Three Day 3 WR Sleepers To Watch | Washington Commanders
Updated: Apr 22, 2022
By Adam Aniba
The 2022 NFL Draft boasts a deep class at receiver with names like Garrett Wilson (CLICK for FULL Scouting report) and Treylon Burks (CLICK for FULL Scouting report) being two potential first rounders, previously featured by the B&G Report. In this feature, 3 prospects with high ceilings, will likely hear the names called on Day 3 of the draft and could be ideal fits for Washington.
6'1" 195 lbs | WR | S.Alabama
Draft Proj Late 3rd-4th Rd
Career (40 games) 178 rec 3,140 yards & 22 tds 17.6 ypc avg
'21 (12 games ) 82 rec for 1,474 yards & 8 tds 18.0 ypc avg
Jalen Tolbert was featured in our Feb '22 HBCU prospect draft report (CLICK for Full Scouting Report) and had one of the most prolific seasons ever for a South Alabama receiver. His historical season led to invites to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. The combination of his 4.49 sec forty time, 35" vertical leap, along with field drills, further displayed how explosive he could be on the next level.
His ability as an effective deep threat in '21, led to him setting school records with 82 receptions for an 18.0 yards per reception average. Tolbert took advantage of the extra year of eligibility in 2021 and was named Sun Belt Conference player of the Year.
The 6th ranked receiver in the FBS, who finished with just under 1,500 receiving yards in '21, does a lot of his work on deep routes. Getting the S.Alabama receiver reps on go-routes is the best way to utilize his combination of size, strong hands and ability to block out defensive backs downfield.
His ability to win in 50/50 jump ball situations, will appeal to teams looking to build up a dangerous receiving core. Tolbert is an Impressive route runner with the type of quick twitch ability that translates to the next level as well. His ability to thrive while facing aggressive corners is notable, as his ability to match the intensity thrown his way by utilizing a variety of countermoves.
Washington could certainly use a receiver with Tolbert's ability, who projects as an X/Z receiver on the next level. Terry McLauirn is the unquestioned leader of the group, but the other receivers are a mixed bag, that would benefit from another receiver who can take the top off a defense.
Velus Jones Jr
6'0" 204 lbs | WR | Tenn Univ
Draft Proj Late 5th-6th Rd
Career USC/Tenn (59 games) 120 rec for 1,434 yds & 11 tds 12.0 ypc avg
*Kick Ret- 122 att for 2,973 yds & 2 tds with a 24.4 KRA
'21 (13 games ) 62 rec for 807 yards & 7 tds with a 13.0 ypc avg
*Kick Ret- 23 att for 628 yds & 1 tds with a 27.3 KRA
Velus Jones Jr's 4.31 second combine forty time opened eyes during the week in Indianapolis. After multiple 700+ receiving seasons at USC, he found himself buried on the Trojan's depth chart and elected to transfer to the University of Tennessee for the 2020 season.
His ability as a kick returner and a slot receiver were underutilized his first year as a Volunteer, that is until Josh Heupel took over as head coach in '21. The installation of Heupel's up-tempo spread based passing game, utilized Jones Jr's speed and ability to gain yards after the catch. He took advantage of the extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic and it paid off.
Jones Jr's '21 season was his most prolific as a receiver and on special teams as a kick returner. His primary role as the Volunteer's slot receiver, was to work in the short & intermediate passing game and was a frequent target on comeback routes/screen passes. He had some solid reps when he was a target on deep passing routes as well, but his route tree responsibilities were limited by the scheme.
As a kick returner, the Volunteer's receiver displays the type of strait line speed, ability to redirect on a dime and the patience needed to have success on the next level. Jones Jr. shows little hesitation in the open filed, finishing '21 with a 27.3 yards per kick return. His age could turn some teams off (25 yrs old), but Jones Jr excelled when he became the focal point of the Volunteer's passing game.
The loss of DeAndre Carter opens the door for a prospect with Jones Jr's skill-set as a potential primary returner and a developmental slot receiver. Stay Tuned for the full B&G Report scouting report draft feature for Jones Jr.
6'3" 209 lbs | WR | TTU
Draft Proj Late 5th-6th Rd
Career (40 games) 178 rec 2,165 yds & 15 tds 15.7 ypc avg
'21 (12 games ) 48 rec for 705 yds & 4 tds 14.7 ypc avg
*Rushing- 10 att for 138 yds for 2 tds 13.8 per carry
Although a product of the opportunistic and high octane Tech Tech Air-Raid passing game, Ezukanma displays exceptional toughness after the catch, rarely going down after initial contact. His ability to work through line jams when facing aggressive press corners is notable and will help his transition on the next level.
Ezukanma's 36.5" vertical and filed drills impressed at the combine. He chose to run the forty at his pro day, recording a 4.53 second time. Many had hoped he'd run in the sub 4.5 range, but his suddenness and overall performance during filed drills should ease concerns. He was the first Texas Tech receiver to earn 1st-Team All Big 12 since Michael Crabree in '08.
The Raiders receiver showed his resilience and toughness, after breaking his arm in a '21 spring practice by returning later in the season. His return sparked the Texas Tech offense, earning him 2nd-Team All-Conference honors with 706 receiving yards on 48 receptions for 4 tds and added 138 yards on the ground for 2 more scores.
Ezukanma has the ability to be a red-zone bully, he understands how to utilize his wide catch radius to make tough catches over the top of DB's. His skillet to counter press-coverage is also noteworthy.
With Washington likely to draft a receiver in the top 50, the Texas Tech receiver would still be a viable late round developmental boundary receiver, who could learn/work behind Cam Sims and Dyami Brown.
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