Calvin Ridley - Alabama
While Calvin Ridley is this draft’s top receiver, according to most team boards, he might have to wait to hear his name called until later in the first round.
After his mediocre Combine performance, perhaps the Amari Cooper comparisons will cease. Save for his 40-yard dash time and three-cone drill, Ridley failed to impress.
Body Structure...Ridley has a lean frame with developing muscles. He is tight skinned and has room to add more bulk that he will need to compete vs. the physical press coverage defenders at the next level. He has a defined abdomen with a tight waist, good bubble. He is high cut, like most track performers and has well developed thighs and hamstrings for a player with such a lean frame.
Athletic Ability... Ridley has outstanding quickness, agility and balance. He gets to top speed in a hurry and maintains acceleration throughout his routes. He has that quick second gear burst as a receiver and is a definite threat coming out of the backfield on fly sweeps and end-around plays that defenses must account for him on every play. With his exceptional timed speed he can accelerate away from anyone, especially when given space, but needs to continue adding bulk and needed strength, as he does not always beat a physical jam or win battles for the ball in tight areas. He plays with suddenness and has the lateral agility to come out of his breaks cleanly, which makes him quite effective on sweeps. With his rare timed speed, he can stretch the field from the flanker position and he also has the foot quickness and balance to work the short area coming out of the slot. He has loose hips in and out of his breaks, along with the body control and vision to separate once he executes his second gear.
Football Sense... Ridley is an instinctive runner, but needs to vary his speed when running routes and stop looking so hesitant on deep routes (when he hears a defender’s feet, it takes him out of his element). He is patient letting his downfield blockers set up, but while he is explosive in the open field and has great leaping ability, he fails to win battles for the ball and has had way too many passes deflected that should have been caught (see 2017 Arkansas, Louisiana State, Auburn games), as some scouts feel that his concentration tends to be a bit inconsistent (some even question his courage going for the ball in tight areas). He hears the sounds of the defender’s footsteps working over the middle and must do a better job of securing the ball on receptions before turning up field, as has 20 drops on 335 targets (5.97% of the balls thrown to him), and despite producing 224 catches, 37 of those passes targeted to him were either deflected away from his grasp or intercepted. He understands the game and adjusts well on the move, needing only regular reps to retain. He lacks the bulk to be physical with defenders going for the ball in a crowd and needs to develop more strength, as he struggles vs. press coverage if he fails to get a clean release. He shows good desire in his play, but needs to be more aggressive attacking the ball on offense, as too many jump balls end up being deflected by the opposition because of his almost non-desire to compete for the sphere in a crowd.
Release...Ridley lacks the strength to power his way through the press coverage at the next level and needs to be more active with his hands to get a clean release. Once he gets into his patterns, he is quick to gobble up the cushion, though. He has the speed to avoid the jam, but lacks the strength to gain much of an advantage vs. the bigger and more aggressive press cover corners. He comes off the snap with excellent suddenness and reaches his maximum speed in almost an instant. Even though he does not have great strength, he compensates with the consistency that he shows when dipping and eluding coming out of his stance. He generates very good “shake” and outstanding change of direction agility, both on sweeps and as a receiver, that his suddenness gives him great success in freezing his man coverage assignment. He has valid acceleration to get up field when he creates a lane, but if a defensive back gets his hands on him, Ridley is prone to dancing too much, resulting in a high amount of incomplete passes targeted to him (caught 224-of-335 targeted throws, but dropped twenty and 37 more were batted away).
Acceleration...This is what Ridley does best and if given a free lane to operate, he is certain to find the seams. He is alert working underneath for when the quarterback is going to deliver the ball, and does a nice job of looking the throw in over his outside shoulder without having to break stride. On deep patterns, he has that extra burst needed to run by defenders and is very effective at making the over-the-shoulder grabs, but when he hears the defender closing, he tends to lose concentration, resulting in his high amount of drops. He moves well left or right thanks to fluid hip snap on his lateral moves. The thing you see on film is his ability to get down the field rapidly. He can track, adjust and jump for the ball much better on long routes than he does when working in a crowd, where his lack of bulk and strength could be a liability at the next level. In the short areas, he lacks size to be as good in traffic as he does on deep patterns, but he can create separation and is elusive after the catch. When working underneath, he tends to body catch, possibly because of his slight frame. On deep patterns, he has that rare vertical speed to stretch the field (see 2017 Florida State, Colorado State, Mississippi State, Mercer games). He seems to have better concentration looking the ball in on deep routes, especially being conscious of keeping his feet when working along the sidelines.
Quickness...Given a free lane, Ridley will immediately burst into his routes. He eats up the cushion in an instant and with his fluid lateral agility, he maintains stride on slants and screens. When he is up against the press, he tends to take false steps and cocks his arms before firing, but he has more than enough speed to compensate. Sometimes, that speed gets him into trouble, as he runs so fast, he might miss a cut or look sloppy trying to plant-&-drive. Still, he is a quick accelerator who shows suddenness off the snap. Once he gets in the open field, few defenders can mirror him. You can see on film his suddenness when changing direction and he has that second gear needed to generate the up field burst. He can create lanes, but has to make sure he does not get too “busy” at the X’s, as he is not the type that can win battles vs. the jam and needs a clean release in order to be successful. He is no longer a “rounder” type and now makes precise cuts on his routes, along with developing a nice set of “nods and fakes” to fool the cornerback to commit too early or come out of his backpedal sloppily as Ridley races by.
Route Running... Ridley is best served on screens, quick flares, slants or bursting up the seam – anything that will take advantage of his explosive quickness. His cuts used to look too choppy, but he has worked hard in the last two off-seasons to refine his route running at a lower pad level, evident by what once used to appear as him being tight in his hips making body turns to being able to “cut on a dime. He now has explosive acceleration coming out of cuts and is quick through transition, as he shows that he has a knack for avoiding second level defenders to find holes in the zone (see 2017 Florida State, Clemson, Georgia games). He has precise double cut agility and can accelerate suddenly when he drops his pads. He will sometimes round off his breaks, especially when trying to avoid the crowd, but he can simply run past the defender at any level. He is still a work in progress in this area, but as a junior, he displays the ability to be much more effective in attempts to generate stop-and-go moves. It is evident that he has the skills to stick and go full-out at the top of the route. With that second gear, he has been quite successful this season when trying to push defenders out of their pedal, as he has learned how to drop his weight without warning to get in and out of his cuts with much better explosion that he demonstrated in the past.
