Our rookie scouting reports combine film and analytics to provide the best possible predictions for player performance. With the 2023 NFL Draft less than a month away, let’s take a look at the scouting report for Stephen F. Austin WR Xavier Gipson.
Xavier Gipson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Stephen F. Austin
- Year: Senior
Gipson was a three-star recruit out of Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas. After initially committing to play college football at SMU, Gipson changed his mind and opted to attend Stephen F. Austin. It was a curious decision by Gipson, as SMU is an FBS program, while SFA is an FCS school.
The most probable explanation for Gipson’s decision was he’d rather dominate at SFA than be a role player at a bigger school. And dominate, he did.
As a freshman, Gipson was immediately a key part of the offense. He opened his collegiate career with three catches for 61 yards against Baylor. On the season, he caught 52 passes for 934 yards and seven touchdowns.
As a sophomore, Gipson got off to a rough start. He was held under 30 receiving yards in two of his first three games. Coincidentally, one of those games was against SMU — the team he spurned to join SFA. They held Gipson to 28 yards — his worst game of the season. Gipson finished his sophomore campaign with a similar line to his freshman year, 52 catches for 847 yards and nine scores.
It was in his junior campaign when Gipson really broke out. In what would be his best collegiate season, Gipson hauled in 74 receptions for 1,367 yards and 14 TDs. He reached 100 yards in nine out of his 11 games (I’m counting the game where he finished with 99). Gipson also threw in a 200-yard performance.
Gipson completed his body of work as a senior, catching 65 passes for 1,163 yards and seven touchdowns. In reviewing Gipson’s game log, I couldn’t help but notice that in Week 3 of the 2022 season, SFA beat Warner University 98-0, which is definitely a score I expected to see.
Overall, Gipson finished his college career with 243 receptions for 4,311 yards and 32 touchdowns.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Xavier Gipson
Strengths: Small but explosive receiver with outstanding speed. Quick-footed, runs solid routes, and separates from defenders. Effectively makes the reception on crossing patterns, adjusting backward to grab the throw from the air. Has a burst of speed, plays faster than his 40 time, and tracks the deep pass in the air.
Displays outstanding eye/hand coordination and comes away with the difficult deep reception. Possesses both soft and strong hands and shows good concentration. Outstanding punt returner who waits for blocks to develop and then picks his way through the trash. Not afraid of contact and plays tough football. Gives effort blocking.
Weaknesses: Size and height are limiting factors. Struggles to come away with passes that are overthrown. Possesses short arms and small hands.
Overall: Gipson is a polished wideout with home-run-hitting speed who can double as a return specialist. He needs space to work and will have to be used in the slot or backed off the line of scrimmage to keep him away from press coverage. Nevertheless, Gipson possesses the athleticism and pass-catching skills necessary to make an NFL roster.
Xavier Gipson Pro Day Measurements and Results
- Height: 5’9 1/2″
- Weight: 189 pounds
- Arm Length: 30 1/8″
- Hand Size: 8 1/8″
- Bench Press: 14
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.42
Stephen F. Austin WR Xavier Gipson Current Draft Projection
On Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Gipson ranked 288th overall and is projected to go undrafted. With a 3.26 grade, he is Pauline’s WR42 in this class.
This year’s wide receiver class features plenty of depth but lacks the true high-end talent we’ve been spoiled with in recent years. That could open the door for more later-round selections to work their way onto NFL rosters. But for UDFAs, it’s always the ultimate struggle.
College production is the most predictive indicator of NFL success. When evaluating FCS or Division II players, we really need to see absolute dominance. Fortunately, we got that from Gipson. He was SFA’s offense.
Additionally, we often see these non-FBS prospects play more than four years in college. Gipson is not a redshirt or a fifth-year senior.
Another mark in Gipson’s favor is his special-teams ability. The clearest path for UDFAs to make NFL rosters is through special teams. Gipson returned punts and kicks at SFA.
It’s always a challenge for Day 3 picks. It’s even more of a challenge for Day 3 picks from FCS schools. And it’s even greater of a challenge for FCS prospects that go undrafted.
Given Gipson’s speed, production profile, and special-teams contributions, I fully expect someone to take a shot on him. While it’s still more likely he will get cut in training camp than make an NFL roster, he should at least get a chance to participate in rookie minicamp and training camp to prove to NFL teams that he’s worthy of a roster spot.
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