In just two seasons, KJ Hamler showed the skills and abilities that should make him an early-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. What Hamler lacks for in size, he makes up with toughness and big-play ability. Like many of his talented peers in this loaded class, Hamler needs to refine his route running and other techniques, but he possesses the tools needed to develop into a quality NFL receiver.
KJ Hamler Draft Profile
College: Penn State
He’s undersized, but Hamler is also competitive, tough and, most notably, has a third gear that few can keep up with. One of the fastest players in this draft class, he can blow the top off a defense, but he also made strides to become a more complete receiver over the past two seasons. Along with his pure speed, he’s a sudden mover off the line of scrimmage and gets 0-to-60 in a flash, making opponents think twice about pressing him. He also has the body control to gear down and create significant separation against defensive backs who give him an exaggerated cushion. He’s very good in catch-and-run situations, showing good vision with the ball in his hands and the lateral quickness and creativity to be deadly in space. He’s competitive going after the ball in traffic, and in contested-catch situations downfield he shows the explosive leaping ability to rip the ball away. He brings return specialist ability as well.
There’s still work to do as far as becoming a well-rounded receiver, as Hamler ran a limited route tree at Penn State and was relied upon primarily as a deep threat and manufactured-touch gadget guy. He needs to do a better job coming back and attacking the ball on some of these stop routes. At his size, getting a consistent release against big, physical corners could be an issue at times — he might ultimately be best playing out of the slot.
There’s an emphasis on big-play ability in the modern NFL, and Hamler brings exactly that. He’ll enter the league as a complementary player and situational deep threat, but he has the potential to develop into a quality starter or, in the right situation, a star.
Final Grade: 1st/2nd round