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Jalen Virgil could be a late draft return option for the Commanders

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2022 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the WFT

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RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl - Western Kentucky v Appalachian State Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Jalen Virgil, WR
School: Appalachian State | Conference: Sun Belt
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’1” / 205 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Rounds 6-7

College Statistics

Player Overview

One of the top sprinters in the state of Georgia during his high school years, Virgil was a lightly regarded football prospect going into college, recruited by several smaller schools in the southeast. In 2017, he played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman, leading the team in yards per reception (18.2). His sophomore season, he was recognized by Street & Smith as the Sun Belt’s “fastest receiver.” He again played in all 13 games, averaging 14 yards per reception.

In 2019, Virgil expanded his role, getting involved in special teams and averaging 36.5 yards per kickoff return. He also took part in rushing game, accruing 571 all purpose yards, and garnering an appearance on Bruce Feldman’s annual “College Football Freaks” list for his athleticism:

A legit track guy who is a repeat honoree on the Freaks list. The 6-1, 210-pound junior ran a non-wind-aided 10.30 to finish runner-up in the 100m at the 2019 Sun Belt Outdoor Championships. That explosiveness is also reflected in his jumping ability. He verticals 40.5 inches and broad jumped 10-11 this off-season. He’s also really powerful, benching 405 — almost double his body weight. Virgil’s been a big-play guy for App State, catching 37 passes for 602 yards in his first two seasons in the program.

Virgil was selected to the All-Sun Belt third team as a return specialist in 2020, taking one return 100 yards for TD against Georgia Southern. Leg injuries throughout the 2020 season dampened his overall performance, however.

In 2021, Virgil was All-Sun Belt second team as a punt/kick return specialist, ranked 7th in the nation in kick return yardage, and tied for second in kick return TDs (2).

Strengths

  • Incredibly fast. 4.26 40-yard dash speed.
  • Great vertical ability.
  • Good hands.
  • Ability to break tackles.
  • Has experience in the kick return game.

Weaknesses

  • Lower level of competition.
  • Still a raw receiver prospect.
  • Will need to be vetted for any lingering injury issues.

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

Last year I profiled Virgil thinking he was leaving college, but it turned out that he returned at the last moment.

Last year, watching footage of Virgil, I thought he reminded me a bit of Tyreek Hill. Then I went back and looked at Hill’s college stats at Oklahoma State and realized that, during his final season there, his offensive stats weren’t eye popping: 815 scrimmage yards (mostly as an RB) and 2 TDs. It was his return yards, nearly 1,000, with 3 TDs that were most remarkable. Virgil returned fewer kicks, but his average was actually better (28.9 to 24.7).

Now, do I think Jalen Virgil is the second coming of Tyreek Hill? No, and if I did, I’d be recommending the team draft him in the first round. As a Day 3 developmental prospect, however, I find Virgil very interesting. As they say, “you can’t teach speed.” Virgil’s athleticism is off the charts (and he is likely one of those prospects hurt by the lack of a Combine because of that), and if the coaching staff think he has the tools to be molded into another offensive weapon on a team increasingly filled with them, I’m in.

Poll

In what round would you like to see the Commanders draft Virgil?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    4
    (36 votes)
  • 10%
    5
    (38 votes)
  • 27%
    6
    (96 votes)
  • 30%
    7
    (109 votes)
  • 18%
    UDFA
    (66 votes)
  • 2%
    Not interested
    (8 votes)
353 votes total Vote Now