NFL Draft Scouting Reports: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Kendall Wright“A 4 year starter, Kendall Wright has caught a pass in every single collegiate game played (49 consecutive), holds the school record for receptions, and set new school records for receptions and receiving yards in a single season. He currently owns or shares more than 9 school records. 

This season, Wright has recorded 6 or more catches in every single game, has totaled over 100 yards receiving in 9 of 12 games played, as well as recording a touchdown or more in all but 3 games. Named as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award (given to nation’s top wideout), Kendall Wright has been an extraordinarily productive wide receiver at Baylor University.”

“Comparable to Steve Smith (Panthers) in that he has elite explosiveness and speed, also playing much bigger than his size would seem to indicate.”

PLAYER COMPARISON
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
PROJ. DRAFT POSITION
1st Round
INJURY HISTORY
Played thru knee & ankle sprain, bruised shoulder

CAREER ACOLADES
2009 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention   
2010 All-Big 12 Second Team   
2011 All-Big 12 First Team

KEY STATS
2008: 50 rec, 649 yds, 13.0 avg, 6 TD (5 rec, 1 rush)   
2009: 66 rec, 740 yds, 11.2 avg, 5 TD (4 rec, 1 rush)
2010: 78 rec, 952 yds, 12.2 avg, 7 TD   
2011: 101 rec, 1572 yds, 15.6 avg, 13 TD

Background/Character
Tough hard nosed player that doesn’t allow minor injuries or bruises to sideline him for extended periods of time. Has played thru knee and ankle sprains, as well as bruised shoulders; very high pain tolerancy and impressive toughness. Wears his emotions on his sleeves, showing great passion and competitiveness throughout each game. Earlier in his college playing days, Wright would allow this competitive nature to get the best of him resulting in poorly timed penalties or mistakes. Now Wright harnesses this competitiveness constructively into increased focus and has committed less dead-ball fouls as a result.

Head Coach Art Briles on Wright’s attitude, toughness, and competitive nature said, “Kendall is a guy that lays it on the line every time he plays, every snap,” he said. “He plays at high rate of speed, which can be conducive to some minor bruises and sprains, but he has done a tremendous job of being a tough-minded, mature individual for us. It’s been a good four years at Baylor University for him and for us.” Displays NFL level timing with QB Robert Griffin III, attesting to his practice work ethic. Statistically is the best all-time Baylor WR.

Athleticism
3-sport star who earned All State honors in football, basketball and track. Triple jumper and long jumper in track, quarterback and cornerback (2-way player) in football, and point guard in basketball, Kendall Wright is the quintessential athlete. Can absolute jump out of the gym with a 42 inch vertical. Though short (under 6″), Wright maintains good length in his arms and legs. Is surprisingly powerful and strong at the point of attack, possessing very good strength and balance after contact to bounce off would-be tacklers. Maintains excellent core strength and a strong lower half build.

Though Wright has ideal size and build to play out of the slot, he also has the length and speed off the line to start on the outside. Long speed to stretch the field vertically and take the top off the defense. Kendall gets in and out of his breaks easily, showcasing elite change of direction skills. His coordination and balance is clearly evident whenever he tracks deep fade throws down the field; rarely gets tangled with corners and stays balanced while eyeing the football all the way to the point of the catch. Never looks at his route breaks, instead trusting his change of direction skill and balance to keep his feet. A very sudden athlete, possessing track speed, and incredible leaping skills.

Running Ability
The most impressive part of endall Wright’s game, is his suddenness and explosiveness after the catch. Electric with the ball in his hands, powerful runner with burst and elusiveness, accelerates almost immediately to top speed, but knows how to set up tacklers in space. So sudden in his moves and steps as a runner, breaking his man down before deciding where to run. Has the straightline speed to run away from defenders (4.4 range) but also has the ability to break down defenders in space or make sharp cuts across face. While he has immediate acceleration to top speed, his burst and explosion out of his 1st and 2nd running cuts must be mentioned.

Really accelerates in and out of his cuts, breaking away from defenders at the 3rd level of the defense. As he is bringing in the catch, Wright will instinctively begin to set up a football move to avoid a big hit and gain extra yards after the catch; does an excellent job of getting upfield immediately after a reception, constantly gaining positive yardage. Works hard to keep his legs with good leg drive and always extends the football to gain an extra yard. Suddenness and explosion make Wright a tough tackle.

