Rookie Rundown: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

Rookie Rundown: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

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Rookie Rundown: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

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Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Laviska Shenault Jr. declared for the NFL draft after three seasons in Colorado. He was active in each game as a freshman but only caught seven passes. As a sophomore, he recorded seven receptions for 211 yards and a score as a starter during the opening week against Colorado State.

He ended with five 100-yard efforts that season while scoring in each of the first five games – all wins. He was less effective in the final four games – all losses.

He caught 10+ passes in five games that year as the Buffaloes primary receiver. He was a first-team All-PAC player and the team MVP in 2018.

Shenault was less effective as a junior due to shoulder and toe injuries that required surgery. His calling card is that sophomore campaign when he was healthy all year and led the nation with 9.6 catches per game.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 227 pounds
40 time: 4.58 seconds

Shenault is a force when healthy and a lock to be one of the initial wideouts drafted this year. 3

Year Games Catch Yards Avg. TD Runs Yards. TD Total Yards Total TDs
2017 7 7 168 24.0 0 2 4 0 168 0
2018 9 86 1011 11.8 6 17 115 5 1126 11
2019 11 56 764 13.6 4 23 161 2 925 6

Pros

  • Thick and powerful body is like a running back down the field.
  • Great hands and instantly protects the ball
  • Can play multiple positions and run the ball – multidimensional player
  • Prototypical big, physical “X” receiver
  • Hard to tackle with one defender
  • Size and aggressiveness wins most 50/50 balls
  • Dynamic with the ball and offers excellent yards after the catch
  • Dangerous in all three levels
  • Assertive at the catch and dominant when healthy
  • Versatile player that can be used creatively all over the formation
  • Great football IQ from playing all over the offense

Cons

  • Could run sharper routes – was the primary target on most plays regardless of how precise he ran
  • Sometimes lacks effort as a blocker
  • Struggled with injuries as a junior in just second year as a starter

Fantasy outlook

Shenault only ran a 4.58 40-time at the NFL Combine but that was much slower than expected and a lingering core injury likely was to blame. He not only has top-end speed to take it to the house but he also has the burst to accelerate past defenders. Forget that Combine 40-time – Shenault plays plenty fast.

He only had one elite season as a starter but showed plenty in 2018. He offers inventive offensive coordinators with a new weapon that can be used in many ways. That’s a nice fit into the current NFL that continues to find more ways to get their best players in advantageous situations. Shenault ran in seven touchdowns over his final two seasons and averaged 6.9 yards on those plays.

There is a chance that he could play some special teams but he never did for the Buffaloes. His durability needs to be proven, but Shenault should offer fantasy value even as a rookie. He projects as a No. 1 receiver for some team and that could be this year all depending on where he lands. He’ll most likely be served better with a modest role as a rookie and then get up to speed in 2021 but he’s worth a fantasy late-round flyer no matter where he ends up.

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