Name: Malachi Dupre
Position fit: Outside WR
Stats to know: 43 percent of Dupre’s yards and five of his nine touchdowns over the past two seasons came on passes more than 20 yards downfield.
What he does best:
- Deep speed, has long strides and can get up to speed relatively quickly and run past defenders.
- Uses his size well, 6-foot-4 with long arms, and can just catch balls at a higher point than defenders can reach.
- Great deep-ball tracking ability, knows how to see ball in the air and adjust route so he catches it at an optimal point.
- Effective at finding holes in zones and adjusting his routes in order to exploit said holes.
- Strong after the catch, won’t make a lot of people miss but will run through smaller defenders and drag players.
- Made a number of catches in traffic out of the slot. Had 23 receptions for 255 yards out of the slot in 2016.
- Willing blocker, could use some work but more experienced than most. Often moved inline to block for LSU.
- Struggles against press coverage, can be taken completely out of the play by a strong corner jamming him at the line.
- Contested catches are an issue for him, doesn’t seem to have strong enough hands to pluck the ball out of the air and survive immediate contact.
- Not a great route-runner. Can run all the vertical routes but anything with sharp breaks he slows down a lot and gives it away, allows defenders to make up ground and impact route.
- Body catches more than he should, has dropped eight passes out of 92 catchable balls last two seasons. But also has double clutched balls and not looked confident at times with his hands.
Player comparison: Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers
Coming out of college, Coates was a receiver with a similar build to Dupre, and had a very similar skillset. He was very good at taking the top off the defense and could run the vertical routes, while also being a strong after the catch threat. But he had trouble with non-vertical routes and struggled with consistent catching. Dupre looks very similar to Coates, and that could bode well for him. Before Coates suffered an injury that limited him down the stretch in 2016, he was second in the NFL with 321 yards on deep receptions
Bottom line: Dupre has great size and deep speed that should make him an intriguing mid-round option for teams looking for a complementary receiver to take the top off a defense. His route-running means he’ll be limited to mostly vertical routes, especially early on, but he’s effective at those. He’ll need to get a little stronger in order to beat press coverage, and work on making more catches with his hands. He may never develop into a No. 1 receiver, but his size and speed combination are good enough that he could grow into an effective deep-ball receiver in the NFL.