The Jacksonville Jaguars select former Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault with the 42nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Shenault burst onto the college scene as a sophomore with over 1000 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air, as well as 115 yards and 5 scores on the ground. With such a dynamic skill set, Shenault projects to be an x-factor asset on a team looking to spice up their offensive attack. He has solid experience across the field, lining up wide and in the slot as well as an I-bone runner or option quarterback.

With that in mind, here is what fans should expect from their new offensive weapon:

Strengths:

SizeShenault has a unique frame for his position. His 6-2, 220 pound frame allows him to bully defensive backs. He doesn’t lack in athleticism, and his combination of size, speed, and strength help his versatile style of play. Throughout his time at Colorado, Shenault was used as both a finesse receiver and a bulldozing runner, as the coaches took advantage of his skill set. Look for his gadget ability to continue in the NFL as his new coaching staff finds more and more ways to use him.

Versatility: Being to play both inside and outside receiver is one thing. Being able to play all the skill positions on offense is another. Shenault’s biggest pull for NFL coaches is his positional versatility. In the Wildcat on short yardage, he is almost unstoppable. This season, Laviska took an end-around on fourth-and-short, bulldozed a corner, and grabbed eight yards.

By moving him all around the field, the <!TEAM> can frustrate defensive coordinators while opening holes for other players. Laviska projects as a strong No. 2 receiver with tons of upside, giving the staff versatility for days.

Weaknesses:

Injury History: This is the big thing holding Shenault back from being the top wide receiver. Laviska has not been at full health, which ended in offseason surgery. After electing to only participate in the 40-yard dash and bench press in Indianapolis, Shenault aggravated a groin injury and only ran a 4.55. After the Combine, Shenault had another surgery for his groin. He should be back to 100 percent by the normal start of OTA.

Unpolished Route RunnerShenault has capitalized on his size and speed throughout his life. So far, he hasn’t needed good technique to beat defensive backs. While not as unpolished as other prospects, Laviska needs to improve his technique if he hopes to compete as an NFL wideout. Experienced corners will be able to identify his shy fakes, and can counter his size with their own technique. He also had trouble working the boundary, as bigger corners used it to their advantage to pin Laviska, limiting his moves. On top of that, he has a tendency to alter his stride pattern on intermediate throws, tipping his hand to the defense.


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What the Experts Say:

“2 Live” is both talented and stoic as a three-level threat with outstanding physical traits and ball skills. He offers explosive playmaking potential with strength/wiggle to house a short catch-and-run throw or race and leap to pull in a bomb downfield. Shenault shines as a phone-booth bully who’s able to body up and create late windows while securing throws with vice-grip hands. Evaluators get excited by his talent as a direct-snap runner, but sometimes he’s too physical for his own good, which could bring his history of durability into play. Despite his traits and talent, there is work to be done as route-runner and coordinators need to determine how best to use him. He’s a high-end talent, but not a sure thing. An exciting ceiling but a lower floor. -Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Team-Fit:

The Jaguars recently made some moves to their wide receiver room, giving Shenault a chance to make an immediate impact. The Jaguars have made a point to try and build around second-year starter Gardner Minshew and see where this season leads them, so adding Laviska to the mix gives the offense another dynamic weapon to use.

New OC Jay Gruden has some experience working with dynamic players, as he spent time with Mohamed Sanu during his tenure in Cincinnati. While not an NFL comparison, it shows Gruden is willing to utilize every aspect of his players. Jacksonville fans should look forward to seeing Laviska Shenault line up all across the line of scrimmage for the next few seasons, giving a spark to a team looking to find its winning culture.

 

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