Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Following a 200-yard, five-TD performance vs. Alabama, where does Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt's scouting report fall in the 2023 NFL Draft class?

Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt introduced himself to the world with a 207-yard, 5-TD (school record) outing against Alabama. Prior to that performance, no pass catcher had 100+ yards and 3+ TDs against the Crimson Tide in the Nick Saban era.

So yea, I’d say he’s pretty talented. But just how talented is Hyatt? Let’s dive into his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report to find out.

Jalin Hyatt NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: WR
  • School: Tennessee
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height/Weight: 6’0″, 185 pounds

First things first, some table-setting. Hyatt is a true junior, so he doesn’t have to declare for the draft just yet. However, I’m a huge proponent of players making the leap instead of returning for their senior year. How many times have we seen players return to school only to suffer a serious injury and severely hamper their draft stock?

Hyatt exploded onto the scene against Alabama, and he has taken full advantage of Cedric Tillman’s absence. In a WR class that isn’t as solidified as many predicted in the summer, the Tenessee pass catcher can take advantage.

But that’s now. How did Hyatt get here? It all started at a YMCA in South Carolina when he was five years old. There, Hyatt began playing flag football, and a fire was lit.

By the time he was a sophomore at Dutch Fork High School, Hyatt had already received his first scholarship. Two years later, he was the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards (3,624) and receiving touchdowns (57) and helped secure back-to-back undefeated, state title-winning seasons.

Hyatt was simply a man among boys, racking up 1,300+ yards and 20+ TDs in his junior and senior campaigns. In the 2019 state championship, he caught three TDs, including the game-winner in overtime — he obviously has the clutch gene.

Oh, and I should probably mention he’s fast … like, track fast. Hyatt recorded a 10.46 in the 100m and 21.14 in the 200m. For numbers that make more sense to us football folk, he also ran a verified 4.31 40-yard dash and 34.5″ vertical.

After initially committing to Virginia Tech, Hyatt considered offers from Miami, Oregon, and Florida. But ultimately, he’d sign with Tennessee as a four-star recruit.

The South Carolina native stepped on campus as a 165-pound WR and served as the team’s No. 4 option the last two seasons. In 2022, he put on 15-20 pounds (listed 185) and became the 1B to Tillman’s 1A. But with the latter’s high ankle sprain keeping him out multiple games, Hyatt received the shot he was waiting for — and he proved to be a different caliber.

Jalin Hyatt Scouting Report

This offseason, Tennessee HC Josh Heupel detailed the growth that Hyatt has put on for the entire nation to see:

“Jalin’s made a huge jump. Different mindset, different focus — because of that, different work habits, unbelievable offseason, strength and conditioning before we got to competing on the grass. He’s continuing to get better.

“I’m planning to put the football in his hands, he’s become a much more physical football player since he’s changed his body. Those two things go together hand-in-hand in gaining confidence and that shows up in the way he’s played.”

However, can Hyatt challenge for early-round draft capital? Spoiler alert: Yes.

Where Hyatt Wins

Hyatt is one of the few players every cycle that you can describe with one word. His? Speed. Game-breaking, rage-inducing, nightmare-filling speed. Simply put, he is the premier deep threat in either this class or the next. But the Tennessee WR isn’t a track star playing football; he’s a football player with track speed.

When running vertical routes, Hyatt explodes off the line and right past the opposition. Cornerbacks fear his speed, giving him ample cushion underneath. And yet, he knows how to set up off-coverage defenders downfield, driving them to open their hips prematurely before stemming the opposite way.

Even if defenders turn and bail out of their technique to try and match the Tennessee WR’s speed, they simply can’t.

When he appears to be at his max speed, he can reach an otherworldly gear, accelerating with long, efficient strides. That sudden accelerative capacity alone generates effortless separation, which is a QB’s dream.

In the open field, Hyatt obliterates tackling angles with stellar balance. The defender could take the correct approach to the ball, only for the Tennessee WR to make them incorrect in one swift motion.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

However, Hyatt takes the top off defenses with more than just his speed. He understands how to stack defenders and create a clear window for passes. Deep-ball tracking is also a strength, and the Vols WR consistently looks passes in.

