We continue with our scouting reports of the San Francisco 49ers 2018 NFL Draft class. Today, our focus will turn to seventh round selection wide receiver Richie James out of Middle Tennessee State. After cornerback and pass rusher, wide receiver was probably the most talk about position during the draft process. The team made a day two selection taking Dante Pettis out of Washington. However, in the draft’s final round the 49ers invested in one last receiver, Richie James.
It’s always hard to say what the potential is for a seventh round selection. For all rookies taken in the last round there one and only goal…to make the initial 53 man roster and at worst land on the practice squad. James was an exciting pick and was a favorite amongst many analyst’s and scouts alike. Let’s dive in and learn more about the rookie wide receiver.
Name: Richie James
School: Middle Tennessee State
Weight: 183 lbs.
Arms: 31 1/4”
Hands: 9 1/4”
40 Yard Dash: 4.48
Bench Press: 6 Reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5”
Broad Jump: 122.0”
3 Cone Drill: 6.87
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.16
60 Yard Shuttle: 11.44
- Quick first step and burst off the line the scrimmage.
- Is able to shift and cut throwing defenders off balance.
- Has the ability to create yards after the catch while protecting the football.
- Has speed that builds up as the play extends.
- Separates himself from corners and avoids getting tangled up along the line of scrimmage.
- Was a high volume and highly reliable receiver at Middle Tennessee State.
- Extremely competitive and coachable. Wants to improve all phases of his game.
- Strong, Reliable Hands catching the football.
- Undersized for the position and risks being overwhelmed by more physical gifted corners.
- Durability will need to be monitored. Suffered an ankle injury. Played only 5 games last season.
- Lacks a large window and catch radius. Small margin for error for both James and the quarterback.
- Underdeveloped route tree. Better athlete than receiver at the moment.
Many analysis and scouts felt Richie James was one of the best picks in the seventh round, for whatever that is worth. Seventh round picks come with no guarantees and for the most part little to no expectations. However, there is something exciting that I like about James, and last I checked the 49ers can still use all the options they can get to field the best receiving corps possible. Watching tape, I like his toughness and competitive nature. His ability to stretch the field and create yards after the catch was impressive. His tape speaks of playmaking abilities.
There are those that will point out to the level of competition that he played against, however I think those points have become a bit overblown. Every year we see exciting prospects drafted from smaller schools who have early and consistent success in the league.
James will have every opportunity to prove himself to the coaches and front office. James can be electric on the field, and Kyle Shanahan will most likely be able to utilize him in multiple ways within the offensive scheme. I don’t expect him to rise to the top of the depth chart, however he could make contributions on special teams. The practice squad would be the worst case senecio for the seventh round rookie. Who knows, perhaps James will be another reliable target for Jimmy Garoppolo.
I think James could be a sleeper, and had it not been for an ankle injury last season, he might have gone much higher in the draft. James had a strong start in the 49ers rookie mini camp. Look for James to compete for reps and playing time in the slot this upcoming season.
What are your thoughts on Richie James? Will he make the 53 man roster? Will he get paying time in the slot? Please share in the comments below!