Richie James NFL Draft 2018: Scouting Report for San Francisco 49ers' Pick

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 28, 2018

Middle Tennessee wide receiver Richie James (3) scores a touchdown against Marshall safety Nazeeh Johnson (13) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

POSITIVES

—Big-time production when healthy, including 1,334 and 1,625 receiving yards in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

—Electric with the ball in his hands after the catch.

—Runs hard post-catch and will fight for extra yards.

—Legit game speed that shows up on seam and in-breaking routes.

—Versatile weapon who lined up as WR, RB and Wildcat QB.

     

NEGATIVES

—Broken collarbone that ended 2017 season.

—Succeeds entirely as an above-average athlete, lacks route-running nuance.

—Strength and frame make him primarily a slot option and liability in the run game.

—Frequently false-steps at the line of scrimmage; will disrupt timing of routes in NFL and allow stronger press corners to win reps early.

—Lacks creativity to separate on second move when pure downfield threat is minimized.

      

OVERALL

Richie James posted tremendous numbers in the Middle Tennessee offense in 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, his frame and underwhelming route running make his transition to the NFL a concern. James has largely succeeded by purely running by people and will have to develop some of the secondary skills necessary to be an effective receiver at the next level. Play speed is coveted and will earn him a roster spot if he can show even a slight bit of promise in training camp.

      

GRADE: 5.39 (Priority Free Agent)

PRO PLAYER COMPARISON: Travis Benjamin, Los Angeles Chargers

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