Laviska Shenault might be the most unique pass catchers in the 2020 draft class. The Colorado wideout was used all over the field throughout his collegiate career. He took his fair share of direct snaps and served as a running back quite often for the Buffaloes and had one kick return and one punt return each for 50+ yards during his career.
Shenault is 6’1” and tips the scales at 227 pounds, making him bigger than most wide receivers. That allows to use his physical gifts to dominate smaller defensive backs, creating matchup problems for opposing defenses. But he’s behind elite prospects like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and others.
Shenault has a ton of potential to rack up yards after the catch because of his ability to run through contact. He steamrolls would-be defenders often and broke 46 tackles over the course of his last two seasons. He gives max effort all the time, and his knack for making plays can’t go unnoticed.
Shenault doesn’t blow you away with his straight line speed, as his 4.58 40-yard dash is below average for a starting receiver. He also doesn’t have the most polished route running, which can hinder his ability to create separation and limits what he can do for his quarterback.
Here’s what scouts had to say about Shenault.
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. — NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
Laviska Shenault is the type of Swiss army knife that creative offensive coordinators will love to add to their list of weapons. His ability to win on the outside based off of his athleticism, coupled with his mindset that he can score whenever he touches the ball, offers a truly distinctive skill set. — The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid
As a route runner, Shenault has room to improve. He manhandles smaller corners in press coverage, but can get knocked off his path by bigger, more physical opponents. — The Ringer’s Danny Kelly
Mock Draft Results
Mel Kiper, ESPN: Outside first round
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Outside first round
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Baltimore Ravens at #55
Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire: Green Bay Packers
Fantasy impact: Rookie year
Shenault is a player who can step in make an immediate impact on the team that drafts him. Seeing that he’ll likely be a late first-round pick on and early second-round pick, he has a good chance of joining a squad with a quality WR1. Shenault can start and be the second option on a good team. I think he’s similar to the San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel, who finished around the 30 mark among wide receivers in terms of fantasy production last season.
Fantasy impact: Career
Shenault is talented, but drafting him could be risky. His toughness and physicality could be a double-edged sword, as whether he can stand the test of time with his playing style could become a factor. He could be one of the better receivers in the league for years to come, but health issues could prevent that from happening. NFL.com views him as a boom or bust prospect, and I think that’s spot on.