Separation Ability...Ridley can instantly turn on a defensive back on a route, as he has that extra gear needed to pull away. When he sinks his hips, he transitions fast and accelerates through the cuts to burst away. He might not look fluid in and out of his breaks when he gets too tall in his stance and fails to sink his pads and drop his weight, but has the ability to separate thanks to a sensational second gear. He has the speed to stretch the field and separate, showing steady acceleration to uncover vs. man coverage. His exceptional playing speed is the reason he has success in creating separation, as he plays with a good center of gravity to come out of his cuts without taking wasted steps. With his vertical speed, few receivers in this draft can get behind the zone and settle into the void like he can.
Ball Concentration...On quick screens and slants, and also on end-around and fly-sweeps, Ridley can easily snatch the ball and turn up field. He tends to have most of his problems when he hears the footsteps of a defender, lacking the bulk and strength to compete for the ball in a crowd. Still, he has a knack for becoming available quickly on the blitz and does a good job of getting his feet down along the sidelines. He carries route depth, sliding to create lanes, but must do a better job of settling under the ball when working in traffic. He adjusts readily to man coverage and is alert to finding the soft spot in the deep zone. This season, Ridley has shown great awareness and an exceptional feel for what is around him when running the route, but he is still not especially effective with his concentration when working his feet along the boundaries, especially with a defender draped over him (three of his seven drops came on long routes). He has been more conscious of working back to the quarterback in the scramble drill.
Ball Adjustment...Ridley looks very fluid in his hips when moving laterally, enough so that he can be labeled as a great multiple cut runner. He shows very good vision to track the ball in flight, but will struggle some in tough-to-catch spots. He can extend and catch outside the frame and is very effective at locating the ball on late reads or with his back to the quarterback. He needs to show better timing making plays on the tipped or jump balls (not a fan of working in traffic, as his 20 drops indicate and in 2017, he caught just eight of eighteen deep throws). He has above average body control and quick ball reaction skills, especially when extending and snatching the sphere along the sidelines, along with showing good intent and arm extension to dig out the low throws.
Leaping Ability...Ridley has the ability to go high or low for the throw, but his verified vertical jump of 31-inches and broad jump of 9’-02” was some of the worst numbers for receivers at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. What is puzzling is the very high amount of balls that have been deflected or dropped once targeted to him. He times his leaps well, but will get bounced around a bit competing for the ball in a crowd, lacking the bulk to prevent from getting ping-ponged. He gets just average elevation, but keeps his hands outside the frame to make the acrobatic catches. Still, he needs to show more aggression and better timing working in traffic. He will have to get stronger to compete for jump balls at the next level.
Hands... Ridley fields the ball nicely on receptions and reverse, but, as a ball carrier, he must be more conscious of ball security, as he can fumble after the initial hit. He needs to be aggressive shooting his hands to defeat the press, but is capable of tracking the ball and catching it without it absorbing into his body. He makes good over-the-shoulder adjustments to look the ball in on deep routes. But, he likes to jump and body catch when sent over the middle (more double catches then). He looks much more comfortable using his hands to secure the ball on snatch-&-go routes and when he times his leaps, he can get to the ball at its highest point and outside his frame.
Run After the Catch...If given room to operate, Ridley will simply race past a defender. He might not have the strength to break tackles, but he has the lateral agility to redirect. With his acceleration, he is a dangerous threat with the ball in his hands. His burst makes him too elusive in man coverage, as he always makes the first tackler miss. He has very good change of direction agility, but if tagged by the initial defender, he does have problems trying to escape. He can finish when out in front, but there are times where he will allow himself to get tripped up. In three seasons, 1,369 of his 2,781 receiving yards (49.23%) were generated after he caught the ball.
Blocking Ability...Ridley is nothing special as a blocker, mainly a position/pester type who will just get in the way at the line of scrimmage. You won’t see him control a defender or shock him with a good hand punch, and you wonder if he is even willing to try. He just lacks the power and technique to be effective in this area. He is much more effective blocking in the second level, as he does a nice job of getting low and cutting off linebackers and safeties at their feet. Even with less than adequate playing strength and lacking ideal size, he does show effort when working to sustain.
Compares To...Stefon Diggs-Minnesota Vikings... Actually, for “old timers,” Ridley has a lot of Wes Chandler-like (ex-Charger) ability, as he can easily gobble up the cushion if given a clean release. He is an exciting open field runner and has the change of direction agility and suddenness to freeze defenders and create lanes. He has that second gear and burst to push defenders out of their pedal and can drop his weight without warning, showing the balance and quick feet to get to the top of the route in an instant.
Courtland Sutton - SMU
NFL quarterbacks love big targets to go up for the ball and Sutton is more than happy to “connect” with a quality passer at the next level. At 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, Sutton is a mismatch nightmare on the outside and has a knack for making eye-popping acrobatic grabs.Sutton has the prototypical frame of an NFL receiver, and he puts it to good use by beating corners with physicality at the line of scrimmage and the catch point. An impressive natural athlete, what he lacks in blazing speed, he makes up for with smooth routes, superb body control and strong hands.
Body Structure...While most colleges only wanted him as a safety, Sutton certainly looks the part of the type of receiver he is – a physical one who gets a good amount of his yardage after the catch, thanks to his leg drive and overall power. He has broad shoulders with a well-developed chest, good arm length, good bubble and tapered thighs and calves. He has low body fat with a frame that can carry additional bulk with no loss in quickness. He has good weight room strength, but plays you can see he plays even stronger on the field and uses his hands well to escape the jam. He is split high, with the long legs needed to build acceleration nicely.
