Marcell Ateman Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Boxes out cornerbacks
Presents a big target
High points the football
Tracks the ball well
Lacks elite speed
Not very sudden out of breaks
Lacks first-step explosion
Ran limited routes in college
Body catches too many passes
Lacks elite speed
Will get caught from behind
Had a foot injury
Summary: Over the past few seasons, James Washington was the star receiver for Oklahoma State, but there are some NFL scouts who like Ateman more and believe he has more likelihood of success as a pro. Ateman brings mismatch potential to the NFL and could end up being a higher pick than anticipated.
Ateman contributed some as a backup during his underclassmen years. He missed the 2016 season after suffering a foot injury in the summer before fall camp. In 2017, Ateman recorded 59 catches for 1,156 yards with eight touchdowns. He averaged 19.4 yards per catch and made some clutch plays for the Cowboys.
Ateman will give his NFL offense a mismatch with big size that makes him difficult to defend. Given his height and length, Ateman is able to make receptions over cornerbacks, even when he is covered. He uses his thick size to box out defenders and present a big target for his quarterback. Ateman is skilled at walling off coverage to give his signal-caller a larger window for completing passes. With Ateman's height and long arms, he has a large catch radius to create completions when passes aren't thrown accurately. Ateman tracks the ball well downfield, and with his size, he is dangerous for back-shoulder throws or working the deep sideline. In the red zone, Ateman is a real weapon and an asset for his offense because he can beat cornerbacks with his size on fade passes.
Ateman lacks elite speed as he will get caught from behind by NFL defensive backs. He is not very twitchy or sudden in and out of breaks. He ran limited routes in college, so he will need to learn the larger route tree. After being a backup in the early going and then missing his junior year, Ateman is somewhat raw and will need development. Because of those limitations, he will probably never be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, but he could be a solid No. 2 or 3.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, Ateman could get third-round consideration. He may slip to the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft, but would be a nice value in the fourth or fifth round. Ateman could provide a nice impact as size mismatch receiver who presents red-zone problems in the NFL.
Player Comparison: Malcom Floyd. Floyd had a solid 12-year career for the Chargers as a size-mismatch weapon. Floyd (6-5, 225) was a large target and produced some seasons with impressive yardage and yards per catch - 19.4 in 2010, 19.9 in 2011-, despite being a No. 2 receiver for most of his career. If Ateman pans out in the NFL, I could see him being a receiver similar to Floyd.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Washington, Arizona, Buffalo, Baltimore, New Orleans and Jacksonville
There are a lot of teams that could be in the market for a wide receiver upgrade in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns need more receiving talent for their offense. They can't count on Josh Gordon to stay on the field, and Corey Coleman hasn't panned out for them yet. The Browns could consider a receiver like Ateman on Day 2 or in the mid-rounds.
The Bears and 49ers both could use more pass-catching weapons for their offenses. Chicago badly needs more weapons for Mitch Trubisky, while Ateman would be a nice fit for Kyle Shanahan across from Marquise Goodwin.
The Broncos, Redskins and Cardinals all could be in the market for a receiver upgrade. Denver could look for some young receiving talent. Washington signed Terrelle Pryor, but he is entering free agency after underwhelming with the Redskins. Arizona has to consider life after Larry Fitzgerald and could use more receiving talent around the future Hall of Famer.
In Florida, the Jaguars could target a receiver like Ateman if Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee aren't re-signed.
New Orleans could use a vertical receiver and a solid No. 2 across from Michael Thomas. Ateman would be a nice fit for the Saints in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Bills and Ravens also are in the market for receiver help. Buffalo has two first-round picks and two second-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, allowing the team to pursue multiple needs. The Bills could make a move to form a diverse trio with Ateman, Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones. Baltimore badly needs more receiving talent for its offense. Ateman would make a lot of sense for the Ravens on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.