WR, Austin Pettis (6’2½” 204 lbs.) – Boise State Broncos
Separation Skills: Not the fastest or strongest receiver, but did show a propensity to get off the line. Has the frame to fight off press coverage. Lacks lateral quickness, so there is some concern about separation at the next level. Route running is inconsistent. At times, it’s spot on, and other times it’s sloppy. He has a tendancy to drift into his breaks. Against man coverage, is never really open, but uses his body well in traffic and boxes out corners to secure the catch. Is more of a possession receiver than a down field threat. Works the middle of the field well, especially against zone coverage.
Ball Skills: Excellent hands that rival any receiver in the nation. Does a nice job at extending his arms and snatching the ball away from his frame. Knows how to use his body in a jump ball situation. Tracks the ball well and has above average timing on his jumps. Hauls in a significant amount of catches with cornerbacks draped over him. Has the ability to make the difficult catch, and the body control to adjust to throws that are high, low, and behind.
Big play ability: Made a plethora of big plays at Boise State, but will be hard pressed to do so at the next level. Does not possess the speed to out run cornerbacks, but does possess the ball skills to consistently make big plays in traffic. Knows how to sit in zones and work the seam. Even with his lack of elusiveness, he does a nice job at gaining yards after the catch. Is a tremendous threat in the redzone. With his size, he causes a mismatch on fade and corner routes. Has a great feel for the endzone. Caught 39 touchdowns in his four years at Boise State.
Competitive/Toughness: Competitiveness is one of Pettis’s strong suits. Is a passionate leader and has no problem catching the ball in traffic. Absorbs big hits well and does not let the ball jar free. Had one injury during his collegiate career, a fractured leg during the 2009 season. Rehabbed hard and made a quick recovery.
Intangibles: 2008 Wac-All Academic Team. 2010 All-Wac Football First Team. Team Captain.
Overall: Pettis will be a steal in the later rounds. He is somewhat flying under the radar at the moment, and there are a few reasons why. His teammate, Titus Young is over shadowing him because of his blazing speed and big play ability. He plays in the WAC, and most consider that conference to be weak in competition (no pun intended). And last but not least, Pettis does not show suddenness, so he will be pigeonholed as a possession receiver. It may take a couple years for Pettis to develop into a starter, but the tools are there. If given the chance, and placed in the right offensive scheme, Pettis can excel. The most important attribute a receiver can have is hands and awareness. Pettis possesses both. Those two characteristics alone should allow him to see the field. If Pettis wants to move up in the draft, he must out perform the expectations of team scouts and coaches. He’ll have to run the forty-yard dash in the range of a 4.4-4.5 area, and show lateral quickness in the cone drills at the NFL Combine. If he performs like most expect him to, he will most likely find himself being selected in the 4th-5th round.
NFL Comparisons: Steve Smith, Kevin Walter, Jordy Nelson