Athletic Ability... Sutton is an athletic mover who might lack blazing speed, but has the acceleration and stride to get into his routes smoothly. He runs crisp routes, showing very good body control and adjustments to get to the ball at its high point. He runs with a short stride and has that deceptive array of moves to get on top of the defenses. He shows nice body control and the right hip flexibility to drop his weight and come out of his breaks with no wasted motions. Because of his overall flexibility, he can change direction without having to throttle down. Being a former basketball player, you can see he really knows how to gain position and get under the ball, excelling at coming back to provide a good target when his quarterback is pressured. He runs with a fluid stride and with his balance and leg strength, he becomes a serious threat once he gets the ball in his hands. He has impressive weight room figures, along with a strong hand push to prevent from being rerouted coming off the snap.
Sutton has the change of direction agility and loose hips to elude in the open field, doing a nice job of maintaining acceleration throughout his patterns. He has excellent hand/eye coordination to get to the ball at its high point and the size and body control to time his leaps and contort his body to get to the tough throws in a crowd. He is very flexible for a tall receiver, flashing acrobatic moves to get to most balls thrown to him. He is a long strider with enough of a functional second gear to get on top of the defense. He has excellent balance adjusting to downfield passes and knows how to sink his hips and drop his weight to elude after the catch. His fluid stride is a definite asset, as he instantly becomes a dangerous threat with the ball in his hands. Even with average speed, his agility and quickness is seen throughout the route progression.
Football Sense... Sutton is a good student of the game, having no problems retaining plays. He does well academically, having garnered both school and conference academic honors. He plays with good field vision to recognize defensive coverage. He understands all receiver position assignments and does a very good job adjusting in his routes when on the move. The thing you notice is his awareness of the soft spot in the zone, quickly settling into it. He shows very good sideline vision, keeping his balance and feet in bounds. He is also quite effective at setting up defensive backs down field. He knows the playbook inside/out and shows quick instincts to come back for the ball when the quarterback is pressured. He is perfectly capable of working his feet along the sidelines and is savvy enough to make quick route adjustments on the move.
Release...Sutton might lack explosive speed, but he is very effective at powering through the jam or avoiding defensive backs to get into his routes quickly. He can gain advantage and run by the defender, thanks to his plant-&-drive agility and body control in his route progression. He is a big, physical receiver who knows how to extend and use his hands to prevent the hold-up. With his leg drive and size, he does a very nice job busting the jam and while he might lack suddenness, he is smooth and quick into his routes, taking no wasted steps coming out of his breaks. He is a savvy route runner who shows the vision to easily locate the soft areas and is quick to get into position to make the catch without breaking stride. He gets a good initial thrust off the line, using his hands with force. He is more quicker than fast, but glides to top acceleration nicely. He uses his size well to slip through tight areas and has enough burst to gobble up the cushion. He has the strength to uncover and get into his route with no hesitation. Sutton just knows how to use his frame to prevent defenders from rerouting him. He can threaten deep vs. off coverage and while he is very physical, he shows a smooth open field stride. He doesn’t have that sudden explosion to leave defenders rocking back on their heels, but shows the savvy and hand usage to gain good separation coming off the snap (see 2017 North Texas, Houston, Tulsa games).
Acceleration...Sutton is used mostly in the short-to-intermediate area, as he does not have the explosive speed to win many foot races into the deep secondary, but you can see his burst off the snap that lets him absorb the defender’s cushion. He runs crisp routes, thanks to very good hip flexibility, dropping those hips to get good separation out of his cuts. Rarely will you see him shuffle his feet or round his cuts. He is an excellent power receiver in the short area, as he uses his size and strength perfectly to screen off the defenders, taking lots of balls away from his opponent on sheer determination, arm extension and power. He is just as quick working underneath as smaller, speedier receivers. On intermediate routes, he can catch defenders up on their heels and plays the ball well, showing effortlessness adjusting to the ball in flight. On deep routes, he has the long legs and stride to get there (see 2017 North Texas, Tulsa, Navy, Memphis games) in a hurry. He is just that type of player who compensates for a lack of blazing speed with physical play. He comes off the line with a strong surge and uses his hands with force to beat the jam. He has the size to shield defenders from the ball and is a physical presence in the middle of the field.
Sutton does a very good job of adjusting to the coverage and even though he frequently catches in a crowd, he shows the fluid stride to not have to throttle down coming out of his breaks. Sutton runs crisp routes and drops his hips and sinks his weight to separate out of his cuts. He has very good feet and it is rare to ever see him shuffle then or round his breaks. He has a smooth slide to get to the open zone and a decent second gear to quickly eat up the cushion. Much like the ex-Colts’ Reggie Wayne, Sutton does not show track star blazing speed, but rather a smooth stride and a variety of moves to get open after the catch. He shows the body lean and hand push to play off the cornerback to track and grab the ball without breaking stride. He plays the ball nicely when it is in flight and adjusts to make the tough grabs along the sidelines. He runs mostly underneath and intermediate routes, but still needs to be accounted for at all times, as he is too slippery for a defensive back to get lethargic thinking he can cover Sutton on deep throws. If a defender does not see him as a deep speed threat, he will soon lose the battle, as Sutton finds ways to get behind the coverage with the best of them, reminding old-time scouts of ex-Redskins Art Monk.
Quickness...Sutton displays nice initial quickness (1.52 in the 10-yard dash) and acceleration off the line. He uses his balance and stride to gain advantage and run by defensive backs. He is not overly explosive or sudden in his get-off, but does a nice job of powering through and then building his acceleration. He is a long strider, but can shorten his steps when running underneath. He has the burst agility to get off the ball and the hand usage to defeat the jam, but it is his cutting ability and steady acceleration that allows him to gain advantage and run by the defensive backs. He is very good settling underneath, making him a nice target in the short area. His balance and good feet let him deal with operating in tight spaces.
