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NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR/KR Deandre Reaves, Marshall

NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR/KR Deandre Reaves, Marshall

Deandre Reaves - WR/KR, Marshall Thundering Herd

 

Position: WR/Return Specialist
Height: 5’9
Weight: 177
Year: Redshirt Senior
Hometown: Sterling, VA
Experience: 1 year starter at WR, 3 year starter at returner

 

Measurables:

40yd dash: NA
Broad jump: NA
Vertical: NA
3-cone: NA
20yd. Shuttle: NA
Bench Press: NA

 

Career Notes:

Deandre Reaves came to Marshall in the fall of 2011. He made the decision to redshirt after it became apparent he would not receive playing time that year. In his redshirt freshman season, he played ten games on special teams and recorded 9 tackles. At the beginning of his redshirt sophomore season, he broke onto the scene as an explosive kick returner, and settled into a niche as a return specialist for the next two years. However, in his redshirt senior season, his role expanded not only to also returning punts, but also being featured as a slot receiver, catching 56 passes for 706 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2015.

In 2015, Reaves had 9 games where he recorded either 5 or more catches or 75 or more yards. His season high in catches came in Marshall’s bowl game vs UConn with 9 for 88 yards, and his season high in yards came in a triple overtime loss to Middle Tennessee where he had 91 yards on 7 catches. He also had 897 combined kick and punt return yards, leading the Conference-USA in kickoff return average with 30.1 yards per return, and ranking 5th in the NCAA. He also ranked 1st in the C-USA in 2015 in punt return average with 13.1, although his opportunities to return punts were relatively limited.

In a nutshell, Reaves is a prototypical athlete and an explosive return specialist, but is not a well-rounded receiver.  He is very dynamic in the open field, enough so that the Marshall coaching staff made an effort to get him on the field on offense to fully utilize his athleticism. However, the majority of his offensive role was relatively simple, whether in screen situations or running simple routes. He has acceptable hands and good football intelligence, but is an extremely raw WR prospect and should not be expected to contribute on offense in 2016.

Injury Report: 

Deandre Reaves has not missed a single game in three years as a starter. He has no injury history to speak of. 

 

Career Stats: http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/deandre-reaves-1.html

 

Analysis:

Speed/Quickness: 4.7/5

Deandre Reaves possesses the athleticism to make him an effective threat on both offense and special teams. He is not quite in the top athletic tier of 2016 prospects with players like Jakeem Grant, Kolby Listenbee, and Will Fuller, but his acceleration and change of direction ability is apparent both with the ball in his hands and as he’s running routes. His top end speed is very good, his acceleration is extremely good, and his short area quickness and change of direction ability is just shy of elite.

Route Running: 2/5

From the one game’s worth of tape available for analysis, it is evident that Reaves is still learning the tools of the wide receiver trade. His route tree was quite limited, and he was rarely asked to separate from tight coverage with any kind of double move. Most of his targets came on screens, out routes and go routes, and often Reaves was able to take advantage of large holes in the defense due to their reaction to play action from Marshall’s run-heavy offense.

Hands: 2/5

Reaves saw 85 targets in 2015, of which he dropped 7. 63 of his 85 targets were catchable, leading to a drop rate of 11.11%, which ranked 227th out of 331 qualified receivers (PFF).  He had two games where he dropped 2 passes and only 6 of his 11 games in 2015 came without a dropped pass.

YAC Ability: 4.5/5

Reaves becomes a man on a mission once the ball is in his hands. He possesses extremely good vision and has the patience to set up blocks, and has both the athleticism and boldness to cut back across the field on both returns and on offense. He is difficult to tackle in space, although more through his speed to take away angles from defenders rather than his ability to make defenders miss in a tight area or “phone booth”.

Blocking: 2.5/5

While Reaves showed the willingness to mix it up with a defensive back in the run game, his lack of size and strength was apparent in Marshall’s bowl game. He was occasionally used as a blocker for other receivers on screen passes, which was not the best utilization of his talents. As he will rarely be used on run downs at the next level, this weakness in his game should not be much of a factor.

Return Ability: 4.8/5

Special teams are where Reaves really shines. His acceleration, vision, shiftiness and patience combine to make him a dangerous returner, especially once he finds a seam to take advantage of. He identifies holes well and reads his blockers effectively. He will occasionally make a poor decision on whether to field a punt or to let it go, but for the most part, is a dangerous enough returner to make opposing teams glad to settle for a touchback.

Overall Grade: 3.0/5.0

Summary

Reaves is a versatile weapon to be molded and utilized by an NFL coaching staff as they see fit. It is not out of the question that he can be used on offense in the same way Devin Hester and Percy Harvin have been used in the past. However, he will most likely not be an effective “receiver” in the traditional sense of the word, even in the slot, unless he goes to a team with a good track record of developing raw receiver prospects. However, he can instantly provide a spark to a team’s kick and punt return teams, and also provides the versatility to cover kicks and punts while standing ready on the bench as a team’s 4th or 5th receiver.

If drafted by the Packers:

With the wealth of riches that the Packers have at the wide receiver position, it seems unlikely that Reaves will hear his name called by the Packers. However, there are two possible reasons that Reaves could end up in Green Bay. First, none of the young receivers that are currently on the Packers roster are considered speedsters aside from Jeff Janis. If Ted sees the lack of speed at the position as a serious enough issue, he may look to the later rounds of the draft to find speed at a good price, where Reaves will be found. Secondly, to consider Reaves’ position to be “wide receiver” may be a fallacy. The value he provides on special teams and as a gadget player on offense may be enough to justify a selection and a roster spot. If he does end up with the Packers, he provides depth and a second option on kickoffs aside from Janis, and instantly would become the best option to return punts. Additionally, he can help fill the hole on punt coverage left by Demetri Goodson, as he has the speed and experience to be an effective gunner.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I doubt TT picks him, or even signs him as an UDFA. He apparently ran a 1.48 second ten yard dash though, which is exceptional. But his forty (4.53) and other measurables were not special and he lacks size at 177 lbs and just 5´9¨.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Im not saying he's the guy. But...

KR and PR is tricky. The fastest guys aren't usually the best at them. Well, for us at least.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Drealyn I did not watch his tape. In fact, draft fever has deserted me, and I am finding it hard to motivate myself to watch tape.

What I am doing is contemplating whether I am too much of an old fogey regarding the new hybrid LBs scenario. I have little use for Darron Lee or Floyd in the first round. I do not object to these types later in the draft, say late 3rd, since replacing Thomas with a 3rd rounder like Deion Jones makes some sense to me, but a 1st rounder to me has to play 2 and preferably 3 downs. I guess right now I figure go even smaller with a guy like Justin Simmons (I know we discussed him some), but maybe that 225 lbs LB has some additional utility. I should probably go watch the super bowl to watch Denver´s LBs or Seattle games.

DrealynWilliams's picture

You know what's funny? Me too. I plan on looking him up later though.

Simmons is 225? I thought he was much smaller.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Simmons weighs 202. I meant maybe I should consider whether drafting a LB who weighs 225 or thereabouts, like Lee, and some of the other small, fast LBs, might make more sense than I think. So far, I have thought just going with a real safety type like Buchanon or Simmons, makes more sense.

dobber's picture

They drafted Montgomery to fill the KR role, and have several guys already who are competent PR. I don't see TT throwing a pick at a guy who isn't likely to have a role.

Razer's picture

Last I heard, the NFL is trying to eliminate the kick return. Between the rule changes and directional kicking in the punt game, dedicating a guy for KR is not likely.

4thand1's picture

He drops more passes than Adams, no TY.

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