Route Running –Really deliberate with his release, love the way he uses his head and his hands to ensure space to climb. He doesn't always sell vertical components with effectiveness but he's got ample awareness of changing his angles to create space and good feet at the top of routes.
Hands –Has let a few gimmes get away but generally speaking has good hands, a notable catch radius and is effective to pluck the ball in traffic. His hand strength is exception and and definitely one of his better overall qualities.
Contested Catch Ability –Unbelievable. He welcomes the contact and will box out defensive backs to pluck the ball. His wins in the red zone are phenomenal, he'd be on a lot of posters if that was still a thing. His strength, catch radius and sense of jostling to get into the "low post" are big winners.
Run After Catch Ability - He'll amplify his yardage more with a physical free arm and balance down the field than he will by running through and breaking angles in pursuit. His general value comes at the catch point and this won't be a big area of emphasis.
Football IQ –Has done well to make the most of his technique and knows how to create added space for himself vs. zone coverages or off man. Pretty heady receiver, which should allow him to shine despite some of the pedestrian physical traits.
Vertical Receiving –He shows effectiveness tracking the ball over his shoulder and does well to adjust his hands depending on the angle of the ball as it arrives. More success in the honey hole vs. C-2 than running past defenders and creating additional separation by blowing by.
Change of Direction Skills –He's not the most explosive in this regard, but he's done well to make his movements really deliberate and really sharp. He doesn't necessarily explode out of a cut, but he wins by making his angles steep and showing balance prior, during and after.
Speed –If there's a troublesome trait, he's not going to win a lot of foot races. Will get caught from behind in the open field. Has trouble creating added separation vs. what he can make at the LOS or with physicality. Can have trouble vs. off coverage, who will sit on his breaks.
Competitive Toughness –Will never say never on a potential target, he's fighting and scrapping to get into position to snatch away a football. His strength to play through contact at the LOS allows him versatility in his route releases. Brings good effort as a blocker.
Blocking Ability –Size, length and good deception initially allow him to stalk his way into positioning and push around corners on the boundary. He's a bully with his hands set and will have little issue dictating terms to a lot of guys outside.
BEST TRAIT – Contested Catch Ability
WORST TRAIT – Burst
BEST FILM – Washington State (2018)
WORST FILM – Notre Dame (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside projects favorably as a possession (X) receiver in the NFL. While there are some athletic limitations to JJAW's game, his overall technique, release from the LOS and ball skills will enable him to both stack defenders vs. press and win at the catch point when defenders are attached to his hip. Unless he goes to a volume offense, he may never be a big production (yards/receptions) guy, but he'll win in the red zone and on third downs.
Round Grade - Second Round Value