For all the Stanford players that have gone into the NFL, the receiver position has been pretty sparse. Sure there is Doug Baldwin who was an undrafted free agent and Ty Montgomery has found some success but the Cardinal have nothing else to show and only two players (Ryan Whalen) drafted in the past ten years. This turns our attention to senior JJ Arcega-Whiteside whose not only looking to be the next Cardinal receiver drafted but also carve out a starting role in the NFL.
How JJ Arcega-Whiteside Wins
There are two types of deep threats, the elite speed receivers who by running past defenders and then there are the bigger receivers who eat up yards and are able to go up and win contested catchers. At 6’3 221lbs Arcega-Whiteside definitely fits into the later category using his size to win down the field.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 17, 2018
JJ Arcega-Whiteside isn’t explosive off the ball but his stride eats up yards allowing him to cover ground quickly and get to the cornerback fast. From there he’s able to accelerate enough to get behind defenders and work his way downfield. Arcega-Whiteside uses body control and leaping ability to go up and high points the ball in the air.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside Concerns
While Arcega-Whiteside can win downfield he lacks the top speed to consistently beat defenders and will have to deal with better cornerback play where they can play the ball in the air. Arcega-Whiteside also struggles to get separation in and out of breaks on shorter routes. Sure receivers can rely on their catching radius and winning 50/50 balls can have success in the NFL, but to be more than just a role player you have to be like DeAndre Hopkins and be elite.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside has the traits to be a starter in the league with the ability to make tough catches in traffic and use his frame to seal off defenders. But Arcega-Whiteside needs to improve on his short to intermediate routes if he wants to be anything more than just a deep threat. Whether that’s improve his burst or just working on the nuanes it could help get him even a bit more room to operate and allow the quarterback to get him the ball. Arcega-Whiteside may never be an elite receiver but he has the chance to at least be a quality number three with low end number two ceiling.