I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.To read more about the 2016 NFL Draft Project, Click Here.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - 6'2, 219 - Junior - #1
There are times when you get to a prospect for the upcoming draft and you realize that most of the audience does not need an introduction to the player, but rather maybe just a showcase of what makes him what everyone knows he already is. LaQuon Treadwell is one of the very best players in this draft and just about everyone knew that whether he decided to come out in the 2016 or 2017 draft, he had all of the attributes of a Top 10 pick whenever he was available.
This goes back quite a while, as he was a 5-star Chicago kid who ended up at Mississippi after a long recruiting story 3 years back. He was productive as a true freshman, even better as a sophomore (until he suffered a broken leg), and then bounced back in 2015 with a season that featured 82 catches, 1,153 yards, 11 Touchdowns and a very dominant season where he routinely showcased that he is the best receiver in this draft.
But, to fixate on his statistics is to miss the point on the 20-year old who is built as a strong outside threat that simply cannot be pressed off the line of scrimmage, but also can get behind your coverage and if he gets any edge, he will win a battle for the ball in the air. He is a bully WR, who has the mentality of a tight end and offers massive added value with his blocking downfield that would be described as nothing less than vicious. He reminds many of Dez Bryant and that means he is either someone's #1 or possibly part of an unstoppable tandem with #88 himself if the Cowboys wanted to add a weapon at the #4 pick.
What I liked:He is so impressive in so many things. His work underneath is worth focusing on with drag routes or hooks where he gets the ball and then is a yards-after-catch machine, partly because he is so tough to corral and tackle. But, he also does a ton of damage over the top with his body position, unreal aerial skills, and just the size that had many calling him "MegaQuon" in college. He is devastating. But, then his downfield blocks where on running plays he is pancaking his man against the sideline and then peeling off and going after a trailing linebacker. He is off the charts on his downfield blocking and his overall physicality. He demands a double team and this, of course, offers math advantages all over the field elsewhere. You cannot press him and I don't see that changing much in the NFL. He makes things look easy and has sure hands. But, maybe his best attribute is he always seems engaged. Regardless of the score, I think Treadwell is playing as hard as anyone on the field which scores well for competitiveness and lets you know he has the tools and the mentality to be a star.
What I did not like:At the risk of leaving this area blank, I will confess that there is not a real long list. The issue with Treadwell that will be brought up is that he likely will not run well at the combine with most thinking he is somewhere between 4.5 and 4.6 in the 40. If you are looking for top end speed, then Treadwell might not be your guy. On the other hand, if you are looking for top end speed, you are evaluating WRs through a very odd lens. Dez Bryant was a 4.51 guy and I think if Treadwell is close to that, everything else looks great to me. I find it pretty difficult to look at a guy this young, this talented, and this competitive as anything less than a top talent. You might also have to build in the expectation that he is going to take a roughing penalty from time to time blocking downfield because he is not playing nice when he is hunting defenders.
Summary and Potential Fit For the Cowboys: By now, I have shown my cards on Laquon. He is fantastic and although I am not sure the Cowboys want to go WR at the top of the draft, this would give them another game breaker on an offense that might not have any after Dez. Think about it, last season when Dez was out - although they blame everything on the poor backup QB play - there was almost nothing special about the weapons on the offense making plays whether that be RB, TE, or WR. If all of your special play-makers on offense are just Bryant and your 36-year old QB, maybe taking an explosive WR is not that crazy of an idea.
Personally, I don't think the Cowboys go this route, but it isn't as crazy as I first thought before I spent time watching this guy. He is going to be a special player at the next level and a guy who demands your attention or he will simply dominate your defense. He is definitely in the top of the 1st round and a name to know for years to come.