2020 NFL Draft: Clemson WR Tee Higgins scouting report

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /

The 2020 NFL Draft is stacked with talent at the wide receiver position and Tee Higgins has been a known commodity for quite a while, but I wanted to dig deeper into what makes him a top receiver in this draft.

When reading about the wide receivers for the 2020 NFL Draft, you’ll probably find Tee Higgins somewhere near the top of the rankings and for good reason. There’s a ton of things Higgins does well to justify selecting him with a first-round pick so I sat down and watched some game film of Higgins and came away with some thoughts about his game.

I broke down some traits that are important in evaluating wide receivers. Each trait will be graded out on a 20-80 scale. 20-30 being well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hands: 70 

Higgins has excellent strong hands which allow him to hang onto the ball as defenders try to pry it away from him. He also has one of the biggest catch radius’ I have ever seen, although I’m sure his big size (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) helps him out a lot. Higgins uses his size to box out defenders on 50/50 contests and high points the ball to reel in the catch with defenders draped over him.

Route Running: 70 

For a big receiver, his routes are as crisp as can be. He uses some deception when running slants or double moves which leave the defensive back in his tracks. And even when Higgins can’t create much separation he’s still open to his standards. He also has great awareness to find the open spaces in the secondary to make the throw easier for his quarterback.

Quickness/Agility: 55  

Higgins grades out slightly above average here, but for a receiver with his size, it’s still pretty impressive to watch him with the ball in his hands.

Speed/Acceleration: 55 

He has some pretty average speed, however, his long strides are what creates the separation from the defense. There were times when he’d catch the defensive back by surprise and blow right past him. His acceleration isn’t anything to brag about but it’s nothing to dismiss either as there were times where he made a couple of guys miss for an extra five yards or so.

Overall: 60 

After watching Higgins’ tape some things were a bit eye-opening and one of them is the incorrect notion that he’s just a possession receiver. In the games that I watched, Higgins never had more than nine receptions yet he went over 100 yards in three of those games. This struck me as odd since all I’ve been hearing is that Tee Higgins isn’t the type of receiver that will flip the field.

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So I went straight to his stat sheet and noticed that he has zero games with double-digit receptions, but he averaged 20.8 yards per reception, which is the ninth-most in the country. That sure does sound like a guy capable of flipping the field.

The 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with talent at the wide receiver position but Higgins could very well turn out to be the best of the bunch if selected to the right team. Next, we are going to look at some specific team fits for him.

Team Fits

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles must address their need for a wideout early in the 2020 NFL Draft and Tee Higgins would be a great reliable pass catcher for Carson Wentz.

Indianapolis Colts

Most people will say they need to select their next quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but I believe that they can win with a fully healthy Jacoby Brissett and Higgins would help him out tremendously. Worst case scenario, Brissett turns out not to be the guy but they’ll have a big piece in play for when the right guy does come.

T.Y. Hilton has been battling injuries the past couple of seasons and nobody has stepped up in his place. Tee Higgins could give the Colts a true number one option.

Jacksonville Jaguars

I’m not sure who the quarterback will be but I am sure that whoever it is would be extremely happy throwing the ball to Tee Higgins. Jacksonville has lacked a true number one receiver since Allen Robinson limped out of town to Chicago, so this will give the fanbase some excitement as well.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills have surprised everyone this season as they prepare for the playoffs with three games left in the regular season. Buffalo surrounded second-year signal-caller Josh Allen with smaller receivers like John Brown and Cole Beasley via free agency, but what if they add a 6-foot-4 receiver Tee Higgins into the mix?

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Josh Allen is known to stretch plays out and Higgins does a good job improvising his routes to find open spaces in the secondary. His catch radius would also help out a quarterback in Allen who is not exactly known for having elite accuracy.