Height: 6' 2 3/8"
Weight: 220 lbs.
Arms: 32 3/8"
Hands: 9 1/8"
When I first started evaluating film, my favorite receivers in this draft were Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Jordan Matthews, Donte Moncrief, and Martavis Bryant. Donte Moncrief is tall, fast, well-built and very athletic. In addition, he has great hands; I rarely see him drop balls. His route running is above average, but can still use a good amount of polish. The negative attributes are his lack of fight for 50-50 balls, his tendency to catch balls with his body/pads, and his inability to maintain a presence on the field (can go for long periods of time without recording a reception or being targeted).
vs. Texas (2012)
When evaluating film, I like to use film against top-tier talent. These are not always "highlight" films, but show what a player does when matched up against alike (NFL caliber) talent. For these films, #12 Donte Moncrief will be matched up against #6 Quandre Diggs (Top 10 CB in 2015)
In the above film we can see Moncrief elevates over his competition and comes down with the catch. He is able to use his strength and speed to work his way into the endzone. Although it is a very nice grab, notice he doesn't "pluck" the ball, but instead catches it against his body. Below, we see another angle.
Unfortunately, the TD is called back because he steps out of bounds. However, at the combine he jumped for a 39.5" vertical leap, and that is being translated to his game. Once again, I'd love to see him put his arms out and pluck this ball, rather than "cradle" it.
In the above film, we see Moncrief lined up man-to-man with safety help over the top. This interception is not Donte Moncrief's fault, the QB made a bad read and threw the ball (poorly) into double coverage. However, after about 20 yards, Moncrief looks back for the ball and makes no adjustment to the poorly thrown ball, nor does he contest the DB. When plays like this happen, you have to turn from offense to defense and get yourself into the play. I'd much rather see my WR get a flag for offensive interference, than see my offensive players trying to make a tackle after a turnover.
vs. Alabama (2012)
In these links [GIFs wouldn't load], Moncrief will be going against #13 Deion Belue (projected 3rd day in 2014). I should note that Moncrief was also playing against Dee Milliner (9th overall pick in 2013), but did not record a reception against him.
In the above link, we can see Moncrief has beaten his man and is looking back and tracking the ball. He makes a nice adjustment while keeping his feet in-bounds, and makes the over-the-shoulder grab look easy.
This film should look familiar. The ball isn't thrown into double coverage, but it is under-thrown. Again, he looks back for the ball, sees it's under-thrown but doesn't make the adjustment or fight for the ball.
vs. LSU (2012)
In the above link, Moncrief runs a 'stutter' route and gets the CB to bite. It's not the prettiest route, but it is an advanced route and allows him to beat the corner by 5 yards. The ball is over-thrown and despite his best efforts, falls incomplete.
In the above link, Moncrief beats Simon off the press easily. He gets his step on the corner and flies downfield showing his speed. His forty time at the combine was 4.40 and that speed translates on film. The defender falls which almost guarantees a big play, but the ball is over-thrown.
In the above link, Moncrief catches the ball after breaking inward on his slant route. The catch is a bit sloppy but once the ball is in his hands, he is able to make magic. A little juke move causes the defender Simon to miss badly on his tackle, while also causing Reid to take a bad angle for the tackle. Once Moncrief gets that open space, his straight-line speed shows as he accelerates away from the pack for the touchdown.
In the above link, the LSU defenders jump offsides, which gives the offense a "free" play. The QB takes advantage and throws the ball deep to Moncrief, who is covered with a safety over the top. He beats his man-to-man and makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch against the safety for the touchdown.
In the above link, the ball is once again under-thrown in the area of the defender. However, in this instance, Moncrief actually turns into a defender and breaks up the pass, preventing the interception.
vs. Mississippi State (2012)
In the above film, Moncrief is matched up against Johnthan Banks. He quickly eats up the cushion from the corner and makes a play on a well-thrown ball from his QB. The issue, again, is that he is 'cradle' catching the ball. He displays great speed and great leaping ability, but he doesn't extend his arms and catch with his hands.
In the above film, Moncrief is matched up against Darius Slay. Moncrief is running a post route against a 'cover 3' zone. He splits the corner and safety perfectly, giving his QB a nice clean window to drop the ball through.
In the above film, Moncrief is matched up against Johnthan Banks. This is a simple slant route, coming off play action. He runs the route very well, as Banks has inside leverage and should not be beat across his face. My only issue, once again, is his hands. He doesn't extend his arms out, instead opting to let the ball come to his body.
vs. Auburn (2013)
This film comes against #11 Chris Davis (projected 3rd day in 2014).
In the above play, Moncrief catches the ball on a smoke screen and shows great vision, ability and patience. He waits for his blockers to set up, jukes a man trying to make the tackle and runs it in for a touchdown.
vs. Arkansas (2013)
The following film comes against Tevin Mitchel (Top 25 CB in 2015).
In the above film, the corner gives up too much space on the hitch route. When he comes to make the tackle, he lunges and Moncrief make a nice side step to avoid the tackle. He gets one block in the open field and uses his great open-field speed to score the touchdown.
Donte Moncrief is a very good receiver who has the size, speed, and athleticism required to play the position in the NFL. His route-running is adequate and needs some work, but is good enough that he could see the field right away if necessary. His hands need work, however, but he doesn't drop many balls. He needs to spend some time catching tennis balls or with a Jugs machine catching the ball away from his body. It worked for him well in college, but in the NFL corners will be too quick and hit too hard to allow for 'cradle' or body catches. For this reason, I can see Moncrief falling to the 3rd round, but I believe he will be taken towards the end of the 2nd due to his physical ability.