Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 220 pounds
School: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Marcell Ateman 2018 NFL Draft Profile
2018 figures to be a banner year for Oklahoma State football when it comes to the NFL Draft. Five, possibly six prospects who played for the Cowboys could get picked, including as many as three in the first round alone. All three contributed to a dynamic pass attack that ranked no worse than ninth nationally over the past three years and led all of college football in 2017. Among them is Marcell Ateman.
What makes his story interesting is the fact that he eased his way into becoming an impact player for the Cowboys rather than doing so as soon as he arrived in Stillwater. His first two years with the team saw him manage just 42 receptions and 544 yards with no touchdown catches. But he finally broke through as a junior, finishing third on the team in receiving yards (766) and second in touchdowns (5). That year, OSU surged to a 10-0 start and number four national ranking before dropping their final three games.
The following season saw Ateman deal with some adversity as he suffered a foot injury in preseason practice. It ended his season before it even started as he underwent surgery and took a medical redshirt. But he returned with a vengeance in 2017. Him and fellow Cowboys wideout James Washington became one of just three pass-catching tandems in college football to both finish with over 1,000 yards receiving. Both earned all-conference honors and are expected to be day one selections come April.
- combination of size, stature, and length coveted at the next level;
- ideal arm length gives him a wide catch radius;
- sure-handed pass-catcher who high points the ball with ease;
- can run the entire gamut of routes in the playbook;
- possesses all the characteristics of a dangerous vertical threat;
- had just three drops on 58 catchable balls in 2017;
- eighth among all draft-eligible prospects in Pro Football Focus’ yards per route run signature stat measuring receiving efficiency.
- play strength in proportion to his size doesn’t jump out on tape;
- lacks explosive initial burst and acceleration to full speed;
- underwhelming lateral athleticism on route cuts and change of direction;
- needs to improve ability to release against press coverage at line of scrimmage;
- oftentimes lets corners rake catchable balls away in contested situations;
- not the most effective blocker in run support;
- durability a bit of a concern after missing the entire 2016 season due to injury.
NFL Comparison: Demaryius Thomas
Projection: Late first to early second round
A bit of a late bloomer but possessing big play ability with quintessential NFL size, Ateman gradually emerged into one of Mason Rudolph‘s favorite targets. He overcame a significant injury to turn in one of the more impressive senior campaigns out of a wide receiver in 2017. Though he’s not the most naturally athletic player at the position in this year’s draft class, he shows enough on tape to intrigue many an NFL team in need of a weapon for their vertical passing game. Ateman can all but assure he goes on day one with a standout performance at the Combine.