Inside The Draft With Greg Cosell: ‘He’s A Touchdown Waiting To Happen’
“You’re dealing with a long, fluid, silky smooth athlete who has wide receiver movement traits. Nobody likes to use the word ‘can’t miss’ but this kid has special special receiving traits.”
Did the Philadelphia Eagles pass on an elite pass catcher by moving down in the 2021 NFL Draft from No. 6 to No. 12 last Friday in a trade with Miami?
On the first “Inside The Draft With Greg Cosell,” Cosell breaks down Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, and both Alabama wide receivers.
Cosell: “I mean, you’re talking about a guy, he just had his pro day a week ago, and he was 6-foot-6, 246 pounds, he ran a 4.46 and his 10-yard split was 1.5, which is remarkable for a man at 6-foot-6, 246.
“Now keep in mind…that players like DeAndre Hopkins, he ran a 4.58. Michael Thomas ran a 4.57. Anquan Boldin, I remember being in the [RCA] Dome in Indianapolis, when Anquan Boldin ran a 4.72. So keep in mind that Pitts ran a 4.46. Now obviously 40-yard dash times are not the be all and end all.
“But you’re dealing with a long fluid, silky smooth, athlete who has wide receiver movement traits. Nobody in this business likes to use the words ‘can’t miss’ because then you’re wrong and in our era of social media and you get reminded of that. But I just think this kid has special, special receiving traits.”
Cosell: “To me he’s the best wide receiver prospect in this class, I think he’s not ‘BIG’ big, but he’s got enough size. When he gets pressed, he fights through it with toughness. I think the variety of ways in which he defeated press coverage, which you don’t see that often from young receivers coming out of college, I think that really stood out on tape.
“There were times watching his tape I thought there was some Steve Smith in his game. I thought there was some DeAndre Hopkins in his game. He plays with a ‘Type A’ personality that big-time receivers you like to see them have that kind of personality, and he ran slants about as well as you could run slants, and that’s a major part of the NFL game now, with the RPOs and the quick game, so I really liked his tape, a lot.”
Hurts vs. The Field(s)
Cosell: “I’ll just start by saying that a Quarterbacks Coach I know extremely well who’s been in the league for 25 years, he told me that he thought that Justin fields and Jalen Hurts were very similar prospects, coming out of college. So just take that for whatever it’s worth.
“I don’t think anybody was surprised by the inconsistency, but I thought he showed some good things. With Jalen Hurts, who is not an explosive runner like – let’s say Lamar Jackson – but he’s a very good runner. He’s just a different kind of runner, because of body type.
“I think there’s always a balance between staying in the pocket, and letting things develop and then making the right throw and leaving the pocket prematurely. Now, sometimes you can leave the pocket prematurely and make a very good play, and coaches kind of say, ‘Hey, good play,’ but there’s a balance there. And that can only come from experience.”
Cosell: “I think that they’re totally different players in my view. To me, Jaylen Waddle, we know that he’s got highly explosive athletic traits, we know that. I think the way he can be deployed in the NFL is very similar to Tyreek Hill. I think he’s that kind of player. I think he’s explosive vertically. He’s phenomenal run after catch, I mean his lateral quickness, lateral agility is high, high level.
“I think that you’ll see him as a motion receiver, a movement receiver, you want to get him free access off the line of scrimmage. In today’s game with jet sweeps and orbit reverses, the wide receiver screen game, you want to get him the ball in space on the move. He plays at such a high velocity and speed yet under control.
“He’s just an explosive, dynamic playmaker, and I think you can use him in a variety of ways, and he’s an instant accelerator. He’s a touchdown waiting to happen.”
“[DeVonta] Smith is different. He’s an outlier, there’s not a lot of 6-feet, 170 pound receivers. He’s long, he’s thin, he’s silky smooth, he’s a strider, he’s a linear strider.
“He’s not loose-hipped. I’m not a believer in the Marvin Harrison comparison that I’ve seen because he’s not loose-hipped. He’s linear, but he’s got a vertical dimension, he can eat up ground and get on top of corners. To me, he transitions most effectively as a movement Z. You want him off the ball.
“I watched him in 2019, I watched him in 2020. And I watched about eight games each year. There were snaps where he lined up as the boundary X, where he got pushed out of bounds by college corners. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen all the time, but it’s on tape, so you can interpret that any way you want, but that happened.
“I think he has a great understanding of how to set up corners using his vertical stem, so you want him to have free access off the ball, so he can use his vertical stem. He’s got great ball-tracking ability, great body control, strong-yet-soft hands, made contested catches despite his 170 pounds, but he’s a linear athlete. He’s not a shake-n’-bake athlete.
“I think the tape tells you that there is an awful lot there to like, but I think you have to understand how that can best be deployed at the NFL level.”
– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff contributor to InsideTheBirds.com.