Route Tree - Love his wiggle and false breaks, he's constantly lying to defenders with head fakes and fluid frame to sell a hard break before whipping back across his frame. Has navigated MOF traffic fairly well and does well to break to daylight with burst through top of routes. Can win most with space to threaten 360 degrees.
Hands - There are some instances of body catching, not super surprising giving his stature. He's got good concentration and does haul in majority of targets that get into his catch radius, even if he's not all hands. He'll revert to the chest to dig out low throws instead of plucking with hands turned over.
Contested Catch Ability - This isn't a primary trait but he's got enough to work with here that he'll win his fair share of reps. Isn't going to box anyone out but his body adjustment and spring will give him some chances to adjust late and elevate to the football. Catch radius isn't exceptionally large, however.
RAC Ability - Electric. This might be the best thrill ride in the 2020 draft. His open field vision is top shelf and once he's broken to daylight he's rarely roped back in. He's got dynamic quickness and lightning fast feet, can stop on a dime, gracefully leap over trash at his feet and quickly get himself back up to top speed.
Football IQ - He'll be well served to find some more physicality in his game and exposure to boundary reps and winning vs. press is going to be a work in progress. His play making skills are evident pretty quick on film and he's got a lot of nuance to how he attacks defensive backs on his route stems.
Vertical Receiving Skills - Slippery. If he's given room to run, he's got potential to run past defenders to get behind the safety. His acceleration and burst vs. off coverage will eat ground quickly and he can stress SAFs who draw him in the MOF. His ball skills over the shoulder aren't fully consistent but he didn't get a lot of accurate targets here.
Change of Direction Ability - Human joystick — pretty stellar to watch him stop, start, pivot, start again and break four pursuit angles all on the same play. He's got a ton of spring and foot speed, showcasing dynamic lower half to plant and drive at steep angles. He's a "hold your breath on every play" presence in the open field.
Speed - Does he have elite long speed? Perhaps. He's got plenty of juice and his initial burst is very strong, allowing him to close ground quickly and get defenders on their heels. He's got effective vertical separation skills but will get bottlenecked against physical defenders so releases become super important to his game.
Competitive Toughness - He's lean. Plenty of room to fill himself out, but at what cost to some of his special skills? He plays tough and scrappy but he's not dictating physical terms to anyone in the secondary or at the LOS. Must win with finesse and quickness, which shouldn't be a problem. But more patient or quick footed defenders can get into his grill a bit.
Blocking Ability - Lack of length, lack of strength and lack of anchor will box him into a role that avoids setting the hook to the D-gap. He's willing and when working backside cut off he'll get inside positioning well enough to stuff up defensive flow. But don't ask him to play point man on screens or crack down on LBs.
Best Trait - Route Running
Worst Trait - Physicality
Best Film - Michigan (2019)
Worst Film - Ohio State (2019)
Red Flags - None
Summary - KJ Hamler projects as a dynamic complimentary WR in the NFL. Hamler's lack of physicality likely pegs him as a primary slot receiver, but there's never been a better time to be a slot in the NFL. Hamler has the route running and run after catch skills to command a high percentage of targets in an NFL offense and his short area quickness will make him a handful to account for on routes run near the sticks. Still young and can afford to add a bit of mass but he's got a clear path to impact.