Ladd McConkey NFL Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

Georgia WR Ladd McConkey - 2024 NFL Draft Scouting report

Name: Ladd McConkey

School: Georgia

Year: RS Junior

Position: Wide Receiver

Measurables: 5’ 11 ½”, 186 lbs (Combine measurements)

Combine: ARM: 30 ¼”. HAND: 8 ⅝”. VERTICAL: 36”. BROAD: 10’6”. BENCH: 13 reps. 40-YD DASH: 4.39. 10-YD SPLIT: 1.52. 20-YD SHUTTLE (PRO DAY): 4.04. THREE-CONE (PRO DAY): 6.72

Stats:

Stats courtesy of Sports-reference.com

 

General Info:

No major college programs seemed to be interested in the kid from Chatsworth, Georgia, a small town of just under 5,000 people seated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until Kirby Smart swooped in at the last minute and offered Ladd McConkey, the 5’11”, 158-pound do-it-all senior from North Murray High School. 

McConkey received four other offers in 2020: Army, Kent State, Georgia Southern, and Vanderbilt. And those came after his offer from Georgia. He was rated as the 100th-best player in the state of Georgia. He was overlooked, and his size continued to come up as a major factor.

McConkey redshirted his first year at Georgia. In 2021, McConkey was named to the All-SEC Freshman team by the coaches after hauling in 31 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns. He also had four carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, as well as five punt returns for 82 yards (16.4 avg.).

McConkey started 14 of 15 games and was named All-SEC second team in 2022. He had 58 receptions for 762 yards and seven touchdowns, seven carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and 16 punt returns for 197 yards (12.3 avg.).

In 2023, McConkey played in nine games and started one after missing the start of the year with a back injury. He won the Wuerffel Trophy, given to the player “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.” He tallied 30 receptions for 478 yards and two scores, adding two carries for 38 yards and a score on the ground.

McConkey had a solid showing at the combine, noticeably showing off his speed. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, tied for sixth-fastest among wide receivers. He shined at his pro day, showing off his agility in the three-cone (6.72). That time would have been the third-fastest for a receiver at the combine.

McConkey is 22 years old and will turn 23 in November. His RAS is 9.40.

 

Positional Skills:

Strengths

McConkey may very well be the best route runner in the class; he wins with his footwork. He can routinely put defenders on skates with his stop-and-start ability. He has a great feel for open space, as he routinely finds soft spots in zone coverages. If a defender isn’t playing press against him, he can nearly always find a way to get open. His breaks are so crisp and it is rare to see him round off a route. He has great explosion out of his breaks. Bottom line: he knows how to get open.  

In 2023, McConkey was the top-rated receiver in yards-per-route-run (17.0) on intermediate routes among draft-eligible receivers. In fact, he was the fourth-rated receiver in the ‘24 class in overall yards-per-route-run (3.26), trailing only Malik Nabers, Marvin Harrison, Jr., and Troy Franklin. He caught 30 of 37 targets (81.1%) in ‘23, 58 of 82 targets (70.7%) in ‘22, and 31 of 39 targets (79.5%) in ‘21, for a career total of 75.3%. He is a quarterback’s best friend with his ability to get open and be productive most of the time he runs a route. I’ll say it again for those that aren’t following: he knows how to get open.

The idea of McConkey being limited to slot receiver in the pros should be put to rest. McConkey only had 32 snaps from the slot in 2023, seventh-most for Georgia; Brock Bowers had the most at 278. He had 90 slot snaps in ‘22, third-most on the team; Bowers led the way with 259. He had 82 slot snaps in ‘21, third-most on the team. Number one? Bowers. McConkey wasn’t the primary slot guy at Georgia. He had to run the “big boy” routes, and can do so in the NFL.    

Not only does McConkey know how to get open, he is also dangerous with the ball in his hands. He was utilized on end-arounds at Georgia and was highly successful, averaging 16.6 yards per carry for his career (13-216-4). Like he does running his routes, he can put defenders on skates with his wide array of juke moves and spins in the open field. He provides value returning punts with his elusiveness and keen vision. He has the breakaway speed to outrun defenders once he gets in open space.

McConkey has high character, proven with his winning of the Wuerffel Trophy in 2023. He has an extremely high football IQ, and was noted as being one of the best teammates in the locker room. Character concerns seem to be a non-issue.   

.Weaknesses

Durability could be a concern for McConkey due to his smaller size. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, which is fine, and wants to prove people wrong for calling him too small coming out of high school, so he isn’t afraid to take and deliver the big hit. He needs to be aware of bigger, faster, stronger players in the NFL, though. He dealt with a back injury to start the ‘23 season, and injured his ankle later in the same season. He is a smart football player, but durability will be something to keep an eye on.

