Rated as a five-star recruit and the nation's top receiver by multiple
services, Treadwell - along with fellow draft classmate DT Robert
Nkemdiche - headlined an impressive 2013 class of freshmen that
put Ole Miss back on the map for the first time since Eli Manning
was wrapping up his college career in Oxford. The Illinois native
lived up to his billing as a rookie, earning SEC Freshman of the
Year honors after finishing with 72 catches for 608 yards and five
touchdowns. Treadwell was well on his way to besting those last
two marks as a sophomore and was in the middle of enjoying the best
game of his career (to that point) when he was bent back awkwardly
just outside the end zone following a run-and-catch near the end
of the third quarter of an early November game against Auburn in
2014. He was eventually diagnosed with a fractured fibula and dislocated
ankle and missed the final four games of the season.
The gruesome injury turned out to be a minor obstacle for Treadwell,
who went from describing how his foot felt like it was "on
fire" in the early days of his rehab to taking a wide receiver
"master class" from NFL Hal-of-Fame WR James Lofton
roughly seven months after the injury. The Rebels' all-time leading
pass-catcher polished off his three-year college stay with a stellar
junior campaign, leading the SEC in receiving yards (1,153) and
touchdown catches (11) while finishing third in the conference
with 82 catches.
Best Scheme Fit: West Coast. While
his speed and suddenness limitations shouldn't keep him from being
productive in just about any offense, they would likely prohibit
him from maximizing his potential. An offense that allows him
to use his size and physicality on short and intermediate routes
consistently - much like Keenan Allen - might just be the thing
for him to live up to his first-round grade.
Shows rare instinctual field presence and understands the
concept of leaving space between himself and the sideline on
Hands-catcher with exceptional hand-eye coordination and long
arms who tracks the ball well in the air and on over-the-shoulder
passes; also excels on high-point throws.
Unafraid to work the middle of the field and fights for extra
yards; possesses a potent stiff arm while combining physicality
and impressive vision to generate yards after the catch.
Dominant blocker in the run game, routinely comes off his
block at the right time in order to peel back and eliminate
another defender pursuing the ball carrier.
Comfortable in the slot as well as on the outside.
Ball security: fumbled only once on 202 receptions over his
college career (on the painful injury mentioned earlier).
Plays faster than his timed speed, but he does not boast breakaway
speed and his ability to win deep is almost entirely dependent
on size and high-point ability.
Solid hands overall but did suffer a few more focus drops
on occasion (more in 2015 than in previous years).
Lacks suddenness, causing him to struggle to gain separation
and making most of his catches on short and intermediate throws
Needs to rely less on physicality and more on crispness on
his routes; possesses the mental aptitude to learn a NFL route
tree quickly but may start slow initially after running a limited
route tree in college.
Worst games in 2015 came against LSU (struggled in press coverage
against future NFL CB Tre'Davious White) and Florida (featuring
2016 first-round CB Vernon Hargreaves III).
If the eyes are the windows into the soul of a man, then a receiver's
willingness to block might be the best indicator as to the level
of desire he has to be great. The fact Treadwell's blocking prowess
is mentioned first isn't meant as a knock on his ability to do
what receivers are supposed to do - catch the ball - but rather
just how important blocking is to him and how much it jumps out
on tape. After initially comparing Treadwell to Jordan Matthews
and Allen, I settled on Hopkins due to how ridiculously close
the two are/were physically and athletically coming out for the
draft: Hopkins was 6-1 and 214 pounds with 4.57 speed, a 36-inch
vertical and a broad jump just shy of 10 feet - all very close
to what Treadwell churned out at the NFL Combine and/or his pro
day - and was credited for outstanding ball skills while at Clemson.
The biggest differences I see between the two is that Hopkins
was quicker and more slippery off the line of scrimmage while
Treadwell relies more on size before the catch and physicality
after it. There's a reason I included "poor man's" in
front of Hopkins' name earlier: "Nuk" was able to consistently
create separation and more explosive - two areas in which Treadwell
will not be able to improve all that much.
And this is where I'll circle back to Allen, who has emerged
as a star receiver despite not possessing elite measurables. I
don't question whether or not Treadwell can become a lead receiver
in the NFL, but unlike Hopkins, I don't believe he's the type
of wideout that will produce with a league-average starter at
quarterback. In other words, he will probably require an above-average
passer in order to become an above-average receiver. That conclusion
doesn't mean he isn't worth a first-day pick, but it does suggest
he should go in the back half of the first round as opposed to
the front half.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.