Laviska Shenault Jr
#4 Overall Wide Receiver by Football Addicts
Born: Oct. 5th, 1998 (21 years old)
Weight: 220 Lbs
Position: Wide Receiver
Just like Reagor and Lamb, Laviska Shenault Jr grew up in Texas. At DeSoto High School, Shenault Jr was a 3-star recruit and helped win their first ever 6A State Championship in 2016. He had offers from SMU, UCLA and even Alabama but ultimately choose Colorado to attend college alongside with teammate K.D. Nixon.
As a freshman, Laviska would play in 12 games, recording only seven receptions for 168 yards and on his first collegiate touch he returned a 55 yard fumble for a touchdown on a punt return. This would be a modest foreshadowing for Shenault Jr.’s career with the Buffaloes. The Buffs would finish 5-7 on the season, and last place in the Pac-12 South.
In his sophomore season his receptions jumped from seven to 86 and would become one of the most electrifying players in college football. Laviska also rushed the ball 17 times for 115 yards and five touchdowns. He would miss his game against Washington with a toe injury that he suffered in the 3rd quarter against USC. He returned halfway healthy for the final three games of the season recording 26 catches, and 231 yards. He finished the season with 86 catches for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns, while also rushing for another 115 yards and five touchdowns. He was named First Team All Pac-12, and many NFL scouts were ready for him to enter the NFL Draft. After another 5-7 season, Colorado would fire their head coach Mike MacIntyre, and bring in Mel Tucker.
During his junior campaign the injuries would continue to hold him back, keeping him out three more games. Laviska would suffer a core muscle injury on Sept 21st after playing just one series against Arizona State. In 2019 he recorded 56 receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns and rushed the ball another 21 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns. This was enough to get him on the Second Team All Pac-12 list. Mel Tucker’s first season wouldn’t prove to be memorable, once again going 5-7 and 2nd to last in the Pac-12 South.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Not only is Laviska one of the best wideouts in college, he also offers a ton of versatility at running back and a returner as well. At times it seemed like the entire Colorado offense was just whatever he could do with the ball, even lining up at wildcat quarterback for the Buffs in ‘18. He is amazing with the ball in his hands, and offers tons of big play potential.
He plays like a running back, which is good and bad. Being as big as he is, smaller defensive backs struggle in bringing down the 220 Lb receiver. I love his ability to track the ball and is polished enough to be a threat inside the slot or outside on the sideline.
Shenault’s biggest red flag for me would have to be his durability issues. Like mentioned earlier, he can be physical and play like a running back, giving him extra contact most receivers don’t see. Throughout his career we have seen him withstand all sorts of injuries from almost literally head to toe. Being such a vital piece in the offense did cause a lot of wear and tear on his body that most receivers don’t see. If you pair him with and NFL receivers coach, you could unlock a lot of potential in Shenault Jr.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp
NFL Draft Projection
If Shenault was able to stay healthy more often throughout his career, he would be in the same talks with Lamb and Jeudy. He is currently my 21st ranked player on my latest NFL Big Board. If he knocks out the combine, we might see him rise higher but currently I think he will be the 3rd receiver off the board at 19th to the Raiders. There will be plenty of teams looking to get a player like Laviska, and I wouldn’t expect him to fall further than 24th to New Orleans.
I have the Raiders addressing their defense with the 12th pick, and now they can get a game changing wide receiver for the offense. The now Las Vegas Raiders looked to get a playmaker in Antonio Brown last year before he went nuts, thus never fixing their depth at receiver. Tyrell Williams has improved over the past couple of seasons, but would really benefit in another receiver across from him.
NFL Player Comp
Laviska Shenault Jr compares very well to a receiver like JuJu Smith-Schuster. Their size, speed, and ability to really be dangerous after the catch make them very similar on the field. He brings a great attitude to the locker room, and will work hard to improve himself at the NFL level.
JuJu was a Day 2 guy, and due to the injury concerns some teams might have, I think Viska will be a late Day 1 pick as well. If he is able to stay healthy the team that selects him could receive a lot of value if he falls in the 1st round. I think he can provide immediate production as a No. 2 option with the ability to grow into a No. 1 like Schuster has shown us so far.