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Redskins draft prospects: Receiver Nelson Agholor

Continuing a look at potential draft picks for the Washington Redskins, taking a look at the first round and beyond.

Player: Nelson Agholor

Position: Receiver

School: USC

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 198 pounds

Projected round: Second

Games watched: Stanford, Washington State, Arizona State

What I liked: His versatility, having shown the ability to run a variety of routes from a number of different spots on the field – inside, outside, out of the backfield. He also can return punts and his success in that area is easy to see when you watch him get the ball in space. Agholor cuts quickly; rarely, if ever, did I see him stutter-step then go. It was more this: plant and cut. And it worked for him. He seems to feel the defensive pressure and cuts accordingly, whether on screens or on punt returns (saw him return two for touchdowns -- one against Washington State in which he sucked the pursuit in and was able to smoothly cut outside – it showed good quickness and vision. Time and again Agholor helped teammates gain extra yards because of his blocking. He wasn’t perfect there, but he was willing and determined. He does a nice job of staying balanced and low when he cuts, giving him the ability to sell a fake inside and cut back wide – he burned a Stanford corner this way on the outside, leading to a holding penalty. He runs well after the catch because of his quickness, particularly in traffic. On one pass, he caught the ball four yards behind the line and, with a defensive back a couple yards away, it could have been no gain or worse on the play. But instead he quickly planted back inside and when a defensive linemen ran at him, he swerved back and around him and then did the same to a safety for a 15-yard gain. I would not call him a flashy route-runner, but instead an effective one vs. zones.

What I didn’t like: He did not play with a lot of speed, more quickness. He did win a couple times on double moves, but usually his deep receptions were set up by scheme or blown coverages. He did not create the same level of separation as, say, West Virginia’s Kevin White, though Agholor did create it on certain routes (in-and-outs, for example). Also didn’t see Agholor beating a lot of press coverage or jams. The corners I saw play this tactic against him usually won or weren’t fooled by his stutter steps off the line. I think though he’s a willing blocker, that area would improve with more strength. Did not like on one route vs. Stanford he did not give the quarterback enough room to the outside for a deep ball. He lost his line and drifted too close to the sidelines. Did see him drop a punt or two. And not sure he’s a guy who will make yards after contact. Oo if he’s not making them miss, he’ll go down on first contact.

ESPN Insiders on his intangibles: “Strong overall makeup. Intense competitor who takes pride in his preparation. Understands the price to pay and puts in the work in the weight room, film room and with his practice habits. Has developed into a vocal leader and embraces the role. Born in Nigeria, and his father Felix played soccer there.”

Why the Redskins would want him: While there’s no immediate need at receiver, they do lack depth after the first three, and a year from now they could be looking at a different group. Also, the more depth they have at receiver, the more they can play different styles. If tight end Jordan Reed gets hurt, for example, they could focus more on the wide receivers in the game plans.

How he fits: Agholor showed he could play inside in college. That’s where I’d play him in the NFL. His ability to work against zone coverage fits in this area, as does his quickness in and out of cuts. He could also help as a punt returner; Andre Roberts did not get the job done there.

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