Undrafted Edition: Ezzard Could Add a Spark | Washington Commanders


By Adam Aniba


Washington re-signed Terry McLaurin and added dynamic PSU rookie Jahan Dotson with their first selection of the '22 NFL Draft. Former Panther, Curtis Samuel has yet to make an impact due to durability issues.


Fans should temper expectations for #10, which is reminiscent of another former Washington free agent pickup wearing #10, in injury riddled Paul Richardson. On the other hand, second year WR Dyami Brown and Cam Sims are expected to be major contributors this season.


In this Undrafted edition, former Howard and Sam Houston WR/Returner Jequez Ezzard goes under the spotlight and might just be the most intriguing backend player on the roster. With little need at receiver, the former Bison will attempt to make his mark on special teams.



Jequez Ezzard

5'9" 195 lbs | WR | SHSU

*Career HU '16-'19 (32 games) 143 rec for 2,213 yds & 23 tds (15.5 per rec)

*KR- 28 ret 582 yds 20.8 ret avg

*Career SH (32 games) 78 rec for 1,465 yds & 15 tds (22.4 per rec)

'21 (11 games) 40 rec for 604 yards & 6 tds (15.1 per rec)

Punt Ret-18 ret for 314 yds with 2 TDs (long of 80 yds)


Background

Ezzard grew up in College Park, GA and was a dual-sport athlete for Hapeville Charter Career Academy. The point guard averaged 6.3 pts per game, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game, but football was always his passion.


He finished his senior season with 34 receptions for 872 receiving yards and 8 TDs (25.6 per rec). Although Ezzard was used sparingly in the return game, he was dynamic his senior year; 6 PR for 245 yards 2 Tds (long of 82 yds) and 7 kick returns for 314 yards and 1 TD (long of 90 yds).


With little attention from D1 programs, Howard showed the most interest in the Hapeville Charter receiver and added Ezzard to their roster for the '18 season.


During Ezzard's workout for Howard, he clocked a 4.5 second forty, but his strength stood out with his 385 lbs squat and displayed his explosiveness with a 38" vertical leap.


Howard receiver coach, David Clowney had the following to say about Ezzard to The Athletic.

"His explosion is out of this world. I have never seen explosion, like literally going from 0 to 60 the way Ezzard does, like never, and I’m talking about even in the NFL. I played 6 years in the NFL between the Jets, Panthers and Bills, and I’ve never seen a receiver that can go from zero to 60, like him. It’s really impressive".

ALthough Ezzard was only active for 4 games for his freshman season, he recorded 272 kickoff return yards and 2 reception for 27 yards. The next season is when the Bison receiver got in a groove, playing in all 11 games registering 34 receptions for 895 receiving yards and 6 TDs touchdowns (six 100-yard receiving games in '17).


The sophomore finished the season ranked #3 in the nation with a 26.3 yards per reception average. His accomplishments led to a selection to the MEAC All-Conference 1st Team and Phil Steele FCS All-Conference Team.


The following season, Ezzard was once again named to the MEAC All-Conference 1st Team, but also notable was his name on the FCS Walter Payton Offensive Player of the Year Award Watch List.


In the season opener in '19 vs Ohio (9/1), Ezzard set a new Howard record with 223 receiving yards on 8 receptions and a TD. He' also finished the season with five 100-yard receiving games, including two 200-yard receiving performances (led the nation in yards per reception (26.6 per rec avg).


His senior season didn't go as planned, after being selected to the Black College Football Player of the Year Award Watch List, he only played in 1 game. After graduating, Ezzard elected to transfer to Sam Houston State for the '20-'21 season

During his first season at Sam Houston, Ezzard recorded 38 receptions for 861 yards and 9 TDs. His presence was also felt on special teams, as he recorded 18 punt returns for 314 yards for 2 TDs (long of 80 yds).


His efforts led to him being named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year, in addition to AP All-America second team wide receiver and AFCA All-America first team punt returner.


His 26.0 ypc led all in the FCS in addition to averaging 120.8 all-purpose yards per game (17.7 yards per return ranking 3rd in the FCS).


PROS

  • Very good short area quickness, displays multiple gears in the open filed

  • Return ability and field vision allows him to effectively set up blocks downfield

  • Displays impressive flexibility with the ability to contort is body to make tough receptions

  • Explosive off the snap

  • Although not the most refined route runner, displays the ability to find holes/weakness in coverage

  • Impressive physicality and strength for a receiver his size


CONS

  • Guilty of body catching at times, rather than extending

  • Concentration lapses occasionally led to uncontested drops (only a slight concern)

  • Limited catch radius

  • Size will limit his overall impact early, has room to add more mass

  • More of a gadget option, than a true slot receiver

  • Too easily stonewalled when facing press coverage


Outlook

Ezzard has the chance to make his mark competing for a return job. Similar to last years returner DeAndre Carter, Ezzard has upside as backup receiving option. Playing on the outside is out of the question, but his ability to be moved around in sub-packages make him an intriguing rookie to keep an eye on during training camp.



*Games Watched- 9/1/18 vs Ohio, 10/6/18 vs NCC, 10/13/18 vs Del St, 2/27/20 vs SE LA, 3/20/20 vs Lamar, 4/10/20 McNeese St, 4/17/20 UIW & 5/8 vs James Madison



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