It’s no secret that the New York Giants need to find a number one wide receiver. Whether in free agency or the draft, they’re expected to invest in the position and add to their passing offense.
But could the Giants do more than add a single receiver? While the receiving corps that ended the 2022 season appeared solid (save the lack of a top receiving option), the team could want to add competition and depth to the roster as well.
In that case, Arkansas wide receiver Jadon Haselwood could appeal. He has the raw tools to develop into a dangerous receiver, which could appeal to any team looking for good value picks to develop into weapons.
Prospect: Jadon Haselwood (9)
Games Watched: vs. Cincinnati (2022), vs. South Carolina (2022), vs. Texas A&M (2022), vs. Alabama (2022)
Games Played: 37
(Transferred from Oklahoma to Arkansas prior to the 2022 season)
Yards (YPC): 1,438 (11.9 per catch)
Games Played: 12
Yards (YPC): 702 (11.9 per catch)
Best: Size, long speed, competitive toughness, versatility, blocking
Worst: Route running, catch consistency, balance
Projection: A developmental big slot or flanker with starting upside
(Haselwood is WR number 9)
Jaden Haselwood is a versatile receiving prospect from the University of Arkansas. Haselwood has solid size for the position at 6-foot-3, 204 pounds and experience being used in a variety of roles in Arkansas’ offense.
Haselwood primarily lined up as a slot receiver in Arkansas’ 11-personnel package, though he also saw time at the X and Flanker positions, as well as in the backfield as a fullback or running back. He was frequently used as a “move” player and was put in jet motion before the snap. Arkansas used him as a decoy, a blocker, and as a ball carrier when he was put in pre-snap motion.
Haselwood is a functional route runner as a receiver. He generally executed his routes well, getting off the ball with good suddenness and making reasonably accurate breaks at the top of his route. He flashes the ability to be a reliable “hands” catcher, making good adjustments to the ball in the air. Haselwood has a long frame and extends to maximize his catch radius and pluck the ball out of the air when necessary.
Haselwood is a very competitive player in all situations. He routinely fights for extra yardage at every opportunity, at times struggling against multiple would-be tacklers. He is also a fiery blocker who looks for contact, strains to sustain his blocks, and looks to finish his blocks with an exclamation point. He has good play strength as a blocker and is even used as an insert blocker from an H-back alignment or a lead blocker from a fullback alignment.
He has solid quickness and agility for a taller receiver and is able to lengthen his stride to pick up yardage in the open field.
Haselwood still needs development in the finer points of playing the receiver position. His routes lack the savvy of “pro ready” technicians, for instance, he doesn’t vary his tempo or press his stems into defenders before breaking back to the ball. While he played from a very wide variety of alignments, he wasn’t asked to run a particularly diverse route tree at Arkansas.
Likewise, his ability to release against press-man coverage is something of an unknown. Haselwood also has a tendency to let the ball into his chest plate and body catch passes that don’t force him to extend.
He can also exhibit questionable balance which compromises his ability to pick up yards after the catch.
Overall Grade: 6.9
Jadon Haselwood projects as a developmental receiver early in his career.
Haselwood has the potential to develop into a core rotational player for an offense that frequently uses 11 or 12 personnel packages. He has the upside to start as a flanker or a “big slot” if he can become a better technician as a receiver.
NFL caliber cornerbacks will likely find it easy to stay with Haselwood throughout his route as he is now, but he has the quickness and agility to improve significantly with coaching.
Teams that feature run-heavy offenses will likely value Haselwood for his blocking prowess. He is a very good blocker for a wide receiver with good technique and great competitive toughness. And while he features a lanky frame, it belies impressive play strength. His experience as a “move” player can also help a team’s running game by adding an element of misdirection to their running plays. It would also allow creative offensive coordinators to sequence jet sweeps or screens off of their running game.
Haselwood will likely begin his career as a reserve player, but he should be able to carve out a role as a core special teams player thanks to the play strength and competitive toughness that make him a good blocker.