Jacob Cowing’s Draft Profile | Arizona, WR Scouting Report

Arizona's Jacob Cowing is one of the best separators in the class, but does his scouting report suggest he is the next undersized WR to succeed in the NFL?

In today’s space-driven NFL, smaller receivers who can consistently create separation are finding bigger roles in recent years. Players like DeVonta Smith and Tank Dell are just a couple of current examples of this trend of sub-175-pound pass catchers making a big impact on NFL offenses.

Does the NFL Draft scouting report of Arizona’s Jacob Cowing suggest he is the type of special playmaker who can become the next outlier case study for smaller receivers succeeding in the NFL?

Jacob Cowing’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 5’8″
  • Weight: 168 pounds
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: Arizona
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Hand: 9″
  • Arm: 29 1/4″

Cowing wasn’t exactly a high priority for many big college football programs coming out of Maricopa High School in Arizona, which was evident by his two-star prospect rating.

Yet, he still managed to start his career in Conference USA with UTEP, catching 141 passes for 2,595 yards and 13 scores over his three-year career in El Paso, TX.

Ahead of the 2022 campaign, Cowing transferred to Arizona and saw instant success with 85 receptions for 1,034 yards and seven scores in his year with the Wildcats.

Despite his yardage production taking a step back in 2023, he still managed to catch 90 passes with 13 touchdowns in his final collegiate season.

Cowing’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Cushion disappears in a flash with instant burst and acceleration off the line of scrimmage.
  • Home-run speed is present and a threat in all routes on the vertical plane and as a ball carrier.
  • Release package is effective and sudden with controlled footwork despite lack of size.
  • Rubber-band type hip fluidity; Able to drop his weight and explode effortlessly at the breakpoint to consistently create separation.
  • Really crafty route-running detail on deeper concepts; Tempo variation and stem IQ flashes of excellence are present in his tape; Throws in an extra rocker step at the top of his stem to maximize separation on multiple third-level in-cuts.
  • Flashed a nice array of effective route running in the short game with ample separation on slants, speed outs, and jerk routes.
  • Nice feel for throttling down in open zones on second-level in-breaking concepts over the middle of the field.
  • Despite lack of size and strength, regularly sticks his nose into bigger defenders and gives ideal effort with blocking assignments to help explosive plays carve out more yardage.

Weaknesses

  • Size and frame will likely limit his effectiveness working on the outside and as a contested-catch threat in the NFL.
  • Catch radius is another limitation in his game due to his height and lack of length.
  • Limited play strength could lower his ceiling as a YAC threat in the league.
  • Drops were present throughout the majority of his college career with six in 2023 and 33 over the span of his five years in college.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Cowing’s route-running ability likely isn’t talked about as much as it should be entering the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s an instant separator off the line of scrimmage with turbo-charged foot quickness. His exceptional fluidity, tempo variation, and explosive burst at the breakpoint give him a handful of ways to create separation on all three levels of the football field.

Cowing also provides some extra value as a YAC threat who can be used as a moveable weapon all over the formation.

His physical profile does come with some obvious concerns with regard to his catch radius, play strength and length at the catch point, and ability to use his hands to fend off physical corners who land their initial punch in press coverage.

Cowing’s size will likely relegate him to a hefty amount of snaps in the slot or the Z-receiver in bunch sets to help him get a clean release at the line of scrimmage. However, his route-running savvy and explosive athleticism certainly give him a chance to be a big contributor to an NFL offense.

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Cowing likely will find himself as an early Day 3 pick, but he certainly could sneak into the tail end of Day 2 with his ready-made separation skills.

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