Draft Breakdown: JJ Arcega-Whiteside

By Thomas Ringgaard |
Draft Breakdown: JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Jose Joaquin Arcega-Whiteside, Wide receiver, Stanford

Conference: Big 12

Measurables: 6'2, 225 lbs

Career stats:

2016: 24 catches, 379 yards, 5 TDs
2017: 48 catches, 781 yards, 9 TDs
2018: 63 catches, 1059 yards, 14 TDs

Strengths:

  • Vertical/fade threat: JJ is the kind of receiver DBs hate. He is a strong, big body guy who will get his hands on you, track the ball, and make sure either: 1) he gets it, or 2) you have to make a lot of contact, probably drawing a pass interference. He uses quick feet at the LOS and a violent rip to get positioned ahead of the CB. Often in the red zone he utilizes looking away the CB with a quick move either in or outside, which gives him good position on slants and end zone fades. He has unbelievable tracking of the football and turns early on the route, which allows him to position himself on under-thrown balls by slowing down, making contact with the CB, and physically overpowering them with a high vertical leap and strong hands.
  • Spectacular catches: It comes naturally with all the contested jump balls he was asked to make in college. JJ doesn't seem to care if the DB completely covers his sight of the ball.  He has elite concentration and as soon as he sees the ball, he adjusts his body very well to a position where he can make the catch. Even on plays where CBs are committing obvious pass interference he finds ways to make the catch with one hand only.  (Editor's Note:  Watch out, Odell...)
  • Catch at point of contact: Makes good hands catches and will hold on to the ball after the catch over the middle, despite having a guy all over him. 
  • Blocking: JJ doesn't show high end blocking skills on every play.  But, most importantly, he consistently displays willingness to do it, which resulted in big plays for his fellow draft prospect, Bryce Love. To become a better blocker moving his feet and focusing more on the block and less on where the run is going will help him a lot.

Weaknesses:

  • Doesn't have great speed and elusiveness, which limits his YAC ability. Although he makes the first man miss with a stiff arm sometimes, he won't be able to do it consistently. However, the lacking speed trait probably doesn't scare away teams, as he consistently beats DBs deep even when they line up in press and off coverage. 
  • Route running: Aside from the vertical routes, fades, and slants, which I've talked up already, he hasn't consistently shown the ability to run short routes smoothly.  Mostly due to lack of explosive cuts, which could be a problem at the next level. Whoever drafts him has to have a QB with faith that he will catch it while highly contested.
  • Footwork: Doesn't drag his feet. Has had plenty of opportunities in college to do so on the end zone reps, which would have been very encouraging to see. If he is going to rely on his ability to make catches along the sideline as a living dragging the feet has to become a point of emphasis early.
  • Drops: Not a big deal as he doesn't make a lot of bad drops.  But, as with every WR, you want to track how often it happens. 

Conclusion:

  • JJ is a freak of nature when it comes to vertical threat ability. Combining his big bodied frame, concentration, strong hands, positioning, physicality with DBs, and ability to get behind DBs early in the route makes him a very intriguing prospect.  If he shows some speed and agility at the combine he may very well elevate to the #1 WR in the draft on draft boards.
  • Grade: 1st
  • Pro comparison: Mike Evans.

Let us know what you think about JJ in the comments below!


Listen to The Brew


Your go-to source for original Indianapolis Colts analysis, bringing you up to game-time updates on game-days. Join hosts Aaron Coffey, Alec Usleaman, Alex Griffin, Trace Vaughn & several others as they give their honest and informed thoughts and opinions on the Colts, the NFL and other popular topics.



Comments


Widget is loading comments...