Receiving-Catching
Has an excellent pair of hands on him, able to make tough low grabs with ease, track the deep ball with impressive focus, and complete traffic catches with bodies around. Though he struggles with the occasional focus drop by allowing the ball too far into his body, Wright normally does a very good job of snatching balls away from defenders and at the apex. Plays bigger than his 5’10 frame would suggest, utilizing his elite vertical skills, aggressive style, and body control to his advantage. Shows some of the best tracking skills in college football, with the ability to aggressively go up and haul in deep fade routes with regularity; able to eye the football, track it down and keep his feet without losing a step on the defender. Also has body control to dive and make difficult grabs away from his body.

Despite being 5’10, the muscular Wright knows how to position himself at the sticks, post up on defenders, and catch the ball in traffic. Extremely tenacious at the point of the catch, fighting to catch every target he receives. Most of Wright’s drops come over the middle of the field where bodies are present and he has to adjust awkwardly to the ball; inconsistent in completing catches on crossing patterns in heavy traffic. Does struggle with occasional focus drops as noted earlier.

Receiving-Technique
Kendall Wright is an extremely versatile receiver who has been successful running routes both from the slot and outside receiver positions, and also exhibits great route diversity. Very effective when running drag/crossing routes over the middle, utilizing his speed, burst, and route savvy. Equally effective on the outside running the 9 pattern (go route), exploding out of his release and quickly stacking on top of the corner in coverage. Sets up vertical route well by pressing the corner’s leverage and stemming back towards the sideline at the point of the catch.

Can attack opposing defenses in a variety of routes including the dig, drag, out (5 yard or 10 yard), hitch, curl, go, or deep fade. Not entirely crisp as a route runner, but gets on top of the corner very fast, sits down with natural stop and go ability, flipping his head back to the quarterback immediately at the break. Needs to drop his hips and be firmer with his plant foot at the stem of the route. Rounds off deep post, dig routes coming over the middle of the field. Consistently gains separation with explosion and athleticism. Can create space at the catch with jumping skills and very good arm length.

Summary
A 4 year starter, Kendall Wright has caught a pass in every single collegiate game played (49 consecutive), holds the school record for receptions, and set new school records for receptions and receiving yards in a single season. He currently owns or shares more than 9 school records. So far this season. Wright has recorded 6 or more catches in every single game, has totaled over 100 yards receiving in 9 of 12 games played, as well as recording a touchdown or more in all but 3 games. Named as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award (given to nation’s top wideout), Kendall Wright has been an extraordinarily productive wide receiver at Baylor University. Wright is slightly smaller version of Greg Jennings and a more solidly built version of Titus Young.

Possesses great long speed and really explodes off the line of scrimmage; a dangerous vertical weapon that understands how to stem his route and stack on top of the cornerback. Tracks the deep ball with impressive focus, body control, and field awareness. Electric with the ball in his hands and accelerates very quickly to top speed. Catches the football extremely well in traffic and does good job of snatching passes away from his body. Has tendency to round off his routes, but natural speed and explosion allow him to create separation. After the catch, Wright is a powerful runner with body strength and balance to run through contact. Can attack defenses in a variety of ways; jet sweeps, reverses, digs, drags, outs, stops, curls, go routes, and deep fades, you name it and he’ll run it. Equally impressive, has been Kendall Wright’s toughness, gamer mentality, and on-field confidence.

In 2011 season, Wright has fought through multiple ankle sprains, shoulder bruises, big hits, nicks, and bruises, while not missing any starts and maintaining a high level of production. Never satisfied with a good play, Wright will always fight for extra yardage, take on contact, and try to create a big play every time he touches the football. He views himself as the best player on the field at all times, and is a fiery competitor that will allow his emotions to get the best of him. Wright’s play thus far has propelled him into the upper half of the second round and he now legitimately has a shot at breaking into the back end of the 1st round with continued success, health, and a strong pre-draft season. Comparable to Steve Smith (Panthers) in that he has elite explosiveness and speed, also playing much bigger than his size would seem to indicate.

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