Go Joe Bruin continues coverage of the NFL draft as we profile former UCLA Football wide receiver Jordan Payton.
2016 NFL Draft Profile: Jordan Payton #9-UCLA
Santa Monica, CA
A very solid possession receiver, Jordan Payton is the epitome of a chain mover. Gains separation through body position and being more physical than his opponents.
Can drag would be tacklers for a few extra yards after contact and can break through tackles. He has incredibly strong hands and snatches the ball away from his body. Although not a burner, can get behind defenses with his long stride.
Tracks the ball very well over his shoulder. Finds the soft spots in zones but is capable of winning in man coverage. Will become a quick security blanket for a quarterback. A very willing and punishing blocker in the run game.
“Has some polished skills. Could end up being a contributor for sure” NFL.com’sMatt Harmon
, author of the Reception Perception.
The Improvements Needed
Does not play to his timed speed. Does not accelerate off the line quickly and builds to his top speed rather than being sudden.
Runs solid routes but needs to make them crisper, a product of not being a twitchy receiver. Despite having experience as a punt returner, does not offer value as a return man meaning he will have to earn a roster spot on receiver talent alone.
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Arm Length- 32 ½”
Hand Size-10 1/8”
3 cone drill-7.08
Broad Jump- 121”
78 catches for 1,105 yards, 5 touchdowns. UCLA all-time leader in receptions (201).
NFL Draft Projections
Walterfootball.com-Round 6 Selection #216, Dallas Cowboys
NFL.com-Round 7 Selection #232, Washington Redskins
Payton is a solid all around receiver who can have a long NFL career. The coaches at UCLA thought highly enough of him to have him room with freshman quarterback Josh Rosen and the chemistry showed off during this past season.
Is a more well-rounded prospect than former UCLA receiver Shaq Evans but is not nearly as explosive. Will be a redzone target but has to prove he’s more than just that. Based on what I see on film from Payton, I see a very capable number 2 receiver who could easily outplay his draft slot. Because he doesn’t have great top end playing speed, he will drop.
Final Grade: 5th to 6th round.