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Marino | Dante Pettis is primed to become focal point of Washington passing game

OCT 08 Washington at Oregon
Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

Marino | Dante Pettis is primed to become focal point of Washington passing game

The receiving tandem of Dante Pettis and John Ross produced an incredible 32 receiving touchdown’s between the duo last season. With Ross now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, Pettis will be relied upon to become the focal point of the Huskies passing game in 2017. Pettis has demonstrated consistent development and growth throughout his three seasons at Washington and is primed to become a senior leader for the Huskies in 2017.

All of these clips are brought to you by Krossover, NDT Scouting’s film partner for the 2018 NFL Draft season.

Pettis is one of the 99 seniors that Jon Ledyard, Kyle Crabbs and I are showcasing this summer as part of our NDT Scouting Premium services.

His full assessment is available but as with all of our works at NDT Scouting, we hope to continue to be transparent in our process.

Let’s examine what specific traits indicate how Pettis wins. The following clips/scouting notes highlight those areas.

Pettis’ bread and butter is how well he uncovers quickly and is reliable to get to his spots with precise timing. The technique the corner is playing Pettis on this rep leaves him susceptible to getting beat to the outside. Pettis recognizes this and further makes the corner commit to the inside break with a perfectly timed jab step and clean break to the outside. Notice how Pettis snaps his hips and head around during his break and that the quarterback commits to this throw about three steps prior to Pettis getting into his break. That is a clear indicator of trust and rhythm between Pettis and quarterback Jake Browning.

This is a similar rep to the previous play but it offers some terrific insight into the nuance Pettis offers as a route runner. Pettis fluidly gets into his release and stem with the demeanor of a deep route but in reality it’s just a ten yard out. He sells this route by attacking the coverage with the intent of a vertical route which pushes the corner off him in anticipation of having to turn and run. While this helps create separation for Pettis, its how he handles the route break that wins him this rep. Notice how he sinks his hips and plants to the outside with good flexibility and bend in his hips and ankles. The throttle down is minimal. And how about that finish? Pettis extends his arms back across his frame in the opposite direction of where his momentum is carrying him. Beautiful work.

Speaking of nuance and great finishes, have a look at this rep. Pettis works into his stem and perfectly sells a hard, inside jab step and the corner fully bites. From there, Pettis is able to get behind the corner, track the football and position his frame to shield the defender from recovering. Pettis maximizes his catch radius by extending a single arm to secure the touchdown. It’s a simple rock and throw from quarterback Jake Browning and Pettis does the rest.

Pettis’ hands are outstanding. According to Pro Football Focus, Pettis dropped just 1 of 72 targeted passes in 2016. Washington quarterbacks had a 139.0 passer rating when throwing to Pettis in 2016, best among returning receivers in the Power 5.

Pettis has outstanding ball skills which I have illustrated to this point but this rep fully reveals how well he tracks the football vertically. On this rep, Pettis moves the corner inside by angling his stem to this inside. This move creates space and leverage to his outside shoulder and a well-placed ball is indefensible. Instead of a well placed ball to the outside shoulder, Pettis gets and underthrown ball that takes away his outside leverage. No problem for Pettis times his jump, extends his arms and hauls in a contested catch through contact and creates an 61-yard touchdown.

This rep illustrates staple concepts of the spread offense. Pettis is lined up as the outside receiver on the left side of the formation. The two inside receivers run routes that are completely designed to lift and pull the coverage away from Pettis to provide space. While it appears to be an easy reception for Pettis, he deserves some credit for how he attacked the coverage. Running this route with good tempo, Pettis allows the coverage to be moved and times his break perfectly. Just as the corner commits to flip his hips to carry Pettis into space vertically, Pettis sinks his hips and breaks inside where he has a considerable leverage advantage and picks up 23 yards for his offense.

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Joe Marino

Marino began his career as the Assistant Editor for USA Today Digital Properties Draft Sites Network in 2011. A member of the FWAA, Marino writes about the NFL, College Football and NFL Draft for FanRag Sports.

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