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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State

Is Ateman the big receiver the Giants lack?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL simply loves big receivers, and it’s easy to see why. The way the NFL’s rules have evolved, having a big receiver takes advantage of pass interference penalties while also giving offenses an obvious advantage in the red zone.

Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman is one of the 2018 NFL Draft’s highest profile “big” receivers after having a breakout campaign this year. Could he catch the The New York Giants’ eye as a contrast to their bevy of smaller, quicker receivers?



  • Big bodied receiver at 6’4”, 216 pounds, with long arms. Huge catch radius and able to play physical
  • Easily able to climb the ladder and high-point the ball.
  • Willing blocker for teammates.
  • Uses his body to box out defenders in contested catches.
  • Able to vary his stride length to throw off defenders’ timing.
  • Generally a “hands” catcher.


  • Explosiveness is a question.
  • Occasionally drops passes that are in his hands.
  • Offense calls route tree into question.
  • Didn’t break out until senior year. Only 13 touchdowns in four years at Oklahoma State (all in the last two seasons).

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Ateman lacks ideal suddenness out of his breaks and straight-line speed to be a fit for everyone but teams looking for a power forward who can physically overwhelm smaller cornerbacks with size, leaping ability and catch radius will certainly take a close look. Ideally, he would be drafted to a team which already has an established pass-catcher on one side, allowing Ateman the opportunity to remain in the complementary, big play role.

- Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout

Final Thoughts

The 2018 NFL Draft looks to have a bumper crop of big receivers. Ateman certainly benefitted from playing opposite James Washington, but he is a player that teams will certainly take a close look at.

At first glance he looks more like a basketball player, but he is definitely a football player. Ateman is a big, physical presence, fully capable of bullying smaller defensive backs. He is also a red zone threat, able to out-leap almost any defender put on him.

It would be nice to see more hand strength to hold on to the ball once he catches it, but that can be worked on.

Ateman will likely need to expand his route tree at the next level, but his tendency to be a short strider through the stem of his route should serve him well. Long strides might eat up turf, but they make tall guys less able to cut suddenly.

The Giants have plenty of talent at the top of their receiving corps, but they don’t really have that big “above the rim” player. Evan Engram is a joy to watch in the red zone, and they technically have Brandon Marshall and Darius Powe, but neither is guaranteed to be a factor this year. Ateman could serve to fill that role if the value is right.