Search your memory.
Is there a time when you can remember a mock draft that did not include Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.?
The 6-foot-2, 220 pound junior entered the season firmly entrenched as part of the “tier 1” group of receivers in the 2020 NFL draft. If Alabama’s trio of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith were the Crosby, Stills and Nash, then Shenault would have been the Neil Young of the much-ballyhooed 2020 receiver class.
Are you serious 😱 pic.twitter.com/Ox97Ndi6XA
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 24, 2019
But Smith has since declined entering the draft, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb may have ascended to the No. 1 receiver status in this class, and Shenault saw his production drop due to injuries.
Now? It’s possible that Shenault winds up falling out of the first round, says the Yahoo Sports lead NFL draft analyst in an email interview with Fanspeak.
“I could see … Shenault Jr. slipping to that (late first round, second round) range,” Eric Edholm says. “An injury-plagued season and a slower 40-yard dash (if that’s what ends up happening) could hurt him with so many gifted prospects at that position.”
Shenault finished the season with 56 receptions for 764 yards and 4 touchdowns to go along with 161 yards rushing and another 2 TDs. Modest, albeit unspectacular numbers. Instead, evaluators may have to turn to Shenault’s sophomore season to get a better gauge of his talents. Shenault hauled in 86 passes for 1,011 yards and 6 TDs in 2018, plus another 115 yards and 5 TDs on the ground.
However, it’s important to note that Shenault also missed three games that season after suffering a foot injury, turf toe, late in the season. He came back to practice in non-contact drills during the spring while recovering from foot and shoulder surgery, then played in nine of 11 games, missing time with a core muscle strain.
However, when healthy, Shenault has been compared to ]wide receiver greats like Dez Bryant, Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin. Walter Football compares Shenault to current Pittsburgh receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and touts his play strength/physicality, elusiveness, and route running.
“Perhaps the trait that stands out the most about Shenault is his toughness,” says the WalterFootball report. “He is a thickly built receiver who plays the game the right way. Many wideouts with Shenault’s strength and physicality are prone to pushing off defensive backs, but Shenault has enough quickness to get open and when he gets the ball in hands, he is special, dodging and weaving by defenders while running through arm tackles.”