Colorado WR Laviska Shenault Jr. Scouting Report
Laviska Shenault Jr. was the best athlete on the field during his tenure at Colorado. He looks the part at 6’2 220-pounds and is deceptively fast for a guy of his size (projected to run in the 4.3’s). Colorado used Shenault all over the field. He lined up on the perimeter, as an offset tight end, in the slot, in the backfield, and as a wildcat quarterback. Shenault is a swiss army knife, and he has the ability to take any touch the distance.
While at Boulder, he played sparingly as a freshman. Shenault caught 86 passes for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns with five more scores on the ground as a runner as a sophomore. In his junior season, Shenault recorded 56 receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns with two more on the ground.
His versatility forced him to learn the playbook, and it shows on the field when you see him telling his teammates where to line up. Shenault is the type of player you want to have the ball at all times. He is built like a running back and shows it once the ball is in his hands. Arm tackles rarely bring him down, and he doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s able to blow by defenders with ease and is more than capable of forcing a missed tackle with his lateral quickness. When he was asked to block, he showed plenty of willingness and physicality. He can make tough contested catches and will go up and get it. He can also be trusted when going over the middle.
Going back to his versatility, since Shenault lined up anywhere and everywhere on the field, he never ran a full route tree. Not that he isn’t capable of creating separation, he just relied heavily on his athleticism to make plays. Once he is forced to work on his route-running, he should be able to use quick twitch and high football IQ to get open. Shenault often has difficulty making catches when the ball is thrown behind him. He also tends to take himself out of the action completely when a running play is designed to go away from him. Two significant factors in production drop from 2018 to 2019 were spotty quarterback play and injuries. He played most of 2018 with a toe injury and a torn labrum, each required surgery following the season. He also sustained a core muscle injury in 2019 that hindered his performance.
Shenault projects as a top-32 player that should hear his name called in the latter half of the first round. He will likely be selected in the 22-30 range. He will thrive in an offense where he is schemed touches, so the landing spot for him is essential. Don’t expect him at his best in a stale offense. An offensive-minded coach with creativity will be able to design plays that give him the ball in space.
It’s hard to come up with one player to compare Shenault. I’m going to say a lot of Sammy Watkins with a sprinkle of JuJu Smith-Schuster. He shows the playmaking, speed, and versatility of Watkins with the size, physicality, and yards-after-catch ability of JuJu. Shenault is his own man, and it’s hard to pinpoint another receiver like him.
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