Last season, Kenny Pickett rose from NFL draft obscurity as a fifth-year senior to first-round stardom for the Pittsburgh Panthers. And honestly, he should be sending half of his signing bonus to Jordan Addison, who helped him tear up the ACC. Heading into his true junior campaign, the star WR decided to take his talents to Southern California, joining HC Lincoln Riley and QB Caleb Williams at USC. What can we expect from Addison in 2022, and what is his current 2023 NFL Draft scouting report?
Jordan Addison NFL draft profile
Addison played quarterback, defensive back, and wide receiver at Tuscarora High School in Frederick, Md. Having produced an electric highlight reel, running a 4.51 40-yard dash, and earning all-area honors, Addison received a four-star rating as the 10th overall ATH in the country. As a result, he had no shortage of suitors, including Notre Dame, South Carolina, Maryland, and, of course, Pittsburgh. After taking multiple visits, Addison committed to the Panthers.
Being one of 10 children, Addison was used to fighting for attention, but it didn’t take long for him to catch the eye of college football. As a true freshman, Addison corraled 60 receptions for 666 yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded nine carries, two punts returns, and four kickoff returns. But that was just the rumbling of a dormant volcano patiently waiting to become active.
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: USC
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’0″, 175 pounds
Jordan Addison scouting report
Games studied: Clemson 2020, Louisville 2020, Miami (FL) 2020, Duke 2021, Western Michigan 2021, Wake Forest 2021
With Pickett under center and Mark Whipple calling plays for another season, Addison erupted in 2021. One season, 100 receptions, 1,593 yards, 17 touchdowns, a Fred Biletnikoff Award, and consensus All-American recognition later, Addison was at the peak of the mountain. We know he is an uber-talented receiver, but where does he excel, where can he improve, and where does his draft stock stand today?
Where Addison wins
At 6’0″ and 175 pounds (both very generous numbers from Pitt’s roster), Addison won’t ever be the biggest player on the field. But you couldn’t tell by watching his tape. He has impressive arm length to pluck the ball out of the air, and he has the play strength to hold onto passes with big hits looming.
Additionally, he gives effort as a run blocker and will play wherever you ask. At Pitt, he returned a handful of punts, over a dozen kickoffs (15.4 yards per attempt in 2021), was used as a rusher, lined up outside, in the slot, and moved around the formation on motions.
A big plus for NFL franchises scouting Addison is he will be a 21-year-old rookie — a breath of fresh air coming off a class with a surplus of 23-to-24-year-olds. Moreover, Addison can win downfield, possessing legitimate 4.4 speed. His acceleration out of breaks is impressive, he gets a step on DBs in an instant, and he displays little wasted movement off the line.
That speed also translates in short areas. He’s explosive with the ball in his hands, can start or stop on a dime, and has the wiggle to shake defenders in the open field. That last part is important, as Addison doesn’t own the size to break many tackles once defenders get arms around him.
Although Addison wasn’t asked to run many hard-braking routes, when he did, he showed the hip sink to snap down and cut quickly. Furthermore, he does a fantastic job of using his pivot foot and exploding off his next step at the stem. He understands coverages (which is crucial for smaller/slot receivers) and finds holes in zone with ease. Addison hasn’t faced a lot of press. Yet, he has a few nice releases up his sleeve.
But where does Addison truly shine? In his ability at the catch point. Insane catches are littered throughout his highlight reel, and you can see at least one in almost every game. He demonstrated elite concentration near the sideline and in the end zone. He exhibited rare body control midair and when adjusting to passes. And the former Panther goes up with vigor and attacks the ball. There are mental lapses we will get into shortly, but Addison comes down with balls some receivers aren’t able to.
Addison’s areas for improvement
Along with Addison’s young age comes room for refinement, and he needs to improve his deception during his routes. His athleticism and speed allow him to get away with it in college, but that lack of deception won’t fly in the NFL. He occasionally raises his pad level before breaks, which is a dead giveaway to the DB.
He’s also susceptible to giving a shoulder/head fake and calling it a day. Again, NFL DBs (and even solid college ones) won’t bite on that. They are watching the hips, so they can identify when you are breaking if you don’t commit with the hips, stride/speed, and pad level. The newly-minted Trojan often showed intent prior to the snap as well (i.e., high pad level = screen). Self-scouting and being aware of tendencies is a must for receivers, as cornerbacks study tape too.
Size will undoubtedly be a limiting factor for Addison. He gives effort in the run game but won’t move the needle much there. Working to stay low and punch inside the chest will mitigate his lack of stature, but that’s not his game anyway. Pitt used him primarily from the slot (73% career snap rate) due to his size, effectively giving him free releases.
Thus, Addison has done most of his damage between the numbers in his two collegiate seasons (73% of yardage). That’s not to say he can’t win outside, but we just haven’t seen it enough at the college level, and it will be a concern for NFL GMs.
Addison’s last — but substantial — area for improvement is his hands. Earlier, I waxed poetically about his concentration and ability at the catch point. And while that is the case (for the most part), the Maryland native has dropped 10+ passes in the last two years. Whether he’s anticipating a big hit or looking upfield for room to run, Addison will sometimes take his eyes off the ball before it reaches his hands/body. Looking passes in and violently tucking it away will reduce drops and make Addison even better than he already is.
Current draft projection for USC WR Jordan Addison
Addison is going 13th overall in mock drafts, according to Mock Draft Database. While that range may be a bit rich, I believe the USC WR is a lock for the first round. You just don’t find his combination of short-area agility, ball skills, and deep speed frequently. Being a 21-year-old rookie certainly helps, and his most significant issues are coachable. Although Addison certainly has room to grow, I believe we have yet to see the best he has to offer.