Jaleel Scott is a major 2018 NFL Draft sleeper with No. 1 wideout potential
Scott is tall, athletic, and consistently showed plus ball skills in contested-catch situations in college
Jaleel Scott is a 6-foot-6, 215-pound dynamic receiver with, as you can probably guess, excellent jump-ball skills and fluid athleticism that, altogether, make him quite the impressive wideout prospect.
During his final season at New Mexico State, Scott reeled in 73 passes for 1,042 yards with eight touchdowns.
He went the junior college route after not generating much attention as a high-school recruit. In 2016 with the Aggies, Scott had 23 catches for 283 yards with five scores. Clearly, the tall receiver was relied upon to put points on the board during his collegiate career.
Scott's film in 2017, coupled with his large frame and athletic talents, lead me to evaluate him as a Day 2 prospect capable of ultimately becoming an No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
He was one of 14 wideouts in college football to go over the 1,000-yard mark with a catch rate of at least 63 percent. Scott was credited with five drops on 77 catchable targets during the season, good for a 6.49 drop rate. Not exactly an ideal figure, but a tick better than Christian Kirk of Texas A&M.
Anytime you're dealing with a wideout that's, say, 6-foot-2 or taller, you want to him to thrive at the catch point. Scott certainly does.
Let's start with possibly the catch of the year in all of college football: Scott's one-handed touchdown against Arizona State.
Leaping ability, body control, concentration, strong hands. All on display there. Incredible, right?
He made two other contested-catch grabs against the Sun Devils, which made a loud and clear statement that he can produce against top competition. He finished that game with eight receptions for 149 yards with one touchdown.
On this play against Georgia Southern, Scott saves his quarterback on a heave to the middle of the field that's nearly intercepted by the free safety. This grab was of the diving variety, which showcases the luxury of his extreme length.
In the same game, Scott again demonstrated the full extent of his enormous catch radius on a fade touchdown reception. Notice how he subtly maintained some separation with his arms after the pass was thrown.
That's precisely what you need to see from a 6-6 receiver: the ability to box out a defender and go up and get the football at its highest point.
On this grab against Texas State, Scott shows his ball-tracking skills and body control as he adjusts on a slightly underthrown pass and plucks the ball with his hands over his back shoulder near the sideline.
While Scott makes that reception look easy, finding the football in the air is one thing, but it's another to contort your body, catch the football away from your frame to shield it from the defender and get both feet in bounds.
The big wideout certainly didn't make every contested catch thrown his way, but it's an area of his game in which he clearly flourishes. He should be able to win many jump-ball scenarios immediately in the NFL.
Route-running and yards after the catch
Sometimes wideouts of Scott's size struggle with twitchiness and change of direction when running routes. This touchdown illustrious his fluid athleticism and nuance as a route-runner.
The fake inside was outstanding, and it's the reason the pitch and catch was effortless.
This play, while not a testament to his ability to create space at the beginning of his routes, exhibits Scott's refinement when his size is being utilized. He instantly gains outside leverage on the cornerback and, without pushing off, keeps separation with his left arm as he's running to the football. He leaps at the right moment to bring in the ball and gets one foot in bounds.
This score shows Scott's movement skills at the top of his route stem, an area in which many tall, lanky receivers struggle to make crisp cuts, which leads to cornerbacks and safeties gaining a step and making a play on the football.
His fake to the outside was sold beautifully, which got the safety to bite on, and led to the touchdown.
Here against Texas State on a simple speed out Scott plants, explodes out of his break and again shows off awesome body control and high-pointing ability while getting his feet down near the sideline.
Scott undoubtedly has a flair for the downfield play, yet is capable of making difficult catches on slightly off-target passes that move the chains or pick up important yardage on first or second down.
Every year in the draft, there are an assortment of 6-foot-3 and taller receivers. Some of them play to their size, while many don't. And it's somewhat rare to find a tall wideout who runs routes smoothly.
Scott plays to his immense size, has quick-twitch athletic talents, and has the speed to be a dangerous deep threat at the next level. Because of that, he'll see many cornerbacks play off him, leading to wide open throwing lanes on comebacks.
He'll need to learn the intricacies of beating press coverage at the line -- he wasn't tested there often in college -- and added weight would help him against bigger defensive backs in the pros and when he's blocking for the run on the outside.
Scott is primed for a rise up draft boards over the next few months. Regardless of when he's selected, he has the blend of size and polished skill to be a productive receiver for many years in the NFL.
You can check him out against Utah State in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl on CBS Sports Network tonight at 5:30 pm ET.
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