My Draft Dudes: Laviska Shenault JR.

Overview:

Name: Laviska Shenault Jr.
Position: WR
School: Colorado
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 220 Lbs

Laviska is everything everybody thought Cordarelle Patterson would be when he came out of Tennessee. He lines up everywhere on the offense (Outside, Slot, RB, QB in the wildcat) and jumps off the screen when he has the ball in his hands. He’s not a guy who’s going to consistently create loads of separation, but due to his physical make up and his ball tracking/high point ability, he doesn’t need to. He will benefit by playing with a more accurate QB at the next level who can take advantage of this skill set and throw him open. Shenault will be a volume guy wherever he lands and should receive a solid chunk of the offenses touches.

Release Vs. Press: Big, strong and physical. Does not get tested very often at the LOS with jam or press but rather mirrored. Quick feet and violent hips allow him to stem the defensive back. Technical corners will be able to stay with him off the LOS at the next level but they will not be able to out physical him.

Route Running: Good route runner. Good hips & good start stop allow him to get in and out of breaks quickly. Knows when and how to properly breaks off of his route on broken plays to get open and help the QB.

Run After Catch: ELITE. This is his bread and butter. He accelerates quickly after the catch and breaks violently when cutting through defenders. Regularly makes the 1st defender miss. On multiple occasions I have seen him push a pile of 3 or 4 defenders 3-5 yards.

Hands/Body Adjustment: High point, contested catch ability. Hands catcher, doesn’t allow the ball to get to his body. Tracks the ball very well in flight and chases it down like a center fielder chases a fly ball. Will focus on run after catch at times prior to securing the ball and this leads to some drops.

Blocking: Shows willingness. Punches at defenders rather than sitting and catching or driving. This is often good enough but due to the punch, he creates separation between him and the defender thus allowing defenders to get away if ball carrier is near.

Play Making Ability: ELITE. Can turn nothing into something on a regular basis. After catch, adjusts to becoming ball carrier with ease. Strong/Physical, runs with power and is rarely taken down by the 1st defender. Overpowers defenders at the catch point which allows him to win on contested balls. When used in the running game (jet sweep, wildcat), he has good vision, anticipation and acceleration. He does not waste steps in the backfield, he commits and gets what he can.

Final Thoughts: He is an offensive weapon and should be used as one wherever he lands. Teams will need to have a package of plays on top of their normal WR work for Shenault. Think Percy Harvin, with less lateral speed/quick twitch, but more physical dominance. Defenders will respect his vertical game and often give him a cushion. Screens, slants and drag routes will be utilized to get him the ball in space. If he adds the back shoulder fade to his arsenal he could be a nightmare for defenders.

Projected Draft Round: Mid to late 1st.

Question Mark: Can he hold up physically at the next level with his style of play? He missed two games this season with a core muscle injury and three games in 2018 with a toe injury. He also had a torn labrum in 2018 that led to off-season surgery. Will need to learn when to give himself up after the catch to avoid unnecessary contact/wear & tear.

Comp: Dez Bryant/Cordarelle Patterson/Julio Jones

Team Fit: Philadelphia, Buffalo & Las Vegas could all use an Alpha playmaker at WR. The Jets and GB are other teams I could see being interested but I believe both will look for a more technically savvy WR.

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