Three plays can’t paint the full picture of a prospect, but they can give an idea of how a player may make an impact on Sundays. In this series, Matt St. Jean breaks down three plays for many of the 2020 NFL Draft’s top prospects.
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins has some of the best hands in the draft. Per Pro Football Focus, he dropped just six passes out of 120 catchable ones over his past two seasons. He is capable of making catches outside his frame, where his length and body control are also on display. His 34⅛” long arms are the longest in this draft class. On this play against Virginia in the ACC Championship, he makes a spectacular grab on the sideline, getting both hands on the football while keeping a foot in the field of play. He also shows his awareness, checking for his defender to make sure he has position and knowing where the sideline is to make the catch in bounds.
One area where Higgins may struggle in the NFL is in ability to separate from tight man coverage. However, the junior was still able to make plays with a defender in close proximity. Despite being well-covered, Higgins gets to the football and then shows off his sure hands again by corralling it on the deflection. The Clemson product then adds another 30 yards after the catch, taking advantage of the open space and playing physically.
Higgins has struggled to separate against press coverage, but his route running ability is an asset against off-man and zone. He is quick to accelerate out of breaks and regularly fools defenders. Against South Carolina, he runs the post-corner to perfection to get wide open for a big gain, then adds on a few yards with a nice juke after the catch.