Laquon Treadwell certainly has the resume of an early first-round pick. He was a three-year starter for Ole Miss, developing into the focal point of one of the country's most explosive offenses. He was unstoppable as a junior, leading the SEC in receiving yards and touchdown catches while piling up one award after another: Biletnikoff Award finalist, All-America second team, All-SEC first team. At 6'2, 202 pounds with a nose for contact, Treadwell is physically dominant in every aspect of the game.
But a slow 40 times has cast just enough doubt to make some experts reach into their bag of scouting cliches and fish out the term "possession receiver," questioning his abilities as an all-around prospect.
One thing's for sure: Treadwell is a talented dude worthy of a first-round selection. Let's run through his prospect profile.
*Pro day number—he skipped the 40 at the Combine
He's not that fast.
As you've no doubt heard or read dozens of times, Treadwell ran a substandard 40-yard dash at the Ole Miss pro day—a 4.63 to be exact. This has, expectedly, raised concerns among NFL teams about his ability to separate from defenders at the next level. His tape suggests that won't be a problem, but the numbers suggest it might: only four of the 41 Pro Bowlers over the last 10 years have run a 4.6 or higher.
According to Pro Football Focus, Treadwell was just 7.27 yards downfield on his average target over the last two seasons, 40th among receivers in his draft class. Last season he was 18th nationally in plays of 20 yards or more and 27th in plays of 30 yards or more. In other words, he's not a consistent downfield threat.
But he's a big, physical target.
You don't need to gain much separation when you can just muscle bros out of the way. Treadwell is absolutely lethal on the fade route near the goal line.
Treadwell's vertical was also disappointing (his 33 inches ranked 28th among receivers at the Combine), but he makes up for it with 33-inch arm length, strong hands, spectacular concentration and adept control of his 220-pound frame.
He's a beast after the catch.
This is a part of Quon's game that's really underrated. Given his size, strength and athleticism, it's difficult as hell for smaller defensive backs to bring him down. Per Pro Football Focus, he broke a tackle once every 4.23 receptions, the 12th highest rate among his draft class. Ole Miss ran a lot of bubble screens and underneath routes to take advantage of his run-after-the-catch abilities.
He has 9 1/2-inch hands and he knows how to use them.
Treadwell struggled a bit with drops as a junior, but it was more of a focus issue (most of them happened when he was open) and one that's very fixable. The guy has incredibly strong but soft hands capable of snatching down highlight-reel grabs.
He fought back from a gruesome leg injury that ended his sophomore season.
In the final minutes of a critical game in November of 2014, Treadwell was dragged down from behind by an Auburn defender, dislocating his ankle, snapping his fibula and coughing up a game-ending fumble just inches from the goal line. It was easily the most gut-wrenching thing I've ever seen in sports.
Treadwell discussed the injury and the grueling recovery process in a cover letter he recently wrote at The Players' Tribune.
In that moment, I wasn't concerned about my ankle. I knew the doctors would tell me what happened, and I would have to deal with whatever the prognosis was. There was nothing I could do about that.
I just wanted to know if I had scored ... From the locker room, I heard the ref come over the loudspeaker. The ball never crossed the plane. Auburn recovered the ball in the end zone.
That was the only time I hung my head over my injury. We had lost the game, and I had a broken leg and a dislocated ankle. Our title hopes were dashed, and my season was over. That night, I had surgery. Then, I went back to work.
I could never explain the amount of work it took to get back for the start of the 2015 season. But what I can say is that it taught me patience and built my character. Right from the time of the injury, I knew I had to outwork everybody else and put in more time and effort than I ever had before—long days of rehab, long nights at the training facility, watching film until I fell asleep—to get back on the field and back to where I was before the injury. And I learned more about myself throughout that process than at any point in my life. As a person, I took a huge leap.
He came back better than ever as a junior, setting career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
SB Nation's Peter Berkes tells us that Treadwell is good at pretty much all football things, including blocking folks and throwing touchdowns.
Former NFL D-lineman Stephen White provides a detailed breakdown of Treadwell's abilities, praising his ability to knock defenders on their ass but ultimately deciding his lack of top-end speed makes him a better fit for the late first round.
The music alone makes this video fantastic.