Throughout the summer, National Scout Jon Ledyard, Assistant Director Joe Marino and Scouting Director Kyle Crabbs will be conducting summer assessments on 99 notable senior prospects. Of these 99 seniors, the 33 most prominent will be covered by all three analysts.
Of the remaining 66, each of the three analysts has “drafted” 22 of them to scout exclusively.
This serves as the foundation for our 2018 draft assessments.
Scout: Jon Ledyard
Name: Dante Pettis
Position: Wide Receiver
Date of Birth: N/A
High School: J Serra Catholic
Games Played: 40
Games Started: 24
Production: 100 catches, 1,495 yards, 17 touchdowns, 15.0 yards per catch. 5 career punt return touchdowns.
High School: Consensus 3-star recruit. Father, Gary Pettis, played 11 seasons in MLB for the Angels, Tigers, Rangers, Padres and Tigers, winning five Gold Gloves. Currently the Astros third-base coach. Cousin Austin was a wide receiver for the Rams. Chose Washington over offers from Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, San Diego State and Nevada.
College: 2016 Second-Team All-Pac-12. 2015 The Sporting News Second-Team All-America (punt returner). 2015 Second-Team Academic All-Pac-12
Strengths: Attention to detail is fantastic. Works back to the ball consistently. Sells route breaks with terrific deceptive footwork and sharp cuts to create separation. Strong vertical push off the ball to sell deep routes, then break off underneath. Effectively uses jab steps to free himself from press coverage at the line of scrimmage. High effort player who will bust his tail for blocks and lay out for tough catches. Adjusts well outside his frame to reel in off-target balls. Sure-handed. Deadly double-move to win vertically. Serious hops and will compete for the ball in the air.
Weaknesses: Not the biggest or fastest receiver. Lack of size shows up as a blocker and occasionally at the catch point. Does he have an elite trait to hang your hat on? Does not have the biggest catch radius and will lose battles against, bigger more physical corners. Must work to secure the ball quickly after contested catches. Has not shown much after the catch, but punt return ability suggests upside in the open field.
Summary: Pettis is the best route runner I’ve seen in the 2018 class, with detailed footwork, crisp route cuts and suddenness to his releases that make him tough to jam. He’s a smooth player who incorporates subtle deception into his route stems to maximize separation and constantly keep defenders off balance. Pettis is a good athlete, but his footwork really allows him to turn corners around in coverage without needing to be a burner off the line of scrimmage. He’s a savvy football player with outstanding polish that will allow him to be a plug-and-play guy in the right offense at the next level.
Pettis reportedly ran a 4.39 during spring combine drills earlier this year, but that kind of speed doesn’t show up on tape. Pettis isn’t slow, but his athletic tools appear good, not great, which is fine given his detailed work as a route runner. His separation quickness and hops stand out on tape, and those could be the difference between him being just another savvy slot receiver and truly offering big play potential down the field. Pettis won on double moves consistently in college to stretch the field, and was a monster in the red zone last season due to his ability to adjust to the ball outside his frame and catch almost everything in his vicinity.
Pettis may not ever be a true no. 1 receiver, and his slight frame is largely untested against press-heavy corners, but he has a lot of traits that project well to an NFL offense, both as a slot and outside receiver. Pettis’ game reminds me of Stefon Diggs or Willie Snead, and he may actually test better than that duo did at the combine. If Pettis can bulk up a bit and continue to add physicality to his craft, he has a shot to be a top 50 prospect in the 2018 class.
Predicted Value Range: Early-Mid Day 2