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Is JJ Arcega-Whiteside The Draft’s Best Red Zone WR? Could The Redskins Benefit From His Skill?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

Oregon v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: RS Junior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 225 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Jaelen Strong

College Statistics

Player Overview

Jose Joaquin Arcega-Whiteside is the son of athletes. His mother, Valorie Whiteside played basketball collegiately for Appalachian State from 1984 to 1988. She is the all-time leading scorer in Southern Conference history with 2,944 points and no one has ever come close to matching that mark. She also gathered 1,394 rebounds during her career as she helped lead Appalachian State to back to back championships in the late 80’s. She was inducted into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame in 2009. She played professionally in Europe. Arcega-Whiteside’s father Joaquin Arcega played basketball in the Spanish leagues in the late 80’s and early 90’s. As you can tell from both detail and brevity there is no disputing which parent was the better basketball player.

JJ was born in Spain and learned English as his third language behind Spanish and Portuguese. The family moved to South Carolina when he a kid and he went on to have a stellar high school career playing football. He was a 3-star recruit and committed to Stanford for their academic program. Through his career he has received consistent praise from Head Coach David Shaw who says he “trusts” Arcega-Whiteside in one-on-one coverage down the fields because he has proven he can beat defensive backs with his size and physicality. His position coach praised him for his leadership, hard work, and commitment to film study. Arcega-Whiteside had a really nice season this past year. He’s established himself as a mix of possession receiver, redzone threat, and a guy who can box out defenders and win those contested catches. He did not do drills at the combine but Stanford’s Pro Day is April 4th. It’s an opportunity for Arcega-Whiteside to cement himself in the day two conversation.

Strengths

  • Excellent size, physicality, and body control for the position.
  • Has the ability to pinch, squeeze, and otherwise make uncomfortable the DB’s tasked with covering him. They often panic trying to adjust to cover his catch radius and he draws defensive pass interference penalties.
  • Size and length give him big catch radius. Body control allows him to haul in passes from a variety of angles and catch points. Proficient in using his body as a shield between the ball and defender and knows how to create space late in the route.
  • Does a good job at tracking the ball in the air. Praised for his study habits, toughness, and leadership.

Weaknesses

  • Route running looks basic stiff and inefficient. He doesn’t “sell” the defender and proficient man corners in the NFL are going to pick up on his habits if he doesn’t add more nuance and quickness in that area.
  • Lack of acceleration and separation his obvious. He doesn’t win by outrunning defenders he wins with his size. Taller more physical corners at the NFL level may give him problems.
  • Catching ability is inconsistent. He has some really bad drops on tape where ball just doinks off his hands. Not sure if this a catching or concentration issue but it needs to be addressed.
  • Not a factor as a run blocker despite his size.

Let’s see his work:

More J.J. Arcega-Whiteside videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins?

I’m not as high on Arcega-Whiteside as some media outlets are but I think he could be a solid contributor at the next level. I don’t think he’s reached his ceiling yet but I think the ceiling is clearly visible due to his lack of acceleration, advanced route running ability, and stiffness. In the right scheme he could be a solid contributor as a short yardage possession receiver and redzone threat. It is a good sign that his coaches have praised his work ethic and dedication to studying film. I have no doubts that he will work to be the best WR he can be at the next level. That basketball pedigree is obviously from his parents and he is arguably the best receiver in the draft at this box out skill. I just think it goes less far as I didn’t see the obvious explosion that would signal to me that he has some extreme hops as well to help him. On the Redskins he can certainly help the offense but I wouldn’t count on him developing as a legit WR2 as some other people have claimed. I could be completely wrong and if he posts really good numbers at his Pro Day there will be legit reasons to revisit the tape and reassess his perceived ceiling. I think he fits based on the type of guys the Redskins have already and the other guys they have shown interest in in the past I’m just not sure how much he improves the WR unit immediately without some development.