JJ Arcega-Whiteside – The Next Mike Evans, or Just the Average Joe?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a wide receiver that has two potential trajectories in the NFL. As a talented jump ball specialist wide receiver, Arcega-Whiteside has the potential to be the next Mike Evans. Or, he could become just another average receiver. That leaves a question for the Baltimore Ravens, who are in need of a potential number one wide receiver. Is Arcega-Whiteside the missing piece on the offense, or would the Ravens be chasing fools gold?
Here are his combine stats and measurables:
- Height – 6’2”
- Weight – 225 lbs
- Arms – 33 1/4”
- Hands – 9 1/2”
First and foremost, JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a possession/jump ball wide receiver. He is able to be effective from this angle because of his size. At 6’2″ tall and 225 lbs heavy, he is able to use his size to bully defensive backs in jump ball situations. His large wingspan, evident in his 33 1/4″ arm length gives him the ability to reach out and grab passes over defenders. He does this quite often, especially in the red zone where he is strongest. Arcega-Whiteside is extremely effective in the end zone but needs to get to it first.
To get to the end zone, Arcega-Whiteside employs the help of a quick move at the line of scrimmage. He does this to bait the defensive back covering him into jumping his route. He then hits the accelerator and escapes behind the defensive back, often leaving him wide open. When he’s not open, he jumps over defenders. The only downside to his move off the line of scrimmage is that it is almost always the same one, a stutter step. NFL defenses will be able to pick up on this queue and anticipate routes.
If Arcega-Whiteside catches the ball in open space, he can create extra yardage by thwarting the efforts of defenders. This is done through quick moves and sometimes powerful pushes through defenders. While Arcega-Whiteside can do this, it is not done as an exemplar. His yards after contact (YAC) are almost always average. This is where Arcega-Whiteside starts to fall.
Arcega-Whiteside is average in most cases. Yes, he can make spectacular jump ball catches, but that is about all he can do with great ability. Arcega-Whiteside did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but based on his tape, one can deduce that his game-speed is just average. His burst off the line of scrimmage is just average as well. He makes catches over defenders but is almost always wrapped up with contact by one. Why is this? Because he can’t always escape defensive backs. He is not a receiver that is going to be a deep threat. Nor is he one that will rack up run after catch (RAC) yards. Arcega-Whiteside is similar to Mike Evans in the sense that he is a pure jump ball wide receiver, but the talent levels are not on an equal plane.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a wide receiver that has the potential to fill a role on an NFL offense. Just because he is average in some areas does not mean he is not exceptional in others. Arcega-Whiteside was a great wide receiver at Stanford and will need to use the skills he developed there, namely his ability to catch contested passes, to succeed at the professional level. If a team is looking to compliment a speedy pass catcher and a RAC machine receiver with a jump ball specialist, Arcega-Whiteside is the answer of this draft, especially at his probable mid-round selection cost.
Grade – 6.0/10.0 – Late third round pick.
NFL Comparison – (Potential) Mike Evans
Should the Ravens Draft JJ Arcega-Whiteside?
Maybe, it’s complicated… JJ Arcega-Whiteside would not be my first choice, nor would he be in my top five receiver targets for the Baltimore Ravens. But, if the Ravens draft any position aside from receiver in the first round and do not trade into the second round, Arcega-Whiteside could make sense in the third. He would compliment the lineup in place. The Ravens already have a slot receiver in Willie Snead, a two possession receivers in Seth Roberts and Chris Moore, and are in need of a receiver who can play on the outside and grab contested balls. Arcega-Whiteside would not be the ideal pick, but he would fit the group and could be a bargain bin steal come day two of the draft.