Routes - Flashes nuance with his route deception ability. Does well to vary his pace and make adjustments on the fly. Has an excellent feel for attacking leverage when he forces a corner to commit a false step. Foot quickness and agility in his release sets him up to stack and separate. Needs to become cleaner into his breaks and not take extra steps but I like the way he snaps around and generates burst out of his breaks.
Hands - Bit of a mixed bag. There are moments of extension, where he snatches the football well outside his frame. Other times, the ball gets on top of him as he’s late to greet the football and it works into his frame. Drops weren’t necessarily an issues but late response invites contested catches.
Ball Skills - Tracking ability is spotty which leads to late hands and inconsistent body positioning. Would like to see him more consistently attack the football instead of waiting on it. Has made his share of catches in traffic, illustrating good concentration.
YAC Ability - I like how quickly he secures the football and then turns his attention to picking up additional yards. Has the acceleration needed to break pursuit angles and the long speed to hit home runs. Would not say he is overly creative but he sees the field well, has good burst and offers some physicality when tacklers arrive.
Release - Features a blend of quickness, agility, hand technique and footwork to clear press coverage and win early in the route. Effectively uses his hands to counter handsy corners.
Play Speed - Has build-up speed and is able to challenge secondaries down the field. Doesn’t have elite quickness to match his long speed. Runs his routes with good pace and tempo as he varies his speeds and stride length.
Blocking - He gets in the way but I’d like to see him be more assertive to drive his feet. Positions himself well, but he can be more deliberate about leveraging his hips, staying leveraged and sealing lanes.
Play Strength - He’s a tremendous competitor but power isn’t why he wins. Holds his own in the contact window and is an aggressive finisher as a ball carrier. Does not consistently position his frame well at the catch point, partly because of tracking but other times he can’t establish himself. Does not easily get bumped or leveraged as a route runner.
Versatility - Dominant special teams contributor that can play inside and outside at receiver. Can challenge every level of the field as a receiver. Modest blocker.
BEST TRAIT - Route Running
WORST TRAIT - Ball Skills
RED FLAGS - None
McLaurin never had top production for Ohio State in terms of yards or receptions, but he did average 20 yards per reception in 2018 and haul in 17 touchdown passes across the last two seasons. McLaurin is an appealing prospect because of his speed, route running skills and proven special teams ability. Those traits are ideal for a mid-round pick as he develops at the next level. I do have some concerns about his ball skills that impact his projection. McLaurin should be a high quality special teamer at the next level with the upside to become a top three option in an NFL passing game.
Round Grade - Third Round Value