Route Running... Sutton is one of the premier route runners in the game, whether lining up in the slot or taking passes outside and along the sidelines. He gets good separation thanks to his hand usage and is very alert to sticks and boundaries. He does a great job of working his way back when the quarterback is pressured and has no difficulty separating out of his up field cuts. He excels at dropping his weight and getting separation in the short areas (see 2017 Stephen F. Austin, Connecticut, Cincinnati games). His best success has come on control routes, stops, outs and quick slants, but I can say without hesitation that few receivers show the precision in their cuts like Sutton. He does a great job of weaving through a crowd and has the power to leverage defenders to gain separation. He shows very good hip sinking agility and does a good job of getting depth in all of his routes. He is very good planting and driving in and out of his breaks. His ability to separate out of his up field cuts allows him to run crisp vertical routes. He doesn’t have an explosive burst, but he stays square in his routes, especially when coming back to the ball. He is solid on option routes and shows great gliding ability on slant patterns. He is just the rare type of player who can get open simply on his ability to set up defenders and make an effort to be precise in his cuts.
Separation Ability...Sutton does an excellent job of sinking his hips and executing a quick burst coming out of his cuts. He is very smooth transitioning into his breaks and his vision is evident by his uncanny ability to find and sit in the soft areas on the field. Even without an explosive second gear, he can separate down field, as he has great awareness to uncover, along with the power and frame to shade defenders. He possesses deceptive speed, which he shows when having to deliver on comeback routes, but he knows that his best asset is when he gets physical. He knows he is going to have “company” on deep patterns, but he does a good job of generating the hip sink needed to get out of his cuts cleanly. He is more of a power-oriented runner who can stem and weave to avoid. He uses his hands very effectively to gain separation after the catch, showing the loose hips, head fake and strong leg drive to break the initial tackle. Sutton is frequently played tight, but can hand jolt the defender to rock his opponent back on their heels. He shows great awareness to uncover, using his body to shade defenders from the ball. He takes no wasted steps with his acceleration out of transition cuts and does a fine job on comeback routes. His deceptive speed is enough to surprise a lethargic defender on vertical routes and his body frame and quick feet lets him get to most poor throws along the sidelines.
Ball Adjustment...Sutton looks very natural extending and plucking the ball outside his frame. He has the body control to quickly get into position and make plays over his shoulder. He finds the ball quickly and is a bit of a contortionist who always seems to get his body into position to make the catch. He times his leaps well and will not hesitate to sacrifice his body to get to the ball in a crowd. He has the body control, balance and jumping skills to reach and pluck the ball away from his frame and at the high point. He shows very good flexibility to get to off-target throws and looks natural playing the ball down field. He has the body control to get in position and makes plays over his shoulder look routine. He has the natural ball adjustment skills that separate him from most receivers. His ability to get to the right spot to make plays, especially on those behind him, makes him a dangerous threat once he gets the ball into his hands. He might have the best body control of any collegiate receiver (see 2017 North Texas, Tulsa, Navy games), as he excels at making the difficult off-target circus catches. He excels at adjusting to the ball over his shoulder and no matter where the quarterback fires the ball – high, low or behind him, he almost always gets to the pass. He is the best natural adjuster to off-line throws I have ever seen, especially when needed to make the great catch in a crowd.
Leaping Ability...Sutton uses his body well to get up and over a defender when competing for the pass. He has above average vertical skills, possibly due to his prep basketball career, but it is his excellent timing that lets him win most jump ball battles. With his timing and body control, Sutton manages to get to most balls thrown his way, especially at going up to pluck them at its high point. He uses his body well to get vertical, thanks to impeccable timing. With his body frame, he should be able to continue to be dominant attacking the jump balls.
Hands... Sutton has excellent hands, thanks to his basketball background, and he has tremendous fearlessness and little regard for his own safety, if it means he will snatch and pluck the ball. He shows outstanding concentration in traffic and does a nice job of looking the ball in. 37.33% of his receptions the last two years were the result of Sutton bringing in the poorly thrown passes in his vicinity. He has no problems tracking in and securing the ball over either shoulder. He is a natural hands catcher with outstanding ball skills to make plays on it outside his frame. He easily plucks the ball, showing classic arm extension and placement, especially when catching away from his body. He has the wingspan and natural hands to get to any pass thrown his way. He knows how to shield the ball from defenders using his body and shows good scooping agility to get to the low throws. He will extend and pluck the ball away from the body’s frame and has soft hands to look the ball in nicely. The thing I like is Sutton’s ability to play the ball over his shoulder and make body adjustments to track the ball in flight.
Run After the Catch...Sutton might not have that “make you miss” explosive second gear, but he is elusive enough to create, showing the leg drive and vision to hit the big play when he finds a crease. He is a strong runner who builds his acceleration nicely. He is a load to bring down after the catch, especially in one-on-one situations and constantly fights for yards, which he gets, thanks to his forward body lean. He can also set up the defender with a nice shake. He is not the type to explode up the field after the catch, leaving defenders grasping at air, but he is a strong runner who powers through the initial tackle and is a load to bring down once he builds up to top acceleration. His running strength will generally see him drag the smaller defenders, but when he weaves through traffic, you forget all about his decent speed, as he frustrates defenders, who struggle to contain him. He just shows the elusiveness to create his own space. The ball comes alive in his hands, evident by his 160 first downs on 195 receptions. He simply bounces off tackles and has the juking moves to make his man miss. There is no question that Sutton ranks with the elite RAC players in the college game.
Blocking Ability...Sutton simply loves to go after defenders down field and does so with a vengeance, but needs to do a better job of sustaining his blocks working in-line or in the backfield. He will position block to seal off, but you’d like to see him anchor better, in order to prevent from being pushed back into the pocket when working in-line though. He has the hand usage to sustain when he is able to lock on, but doesn’t use his power often to drag the defensive linemen down.
Compares To...Cris Carter-ex Minnesota Viking...You can also see why some scouts see a lot of Carter and Art Monk in his playing style. Sutton is an outstanding route runner with natural hands and sheer determination to get to every pass thrown. He has the agility and balance to post up on short hooks and he is a natural hands catcher who does not need to rely on blazing speed to be a dangerous threat. He simply does it with a physical running strike and loose hips to weave through traffic, making him a player that needs to be accounted for every second he is on the field.
