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Marino | Florida State WR Auden Tate is on the brink of stardom

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Scouting Notes

Marino | Florida State WR Auden Tate is on the brink of stardom

There’s a considerable amount of buzz surrounding a wide receiver that’s played in just 16-career games and hauled in only 25 receptions. That’s the case with Florida State junior receiver Auden Tate who has flashed exciting playmaking skills and boasts a 6-foot-5, 225 pounds frame.

Slowed by injuries and buried in the depth chart, Auden Tate was only targeted 45 times in 2016 while catching 25 passes for 409 yards with six touchdowns.

2017 is Tate’s time to shine.

In the form of Travis Rudolph, Davlin, Cook, Kermit Whitfield, and Jesus Wilson 2,113 of the Seminoles 3,433 (62 percent) passing yards last season are no longer on the team. The primary beneficiary figures to be Tate who should be the focal point of the Florida State passing game this season.

I watched all 45 of Tate’s targets from 2016 and there is plenty of reasons to be excited about the skill set that he offers. Let’s examine.

Tate flashes the ability to dominate at the catch point like a 6-foot-5 receiver should but it’s how he couples that with the ability to track and adjust to the football that makes him intriguing. On this rep, Tate actually has a step on the corner but the quarterback (maybe intentionally) underthrows the route and Tate plants, works back to the football and makes a tremendous catch as he’s falling down. His body control is exceptional for a man of his size.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had a Mike Williams rule.“If there’s only one on him, he’s wide open. If there’s two, they better be real tight on him in coverage. Florida State should employ the same rule to Auden Tate. His size, catch radius and ball skills make him a near impossible task for a cornerback alone in man coverage. Take this rep for example. Despite being hip-to-hip with Tate, the cornerback is helpless. Quarterback Deondre Francois simply needs to throw it in the vicinity and let Tate do the rest which he does by adjusting to the football and boxing out the corner to haul in the pass.

Having an imposing frame with good ball skills doesn’t matter if you cannot consistently catch the football. Tate shows off his hands on this rep where he does a terrific job of elevating to catch the ball at its highest point, extending his arm to maximize his catch radius and plucking the football out of the air with an alpha mentality. Again, Tate does a great job of working his body into ideal positioning by boxing out the defensive back.

While Tate has room to grow as a route-runner, I like how he uses the play-action fake by selling a block into his break to his advantage on this rep. It does just enough for Tate to gain leverage and Tate again times his leap, plucks the ball and holds on through contact in a contested situation. Dominating at the catch point, particularly in the redzone is Tate’s calling-card. He does that here.

This rep touches on all of the components I’ve already discussed but I like how this play encapsulates the best of Tate. In a redzone situation, Tate uses his ball tracking skills, catch radius, hands and body control to make a touchdown.

It’s apparent why Tate has so much buzz despite minimal production. His flashes of dominance combined with his physical traits make him an exciting breakout candidate for the 2017 season.

I would like to see Tate develop as a route-runner by doing more to sell his breaks and make cleaner cuts. Also, consistently showcasing the same physicality that he does at the catch point in the contact window to break through contact would help take his game to the next level.

The Francois to Tate connection has the upside to become one of the most prolific in all of college football this season. If it does, Tate has the makings of a highly coveted NFL draft prospect.

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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