Nelson Agholor, the junior wide receiver from the USC Trojans, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a prolific 2014 season and a productive all-around collegiate career. A starter in each of the last two years, Agholor totaled 103 catches for 1,313 yards and 12 TDs in ’14. He finished the season as a First Team All-Pac12 performer and Third Team All-American. In 2013, he managed 56 receptions for 918 yards and 6 TDs. He finished that year as a Second Team All-American and First Team All-Conference player. For his career, Agholor totaled 179 catches, 2,571 yards and 20 TDs. He offers added value on special teams, totaling 548 yards and 4 TDs on punt returns as a Trojan. Physically, Agholor is a lean and athletic 6’0″ tall, weighing-in at 198 lbs at the 2015 NFL Combine. He appears lighter on the field, as his frame is lacking much mass. He’s not an overly aggressive or physical player; He’s a space player who is likely to struggle versus NFL press coverage. Athletically, Agholor is a two-step talent who gets up to full speed in a hurry. He offers more than enough initial quickness and long speed to be considered a bona-fide threat in the deep passing game. Agholor showcases a plus burst off the snap, getting into his route in a hurry; He eats up cushion in an instant. He’s a talented route runner who sets up corners with the double move as well as anyone in the class; He’s able to plant hard with a strong shoulder fake while maintaining route integrity and top-end speed. He is a savvy wideout. Agholor is a coordinated and balanced guy with good body control and the natural hands needed to pluck the ball away from his frame. Despite his less than ideal frame, he displays the toughness to make plays in traffic and can hold onto the ball through contact. After the catch, Agholor is a dangerous weapon who uses the defense’s momentum against it. He is fluid and shifty enough to make guys miss and has the hip flexibility to start and stop on a dime. He’s not the most physical runner and it doesn’t take much contact to bring him to the ground, but he’s a slippery guy who works open-field angles very well. In the run game, Agholor leaves a bit to be desired. He often looks disinterested and his lack of effort at the snap is a clear tell for the defense. There are moments when he is effective as a downfield obstacle, but he’s not nearly physical or intense enough to add much to second and third level running plays.
OVERALL: Nelson Agholor is a quick and speedy pass catcher destined for the role of slot receiver in the NFL. He’s simply not big or physical enough to hold up against NFL press coverage, but he certainly has the necessary athleticism, burst and flexibility to be a real weapon in space. His consistent hands and savvy route running will lead to early opportunities in his rookie season, with the upside of being a consistent contributor to an NFL offense before the end of 2015. While he doesn’t project as a game-changing talent, he reminds me of a Keenan McArdell (Jaguars) type receiver who will have a long career as an underrated play maker. Agholor brings exceptional value to special teams as well, as he’s likely to make his most immediate contribution as a field-flipping punt returner.
GRADE: 7.3 (High-3rd Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)