When a report came out that the Carolina Panthers had met with wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, I was ecstatic. Why? Simply put, the former Wisconsin Badger brings a great deal to the table.
When I first began scouting Abbrederis, I noticed that Wisconsin's official athletic website listed his height at 6-Foot-2, which seemed taller than what he appeared to be on film. As many of you know, this type of inaccuracy isn't uncommon and my suspicion's were confirmed last week when he was measured closer to 6-Foot-3/4-Inch during the weigh-in portion of the Senior Bowl. Conversely, Abbrederis' weight turned out to be only a single pound under(189-Pounds) what his Alma mater listed him to be. Sure, he isn't exactly the big bodied, physically imposing wide-out that many of us have been clamoring for, but he does possess more than enough height and wingspan(75-Inches) to thrive in the NFL. Frankly, it's Abbrederis' weight that I'm most concerned about. For comparison's sake, soon to be free agent, Hakeem Nicks, is exactly the same height as Abbrederis, but weigh's 22 more pounds. However, if Abbrederis' durability in college is any indicator of what to expect at the next level, then he will do just fine. The former walk-on only missed one game in his entire four year college career.
At this stage in the scouting process, speed is just something you have to decipher on film, but this is the best barometer of how fast someone can move anyway. If I had to put a number on what Abbrederis will run in the forty yard dash at next month's combine, I would say somewhere in the 4.45 range. On tape, he has a smooth gait with very little wasted movement. Not only does Abbrederis display tremendous short area quickness, but he also has above average acceleration. Let me put it this way, if he somehow fails at the next level, a lack of speed won't be a contributing factor. Incidentally, I expect him to test remarkably well in the 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle because of his exceptional agility and body control when changing directions.
This is where Abbrederis is going to make a living because he is a true artist when it comes to route running. He has an advanced knowledge of the route tree and can run them all with superb precision. The consensus All-Big Ten standout is a master at manipulating the hips of defenders. Gaining separation is never a problem for Abbrederis because he flawlessly gets in and out of his breaks. The Wisconsin native is extremely skilled at disguising routes with impeccable body-lean and consistent arm movements. Perfecting these two technical aspects of route running is imperative when facing elite defenders who are accomplished at picking up on any hint that a receiver is about to change directions. Perhaps the most significant thing that stood out on film was the fact that he always seems to be open, and in most instances, by a large margin. His underrated speed plays a part in this, but I believe it is primarily due to his unique understanding and execution of proper route running.
No need to worry about this facet of his game either. Abbrederis has very good sized hands at just under 10-Inches, and he uses them well. You rarely see him drop a pass because he almost always catches the ball away from his body and is well versed in watching it all the way into his hands before taking off. He has shown an ability to make those tough catches in traffic as well, but he seldom has to prove it because of his elite ability to gain separation. Allow me to put it this way. Abbrederis' has the type of hands you would trust to grab that breathtaking, toe-tapping, falling out of bounds touchdown catch when the game is on the line.
Because Wisconsin is such a run oriented offense, receivers must at least display a functional ability to block downfield, and Abbrederis is no exception. Is he a great blocking receiver? No. But he is more than willing to put his body on the line in spite of the fact that his strength is average. Subsequently, I believe he will only experience moderate success as a blocker in the NFL.
If you have your heart set on a receiver who is a tall, rangy red zone threat who can come up with those high, back-corner of the end zone passes, then Abbrederis isn't your guy. However, if you wouldn't mind having a high character, sure-handed, chain moving wide-out who is also extremely effective at picking up yards after the catch, then this is your guy. The fact that he consistently produced solid numbers in a run heavy offense over the course of his college career is a testament to his work ethic and considerable talent.
Also keep in mind that Abbrederis oftentimes didn't have the luxury of facing the opponents' second and third best cornerbacks because he was far and away the best receiving target the Badgers had over the past two seasons. Naturally, he was regularly tasked with facing the best defensive back any given team had to offer, and still managed to shine. As a walk-on, Abbrederis had to tenaciously fight for everything he achieved at Wisconsin, and I only expect more of the same moving forward. Will his professional production mirror his collegiate accomplishments? Of course, only time can answer that question, but I personally would love to see him in a Panthers' uniform. How about you CSR?
Check out where Abbrederis is picked in my latest mock draft located at the bottom of the page. Be sure to let me know what you think in the poll and the comment section that follows.
WR Jared Abbrederis Career Stats
2014 Carolina Panthers Mock Draft 3.0
|1||OT Zack Martin||6' 4"||305||Notre Dame|
|2||CB Kyle Fuller||6' 0"||187||Virginia Tech|
|3||WR Jared Abbrederis||6' 1"||189||Wisconsin|
|4||OT Seantrel Henderson||6' 8"||345||Miami|
|5||DE James Gayle||6' 4"||268||Virginia Tech|
|6||WR L'Damian Washington||6' 4"||205||Missouri|
|7||CB Lavelle Westbrooks||5' 11||195||Georgia Southern|