The Jacksonville Jaguars made waves on Friday by selecting high-profile wide receiver Laviska Shenault with their second round selection (42nd overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft. What he brings to the table can only be explained in a multi-faceted fashion, similarly to how he played at Colorado over the past three seasons.
Shenault has his own game mapped out. While many players are asked to compare themselves to a single player, Shenault, much like his game cannot simply be boiled down to one person or position.
Instead, Shenualt broke his game up into multiple Pro Bowl players, Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald, and Julio Jones. During a Zoom video conference call with the local Jaguars media, Shenault explained his choices, breaking down exactly why he thinks he compares to each player in different ways.
Landry: “I said Jarvis Landry because everyone knows he plays with that dog mindset and that dog mentality and he says it and he makes it known. He’s not a big receiver at all, it’s not about the size, it’s about the attitude he plays with and how aggressive he plays, and I think I do the same thing.
Fitzgerald: “Larry Fitzgerald, he’s just like a business person. When he gets on the field you already know he’s strictly about business and he’s gonna get the job done.”
Jones: “Julio Jones, he’s just a freak and he can do anything; do everything. We’ve seen him do everything so that’s just that can-do-everything type of athlete and I think I can do the same thing.”
While these may seem like exaggerated comparisons, and certainly in some respects they could be, they all do point towards how Shenault plays his game, and has made his money on the gridiron over his time with the Buffaloes.
Shenault was arguably the most talented run-after-catch receivers entering the draft, accumulating the most broken tackles among wide receivers in college football since 2018 with 44, according to Pro Football Focus. Playing extremely physical, Shenault prides himself on his toughness and aggressiveness, something Landry is wont to do.
“That’s how I live my life, being tough and I take it to the field. So anytime you see me you see it’s being tough.”
A true do-it-all receiver, Shenault does exhibit traits to Jones. While he obviously is not the future hall of fame receiver just yet, he has the ability to make big plays from anywhere on the field, whether in the slot, or outside, or even in the backfield.
At Colorado, Shenault set a school record by catching a touchdown and rushing for a touchdown in five separate games, while adding 149 receptions for 1,943 yards, and 10 touchdowns, along with 42 rushes for 280 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
“I love getting the ball anywhere I can create mismatches,” Shenault said on Friday. “I love getting the ball in my hands when its right off the snap too. That’s just what I like to do. I like to gain those yards. It doesn’t have to be easy, it can be hard. But I definitely like to get the ball to me quick and get those hard yards and those red zone yards. So, yeah I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
That’s why when the second-round pick met with Jaguars wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell at the 2020 NFL Combine this year, he told him he “likes how I can move around everywhere and just dominate in every position.”
Shenault told the media he was “shocked” when he saw the Jaguars selected him. While he did meet with them at the combine there wasn’t a lot of talking beyond that.
An all-business receiver, Shenault lets his play do the talking. While he does exude confidence, he is not cocky, just prepared, and is willing to learn — especially under a respected former NFL receiver like McCardell.
“It’s always good to be under somebody who has a lot of experience. I’m just ready to get over there to learn and just get better every day.”