Few collegiate receivers entered the 2013 NFL draft with as much previous production as Elon's Aaron Mellette.
A three-year starter at the FCS program, Mellette finished his collegiate career with 304 catches for 4,264 yards and 44 touchdowns—all school records. He was named a first-team All-SoCon selection and FCS All-American in each season.
A lengthy receiver with speed, Mellette fits the profile of a receiver who can translate small-school success into NFL productivity.
In the following slides, we'll present some of Mellette's top collegiate highlights from his time at Elon.
Mellette made his own personal highlight reel of this 2011 matchup with Appalachian State. Facing the No. 8 ranked team in the FCS, Mellette caught a career-high 14 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown.
His best plays in the game come at :17 (over the shoulder catch down the near sideline), 1:18 (32-yard touchdown), 1:43 (back-shoulder adjustment, two feet in-bounds), 3:38 (works open against zone, yards after the catch), 4:28 (more yards after the catch, situational awareness) and 4:45 (beats holding for catch).
Essentially anything you need to see from an NFL receiver—catches in traffic, body control, catch radius and yards after the catch—were provided in this matchup by Mellette.
Mellette got a taste of elite action in 2011, when he went head-to-head with Vanderbilt cornerback and eventual second-round pick Casey Hayward.
Vanderbilt would go on to win, 45-14, but Mallette was able to haul in 11 catches for 180 yards and a score.
In this highlight, we see Mallette easily beat Hayward to the inside, likely on a post (video makes it difficult to tell). He makes the catch and is eventually dragged down by Hayward before scoring.
Later in the highlight (2:55 mark), Mallette secures his lone touchdown catch.
There simply aren't many FCS receivers who could make the catch Mellette made here against Samford in 2012.
On a short pass inside the red zone, Mellette works back to the ball thrown to his far shoulder, secures the catch on a difficult reach attempt and still manages to come down with two feet in the end zone. The score helped Elon go on and win, 26-15.
Regardless of a competition level, Mellette's grab is a highlight worthy of a receiver capable of making a difference at the next level. He'd finish the game with 10 catches, 100 yards and two scores.
Using his 6'3" frame and 35" vertical leap, Mellette made another difficult touchdown catch on this play against West Virginia State in 2012.
Once the ball is thrown, Mellette tracks it in the air, adjusts his body and leaps above the defender in the corner of the end zone. He takes the ensuing contact and still holds on to the catch.
In the 48-14 rout, Mellette would catch nine passes for 129 yards and two scores.
This highlight from Elon's 42-31 win over Western Carolina features two impressive scores from Mellette.
On the first, Mellette is able to track an underthrown deep ball and adjust in time to snatch the catch over an in-position defender. He ended up in the end zone with his first score.
The second comes at 2:06 mark, when Mellette makes a short catch and breaks several tackle attempts on his way to a game-clinching touchdown.
He finished the contest with 154 yards and a season-high three scores.
Remember our first highlight, a 14-catch, 236-yard performance against Appalachian State in 2011? Mellette topped it a year later against the same opponent.
In the provided highlight, we see Mellette run by the Appalachian State defense and glide in for a 59-yard touchdown. Elon would lose, but Mellette's boxscore numbers were out of the world.
The star receiver ended his night with 13 catches for a career-high 247 yards and three touchdowns.