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2017 NFL Draft Bio: Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois

The former North Dakota transfer lit up the field with his electrifying play.

Northern Illinois v Toledo Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

Kenny Golladay was a revelation in 2015 for the Huskies after a season where he hauled in 73 receptions for 1,129 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Chicago-area transfer was a secondary option in his freshman and sophomore years in North Dakota, but came to NIU to pursue a different opportunity.

The risk paid off, both for Golladay and NIU, as the Huskies made the MAC Championship in his junior season and Golladay was a first-team all-MAC selection after a senior campaign that saw him catch 83 passes for 1,158 yards and eight touchdowns.

Now, Golladay, who stands at six-foot-four and 213 lbs., has to prove himself at the next level at a time where the NFL is keen on shorter, faster receivers.

He’s surpassed expectations before and certainly, no one can deny that the talent is there. So just how much of a chance does Golladay have?


Strengths:

Golladay is a fearless receiver, that much is evident. No matter the skill level of the opposition, Golladay approached games in the same fashion, with a stretch game that relied on starting speed. Golladay was one of the best deep-threat receivers in the MAC and the country over the last two seasons, averaging 13.3 yards per reception in 2016 and 15.5 YPR in 2015. He’s shown at two separate skill levels (FCS and FBS) that he has the makings of a WR1.

Golladay is also a specimen of an athlete. With a 32-inch arm length and 9 34 inch hands, he becomes quite the rangey weapon that should have NFL scouts salivating. Combine that with a 4.5 40-yard dash and he could be impossible to pass up.

Golladay’s game style should also be attractive to scouts. He has a great spacial awareness as a receiver and often anticipates the throws coming in. Golladay’s length allowed for long, quick strides that gave him an advantage over opposition once he started to accelerate. Golladay is especially adept at pulling in passes using his long frame, a skill that should prove to be fairly useful at the next level.


Weaknesses:

For all the big play threat that Golladay gives off, scouts are wary of his offensive awareness.

Golladay was mainly an outside receiver, but often frustrated fans and coaches alike with a tendency to be unable to play along the sideline. Some of that can be pinned on the revolving door that was the quarterback position, which forced Golladay to try to make unworkable catches work, but that will still be a detriment when the game film rolls.

Golladay could struggle at times with timing routes, as he could easily be pulled off his line by a pesky defense. Golladay also seemed to be wary of blocking as a receiver, which is a key role for outside receivers in the NFL, especially for offenses centered on the run.

Golladay’s usage rate could also go against him as he was one of a few reliable passing options in a heavily run-based offense that saw four different quarterbacks play the position in 2016. His numbers went up form 2015, granted, but it could be debated whether or not that’s because of progression or necessity.


Projection:

Golladay is the 19th-best wide receiver prospect according to CBS Sports, and carries a fourth-to-fifth round projection. The trouble for Golladay is that this year’s wide receiver class is amongst the deepest we’ve seen in recent years.

Depending on whether or not there’s a major run of receiver prospects sometime in the draft, Golladay could move up slightly or drop. As it stands, Golladay could make a decent depth option for a team looking for potential. He’ll need some work but could turn into a WR2 or 3 if given time to season.


Film:

I don’t know why people insist on putting music over highlights, but warning of NSFW language: