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Laviska Shenault's versatility should cement him as a first-round pick in 2020 NFL Draft

Laviska Shenault’s 2018 sophomore season put college football on notice. This was a player who had a future beyond Boulder, Colorado. Shenault caught 87 passes for 1,019 yards and six touchdowns, earning Second Team PFF All-American honors behind an 88.2 overall grade. Because of that, expectations were high coming into his junior season — and rightfully so. His combination of size, athleticism and dynamic after-the-catch ability is a rare set of tools that NFL teams covet.

That’s why it was a surprise when his production took a small hit in 2019. Shenault caught just 56 passes for 764 yards and four touchdowns, seeing his numbers go down across the board. It wasn’t a bad season by any means. He still recorded an 86.9 overall grade, but that hasn’t stopped some concerns from being raised about the drop in production and the associated injuries that have hampered him throughout his time at Colorado. Though Shenault does have areas to work on in his game, I’m here to assuage some of those concerns. He is still a first-round talent for a team in need of a wide receiver.

Shenault transitioned to more of a traditional role in 2019

Shenault played the jack-of-all-trades role in 2018 for the Buffaloes, and he played it well. They used him out wide, in the slot, as an inline tight end, in the backfield and even as a wildcat quarterback. The game plan was to get the ball in his hands quickly any way they could and let him go to work in the open field. His average depth of target was just 6.6 yards downfield, largely because of how many of those targets came on screen passes. Shenault was targeted 41 times on screens in 2018. The only FBS wide receiver with more was Rondale Moore of Purdue (54).

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