As good as he is getting open, and as elite as he is in the short and intermediate game, he has struggled at times on deep balls. It’s not to say he can’t be a deep threat, because he has the breakaway speed and moves to get open downfield. He suffered from focus drops on deep balls at times, notably in 2022. He tied for the lead among Division I receivers for drops (four) on balls thrown over 20 yards in ‘22. In fact, he had six drops in 2022, as well as two each in ‘21 and ‘23. He also struggles fighting through contact on underthrown balls.

McConkey struggled against press coverage. If he gets bullied at the line, his smaller size often loses the battle. He relies too much on his footwork to get open when facing press. He also didn’t win many 50/50 balls, likely due to his smaller stature. He has a decent vertical that shows up on tape, but he didn’t have many contested catch opportunities while in college. He would need to get stronger at both the line of scrimmage and at the catch point in the NFL.

 

Fit with the Packers:

Fans are going to say “but we don’t need another receiver, we are good enough at the position already.” True, the Packers are strong at the receiver position currently. But injuries happen all the time in the NFL, and a team can never have enough depth at any position. And with 11 picks headed into the 2024 draft, the Packers can afford to take a stab on a player like McConkey that would make this offense even more deadly than it is predicted to be.

McConkey could be a gadget-type player at receiver. He can take end-arounds, he could return punts, he can line up in the slot, out wide, etc. Matt LaFluer loves to use motion, and with footwork and speed like McConkey has, he could be a very fun weapon in this offense. You might be thinking to yourself, “but we already have Jayden Reed. He’s basically the same player.”  I get that, but like I said earlier, injuries happen, players flame out: the Packers would be absolutely STACKED at the position. You can never have enough depth.

Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvian Wicks, Malik Heath, and Bo Melton are a pretty solid stable of receivers to go with Watson. Samurai Toure could prove to be a cut/practice squad candidate, as could Grant DuBose. Add a player like McConkey, and the Packers would force competition between Heath and Melton for the final receiver spot on the roster. With the way Melton played, I’d give it to him.

McConkey is the type of player that might not be a sexy pick, might not fall into the “top-tier” of receivers, might not have the flashy production numbers, but he knows how to play football. He comes from a winning program in Georgia and a head coach that knows how to evaluate talent.

He played in the shadow of Brock Bowers for three seasons. Bowers is an all-world tight end, and it makes sense as Bowers was the leading receiver at Georgia the last three seasons. But McConkey had better production than Adonai Mitchell in ‘21 and ‘22. (Mitchell ended up transferring to Texas and is a potential first-round pick). He had better production than Jermaine Burton, who ended up transferring to Alabama after the 2021 season and is a likely day two pick. 

If the Packers stand pat with all their picks, they MIGHT be able to snag McConkey at 41. Again, not saying it’s going to happen, but Gutey has surprised us all in past drafts. He loves Georgia players, he loves athleticism, he loves Senior Bowl players (McConkey was named best WR of the American team by his opposing DB’s), he loves smart football players…it could happen.

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Comments (4)

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 24, 2024 at 05:38 am

First of all: What a strange choice of player to highlight, the day before the draft.
I'd think you'd want to do a "high-probability" guy, not someone who has almost NO chance of being picked by the Packers.

That said, McConkey is a fun player to watch, a true "waterbug" who can "cut on a ha'penny" (I just coined that...get it? Coined that! :-D). I don't remember the Packers having anyone with his stop-start moves in the past 50 years! I'm surprised he wasn't even FASTER at the combine, but really it's his change of direction that makes him SEEM so much faster.

He screams "Belechik choice." If he can avoid injury, he'll be successful, but he doesn't have the blocking skills that LaFleur demands.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 24, 2024 at 07:24 am

Yes, like McCaffrey's kid, a precise route runner, zone buster. Shipley could work the same way. Nobody knocked Big Bill's approach to keep the chains moving with Wes Welker, Edelman and Danny Amendola.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 24, 2024 at 07:52 am

Definitely one of the top WRs prospects. He would be a fit as a Packer in the IOC offense due to his sublime route running and uncanny ability to create separation with his feet. He'd be great in motion pre-snap. And Love loves to throw to the open guy!

And he has a high football IQ and is a respected team leader. He would produce as a rookie.

Luxury pick in the 2nd round. I would not be surprised if he was one of the 3rd rounders, though.

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golfpacker1's picture

April 24, 2024 at 10:30 am

" I get that, but like I said earlier, injuries happen, players flame out: the Packers would be absolutely STACKED at the position. You can never have enough depth." So why spend our 2nd most important pick on a player with no chance to start? Did you know we desperately need a LB?

How about instead we fix the depth problems @ the positions that actually need it? No to any WRs before the 6th round and only then if we acquired some extra picks.

This is yet another why don't we shove another unneeded position group into the 2nd or 3rd round when we could use those picks to fill our actual needs. Still the same needs: OL, LB, S, CB, RB. Nothing has changed.

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