Laviska Shenault Isn’t A Lock To Produce Immediately (2020 NFL Draft)
Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Weight: 227 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
3-Cone Drill: N/A
Not only did Shenault show up at 227 pounds (seven pounds over listed) but he ran a less-than-stellar 4.58-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. After hearing that he was dealing with a core muscle injury, many wondered why he ran the 40-yard dash at all. Did it affect his time? His play-speed certainly looked better than that, though the added weight certainly didn’t help.
The injury he’s been dealing with could’ve affected his stats this past year, as he didn’t have a single game with fewer than five receptions in 2018, but then six such games in 2019. Despite playing in two more games in 2019, he wound up with 201 fewer yards and five fewer touchdowns than he did in 2018. These are all things that need to be factored in while assessing Shenault.
Here’s my detailed scouting report on Laviska Shenault (ratings out of five stars):
At first sight, he’s built like a running back. Not very long legs, bigger shoulders. He did move into the slot at times and is willing to play over the middle of the field, though he’s best-suited on the perimeter. They even had him in the wildcat formation at times and had him run the ball, highlighting his ability to be used in a variety of different ways. It’s tough to say there’s an offense out there that he couldn’t fit into in some capacity, which indicates great versatility.
Route Running/Ability to Separate
Not a quick twitch separator, needs to have a defensive back respect his speed to play off coverage to get room in the short area of the field. He’s someone who relies on varying speed to create separation in his routes, which definitely counts in this category, though the game gets much faster at the next level, which could remove some of that ability. Doesn’t have elite start/stop ability once he gets rolling into his route, requires a cool down of the jets. His route tree isn’t fully rounded considering the offense he’s coming from, though he should have no issue developing given the athlete he is. He’s a better separator than route-runner at this point.
Has good speed for someone of his size, especially once he gets moving. His initial burst isn’t anything to brag about and I believe that’s why defenders get burnt deep against him so often, as it’s kind of deceiving. It’s almost like he has this extra gear that he chooses when to use it. His play-speed does appear to be faster than his 40-time, though it could’ve had something to do with his core muscle injury he was playing through. Bottom line here is that he’s slightly faster than an average player of his size, earning him a slightly better than average score.
When the ball hits him in stride, he snags it like a thing of beauty. Doesn’t seem to require too much focus to haul the ball in with his hands naturally. He routinely snags the ball away from his frame and you’ll rarely see him allow the ball into his body. Would like to see his hands show up more in contested-catch situations, but that’s more to do with ball-tracking and awareness than hands. When a quarterback throws his way, Shenault’s hands should be of no concern.
Saw him sit down in a zone quite a few times against Oregon, though he’s not often used in that role (had him run a lot of deep routes). Really wish you’d see him snap to a ball rather than fade to it, as he essentially gives away where the ball is going rather than adjusting at the last possible moment. He also had some severe ball-tracking issues. His quarterback wasn’t great, so we saw this more than you’d hope. He has strong hands, but I don’t think he’s aggressive enough when the ball is hanging-up in the air.
After the Catch
He’s not an easy guy to tackle at 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds, especially when he gets moving, as he’s built rather stocky (like a running back). Again, he has top-end speed, so once he breaks a tackle and gets moving, he’s likely gone. Wouldn’t say he has elite after the catch ability due to the fact that his speed is a bit ramped-up and won’t allow him to beat defenders who take good angles, but he’s plenty competent after the catch, as you’d expect after seeing his frame.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Projected Draft Spot
Some believe he can go inside the first-round, though I’m not one who expects that. There are question marks surrounding his health, as well as whether his skill-set will translate at the next level, and can he continue to develop. He’s a high-upside prospect who’s oozing with upside, but he’s not someone who’s a lock to produce right away. Because of that, he should be expected to go on Day 2 of the draft, and likely the second-round. A few teams who could show interest include the Broncos, Texans, and Ravens.
There are many different comparisons for him, though my favorite would be Cordarrelle Patterson. He was never a guy who had insane burst out of the hole, but once he got rolling, he was a task to bring to the ground at 220 pounds. He’s also someone who’s used all over the field due to his running back-like build. Could Patterson have been more in the NFL? Maybe. He just never developed into the player that many had hoped. Shenault has a lot of similar traits, but certainly hopes he can develop into more.
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