2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: D.J. Chark

  • D.J. Chark, 6-2/196

  • Wide Receiver

  • LSU

  • D.J. Chark Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Very fast
  • Stretches the defense
  • Threat to score on any touch
  • Forces teams to keep a safety deep
  • Impacts game plans
  • Good height to make catches over defenders
  • Can defeat double teams
  • Good athleticism
  • Long arms
  • Nice build
  • Special teams ability
  • Dangerous punt returner
  • Good character
  • Upside
  • Experienced against good competition

  • Weaknesses:
  • Route-running needs work
  • Needs to improve his hands
  • Needs to improve the precision of his footwork

  • Summary: Over the past few seasons, LSU had some very talented wide receivers held back by weak quarterback play. Chark was one of those good talents who didn’t get to show all that he was capable of doing in college. Still, Chark flashed enough over the past two seasons that he should be selected in the top-90 selections of the 2018 NFL Draft.

    Even though Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural were ahead of him, Chark was LSU’s most impressive wide receiver in 2016, despite recording only 26 receptions. However, the junior averaged almost 18 yards reception to total 466 yards with three touchdowns. That trio was held back by terrible quarterback play, and Chark had to deal with a struggling passing attack as a senior as well. He totaled 40 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. Chark also contributed as a punt returner, averaging 10.6 yards per return with two touchdowns. Chark went on to have a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl, showing the speed to challenge defensive backs downfield.

    There is no doubt that Chark has the speed to stretch teams vertically down the field. He has the potential to be a home run hitter who can score on any reception with his ability to run away from defenders. Not only does Chark have deep speed, but he also has height at 6-foot-2, so he is a difficult matchup assignment for cornerbacks due to his combination of height and speed. Chark is not a precision route-runner, making that one thing he will have to work on for the NFL, along with improving his hands.

    Here is how one area scout who is high on Chark summarized him,

      “He has a particular skill set that translates very well and quickly to the league because coordinators quickly integrate speed and vertical concepts. Even if he goes in the third [round], he’d get mileage year one like a guy that went in the first round, which means his chances of out-producing higher drafted wide receivers are greater simply because he can legitimately take the top off of defenses. He’s not a 4.4 or 4.3 guy who doesn’t play that fast. You feel this guy’s speed every shot. “

      “You don’t have to get cute with this guy to create getting him open. [On Day 1,] you know what part of your playbook and what the role he’s occupying. His production was only hindered by his college quarterback play, yet he averaged almost 22 yards per catch. Plus, this guy has a very good return skill set. Not to mention he’s got outstanding character, makeup and upside.”

    In the 2018 NFL Draft, Chark could go as high as the second round and probably won’t fall out of the third round.

    Player Comparison: Torrey Smith. Chark has a lot of similarities to Smith. Both have the speed to get vertical while also not being undersized receivers. Smith (6-0, 205) was a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Maryland and has been a deep-threat receiver in his pro career. Chark could also go on Day 2 in the 2018 NFL Draft and be a similar style weapon with some limitations in route-running and hands.

    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. With their second-round picks and third-rounder, the Browns could consider a receiver like Chark on Day 2.

    The Bears and 49ers both could use more pass-catching weapons for their offenses. Chicago badly needs more weapons for Mitch Trubisky, and Chark 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.

    New Orleans could use a vertical receiver and a solid No. 2 across from Michael Thomas. Chark would be a nice fit for the Saints in the third round.

    In Florida, the Jaguars could target a receiver like Chark if Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee aren’t re-signed.

    The Bills and Ravens also are in the market for receiver help. Buffalo has two first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and could make a move to end up with a diverse trio of Chark, Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones. Baltimore badly needs more receiving talent for its offense. Chark would make a lot of sense for the Ravens on Day 2 of the draft.


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