D.J. Moore - Maryland
Body Structure...Moore has a lean and muscular frame with room to add more bulk without it affecting his excellent quickness. He displays a tight waist, defined legs (thighs, calves and ankles), developed abdomen, good bubble and high cut legs with well-developed hamstrings. He possesses good width in his shoulders (76 1/4-inch wing span) and chest and low body fat.
Athletic Ability... Moore has good overall muscle development and appears to have more than enough strength to defeat the jam. He demonstrates an explosive burst coming off the snap and the loose hips to make defenders miss when weaving through traffic (see 2017 Texas, Northwestern Indiana games). He shows that second gear to turn a slant pass into a long gainer and with his exceptional playing speed and burst, he can proudly proclaim that he has never been tackled from behind during his career. He is much more than just a receiver, as he has the lower body power to handle the rushing load and break tackles working through the pile. He also displays the vision and patience to follow his blockers and then turn on the after-burners to beat the defense down the sidelines. He has outstanding hip snap and agility to elude in attempts to gain big yardage after the catch. He makes smooth body adjustments and possesses solid hands and extension to catch away from his frame. He has outstanding balance, speed and change-of-direction agility. He shows the second level speed and explosiveness with a fluid natural running motion to run past most defenders in isolated coverage.
Football Sense... Moore has incredible vision and a great feel for locating the soft spots on the field. Sure, he might take his eyes off the ball a few times (fifteen drops of 253 targets), but he is quick to recover and settle under the pass. He shows good route refinement and adjustments thanks to his loose hips and is alert to pocket pressure, working back quickly when the quarterback is flushed out (see 2017 Texas, Towson, Northwestern games). He shows keen awareness on the field, especially with keeping his feet along the sidelines. He is quick to settle into the holes in the zone and is very effective as a cut blocker because of his feel for taking angles. He finds the open areas quickly and does a nice job of working back for the ball, as he can rely on his speed rather to go with his football experience. He is a good learner who needs just a few reps, thanks to solid retention skills.
Release ...Moore simply explodes out of his stance and past a lethargic defender to instantly get into his patterns. One noticeable improvement that he made as a junior was showing that he can be just as smooth as sudden in his release, which will generally fool the defender and get the man covering him to come out of the backpedal too early. He has the ability to elude the press with his quickness and footwork. He has also become much more active using his hands to prevent from getting held up when the physical cornerback attempts to stab him initially. He has that natural second gear to gobble up the cushion and get behind the cornerbacks on deep routes (see 2017 Texas, Towson, Northwestern games). He does a nice job of sinking pads and it is hard to mirror him once he gets past his opponent. He also generates decent hand usage to beat the press. He shows outstanding foot quickness and hip shake with suddenness when trying to change direction (very good at freezing defenders at the line of scrimmage). The thing you notice mostly on film is his exceptional acceleration to get up field once he creates the lane. Unlike most speedsters, he does not dance too much at the line and that allows him to show outstanding quickness in his release, with the shiftiness and avoidance ability at the line of scrimmage to defeat the press. Even though he is still developing strength, he does a good job of pushing off the defender and quickly eludes with his swim move.
Acceleration...Moore shows excellent burst and explosion in his RAC (gained 968 of his 2,027 yards after the catch during his career - 47.76%), as he has the feet and loose hips to change direction without needing to gather or throttle down. He runs very crisp routes and has more than enough quickness, spin and swim movement to escape from tight man coverage (see 2017 Towson, Central Florida, Penn State, Minnesota games). His burst has that “catch me if you can” label for defenders to view as he races by. Once he gets a clean release and into the second level, it is nearly impossible to slow him down. He has great body control and adjustment skills to maintain stride and speed running through tight quarters. He might not look like he has size to run through traffic, but with his strength and burst, he easily creates separation to turn the slants and fades into big gainers. He is reliable catching the ball (has had nineteen different passers at Maryland, but did drop fifteen balls - mostly from trying to do too much). His exceptional speed is more evident on deep patterns, where he consistently gets behind the defender. He has good leaping ability, and even though he lacks ideal height, he greatly improved his timing. If a defender hesitates, Moore can change gears and beat his man, gaining 50.96% of his yardage after the catch during his last two seasons (851 of 1670 yards. He is quick to uncover and even quicker to separate on short patterns. He shows exceptional ability to get open deep, displaying that superb speed needed to take the ball to the house.
Quickness...Moore has never had a strong-armed quarterback to work with during his Maryland career that featured nineteen changes under center. He was utilized mostly on controlled and underneath routes, but it is evident that he can get vertical in an instant. He does a good job of getting under the deep throws, turning nicely to make the over-the-shoulder grabs. He is blessed with outstanding quickness on the field. He makes short and sharp cuts without having to break stride and his initial burst is sudden, especially when left uncontested. He can avoid defenders on the move, create lanes and get up field in an instant once he gets a clean release. It is rare to see him get “too busy” with the press corners at the line of scrimmage and he quickly gains advantage on the defender due to his speed. He has a good feel for knowing when to gear down in order to prevent from out-running the ball.
Route Running... This is probably Moore’s most improved area. He used to round his cuts at times and drift in and out on long patterns, but has shown vast improvement the last two years, running precise routes with good suddenness. He has a nice array of head fakes and double moves to con and sell the defender, proving to be especially slippery on slants, as he drops his weight well and gets back to the ball with little-to-no wasted motion. If you need a receiver to fly off the line, especially on posts, this is where he excels. He has the ability to make things happen on comeback routes, showing good urgency working back when the quarterback is flushed. He displays excellent quickness and foot speed in and out of his breaks. When he plays at a low pad level, he gets into his routes immediately. He shows good set up and body control and knows how to use his hands to prevent the defender from attacking him and trying to reroute him with a strong push.
