Draft season is in full swing, and while quarterbacks are the hottest ticket in town, they must have someone to throw to. Rookie wide receivers don’t always make big impacts, but they’re important building blocks for any passing attack. Joseph Ferraiola breaks down Laquon Treadwell’s tape, and tells us what to expect from him at the next level.
Laquon Treadwell is one of the most talented receivers in the 2016 NFL Draft class. The Ole Miss product decided to forgo his senior season following a spectacular junior year, in which he accumulated 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns on 82 receptions. This performance was good enough to earn him All-American honors. In his three year career at Ole Miss, Treadwell totaled 202 receptions, 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns despite a gruesome leg injury that cut his sophomore season short.
Tale of the Tape
Treadwell is 6’2” and 221 pounds. He possesses a strong, well-built frame with long arms (33 3/8”) and large hands (9 1/2”). He didn’t run the 40 yard dash at the combine, but he benched 12 reps, had a 33” vertical jump, and a 117” broad jump.
It is a bit concerning that he didn’t run the 40 because talent evaluators have questioned his vertical speed and ability to separate. Treadwell turned in times of 4.63 and 4.65 at his recent pro day. These times were not overly impressive for Treadwell and confirm many evaluators opinions about his lack of speed.
Against off man coverage Treadwell does a solid job getting off the line and eating up cushion. It is not as fast as you would like, but it is passable.
Against press coverage he possesses the size and play strength to beat opposing cornerbacks. As the video below shows, against Alabama during his sophomore season he displays great ability to beat press coverage.
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Treadwell is lined up at the top of the screen on this play with the corner in press coverage. After the ball is snapped, Treadwell works through the contact with strong hand usage and continues running vertical into his route. This was a running play, but he still beat the press coverage.
In the seven games of film I reviewed, Treadwell faced a lot of off coverage. On Sundays, NFL teams will definitely test how he handles beating press coverage. He possesses the natural ability and a strong work ethic to beat press coverage, but does not have a sufficient body work to see how he handles it on a consistent basis.
The primary area that Treadwell needs to improve upon is his ability to gain separation. In the same game against Alabama where Treadwell does a great job beating press coverage he also struggles to gain separation from the corner.
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Treadwell is alone at the top of the play against press coverage. This time the corner is able to throw him off his route, causing Treadwell to lose leverage into his route. He’s blanketed the entire route because of his failure to gain separation off the press, and the result of the play is a contested incomplete pass.
However, in the same game he was able to make a spectacular play without much room to work at all.
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Treadwell is lined up at the top of the screen against press man coverage. Once the ball is snapped Treadwell runs vertically towards the sideline without gaining any separation. The quarterback passes it his way on what appears to be a timing route. The throw is behind both the receiver and the defender, and Treadwell works back to the ball with limited space. He makes the catch and spins out of a tackle, breaks a second tackle, and walks into the endzone.
Many compare Treadwell to Dez Bryant and this play is a prime example why. The way he uses his body positioning and physicality to gain just enough separation to reel in the catch is impressive.
Treadwell is a talented pass catcher, and displays good concentration when making catches in a crowded area. He’s a possession receiver that can go and make a play on any ball thrown his way.
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On this play against Oklahoma State, Treadwell is lined up against off coverage with his defender giving about eight yards of cushion. At the snap, Treadwell runs a go route and Chad Kelly drops back to throw deep. Treadwell wins the ball at the point of attack and comes away with a touchdown despite the defender committing pass interference.
Later in the same game the Ole Miss offense is in the red zone. Treadwell’s defender is playing press and has his body turned outside to cut off a route towards the sideline.
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Because of the corner’s positioning, Treadwell easily gets inside leverage as he breaks into his slant route. At that moment, Treadwell is open and Kelly throws a pass between the corner and the safety. The wide receiver fearlessly plucks the football out of the air while being hit by the safety and hangs on for another touchdown. This play is a great example of his competitive toughness and reliability to catch the ball in traffic.
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Once again Ole Miss is in the red zone. Treadwell is lined up at the top of the screen and the corner playing opposite of him has no safety help. Kelly immediately recognizes single coverage and lets it fly on a fade pass. The ball is thrown over Treadwell’s shoulder and it lands perfectly in his hands. Treadwell does an excellent job of tracking the ball over his shoulder and reeling in his third touchdown of the game.
Yards After Catch
Treadwell’s ability to gain yardage after the catch relies on physicality. He breaks tackles using the strength he shows in this play versus Vanderbilt.
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Treadwell is lined up against off coverage. The quarterback rolls out and Treadwell settles in a spacious area of the field because his defender is playing too far off the line. Treadwell works back to the ball and turns up field using his body to gain a few extra yards on the play.
Treadwell blocks well for a college wide receiver. He’s extremely willing to block and will throw the additional block downfield displaying his competitive toughness. One area to improve upon is his over aggressiveness while blocking as he misses his man by being too aggressive. He’ll sometimes get too far out in front of himself, becoming unbalanced. Usually, however, Treadwell is knocking people on the ground and clearing paths for backs and his fellow receivers.
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On this specific play Treadwell blocks the corner clearing a path for his running back, and then turns and lays a different block on the approaching linebacker, knocking him to the turf. His blocking needs some fine tuning but he should be a very good blocker in the NFL.
Laquon Treadwell should be drafted in the first round. I expect he will go in the 10-16 range. He would fit well with the New York Giants as he would definitely help take pressure off of Odell Beckham Jr. He’d also be a good fit for the Detroit Lions after they lost Calvin Johnson to retirement. Signing Marvin Jones and drafting a receiver like Treadwell should help Detroit replace the loss of Johnson’s production.
Treadwell is best used as a possession receiver. He should be able to effectively work the underneath areas of the field and also be a reliable red zone target. He has good ability to track the deep ball and win at the point of attack, but can have trouble attacking speedy corners vertically. He is already a good blocker and has the potential to be a great one. His competitive toughness and top-notch work ethic give him a high floor, which will help him come draft day.