Jalen Saunders, WR

School: Oklahoma  |  Conference: BIG12
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Elk Grove, CA
Height/Weight: 5-9 / 165 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.372.501.55- 3410'2"--

Player Overview

An under-the-radar two-star high school recruit, Saunders enrolled at Fresno State, where he saw immediate action as a true freshman. He set career-bests in 2011 (1,065 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns), catching passes from fellow sophomore Derek Carr.

After a coaching change before his junior year and the desire to be more than just a slot target, Saunders decided to transfer to Oklahoma, where he sat out the first four games of 2012 before the NCAA cleared him to play. Despite his unhappiness as an inside receiver at Fresno State, he played primarily in the slot for the Sooners the past two seasons, leading Oklahoma in receiving in 2013.

Saunders doesn't look like much and his light frame allows him to be pushed around, but he's savvy, elusive and speedy with multiple gears. He shows excellent quickness in/out of his breaks with fluid hips and explosive cuts to make shifty open-field moves and turn on the jets.

Saunders projects as an undersized slot receiver in the NFL with his ability as a space player and catch-and-go style, although the limited size and durability concerns hurt his NFL projection.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Fast off the line of scrimmage with very good acceleration and initial burst. Explosive cuts to catch defenders off-balance with a sharp plant foot in his breaks. Very quick-footed with natural explosiveness to dance and create in space. Good balance and shifty moves to wiggle out of trouble.

Quick, controlled hands and will contort his body and consistently secure catches away from his frame. Good catching radius for a target his size. Works the middle of the field well as an inside receiver and finds open zones. Productive after the catch with several big plays on his highlight reel.

Adds value as a return man on special teams and averaged 15.0 yards per punt return in college, including three career scores. Very hard worker off the field and prepares like a professional - motivated and determined. Football bloodlines as the nephew of 13-year NFL veteran WR Webster Slaughter.

WEAKNESSES: Smallish frame with narrow shoulders/hips and skinny limbs, lacking the body type to add much muscle. Very light as a ballcarrier and doesn't have much of a power element to his game. Lean frame makes him susceptible to crushing hits, especially over the middle, which creates durability concerns.

Tough, but won't seek out contact. Smaller hands and will have some drops. Willing blocker, but very limited. Most of his experience is as an inside receiver and will be relegated to a slot role at the next level.

COMPARES TO: Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - Both Hawkins and Saunders are light on their feet and explosive with the ball in their hands, despite size limitations limiting their NFL role.

--Dane Brugler (2/4/14)

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Player News
05/12/2014 - A closer look at the Jets' picks: Round 4/104 -- Jalen Saunders, WR, 5-9, 165, Oklahoma...Another undersized prospect, Saunders may be too small to take over slot duties from Jeremy Kerley, whose contract expires after the upcoming season. But Saunders, who returned three punts for touchdowns at Oklahoma, should be the Jets' first true weapon in the return game since Joe McKnight. - The Sports Xchange


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