Separation Ability...Moore has really developed his escape skills as a junior, more out of necessity, as the team did not have a quarterback with the arm strength to stretch the defense. He has that explosive burst to get vertical and will simply blow past defenders, in addition to showing the vision to find the void and settle. There is no doubt that he will be able to gain separation vs. NFL corner-backs. He has shown marked improvement sinking his hips and exploding out of his breaks, no longer struggling to separate when he comes off the snap with an erect stance (did this as a freshman). He is better served as a split end, as he excels at taking slants and crossers for big yardage. He is very effective when it comes to setting up defenders, as he displays good head and shoulder fakes, relying on his burst and second gear to elude. He has that speed and burst allows him to consistently get past defenders. He is very quick out of his breaks, especially when trying to pull and separate with vertical routes and short runs, and has done a nice job of being more conscious of playing with a low pad level.
Ball Adjustment...Moore shows above average body control and agility, keeping his head on a swivel to easily look the ball in without breaking stride. He makes great catches seem routine and you have to love his “moxie” trying to get physical in attempts to take the ball away from defenders (see 2017 Towson, Northwestern games). He shows good courage going up for the ball to high point the pass in traffic. He has more than enough strength to hold up to punishing hits he takes going over the middle. He has the ability to make proper adjustments on ball and is very athletic to turn his body around as he tracks the ball well. His flexibility and ability to turn allows him to excel at adjusting to the off-target passes.
Leaping Ability...Moore worked hard improving his timing prior to 2017 and just six balls were knocked down by the opposition during his junior year (dropped seven others though). He has no fear going up and catching the ball at its high point, showing much better explosion when elevating to get to the pass. He has very good leaping ability, showing the ability to go get the ball and out jump, especially on deep patterns.
Hands... Moore does a nice job of catching every ball thrown his way. He has the soft, natural hands, along with the ability to snatch high and away from his frame. He displays above average ball security skills to excel as a receiver, on the reverse and when returning kicks, but does get a few “dropsies” when he turns to run before securing the pigskin. He looks natural getting elevation and extension to catch outside his frame and if he drops a pass, it is usually the result of momentarily losing focus. He has soft, natural hands, extending well to catch away from the body’s framework. He is not the type that will revert to body catching, as he is a soft hands catcher who just needs to learn how to time his leaps properly to get to the pass at its highest point.
Run After the Catch...Moore is an exciting and electrifying open field runner. He is an elusive shaker with excellent change of direction skills, sort of like a water bug the way he can slip, slide and elude on the move. He not only shows good quickness working in the short area, but great toughness, as well. He has outstanding skill set in terms of speed, quickness, agility and change of direction. He is tough to bring down in isolated coverage and does a nice job of sidestepping low tackles. When he is out in front, he will generally win most foot races (never caught from behind in college). Close to 48% of his career yardage has come after the catch.
Blocking Ability...Moore is a highly effective cut blocker, possibly the best in this draft, who shows a great desire to face up to blitzers working in the backfield or along the line. He is more of a pester type working in-line, but he has that field vision and desire to do the job of seeking out and neutralizing defenders, especially in the backfield.
Special Teams...With his speed and burst, Moore can be an electrifying return specialist. While he was needed more on offense, he does boast career averages of 10.2 yards as a punt returner and 22.3 yards running back kicks.
Compares To...Torry Holt-ex St. Louis Rams...Moore’s low center of gravity and excellent balance is evident by his YAC numbers. He consistently gets separation on deep patterns and while he will drop a few due to concentration lapses, he not only has reliable hands, but textbook extension going after the ball to get to those off-target tosses outside his frame.
Christian Kirk - Texas A&M
Body Structure...Kirk has the ideal body frame you look for in a receiver, as he has a muscular upper body with very low body fat, well-defined mid-section, very long arms, good bubble and tapered thighs and calves. His frame could carry at least another 15 pounds of bulk without it affecting his impressive timed speed and acceleration.
Athletic Ability... Kirk has good size and strength for his position. He has the timed speed to threaten the deep areas of the secondary, but with his strength and ability to shield the ball from defenders, he has been very effective as a possession receiver. He uses his hands well to defeat the jam at the line of scrimmage, but does not always display the loose hips and crisp cutting ability to make the initial tackler miss. It is more from power that he has success in gaining separation after the catch (54.9% of his receiving yardage was the result of YAC; 1,568-of-2,856 yards). He is very good at settling underneath, showing the balance and body control to make the shoestring grabs or extend to catch outside his frame. He has some flexibility in his route progression, showing the stop-&-go action to instantly redirect. He has the valid burst to get on top of the defense and shows nice body control adjusting to the deep ball in flight. He has to work on his hip snap in order to drop his weight better and generate more balance to change his stride without having to throttle down.
Football Sense... Kirk is an average route runner, but he does a good job of taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field. He is alert to coverage and easily locates the soft areas on the field. He is able to adjust on his routes when on the move and is alert to the sidelines, but it is his ability to set up defenders down field that sets him apart from others. Still, when in a crowd, there is some hesitation in his play and despite his leaping ability, he needs to be more emphatic combating for jump balls.
Release ...Kirk might get a little bit erect in his stance coming off the snap, but he has that ability to get into his routes instantly, using his hands to push off the press. He is too strong to jam at the line of scrimmage, but needs to develop better hip swerve to efficiently avoid defenders when trying to get into his route progression. He can elude second level defenders with his cutting ability (third level types cane stay on his hip, though) and shows a fluid glide in his running style (see 2017 Arkansas, New Mexico, Wake Forest games).
Acceleration...Kirk is used a lot on shallow and wheel routes, as he has the strength to power his way to the ball in the crowd. He does not have the ideally long reach you look for in order to get under the fades and bubble screens. Still, when utilized in crossing patterns, he can turn up field in an instant after the catch. He has to improve his ability when extending for the ball with defenders all over him, and he is not effective at dropping his hips and separating out of his cuts as quick as his timed speed indicates. He has good hand/eye coordination, seeing the ball as it arrives while generating the moves needed to uncover. On deep routes, he needs to utilize his second gear more and he will drift at times when going long distances. He has good turning motion to catch the ball over his outside shoulder, but does not turn as quick when having to look the ball in over his inside shoulder. He has that functional burst to separate at the line of scrimmage, but must utilize it more in attempts to separate on deep routes.
