Separation Quickness - Not overly explosive, but shows good fundamentals to press the space of defenders and burst away from coverage. Sells vertically before breaking routes off underneath, but there are limits to how much opponents respect his speed, especially in the slot. Can manipulate the blind spots of defensive backs when they do open up, creating separation while working them out of position.
Ball Skills - The man catches absolutely everything. I've never seen him drop a ball during his time at Clemson. If it hits him in the hands, he almost always hangs onto it. Maybe the best low-ball receiver in college football, constantly digging out low throws with his hands underneath, even with a defender closing over top of him. Concentration and ability to adjust last second to balls outside his frame is uncanny. Has made a ton of amazing, highlight-reel grabs at full extension, often work back the opposite direction his body is moving to snag balls behind him. Only negatives are that there are obvious limitations to his catch radius and target area given his size.
Speed/Burst - Obviously not a burner, but I bet he runs in the high 4.5s or low 4.6s. Varies stride length to lull defenders to sleep, than shows adequate burst to slip by them. Winning vertically will never be his trump card in the NFL and Clemson rarely asked that of him, but when they did he typically found a way to finish. Most would view this area as a severe negative for Renfrow, but I think the tape reveals he has enough traits and technique to at least be average in this area.
Route-Running - Lack of really explosive traits out of his breaks hurts with his route-to-route success rate, as does his sometimes limited route tree at Clemson. Has run a ton of bubbles and hitches in 2018, where his route tree was more expansive in the past. Has seen his role and pattern variety decrease due to the elite level talent around him at the position. Still, has tons of experience, recognizes coverages well and is terrific at finding space in zone to sit in.
Contested Catch - Seldom asked to win in contested catch situations, and very few of his traits suggest he would be good at it. His hands and body control are outstanding, but his limited radius, strength physicality and vertical usage don't project smoothly to pro success. On underneath stuff, does do an excellent job of finishing despite contact over his back.
YAC - Vision and awareness with the ball in his hands is outstanding. Consistently aware of oncoming defenders from all angles, slippery enough to make them miss and always working toward space. Rarely runs himself into trouble. Athletic traits in space are just average, but has natural instincts with the ball in his hands to make the most of them. Not a home run or big play threat after the catch, but very aware of the sticks. Won't break many tackles and isn't particularly physical through contact.
Releases - Working from the slot heavily, hasn't seen a ton of press coverage in recent years. Early in his career there were a few games where he had to handle contact at the line of scrimmage, and his footwork typically kept him clean. Well-executed stretch release with little wasted movement. Uses his hands well, but there will be some matchups that maul him if he plays outside. He's a slot only in the NFL, so he won't see as much press or as big a corner most of the time.
Blocking - Gives everything he has as a blocker, but the impact is minimal. Bigger, more aggressive defensive backs can run through his frame and re-route ball carriers. He's technical and doesn't back down from contact, but this are could be a concern in his projection to the NFL. Because he will start as a depth receiver, things like tackling and blocking for special teams are going to matter for whoever earns that final roster spot. Senior Bowl or Shrine Game will be big for Renfrow to prove his mettle in those areas.
Competitive Toughness - Mentally his toughness will never be in question. Walked on to Wide Receiver U, earned a scholarship and has kept far more naturally talented players off the field for years due to his well-rounded skill set and hard work. Has been at his best in the biggest games. Physically, not imposing or particularly physical or edgy, but doesn't shy away from those aspects of the game either.
Athleticism/Size - Short, slight and lacks ideal muscular build for the position. Doubtful he can add much to his frame at this point. Athletically average and will need to prove he can hang with the other draftable prospects at his position during the Combine. I think he'll perform fine there.
BEST TRAIT - Hands
WORST TRAIT - Contested Catch
RED FLAGS - None
Few players in Clemson history are as loved or as impactful in big moments than Hunter Renfrow, who has generated an undying collegiate reputation as a clutch player. His hands are pure glue, capable of catching every type of pass put anywhere around his somewhat limited catch radius. On the other hand, the weaknesses are clear; Renfrow is short, slight of frame, not overly athletic and could struggle to survive the physicality of the NFL.
On day three of the draft however, I want a guy on my team who can catch everything, has unbelievable body control, is shockingly slippery after the catch and thinks the game at a high level. Renfrow won't be for more vertical-based offenses, but in the right system, he can be a difference-making contributor in the short-intermediate areas of the field.
Round Grade: Early 4th