FOX Sports NFL Draft analyst Joel Klatt knows his fair share about wide receivers. Not only does he study the position for his current gig, but he heavily relied on them as a quarterback at Colorado, where he started for three years.
On Wednesday, Klatt spoke in a one-on-one interview with A to Z Sports about the top receiver prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Some could end up being good fits with the Tennessee Titans.
It’s no secret that the Titans have made a lot of efforts this offseason to shore things up on the offensive side of the ball and make things easier for quarterback Marcus Mariota. There is certainly a very good chance that those efforts continue this weekend.
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The receiver prospect most frequently linked to the Titans in recent weeks has been Marquise “Hollywood” Brown of Oklahoma. Brown had a “Top 30” visit with the Titans just last week.
Klatt, who spent a lot of time around Brown as FOX’s lead college football color analyst, is a big fan.
“I think that, if he was fully healthy,” Klatt said, “Marquise Brown would have separated himself out as the top wide receiver prospect just because of his similarities to [Eagles receiver] DeSean Jackson. He’s just so dynamic with the ball in space, even deep, for a shorter guy.
“You go back to ‘can you create space, do you understand the game?’ He does. He does everything well. He can catch it in traffic, he catches it along the sidelines, he runs deep, he’s a reliable pass catcher, you can move him around and hand it to him on jet sweeps…So many teams are utilizing that dangerous slot player in so many different ways, and as offensive coordinators get more creative, guys like that hold more value.”
Klatt is also a big fan of Brown’s character off the field, something that could endear the receiver to Titans general manager Jon Robinson.
“What I loved about [Brown],” Klatt said, “is that he’s a really hard worker. He went the junior college route, cames in and earned his keep at Oklahoma, and was a superstar. Even after he became a superstar, he was a humble guy. I like him a lot personally, and I think his game translates to the modern NFL.”
Another receiver prospect that has garnered some attention recently in relation to the Titans is D.K. Metcalf of Ole Miss. Despite Metcalf’s superb performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, Klatt is not fully sold.
“[Metcalf] is an incredible athlete,” Klatt said, “but he’s very linear. Everything that was tested from a linear standpoint—the 40, the bench press, the broad jump, the vertical jump—he excelled at. Anything that made him move laterally, he was very poor—in fact, one of the bottom two or three receivers at the entire combine with the three-cone, short shuttle, things of that nature.
“To me, that lateral movement is what creates space. That’s how you create space for your quarterback. And, I think he’s inconsistent as a pass catcher. It doesn’t mean he’s not good—I mean, he makes incredible catches, eye-popping. But then, he makes an easy catch look hard. So for me, he’s much more of a project.”
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When it comes to one of Metcalf’s college teammates, A.J. Brown, Klatt is much more on board.
“One of my favorites is A.J. Brown from Ole Miss,” Klatt said. “I think he’s someone that dominated from a production standpoint against good players in the SEC, really good defensive backs. He’s really strong at the catch point, he can operate in the middle of the field and understands space. He’s physical, he competes well, and he had a ton of production. For me, I’d much rather have him than a guy like D.K. Metcalf.”
Klatt also mentioned Ohio State product Parris Campbell as someone that he’s a fan of. “The other guy that I would also want to point out,” he said, “is I like Parris Campbell a lot, in particular, because the slot has become so important and he can operate in the slot really well, and he’s just so fast.”
If the Titans decide to upgrade the receiver position at some point over the next three days, it looks like there are multiple quality options on the table for them.
Cover image: USA Today/Kevin Jairaj & Ray Carlin