Donte Moncrief’s 2013 tape is pretty average and frustrating.
And it’s not really his fault. Not entirely.
I’m not sure what Ole Miss are trying to do on offense under Hugh Freeze. They spell in two quarterbacks, they do a little read option. They ask Bo Wallace to run the ball but he’s also predominantly a pocket passer.
It’s a bit of everything which ends up being pretty muddled and messy for the most part.
They’d almost be better off just committing to one or the other. Be a pro-style team or a run heavy option attack.
Moncrief’s form suffered as a consequence, and he probably wasn’t the only one. And while his situation is still a darn site better than the one Brandon Coleman found himself in at Rutgers, it’s not exactly been the ideal environment for a receiver to perform.
Having said that — he’s not entirely blameless either. He didn’t trouble Alabama’s secondary at all — and that’s a massive audition for the NFL. There were too many games last year where he left opportunities on the field and didn’t have enough of an impact — even if he did play on a disappointing offense.
I found his 2012 tape to be a lot better. And despite some of the frustrating moments last season, there’s definitely plenty to work with.
Moncrief can be a big-play artist. He’s got enough size (6-2, 221lbs) to compete in the air, plus the speed (4.40) to be a YAC or downfield threat.
There are more than a handful of examples on tape where he sidesteps a corner after a quick out and he’s gone. He’s not just a good athlete who can run, there’s so much natural ability to his game. You can throw a quick pass to him in the flat and he’s tough to bring down. He’ll get cheap yards on the quick throws (Seattle often used these to Golden Tate).
He’s extremely effective in chewing up a DB’s cushion, driving off a corner and creating separation (see 0:40 in the video below). He can get deep too. Both Moncrief and Martavis Bryant use speed as a decoy running routes — they’ll give the impression they’ll run deep, eliminate the cushion and get the corner turned. Then they’ll drive into a little crossing route or sit.
Both players have mastered this, and Moncrief’s done it without the top-notch coaching the Clemson receivers get.
He had a 39.5 inch vertical at the combine and an 11.0 broad jump. Only two players had a better vertical, and nobody topped 11.0 on the broad.
He also carries 221lbs very well. There’s no bad weight — and that’s quite a big frame for a 6-2 receiver.
It’s not all positive of course — and there’s one crucial area he’ll need to improve to be a potential Seahawk.
Winning jump balls and competing in the air is a must for this team. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin might not be +6-0, but they’re fantastic at going up and getting the football against bigger corners. I’d say Moncrief is average at best winning jump balls. And that’s a shame given his impressive vertical.
Part of it is inconsistent physicality. He’ll get pushed around sometimes. He doesn’t always show strong hands (his hands, incidentally, are on the small side at 9 1/8 inches).
This is kind of why he was so frustrating last year. There are examples where he does compete well in the air, or show genuine toughness.
His run blocking kind of sums him up perfectly. When he wants to block — he’s awesome. I’ve seen him throw some of the best blocks you’ll see from a college receiver — and he knows it. He celebrates the good blocks.
And then there are other times where he doesn’t want to know.
If you could get under his skin, get at him a little and make him play with a chip on his shoulder, you’ll get a better player. It really comes down to whether you can create that environment — and how will he respond to being challenged by his own team? Some thrive in that type of situation, others fold. Although I will say Moncrief appears to be mentally tough.
I suspect some teams are going to look at the 2012 tape and really buy into this guy. He could easily be the 3rd or 4th receiver on a few draft boards. The national pundits aren’t really discussing this, but for me he could easily be a first round pick. Easily.
And yet it wouldn’t surprise me either if he did stick around into the second frame.
Moncrief might not be a really dominating, prototypical big man like Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin might become — but he could be a guy who’s capable of making several big plays during a season and enough basic plays per-game to warrant a high pick.
For the Seahawks, I do think he’ll be an option at #32. His SPARQ rating will be through the roof and I think you can work on making him a little edgier.
(Just make him share a room with Doug Baldwin on road trips)
In fact his best fit might be on an offense like Seattle’s. They can take their shots using him downfield, they can use his leaping ability in jump ball situations and work on making him stronger in that department.
He could offer some of the X-factor qualities that Golden Tate provided, plus some of the factors Sidney Rice offered as a taller receiver in this system.
I would recommend checking out his 2012 tape — it is better than some of the 2013 stuff out there. Here’s a game against Texas where he should’ve had three highlight-reel touchdowns: