With taller receivers on the brain, if Omotosho is recovered from knee surgery early in the 2017 season he’s another player to keep an eye on. Not only is Kelly’s passing strategy to stretch the field horizontally with quick developing routes that forces the defense to pick their poison but he also wants to push the ball upfield against the single high safety looks that defenses have to employ against his run/pass attack. Omotosho is someone who can take full advantage of man coverage and before his injury he was making big catch after big catch in practice.
Felton and Stephens are both guys that should see time in the slot working mostly on sweeps and quick routes out of the backfield. Felton was also mentioned in our RB preview and we could see him used in a Pery Harvin type role. Stephens is someone who could have made my list of players who need a fresh start in 2018 however I think he’s just someone who needed the opportunities. Buried on the depth WR chart in 2017, Stephens is closer to a pure receiver than Felton or Alloway but needs to show some big improvement and recapture some of the buzz he created as a freshman.
Pabico, the former walk-on, is someone I can see doing plenty of damage in the new offensive system. Remember, Kelly typically didn’t regularly have four and five star guys out wide for him at Oregon until the latter stages of his time there. Pabico has clearly won the confidence of coach Dougherty and after a little bit of a bumpy start to last season he finished strong showing off solid hands and the willingness to block defenders. Mark my words, he’s going to get some NFL looks after next season should he stay healthy.
Speaking of blocking, it’s almost ironic to think that Howard didn’t play much as a freshman because of “blocking issues” but is now almost certainly going to be a starter in a system predicated on running the football. Capable of playing inside or outside, Howard has the speed to take the top off of defenses but where he will make his money is running the curl and pivot routes that Kelly loves to employ in this offense.