In today’s NFL versatility is a tremendous trait to have as teams can take move the player around to really confuse the opposing defense. On offense this is especially true as the defensive personal is often brought in depending on what offensive players you have out there. This is what makes Laviska Shenualt Jr. such a special player as he can realistically play four different offensive positions. Let’s take a look at Laviska Shenault Jr NFL Draft potential and how he can be used.
The most important thing that a receiver needs to do is be able to catch the ball. And when you watch Laviska Shenault Jr. play he shows that he has soft hands and can make catches both inside and outside his frame. Shenault Jr. doesn’t let the ball get to his body using his big hands to attack the ball and make effortless looking catches. Even on off target throws he’s able to use body control and leaping ability to high point the ball or pluck it out of the air. Very rarely do you ever see him double catch a ball.
Normally for a player of Shenault Jr’s size and athletic ability they are not very good route runners, but this isn’t the case here. Shenault Jr. uses quick busts of speed and his body control to create enough initial separation that allows him to gain leverage to be able to make catches. Whether it is a stutter step to freeze the defender or just putting a foot down and accelerating out of the break he’s able to gain a step on the defender. Even at 6’2 220lbs Shenault shows (above clip) that he can sink his hips quickly at the stem and make a quick break.
If you have a receiver that can win both in the slot and outside they are usually considered a versatile receiver. But what about one that can play as an H-back and running back as well? Well if you draft Shenault Jr., that is the type of prospect you are going to get. Inside Shenault Jr uses his quickness and strength to beat slot corners while he has the speed to line up on the outside. But Colorado often would line up Shenualt Jr in an almost tight end position flexed off the line of scrimmage using him to cut across the formation on trap blocks and even some bootleg option. Shenault will even get several carries a game either out of fly sweeps, from a wildcat quarterback or even as a traditional running back position. As a runner Shenault Jr can make defenders miss with his quickness or generate some power from his speed to run through arm tackles.
This past year Jalen Hurd was drafted 67th overall and his ability to play as a receiver and running back was revered as this great chess piece. And while Hurd does have some raw traits it is nothing compared to what Laviska Shenault Jr can provide to an NFL team. Shenault is a much more refined receiver who can play both inside and out and also contribute to the running game. His ability to win with quickness but then use his size and strength to win contested catches is something we haven’t seen in a long time. When you put everything together he looks like a lock of a first rounder since he realistically fits into every teams scheme.