Quickness...Kirk’s short area quickness allows him to get to quite a few balls in the short-to-intermediate areas. He does not have thee loose hips to accelerate and ride up on a quick defender and he needs to be more sudden trying to separate on deep throws. When he keeps his pads down instead of getting erect in his stance, he is much more effective at gaining and eating up the defensive back’s cushion (see 2017 Arkansas, New Mexico, Wake Forest games).
Route Running....In order to not be labeled strictly as a return man, Kirk needs to continue to improve as a route runner. Despite his speed, he does not always run with a smooth stride (takes choppy steps), especially at the top of the route. In the later stages of 2017, he did a much better job of planting and cutting out of his breaks (see New Mexico, Wake Forest games). He will turn and route his deep patterns at times, but when he drops his weight properly, he is much more effective at gaining separation.
Separation Ability ... Because he is used so often on short-to-intermediate routes than in the deep area game, it is difficult to get a true feel for his separation ability. He does a good job of running at a proper pad level and coming out of his breaks cleanly when working underneath. With his timed speed, he should be capable of getting open in the deep zone more often. He uses his size well to shade the defender and demonstrates the balance and body control to catch the ball and turn up field without having to break stride.
Ball Concentration...Kirk has dropped 18-of-369 passes targeted to him (4.78%), as he did force 35 missed tackles from his 234 receptions. While quick, he needs to demonstrate better sense of where to be on the field. He is alert to coverage, generally, but does take risky chances with ball distribution, especially on punt returns. He does a fine job of keeping his feet when catching along the sidelines and plays with uncanny instincts to find the zone’s soft areas, but will let the ball absorb into his body more due to his lack of great extension (30 3/8-inch arms). The thing you see on film is his ability to adjust to the thrown ball underneath. He has the speed to get open when working in a crowd (just seems hesitant working in that area), but when he blocks out all activity around him to concentrate on the ball in flight, he does use his big hands to catch the pass at its highest point.
Ball Adjustment...Kirk’s short reach causes him to struggle catching outside his frame, but on wheel and crossing routes, he can secure the pass without having to break stride. He does not look natural extending for the ball in flight, but he has the body control to get into position and make plays over his outside shoulder. He is not as effective looking the ball in over his inside shoulder on deep throws (all four of his drops were on long passes). When going over the middle for the short crossers, he does a good job of getting to the ball, as he knows he has the strength to power his way through a crowd and look the ball in.
Leaping Ability...With his 35.5-inch vertical leap, you’d figure Kirk would have great success going for the ball at the high point, but his short arm reach (30 3/8-inches) makes him a better target for quarterbacks when working over the middle (had 91% of his snaps in the slot). He has to work on generating better timing on his leaps working in traffic (won 8-of-30 jump ball opportunities the last two years).
Hands... Kirk has good hand strength to gain position as a blocker and uses his upper body power well to defeat the jam and get into his routes. He will cradle more than a few balls and because of his short reach, he is more of a body absorber type than one who can easily extends for the pass. He is not really a natural hands catcher, but he has the large mitts (9 7/8-inch hands) to develop the ball skills needed to make plays on it outside of his frame. He just needs to improve his ability to look the ball in over his inside shoulder on deep routes.
Run After the Catch...Kirk is straight-line field fast, but does not have the loose hips to be elusive. He has the leg drive to power through the initial tackle to gain valid yardage after the catch, but he might be able to protect his body better from big hits is he can develop better fakes or juke moves to elude. Even though the offense he played in failed to utilize his creativity, he has the speed and vision to make the big play, if he finds a crease (see 2017 Arkansas, New Mexico, Wake Forest games).
Blocking Ability...Kirk is an adequate second level blocker, as he is much more effective stalking or executing the cut blocks along the perimeter or in the second level than he is when stationed at the line of scrimmage. He will compete to stay on his blocks and takes good angles to neutralize line-backers when playing in space, though.
Return Skills...Kirk has NFL caliber hands, feet and vision, along with the patience to let his blocks develop on kickoff returns. He is a shifty runner with the stop-and-go action to set up and slip past defenders. He has Devin Hester-like straight-line burst and can weave through traffic while also being patient enough to follow his blockers.
Compares To...Jacoby Jones-ex Houston Texans…Kirk is a bit faster, but both took great pride in their physicality on the field. Kirk can power his way through press coverage to come up with the clutch catch underneath and he has impressive timed speed, but cradles the ball often and lacks the hip swerve to elude, getting most of his yardage after the catch by running through tackles. He will likely be utilized in the slot as a receiver because of his ability to move the chains and get the tough first down. He needs to refine his route running, especially on deep patterns, as he will drift some and struggles with throws to his inside shoulder. If he fails to develop as a receiver, he still offers value as a return man. While several teams have him listed as a possible late first rounder, he is probably going to be on board when the second day draft action begins.
Antonio Callaway - Florida
In a classic case where talent trumps off-field issues, Callaway is getting lots of attention from NFL teams hoping he can become a “Tyreek Hill” reclamation project.
Callaway was suspended for 2016 spring practices after being accused of sexual assault by a Florida student during his freshman year (December 2015). He was later found “not responsible” of the charges after a Title IX hearing that was presided over by an “independent” officer, who also happened to be a person who donated to the Florida Football Boosters.
According to records from the hearing, Callaway admitted that he was “high” on marijuana at the time of the alleged incident. His explanation for not committing sexual battery: “I was so stoned. I had no interested in having sex with anyone.” He was cited for marijuana possession in May 2017 after police stopped the driver of the car that he was in for not wearing a seatbelt. He later pled no contest for possession of paraphernalia.
Here’s the bow on Calloway’s college career: He was suspended for the entire 2017 season after his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with Florida teammates. He ultimately reached a plea deal. Florida fired head coach Jim McElwain after the season. The new staff evidently didn’t exactly beg Callaway to return, so he declared for the NFL draft.
