The 2020 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board will be rolled out over the course of four weeks by position, featuring players to watch and a breakdown of what NFL scouts look for through the eyes of Collegiate Bowl Director of College Scouting, Dane Vandernat.
Today, we feature wide receivers:
THREE TO WATCH
Michael Pittman Jr., USC: The Trojans playmaker possesses great size and strength, which enables him to get off the line of scrimmage cleanly. Pittman Jr. is a deep threat, thanks to his acceleration and ability to come down with the jump ball—he loves to run the fade. He was a special teams sensation as a freshman, making seven tackles on coverage, forcing a fumble, blocking a punt and returning kicks. He owns strong bloodlines, as his father, Michael Sr., played a decade in the NFL.
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame: The first Canadian-born player on Notre Dame in two decades, Claypool hails from British Columbia and has modeled his game after Julio Jones. Strong, fast and physical, he checks off all the boxes and is also a phenomenal blocker. Claypool is constantly running past defenders, in addition to running through would-be tacklers, and is a big red zone threat. Former teammate Julian Love (Giants) credits Claypool as having the most tools of any wideout he ever faced.
Michael Bandy, San Diego: A noted hard worker and ultra-competitive player, according to his coaches, Bandy is a smaller, chiseled type of receiver who is dedicated to the weight room. In addition to his great strength and physicality, Bandy has showcased tremendous deep speed, often times out-running his coverage and leaving defenders in his dust. He exploded onto the NFL radar in 2018 with 1,698 receiving yards, including a 10-catch, 324-yard performance against Davidson.
Great wide receivers are constantly working on two things: Catching the ball with their hands away from their body and perfecting their route running. These two seemingly simple skills are what separate the good from the rest — especially in the NFL, where defensive backs are big and fast. Once the ball is caught, that’s when God-given ability takes over. Coaches and quarterbacks, especially, love a wide receiver who possesses the strength and speed to turn a 5-yard completion into a big gain. An often overlooked aspect of playing wide receiver is blocking. While receivers don’t need to be as adept as tight ends, effort and desire go a long way in keeping their targets covered and their coaches happy. Ultimately, paying attention to the details will help a college wide receiver make a successful transition to the pro level.
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL BIG BOARD: WIDE RECEIVERS
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