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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Malik Nabers

Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

6’0” – 200 lbs.

Background:

Louisiana native and four-star recruit who started six of eleven games played as a true freshman, finishing with 28-417-4 (14.9). Took over a full-time starting role the next year and finished with 72-1,017-3 (14.1), then managed to take his game up another level this year, with a massive 80-1,424-12 (17.8) line going into bowl season.

Positives:

Has been highly productive in school, with sharply escalating production each season. Versatile receiver who has taken extensive snaps both inside and outside, working different levels and both over the middle of the field or near the boundary. Has quick feet to release at the line against press. Gets up to top speed quickly; acceleration may be his most impressive trait. Has the raw speed to threaten downfield on routes like the slot fades the Tigers have helped popularize. Knows how to change speeds to create easy throwing windows for his quarterback. Very good at working the stutter step to create opportunities for downfield shots. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder when targeted deep. Shows good hip sink into the route stem on curls. Has provided a much more consistent pair of hands over the past two seasons. Willing to sell out to make the catch. Shows pretty good concentration in contested-catch situations. Dynamic with the ball in his hands, and the team has tried to feed him in different ways, from screens to sweeps to pop passes. Also has experience as a return specialist.

Negatives:

Just under 57% of his college snaps have come in the slot. Doesn’t run the widest range of routes; somewhat dependent on slot fades, underneath routes, curls, and double-moves. Teams were so worried about getting beat deep on his double-moves that he didn’t always need to run very snappy, detailed routes under their cushions; a lot of times where he’s upright through the stem. Would like to see him work back to the ball more consistently on hitches and curls. Struggled with drops as a freshman, although he has improved a lot since then. Can be jolted on contact when blocking. Some issues with muffed punts during the games reviewed (two against Florida State in 2022, for example.)

Summary:

A fast, explosive receiver who’s made himself a ton of money this season, primarily because of his ability to generate consistent separation downfield on slot fades and double-moves from the outside. As a result, teams often gave him big cushions to work underneath, and he was able to take advantage of those with curls and other underneath routes. Clearly has some special traits, but will probably need to continue diversifying his route tree in order to replicate that success in the pros. Looks poised to be one of the top three or so receivers off the board on draft day, and a likely first-rounder.

Projection: Round 1

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