RICHIE JAMES | WR | MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Height: 5101 | Weight: 183 | Arm: 31 1/2 | Hand: 9 1/4 | 40: 4.48 | Bench: 6 | 3Cone: 6.87 | Broad: 119" | Vertical: 35.5"
Richie James is a fourth-year Junior who is the go-to WR in the Blue Raiders offense and primary punt returner. Prior to his injury-marred 2017 season, James was an extremely productive WR. In fact, James and sophomore WR Ty Lee are the second-most prolific WR duo in NCAA in terms of receptions and is one of the few players in NCAA history to register back-to-back 100 catch seasons as a freshman and sophomore in 2015 and 2016. In only 31 career games, James has amassed 243 receptions for 3,249 yards (13.4 avg) and 23 TDs. James missed 3 games in 2017 due to an ankle injury and then broke his collarbone against Marshall on 10/20.
James has a sleight frame with a skinny lower body, which may make him susceptible to injuries against bigger NFL defenses. James is a terrific athlete who boasts very good foot speed, good twitch to operate out of a slot, and great leaping ability for his size.
James is a diligent route runner who does a good job of throttling his speed in his route steam and shows off outstanding intuitiveness for playing the WR position with how he manipulates DBs with his body. James is deadly at creating separation on the Post with a subtle head feint and incendiary inside step that gets him in an advantageous position to catch the football in-stride. James shows stellar concentration on Comeback routes and can jump and scoop passes over the shoulder of CBs who don’t have enough time to turn and challenge the ball because of the quick separation that James’ twitch affords. James has rare kinesthetic sense to manipulate his body in the air and make adjustments for the ball. For every spectacular catch James can make, he is equally susceptible to the occasional concentration drop mostly owing to his limited catch radius. After the catch, James shows outstanding short area burst and wins with explosive accelerations and elusiveness on WR Screens and quick slants. James is an extremely elusive playmaker with the ball in his hands and has exceptional home run ability playing any WR position in the Blue Raiders offense. While James is feisty at the point of attack, he has obvious limitations as a run blocker due to his size and lack of functional play strength (only 6 reps on the bench in Indy). James is evidently a terrific student of the game and shows off his football IQ by lining up anywhere from the X, Z or Slot.
An offensive team captain and concrete industry major, James shows outstanding competitive toughness and showed unreal grit when he played several plays after breaking his collarbone against Marshall. James is similar in body type and play style to Phillip Dorsett and is best suited as a Slot WR/Punt Returner due to his courage over the middle off the field and short area twitch to create separation in confined spaces. James projects as a rotational depth player who can vie for punt return duties early in his NFL career and eventually develop into a useful slot receiver in a west coast offense. Likely to hear his name called midway through day three, James' sleight frame/durability concern is the chief inhibitor for him not warranting a higher grade.
Overall Grade: 78
Athletic Ability: 6
Play Strength: 3
Play Speed: 6
Competitive Toughness: 7
In-Traffic/Contested Catches: 3
Spectacular Catch: 4
Route Precision: 5
Route Variety: 4
Red Zone Threat: 3
Run Blocking: 2
Run After Catch: 5
Explosiveness/Return Ability: 5
Player Comparison: Phillip Dorsett (the Miami Hurricanes version)
Projected Round: Round 4/5
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