On The NFL Draft Report Boards, Callaway is projected to be a Day 3 pick (Rounds 4-5) due to his inactivity last year from a litany of off-field woes. Talent wise, he was rated as a first-rounder before his 2017 season went into self-destruct mode.
Body Structure...Callaway has an athletic frame with adequate muscle definition, long arms, tight waist and hips, minimal body fat, good bubble and tapered thighs and calves. He needs to dedicate large amounts of time in the weight room, as he has some of the poorest weight room numbers for any player in this draft class.
Athletic Ability...Callaway has decent lateral agility and balance. He has the athletic talent, timing and leaping ability to make plays outside his frame, but has had ball concentration lapses. He is an agile, deceptive runner with the crisp cutting ability to set up and separate from the defender after the catch. He is an all-around athlete with great elevation going for the high passes. He has good body control throughout his route progression and flashes the flexibility to get to the off-target throws, but does not utilize his quick hands to adjust to the ball in flight. He is sharp to turn in and out of his patterns and shows ease of movement getting his head turned around to look the ball in, but does cradle the ball into his body at times.
Football Sense...While he is alert on the field, it is his high amount of off-field transgressions that spell “red flag” all over his resume. Let’s just consider him this year’s “poster child” for a team to disregard his off-field issues in order to win a game.
Release...Despite his impressive running performance at the Combine, Callaway does not always play up to his timed speed when it comes to getting a quick release off the line. He has the ability to get into his routes and accelerate in the open, but he does struggle vs. a physical press and has to be more aggressive using his hands in this area. He has good plant-&-drive agility to work himself free over the middle and is probably much better suited as a slot receiver, where he can use his agility better on slants. He did improve his ability to use head and shoulder fakes to fool the cornerback, but he has to be much quicker on his cuts to escape. He is not the biggest or strongest receiver around, but he is very slippery after catching the ball, especially when he can make defenders struggle to get a hand on him due to his excellent acceleration. He just needs to show more aggressive shooting his hands to escape the press.
Acceleration...Few players in the college game display the open field acceleration that Callaway can generate once he gets into his route. He has very good deep speed and long acceleration, but does labor some coming off the snap. He adjusts well to uncover on short routes, showing outstanding body control and above average field vision. He is faster on deep routes, possessing a smooth second gear and burst and the body adjustment agility towards the ball in flight, but there is a lot of inconsistency in his play.
Quickness...Callaway displays quick acceleration and thrust, once he manages to negotiate his way vs. the press and get into his patterns. He has smooth quickness and dart ability to gain an advantage vs. a big cushion. His quick twitch moves and head fakes will usually leave defenders grasping at air trying to tackle him. He also shows good feet and body control on the move, but in tight area, he can be ping-ponged due to poor strength.
Route Running... Since he operates mostly in the spread, Callaway shows good stab and stem to set up the defensive back, good body control to settle and break and excellent stick-and-go action at the top of his routes. Even with his speed, he is very good at deceiving the defender with his stop-and go quickness. He just needs to get into those routes quicker, as he will lose more than a fair share of battles vs. the jam. He has good slippery ability on jerk routes, causing second level defenders to get frustrated when he locates the seam and turns up field after making the catch in front of them.
Separation Ability...Callaway shows good acceleration out of his breaks, dropping his weight with very fluid motions to glide past his opponent. He is able to get separation with his speed and burst, or getting out of his breaks quickly, but if he is tagged by a defender, he lacks the strength to power through and escape. He still hasn’t yet learned how to vary his speed and quickness to pop out of his cuts and get separation when a defender is all over him, but if he is able to create space, he has the acceleration to take the ball to the house, even though he did waste several of those opportunities due to ball concentration issues.
Ball Adjustment...This is an area that Callaway needs to improve. He needs to show better dedication to the game, as he’s had too many off-field distractions. He also needs to work harder to rectify this liability, especially after dropping three sure-fire touchdown passes in 2016 (also had three costly fumbles on returns). He seems to make good adjustments to extend and catch away from his frame, but will turn and run before he has the ball properly secured. While he shows good ball concentration to make tough catches and can make the catch in a crowd, he tends to eye the defenders a bit, losing sight of the pass in the process.
Leaping Ability... Callaway is an above average leaper who can go up high to get the jump ball. He times his leaps well, but I question that he has the strength to take on the more physical NFL defenders.
Hands... Callaway has the ability to go high for the pass, look it in over either shoulder and reach down to scoop up the low throws. His problems are not his hands, but his concentration, as he hears the feet of oncoming defenders and tries to run without securing the ball first. He also needs to develop a better punch, as he struggles to defeat the press. He does demonstrate soft hands, with no problems to reach and pluck away from his body, but does have those concentration lapses. He has good pluck and snatch ability, but will let the ball absorb into his body and sometimes will short arm working in tight areas.
Run After the Catch...If given space, Callaway will take the ball to the house. He has a very good burst and explosion after the catch and will make defenders miss working in space. However, he does not have the strength needed to break arm tackles or gain much yardage with defenders draped all over him. Even though he is a bit of a long strider, he has the loose hips to make crisp moves in and out of his cuts.
Blocking Ability...Callaway is a marginal blocker, one that can occupy the defensive backs, but simply lacks the strength to impact behind his hits. However, when blocking at the line or in the backfield, he does not show much courage, making just a passive effort to get in the way, as he will often yield ground to the larger defenders.
Special Teams...Callaway shows good hand/eye coordination to look the kicked ball in. He is a patient runner who waits for his wedge to develop on kickoff returns and shows a good straight-line burst to take it up the seams on punt returns. He has the loose hips to redirect in his stride and plays much faster returning the ball than when having to separate after the catch.
Compares To...Brandon Tate-ex New England Patriots...Callaway is more suited to play the slot at the next level. Despite his impressive quickness, he struggles to get into his route vs. a physical press and does have concentration lapses on the field. In a multiple receiver format, he can bring decent value, but there are serious doubts if a team will look upon him as their primary target. There are also some big questions that need to be answered about his off-field issues. So while some teams call him a top talent, the only risk I’d take in drafting him is on Day Three, as our staff feels that a leopard can not change his spots.