2020 NFL Draft Sleeper: Michael Pittman Jr.
Height: 6' 4''
Weight: 223 lbs
This draft class is absolutely stacked at wide receiver. It is arguably one of the best draft classes of this past decade. With this being said, a lot of talent is being overlooked by some of the bigger names in this draft class, but they could end up bringing on the same impact as those players and potentially even have better careers. One of these players is Michael Pittman.
Pittman was a four star recruit out of Oaks Christian High School and had offers from Notre Dame, Oregon, and Washington before committing to USC. He struggled with production until his senior year where he burst onto the scene with 101 receptions and 1275 yards. The talent has always been there but the opportunity wasn't but when it arrived, Pittman performed.
Pros: Pittman has great hands. He had only 5 drops from 176 catchable balls in his career. His catch radius helps the quarterback be more accurate. He is great at tracking the ball in the air and also using his body to position himself to make the catch (boxes out defenders). He has a good short-area burst along with the ability to make the open man miss (can be improved, however). Excels at underneath and intermediate routes. Doesn't shy away from contact and wins majority of 50-50 balls. Straight-line speed faster than expected for a receiver his size. He can run a full route tree and also can stack cornerback vertically as he is sneaky fast. Big red zone target and also a great run blocker.
Cons: Pittman doesn't offer much after the catch and isn't the best at making defenders miss. He has trouble beating press coverage and he needs to get his hands involved at the line of scrimmage. Acceleration off the line of scrimmage is decent. Production came very late in his career and he is turning 23 before the NFL season.
Comparison: Pittmans NFL comparison is Courtland Sutton or Alshon Jeffery. They are both big receivers and have big catch radiuses. They play physical but are also sneaky athletes. Like these receivers, they are red-zone threats and win most of the 50-50 balls thrown their ways.
Expectation: I expect Pittman to be a Day 2 selection in the round 2-3 range. He will be a quality WR2 from day one. I would like to see him be drafted to the Washington Redskins or San Francisco 49ers as I believe the opportunity will be there and he will play alongside younger players so they can grow and develop together. He will play a significant role in his rookie season as he possesses all the tools to be successful in the NFL.