Frank Ladson Jr. 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
- Participated in Nike’s ‘The Opening’ in 2018
- Returns to South Florida after spending his first three seasons with the Clemson Tigers
- Suffered a season-ending injury to his groin in 2021, playing in just five games
- Scheme tendencies: Spread offense
- 2022 projected role: Starting perimeter WR
Pros: The catch radius here is absolutely massive. Frank Ladson Jr. does well to play above the rim and elevate for footballs that are put over the second level on middle-of-the-field targets. He’s caught several big plays in this fashion across his three seasons with Clemson—although his 2021 effort was nearly non-existent in the way of production. Ladson Jr. also offers some significant height/weight/speed to his pro profile, which offers enthusiasm for what he can be when you pair his length and how well he tracks the football down the field. At Clemson, you saw a high frequency of hitches, speed outs, and smoke patterns against free access on the boundary—playing opportunistic when teams committed to playing soft on the outside. His presence in the red zone was felt consistently, too—there aren’t a lot of cornerbacks who can match up with his size and strength outside. I did admire how well Ladson Jr. moved for a player of his stature, as well. He’s an easy mover who isn’t lumbering or rigid as an athlete in space. He is definitely physical, too. He’ll block his butt off for you in the run game and that sets the table for someone who can play special teams at a bare minimum.
Cons: Production and separation are two phases that are going to need much more clarity in order to upsell Frank Ladson Jr.’s potential as an NFL receiver. Returning to South Florida to play for OC Josh Gattis should help, as should the big arm of Tyler Van Dyke if the team remains committed to pushing the ball vertically down the field. But I’m not sure where Ladson Jr. currently hangs his hat on anything other than physical traits and strong hands. He’s not an overly sudden athlete with foot-fire and his ability to play with steep angles at the top of routes doesn’t create a lot of snap and separation. As a result, I’m apprehensive of his ceiling, especially as he learns to deal with press coverage at a greater frequency and in the NFL, where there are more proportioned athletes on the perimeter to challenge him at the line of scrimmage.
Frank Ladson Jr. NFL Draft Scouting Report by Kyle Crabbs