Weight: 217 pounds
Drafted By: Baltimore Ravens (7th round, 238th overall)
40 Yard Dash: 4.45
Bench Press: 9
Vertical Jump: 33.5″
Broad Jump: 10’3″
Scouting Report/Player Notes (**Mackenzie Pantoja**)
I’ve been scouting for 4 years now. This year, for the first time ever, I’m scouting an FCS player that has a legitimate shot at being a first round pick in the 2013 NFL draft: Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette. Mellette’s production, combined with the fact that the senior wide receivers in this class are terrible, means that there is a legitimate chance that an FCS player finds his way into the first round for the first time since 2008 (ironically, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Joe Flacco went in the first round)
Aaron Mellette has solid physical tools. He has above average height at 6’3, above average bulk at 214lbs, and solid speed for size with a 4.53 40 yard dash.
Aaron Mellette has excellent stats, even for an FCS prospect. He led the FCS in receiving yards with 1,639 in 2011, and he managed to get all those yards in just 11 games. 149.0 yards per game is phenomenal, easily the most in the FCS (second highest was 134.5). He had 113 receptions with an above average 14.50 yards per catch, to go along with 12 touchdowns. He also had 1,100 receiving yards as a sophomore in 2010. He also proved he could get yards against FBS competition this year, as he managed to get 11 catches for 180 yards against Vanderbilt.
Aaron Mellette has truly phenomenal hands. I’ll be honest. I’ve always seen him play once (against Vanderbilt). I normally don’t feel comfortable writing a scouting report on a guy that I haven’t seen at least 2 or 3 times, but I realize I need to bite that bullet when scouting an FCS prospect. It’s not easy for me to get film on Mellette. But, in that Vanderbilt game, he showed that his hands are the best aspect of his game. Truly fantastic. He caught everything he touched in that game, he didn’t trap any passes against his frame, and he made one ridiculous one handed touchdown catch that got Elon within 7 in the third quarter. He isn’t much of a leaper, but he is still pretty good with the ball in the air, thanks to tremendous concentration and coordination. There was one catch in that game, in the second quarter, where Mellette went over the back of future NFL draft pick Casey Hayward and made a 27 yard catch while Hayward was flagged for pass interference. Hayward simply laughed in disbelief. His hands are among the best of any player in this year’s draft class.
Something that Mellette doesn’t get enough credit for is his ability to create yards after the catch. Something that I couldn’t help but notice is that he made at least 4 catches on hitch routes in that game, and his fundamentals for creating yards after the catch were amazing. On a hitch route, a wide receiver is instructed to know the location of the closest defender, and spin the opposite direction as soon as he catches the ball. For example, if the closest defender is a corner, who is close to the sideline, catch the ball and then spin inside and turn upfield (optional head fake to the outside). Mellette seems to have an uncanny knack for knowing where the defender is, and always spinning in the correct direction (with the occasional head fake). It’s extremely well executed, and the hitch is his best route simply because he naturally knows how to get yards after the catch when running it. He has very good vision, and surprising shiftiness for a guy his size. Unlike most big receivers, Mellette is very good at getting yards after the catch.
Mellette is an excellent route runner. Big wide receivers don’t appear to usually be good route runners on film, simply because guys with longer strides and lots of height tend to have tight hips and lack quickness in and out of cuts. As expected, Mellette doesn’t have the short area quickness as say, Mike Wallace, but he does a pretty good job with what he has. He uses very good head fakes in his routes, and corners never seem ready for his cuts, which almost certainly means his eyes don’t really tell the corner where his route is going, which often makes him tough cover, and it makes him a great possession receiver.
Mellette’s biggest flaw is that he doesn’t seem to be much of a run blocker. Under the advice of a scout for the Buffalo Bills, I have decided to avoid commenting on the character of a player, because I can’t really know whether or not he is a good guy or a hard worker without talking to his coach. But, I can’t help but say that I was disappointed in his effort as a run blocker. He either really needs to add strength, or he is going to have to learn to put more effort on run plays. I frequently saw him putting more effort into watching run plays rather than blocking, and he also doesn’t see to put much effort into blocking when his quarterback scrambles. I’m not going to flat out say that he has character issues, but he was a pretty disappointing run blocker last year, especially for such a big wide receiver.
Ultimately, I really have liked what I have seen from Mellette. His route running and his ability to create yards after the catch makes me think that he is a great fit in a west coast offense. His blocking leaves something to be desired, and people will always question if he’ll be good against big competition, but, based on what I saw against Vanderbilt, I think he’ll be fine.
Video Highlights (via YouTube)