There are not many wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft class that are more versatile than Laviska Shenault Jr. The former Colorado Buffalo had nearly as many rushing touchdowns (seven) as receiving (10) in his three seasons, which were impacted by injuries. But when healthy, Shenault's ability to line up anywhere on offense and his combination of size and athleticism make him an intriguing prospect in a loaded class.
Laviska Shenault Jr. Draft Profile
Shenault was a Swiss army knife in Colorado’s offense, lining up outside, in the slot, and even as an H-back and running back at times. He’s at his best when the ball gets into his hands early in the down. He runs with the vision and creativity of a running back, and he has the balance and natural power to steamroll defensive backs. He’s an explosive athlete with enough wiggle to be absolutely unstoppable in the open field. He’s more than a gadget player, though, showing polish and good feel as a route runner, and very good hands, especially in traffic. He’s very good against press coverage, with the blend of quickness and strength to get into his routes against physical corners. He also has the long speed and ball-tracking ability to make plays downfield.
His workload was heavy on manufactured touches on the collegiate level, and a coaching staff will have to work with Shenault to expand his route tree. He doesn’t have a great feel for leveraging defensive backs at the top of routes, relying too much on physicality at the college level rather than creating separation. Durability also becomes a concern at the NFL level — he missed games in each of the last two seasons, and his physical style might lend itself to frequent appearances on the injury report.
With catch-and-run ability becoming more important as defenses become smaller and worse at tackling, Shenault has a chance to be a stud even as a complementary player — his versatility makes up for some of his shortcomings as a traditional receiver. If he becomes more refined and more complete as a receiver, he’ll be a true No. 1.
Final Grade: 1st round