Senior Bowl WRsA group of varying skill sets primed to light up the showcase event, the pool of wideout talent set to take the stage in Mobile is an enticing one. With less than a week ‘till pads begin to crack for Senior Bowl practices, here is a deep dive into the group of WRs to keep an eye on. We here at The Draft Network will have you covered from every angle starting next week on-site from the Senior Bowl.
Jahan Dotson, Penn StateHe’s everything the NFL represents today. A 5-foot-11 combo of speed and articulate footwork, Jahan Dotson has quickly become one of college football’s most premier boundary prospects. A career in Happy Valley that almost never was, Dotson’s progression during his time at Penn State quickly welcomed video-game-like numbers and a fundamental skill set matched by few in the nation. He has the makeup to become an immediate impact on the perimeter at the next level.
Alec Pierce, CincinnatiAlec Pierce is everything you desire in a high-volume target at the pro level. A consistent, tough, sure-handed talent whose athleticism sneaks up on defenders when asked to leap and attack 50/50 balls, Pierce’s strong hands and ability to separate as a boundary wideout has introduced a prospect that will become a quarterback’s best friend wherever he lands.
Jalen Tolbert, South AlabamaA small-school product, Jalen Tolbert is a 50/50 ball magician with an impressive frame and sticky hands with the ability to rip down the rock with the best of them. His ability to release and stack corners downfield has resulted in quite the collegiate career for the former Jaguars’ boundary threat. With an ideal frame and traits to believe he could become one of the class' biggest steals, Tolbert will have a spotlight on him all week long.
Calvin Austin III, MemphisWhile he’s capable of taking the rock the distance on every touch, what makes Calvin Austin III so unique, even in such a high-caliber wideout class, is his knack to succeed in every facet as Memphis’ top target. Whether he’s schemed a touch behind the LOS or 40 yards downfield on a nine-ball, Austin’s ability—at a tick over 5-foot-9—to run every route and compete at the catch point while handling the burden of an aerial attack on his shoulders has introduced him as one of the class’ most exciting perimeter prospects. He’s lightning in a bottle.
Romeo Doubs, NevadaAn explosive athlete with impressive straight-line speed and agility as a route-runner, Romeo Doubs will soon become an NFL deep threat—he led the country in receiving yardage per game for a good portion of 2020. While he isn’t a burner on the perimeter, his understanding of how to mask routes using his eyes and hips allows him to separate easily downfield. He should thrive in one-on-one scenarios in Mobile.
Christian Watson, North Dakota StateA unique blazer for his size (6-foot-5), Christian Watson is able to win a multitude of ways and was utilized as such within the Bison offense that averaged a tick over 35 points per game. Flexed out primarily as the X receiver in the high-flying NDSU offense, what makes Watson such an intriguing talent as a pro—especially with his athletic profile—is the number of ways he can provide an impact. A vertically imposing threat where all 22 eyes are drawn to him solely for his mold and makeup, Watson’s speed and ability to glide past secondary defenders is a trait unseen from many of today’s pros with a build similar to that of the redshirt senior. While teams looked to double and bracket him throughout his time in the college ranks, to avoid the onslaught of bodies, his positional versatility allowed him to slide inside to the slot, handle manufactured touches in the backfield, and, just for icing on top of the cake, slide back on special teams as a punt and kick returner—where Watson was named a 2020 FCS First-Team All-American. With an impressive performance in Mobile, there’s no telling how high his draft stock could soar.
Khalil Shakir, Boise StateA safety blanket on the outside, Khalil Shakir’s success at Boise State flew under the radar. He’s not the quickest on the perimeter, but Shakir is a technically-sound prospect who touts outstanding tracking ability that presents an enticing catch radius. He will need to improve his will to block in the run game if he eyes a substantial role on Sundays, but overall, Shakir is a solid athlete with room to improve in every facet of his game.
Bo Melton, RutgersA versatile chess piece for the Scarlet Knights offense, Bo Melton did everything but kick for Rutgers. A gadget specialist whose immediate impact could come as a core special teamer, Melton makes his mark on manufactured touches where he’s a threat to take it the distance on every snap. With an ultra-quick first step that allows him to consistently win on the outside, that burst could see him earn opportunities to stretch the field at the next level.
Reggie Roberson Jr., SMUThe Senior Bowl may be more important for Reggie Roberson Jr. than any other wide receiver. With film that displayed—at times—a dominant perimeter threat, running the full route tree with success against some of the country’s premier secondary defenders will microscope who he truly is. He checks a ton of boxes but is still a mystery when attempting to nail down a projection.
Tre Turner, Virginia TechA standout during his career in Blacksburg, despite up and down quarterback play, Tre Turner was a constant for the Hokies offense as WR1. With the skill set to rise to become a featured target within an NFL offense, Turner could enjoy a nice workload from the onset of his career. He’s a smooth glider on the outside with plus hands and aerial ability.
Dontario Drummond, Ole MissHow he handles press coverage will be key to projecting Dontario Drummond. Faced with many free releases due to his top-end speed, when matched up against similar fleet of foot corners, his ability to disengage and create throwing windows all week long will remain his biggest key. A YAC specialist, he has an awfully enticing ceiling.
Velus Jones Jr., TennesseeA speed threat with the ball in his hands, despite age concerns (25 years old before Week 1), Velus Jones Jr., like Melton, could see a healthy offering of snaps on special teams to begin his career. Underutilized at Tennessee, with more talent around him and a scheme to allow his versatility to shine, Jones is a modern-day chess piece.
Danny Gray, SMUDanny Gray is a fun study. Like his teammate in Roberson, his stock could have a jetpack attached to it with a standout week. One of the more explosive wideouts set to compete in Mobile, Gray is a refined pass-catcher with the proven ability to shine throughout all levels of the defense against both man and zone coverage.
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