He might not be the most well-known receiver among this year's class. But make no mistake—the former Buffaloes star put up strong numbers on an otherwise weak college team last season. Shenault caught 56 passes for 764 yards and four touchdowns, including a monster game against USC in which he recorded nine catches for 172 yards and a score.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked him the 12th-best receiver in the 2020 class, just behind Notre Dame's Chase Claypool and ahead of Michigan's Donovan Peoples-Jones. NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein compared him to Sammy Watkins:
"[Shenault] 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."
That's the type of player who be a late-round steal in fantasy drafts this season. Here's a look at how that may turn out for his future owners.
QB - Gardner Minshew II, Joshua Dobbs
RB - Leonard Fournette, Ryquell Armstead
WR1 - DJ Chark Jr.
WR2 - Chris Conley, Charone Peake
WR3 - Laviska Shenault Jr., Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole
TE - James O'Shaughnessy, Josh Oliver
LT - Cam Robinson
LG - Andrew Norwell, Tyler Shatley
C - Brandon Linder, Tyler Gauthier
RG - A.J. Cann, Will Richardson Jr.
RT - Jawaan Taylor, Ryan Pope
The selection should make fantasy players perk up.
Jacksonville needs help for sophomore quarterback Gardner Minshew II after finishing No. 19 in passing yards per attempt (6.8) last year.
Plus, the Jags' receiving crew could look different soon, as Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis noted:
With a changing of the guard, Shenault could emerge as the Jags' No. 2 wideout behind breakout star Chark, who caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Shenault should get plenty of opportunities to prove himself, and that brings him into the boom-or-bust conversation. He's likely a decent flex option with WR2 upside as Jacksonville continues its rebuild.
Shenault's main competition seems to be Chris Conley, and he'll need to fight for targets with a few others. But his value and upside are clearly here.