And with his long arms, he can extend and pluck balls outside his frame, providing an expansive catch radius for his QB.

When facing contact, Hyatt can swipe hands off him with ease while maintaining stability. Additionally, he stays low throughout his route, snapping down at the stem for maximum efficiency.

Tennessee creates one-on-one matchups, and with a two-way go as a primarily slot receiver, Hyatt feasts. And if you don’t initially get hands on him — which the Vols mitigate by positioning him as the trail man in bunch/stack looks — it’s over. He is a man-beater that makes every route look the same, varying his strides to keep DBs honest.

Surprisingly, Hyatt is a strong run blocker for his slim frame. He gives tremendous effort and consistently gets inside his opponent’s chest. And after the catch, he has enough lateral agility and quickness to make a defender or two miss off screens and underneath passes.

Hyatt’s Areas for Improvement

As you’d expect with a true junior, even one of Hyatt’s degree, there are areas for improvement. Yet, many derive from Heupul’s offensive scheme. Tennessee’s offense is predicated on the quick game, RPOs, and one-field reads. As a result, there are many snaps when Hyatt is simply a decoy or body on the field.

Include his 90% career slot rate, and Hyatt’s tape is limited. He rarely faced press, didn’t run many route concepts, and was schemed open often. In fact, his route tree essentially was the following: go’s, speed outs, comebacks, rounded digs/crossers, and WR screens.

The Tennessee WR wasn’t asked to run many of the hard-breaking routes he will see in the NFL. Although he has flashed the ability to sink his hips at the top of his route, he occasionally raises his pad level into the break.

Furthermore, his legs can get outside his frame, hindering his ability to burst out of breaks.

Typically, you want to get out of the stem in three steps: drop, pivot, and hook. Hyatt has the drop step down, sinking his hips and bringing his chin to his knee. But he can improve on pivoting on the second step (slight turn of the foot) and hooking the last one (drive into the break).

Before the route begins, Hyatt needs to expand his release repertoire. He hasn’t dealt with many physical corners, but that will change in the league. In the few reps where the opponent did get hands on him, the Tennessee WR struggled to separate.

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Currently, he most commonly deploys a foot-fire release, quickly shooting his feet before surging forward. Adding to his bag will only boost his odds of leaving the line of scrimmage clean.

A high-level aspect of being a WR Hyatt can achieve is deception. He employs head fakes and does a decent job feigning intent by throwing his upper half.

Yet, against zone, he can better hold CBs with patient footwork. And his feel in zone is restricted by his experience, as he doesn’t always sit in holes or flatten routes.

Weight-wise, Hyatt may be able to add some muscle, but he has a naturally slender build. Thus, he won’t break many arm tackles or be much of a contested-catch connoisseur.

While a bit of a nitpick, Hyatt often lines up with his hands crossed on his knees. It’s not the biggest concern, but it increases time at the release as he must uncross them before moving his lower half.

Plus, if a CB presses, they can jam his chest before he can get his arms up. Lastly, I’d like the Tennessee WR to incorporate a more forward lean in his stance for the utmost explosion.

Current Draft Projection for Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt

DeSean Jackson, Will Fuller, Jameson Willams. What do those three WRs have in common? They were speedy 5’10”-6’1″ and sub-190-pound collegiate pass catchers who were selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. And Hyatt has the potential to join their esteemed group.

The Tennessee WR owns a similar projection as well: an outside Z receiver who can stretch the field and take pressure off the No. 1. The NFL loves speed; just look at Hyatt’s former teammate Velus Jones Jr., who was selected in Round 3 at 25 years old last year. That’s a relatively safe floor for Hyatt’s profile.

Not only is the Tennessee WR 21 years old, but he is also the superior prospect. While he must refine the details of the position and develop his overall technique, his long speed and proven downfield ability are worth banking on.

Still, the Vols schemed Hyatt open so often and with free releases, we just haven’t seen many NFL-style reps out of him.

Hyatt deserves consideration in the first two rounds of the draft. Speed kills, and with the top of the WR wide open due to injuries to key players and others returning to the college ranks next season, Hyatt is rising up draft boards the same way he plays: fast.


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