Following an injury-addled college career, Notre Dame wide receiver Javon McKinley heads to the 2021 NFL Draft on the back of his best season to date. Can his flashes of big-play ability help a team alleviate the injury concerns and see him land on an NFL roster this spring?
Javon McKinley NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Notre Dame
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’1 3/4″
- Weight: 215 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Javon McKinley Scouting Report
Positives: Tall, athletic receiver who displayed tremendous development in his game last season. Plays with outstanding body control, adjusts to the errant throw, and makes a lot of acrobatic receptions. Tracks the pass in the air, fights with his hands to separate from defenders, and gets vertical pulling the ball from the air.
Stout receiver who possesses outstanding eye/hand coordination, comes away with the difficult catch in a crowd, and takes a big hit but holds on to the throw. Quick for a bigger wideout, consistently extends his hands, and snatches the ball away from his frame. Displays strong hands. Flashes the ability to be a dominant blocker.
Negatives: More of a one-speed receiver and lacks a burst as well as a second gear. Marginally productive until last season and showed a lot of inconsistency in his game early in his Notre Dame career.
Analysis: McKinley had caught just 11 passes prior to last season, but his game took off in 2020. He’s an exciting receiver with a great amount of potential, but he must polish the details of his position and prove last season was not the exception to the rule. If McKinley continues to progress on the field, he has the underlying ability to develop into a No. 1 wideout at the next level.
Javon McKinley Player Profile
Although Javon McKinley heads to the 2021 NFL Draft after a tumultuous Notre Dame career, he arrived in South Bend as a prolific and productive high school prospect. The Corona, California, native flashed his ability early as a productive sophomore at Centennial High School. His 517 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in 2013 were just a tiny taste of things to come.
He really exploded onto the high school scene as a junior. His 2,062 receiving yards were the second-most in CIF Southern Section history. Furthermore, he added 25 touchdowns. Although he had less personal production as a senior — 1,173 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns — he helped Centennial to a 14-1 record and an appearance in the CIF State Championship Game.
As a result of his performances for Centennial, he earned All-USA California First Team honors. It also opened up opportunities for him to announce himself on the national stage. He earned an invite to the US Army All-America Bowl and “The Opening” in Oregon.
The big-play threat who had excelled in the most important games earned four-star status in the recruiting process. Ranked as the 16th best player in California, he attracted offers from across the nation. Major programs like Ohio State, USC, and Florida, tried to capture his signature. However, Notre Dame had courted the wide receiver early in the process, and in 2016, he enrolled with the Fighting Irish.
Javon McKinley’s college football career at Notre Dame
Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller had been selected in the 2016 NFL Draft when Javon McKinley arrived on campus. Although there were other offensive playmakers on offense, he still saw playing time early. Despite not logging a reception as a freshman, he still saw playing time in six games.
During his freshman season, disaster struck the young Notre Dame wide receiver. He suffered a broken leg which would end his first season in South Bend. Consequently, it would cost him his sophomore season as well. Even in his return in 2018, he only saw action in four games and had failed to secure a catch in his first three seasons for the Fighting Irish.
Although injury would hobble his season, there were signs of hope for the former high school standout in 2019
He made two starts while seeing playing time in nine games, more than the previous three years combined. After reeling in 2 touchdowns against New Mexico and adding further scores against Bowling Green and Michigan, he ended the season with 268 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Demonstrating his big-play threat, he averaged over 20 yards per reception.
With Chase Claypool headed to the NFL Draft, 2020 gave Javon McKinley the opportunity to lead the Notre Dame wide receiver room. He grasped the opportunity with both hands.
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Once again showcasing a big-play threat, he averaged 17.1 yards per reception on his way to 717 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. He played a pivotal role as Notre Dame shocked number one ranked Clemson. He also secured ACC Wide Receiver of the Week honors after shredding Syracuse for 111 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Following a season where he had four 100+ yard games, Notre Dame wide receiver Javon McKinley declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Javon McKinley’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
After a standout season, can Notre Dame receiver Javon McKinley find a landing spot in the 2021 NFL Draft? There will no doubt be concerns from teams surrounding his injury history and the resultant lack of experience. However, he has demonstrated he can be a big-play threat down the field. An NFL team that operates a vertical passing offense would be his best fit, and he would also need to provide special teams value.
Potential landing spots for Javon McKinley in the 2021 NFL Draft, therefore, include the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.