In any ordinary year a wide receiver prospect who played in consecutive College Football National Championship games, while scoring at least 12 touchdowns in consecutive seasons, would be widely regarded as one of the very best receiving prospects in the draft. Particularly when they’re a receiver with the prototypical size, length, and weight the NFL craves in receivers.
But this year’s wide receiver class is no ordinary group of wide receivers. And so Clemson receiver Tee Higgins is flying a bit blow the radar in a deep and talented receiver class.
That could work to the benefit of the New York Giants, who not only need more size in their receiving corps, but could also need another outside receiver for their offense to work correctly. Could Higgins be a value and fit for the Giants?
Prospect: Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson)
Games Watched: vs. Texas A&M (2019), vs. South Carolina (2019), vs. Virginia (2019), vs. Ohio State (2019)
Games Played (starts): 37
Yards (YPC): 2,448 (18.1)
Total Touchdowns: 27
Games Played: 15
Yards (YPC): 1,167 (19.8 per catch)
Total Touchdowns: 13
Best: Size, catch radius, ball skills, body control, route savvy
Projection: A starting receiver in an offense which draws on vertical, Spread, or Air Raid concepts.
Clemson’s Tee Higgins possesses the size and length combination to be a starting outside receiver at the NFL level. He has experience playing as an X, Flanker, and Slot receiver, and has produced at all three positions. Higgins features a subtly effective release off the line of scrimmage, using his hands well to clear press coverage without his route being disrupted. Once in his route, he is a long-strider who can cover ground quickly on vertical routes or force corners to open their hips and create opportunities for separation on shorter routes. Higgins naturally tracks, locates, and adjusts to the ball in flight, and has rare ball skills. He is a natural “hands” catcher who consistently extends to pluck the ball out of the air. Higgins also has rare body control, able to contort his body to maximize his catch radius and complete very difficult catches. Higgins shows enough lower body strength to fight through arm-tackle attempts and the ability to create yards after the catch.
As a tall, long-legged receiver, Higgins struggles to sink his hips and change direction sharply. That lower-body stiffness forces him to round his routes slightly and limits his ability to run quick-breaking routes. Higgins also lacks true break-away speed, and won’t be able to run away from athletic corners at the NFL level. His size also presents a large target for press-man corners and he can also struggle against truly physical coverage. And while he has the frame to be a good blocker, he needs to show more aggression and play strength in establishing and maintaining his blocks.
Overall Grade: 6.5 - Has an exciting combination of size, catch radius, and ball skills, but some athletic limitations will require specific scheming to maximize his potential. An early Day 2 value. [Grading Scale]
Clemson receiver Tee Higgins projects best as a starting wide receiver in an offense which draws on vertical, Spread, or Air Raid concepts.
He has the size, catch radius, body control, and ball skills to be a dangerous threat in short-yardage or red zone situations, as well as a reliable target and chain mover across the field. Higgins has experience across the offensive formation, which can give offensive coordinators freedom to use his size and scheme mismatches against opposing cornerbacks.
Higgins’ transition to the NFL could be a difficult one. He flashes good hand usage to clear press coverage at the line of scrimmage and uses nuanced route running to create separation down the field. However, he struggles against particularly skilled or physical corners, and he doesn’t have the athleticism to create separation against truly athletic DBs — and he will see more of all of those at the NFL level. Teams might want to use route combinations to scheme him free releases and separation early in his career. Likewise, offenses should recognize the athletic limitations which could prevent him from being successful on quickly or sharply breaking routes.
Higgins has a very high ceiling if he can adapt his technique to NFL competition and overcome his athletic limitations. His size, length, catch radius, body control, and ball skills could make him a touchdown machine in the NFL, but his success is no sure thing.