There are many wide receivers available in this year’s draft. UCLA’s Jordan Lasley is one of those prospects and teams will have a lot to discuss when Lasley’s name comes up in pre-draft meetings. Lasley is 6’1” and 210 lbs. In 2017 he caught 69 passes for 1,264 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately for Lasley his excellent production in college will possibly be overlooked due to some off the field issues during his time at UCLA.
The positives for Lasley include that he is a playmaker and has good game speed. These attributes have helped him do well accumulating yards after the catch. He is also a very good route runner. In the past few years there is a high correlation between rookie wide receivers who excel and those who are good route runners.
Lasley was targeted 104 times in 2017 and made only 69 catches, 21 of the non-catches on targets were drops. Part of the reason for so many drops is that he tries to catch the ball with his body instead of his hands which leads to poor fundamentals.
When a guy is involved in an incident and a team decides to stick with him because he “just made one mistake,” I can totally get behind that decision. The problem for Lasley is that he has had multiple suspensions as well as emotional outbursts that have led to fights. In 2016 he was arrested twice for possession of alcohol and caught having a fake ID at a club. In 2017, his most productive season, he was suspended for three games by the team.
If Lasley would not have had the off the field issues he had, he could be drafted in the second or third round, however; because of the issues it is more likely that he will be drafted in rounds 4 – 7. He does have a high ceiling and if he can stay out of trouble he may be a steal in this draft.
While wide receiver is a position that the Browns would be wise to draft, I feel drafting Lasley would be a mistake. There are so many other options who have been good on and off the field, that drafting Lasley seems like a bad idea. That being said new GM John Dorsey has not shied away from taking players like Jordan Lasley, so we will see what happens.