In the NFL, wide receiver is a position you like to have depth at and this year’s draft is loaded at the position. Louisville isn’t a wide receiver factory, but there are two prospects in this class that the Las Vegas Raiders should at least take a long look at.
Had Tutu Atwell played 15 years ago, he would be an underutilized player because of his size. Coaches wouldn’t know how to use him and teams wouldn’t take the risk on a player of his frame. Nowadays, these players, in the right offense, can be weapons to put your offense over the top. Like most players his height and body type, he could play in the slot, which fits his playstyle perfectly. He is a home run hitter and averaged around 16 yards per reception the last two years.
Atwell has strong hands during contact and completes the catch to the ground. Usually in space if the ball is in the hands, he is going for an explosive play. A big plus is even at his size of five-foot-nine, he is willing to take a big hit and come down with the ball. His routes are sharp and quick, but most of the time he is the fastest man on the field. There is buzz of him maybe making it into the end of the first round, but more than likely, considering how deep this draft is at wideout, he could fall to the mid-second or third round.
Dez Fitzpatrick has a very different frame and body type from Atwell. At around 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, he is not only taller but also has a thicker frame than his fellow wide receiver. He was a four-year starter who doesn’t look like he has hit his ceiling yet. He was more of an across the middle type of receiver in a run-first offense. When they need a reception on a crucial player it was usually going to Fitzpatrick. In retrospect, he could definitely have done more with the speed he had to take receivers over the top. During the Reese’s Senior Bowl, he had cornerbacks on him beat deep on multiple plays.
When the ball is in the air he will high point the ball. His route running is very crisp but will need improvement on his route tree. Also, unlike Atwell, he is not a complete prospect. He needs to improve on concentration when catching the ball and using his bigger frame to box out the defender.
The height and weight factor alone could make Fitzpatrick a good red-zone threat. He has the ability to be a number one or two receiver with his traits alone. Though right now he’s more of a raw prospect who may need time to develop. He is being projected as a later round or an undrafted free agent with plenty more NFL-ready receivers ahead of him.
The Raiders can’t pass up the chance to bolster their wide receiver unit
These two prospects could round out the Raiders’ wide receiver corps. You can never have too many good wideouts in the NFL. These two definitely add different dimensions to the team and could take it over the top. Both fit what the Raiders want in their offense. With such a loaded draft at wide receiver, both of these players could fall right in the Raider’s lap.
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