the best competition they’ve likely ever faced. Alex Wesley could very well be in store for a Justin Watson-esque rise in Mobile.