Kendall Wright, Baylor WR –Scouting Report
By today’s wide receiver standards, it is very rare to be less than six feet tall and a first-round draft pick. During the last decade, there were 41 wide receivers drafted in the first-round, and only six of those players were shorter than six feet. NFL scouts and coaches have an infatuation with height at the wide receiver position, and will usually give the edge to a taller wide receiver if he performs similarly in other areas.
Is this four-year starter worthy of being selected in the first round? Has he shown scouts and GMs that his undersized body will not be an issue at the next level? Let’s take a closer look at the Baylor product.
Film Study: This clip is a perfect example of how Wright’s instant acceleration makes him so dangerous after the catch. He makes his first cut hard to the left and is already at full speed, so the defense has no chance to recover. This is the kind of play that gets you excited about this kid.
Overall: Wright’s acceleration is a tremendous asset. He has the ability to get to full speed almost instantly. He routinely shows that his elite acceleration in and out of breaks creates separation from the defender, both before and after the catch. After bursting off the line of scrimmage, he is at full speed within a few steps, and eating up the initial cushion created by the defender.
Film Study: The balance and agility it takes to make the play in this clip is remarkable. One obviously astounding part is the tight rope act he performs down the sideline, but the whole play shows his amazing agility. First he is able to get open by making a quick swim move to get inside the defender, and then he adjusts to a high throw. Wright then is able to make two defenders miss tackles in the open field because of his agility and balance. After that, his skills are on full display as he is able to tight rope for nearly 20 yards.
Overall: Wright has an ability to utilize his agility and balance with or without the ball. He gets in and out of his breaks smoothly and with fluidity. This attribute is a big reason why he is so explosive in the open field. He is able to make sudden cuts and breaks while maintaining balance and speed. This is an elite element of Wright’s game.
Overall: This is an area of Wright’s game that may have some question marks. I am not saying he can’t block, but unfortunately Baylor didn’t ask him to block a lot in college, so there isn’t much film on that aspect of his game. He is slightly undersized, but a fiery competitor. He is willing and that is half of the battle with young wide receivers. He will require some work in this area at the NFL level.
Film Study: This clip shows the ability of Wright to make a spectacular catch using just his hands. The deep ball is overthrown and he must dive in order to just get his hands on it, much less make the catch. Obviously in order to make this play there are a lot of other skills involved, but if you just focus on the use of his hands and the coordination it takes to complete the process of a catch like that, it’s pretty amazing.
Overall: Wright routinely makes catches in traffic with his hands, aggressively plucking the ball out of the air amongst defenders. He makes difficult catches when passes are both too high and too low. He makes some drops that are concerning where he lets the ball get into his body instead of using his hands to catch the pass. The drops were mostly over the middle on crossing routes.
Film Study: This clip shows the fear that Wright instills in his opposing defenders. The cornerback is nearly 10 yards off and still gets beat deep. Corners even played off coverage 10 yards from their own endzone this shows ultimate respect. The consistent off coverage opened up a lot of different screen routes that were very effective.
Overall: In all the film I watched on Wright, I never saw press coverage against him. I am interested to see how he will handle it in the NFL; he will undoubtedly see press at the next level. If his aggressiveness and physicality in traffic gives any indication he will be just fine.
Route Running: 8.0
Overall: Wright relies on his athletic ability to create the separation. As I mentioned, his suddenness gives him an advantage in running the routes that are asked of him. He can run a lot of different routes and has a lot of repetition with screens, reverses, and sweeps. As one can imagine, his deep speed allows him to run a lot of double moves and stops. These routes were very effective for him in college. His footwork is balanced and consistent with a variety of routes.
Overall: Size is a very important aspect when scouting a WR. But receivers can sometimes use athletic ability to play bigger than their size; This is definitely the case with Wright. He is listed as 5’10” 190 lbs., but he expands his catching radius with a tremendous leaping ability (42 inch vertical leap) and long arms. He has a strong solid frame and will likely add a few pounds.
Film Study: Watch this clip here. Wright makes the catch, the cornerback falls down, and then the safety comes to make the tackle. Even though the safety has a great angle to make the tackle, Wright’s speed immobilizes the great angle, and the safety fails to make the tackle.
Overall: Wright is projected to run a 4.3-4.4, 40 at the combine. That is an elite speed. More importantly than that, he plays very fast in pads and separates himself from defenders with ease.
NFL Comparison: Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
There are a lot of comparisons between Wright and Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith due to similarity in size and speed measurable along with aggressive ability to go get the ball in traffic. I see that comparison, but I see more of Greg Jennings in Wright’s game. Some of you may be surprised to know that Jennings in only 5’11”. When comparing the games of Jennings and Wright, what I see is the ability to get behind the defense and make long touchdown plays. They both track the deep ball beautifully making it almost impossible to overthrow them deep. Wright is more explosive in the open field but Jennings has a little better hands than Wright.
Wright is a very dangerous prospect, and is worthy of being one of the rare first-round selections of a WR under six feet tall, especially with new developments of some underclassmen deciding to stay in school.
He has the production and experience that you like to see from a wide receiver. He has played through some mild injuries and is a tough competitor. He is versatile having played both outside and in the slot.
Wright would be a very valuable weapon for any team. He will bring an ability to get behind the defense and blow the top off of coverages a lot, similar to what Titus Young has accomplished this year with the Lions. He has the mental toughness along with the ability to make an immediate impact at a position that usually requires time to develop.