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Jeremiah Haydel UDFA profile

Rams Don't Care About 40 Times

It is hard to imagine how former Texas State WR, Jeremiah Haydel, is going to make it in the NFL even as just a return specialist. He ran 4.83 seconds in the 40 at his pro day workout at the University of Houston. I was unable to think of any good NFL comparisons, because there are are almost no WRs with 40 times that slow.

5'11'' tall, 182 pounds, 30 3/4'' arms, 74.5'' wingspan, 8.5'' hands.

4.83 sec (40 time), 1.71 sec (10 yard split), 32'' vert, 9'9'' broad, 14 bench reps, 4.43 or 4.60 sec (shuttle), 7.01 or 7.15 sec (3 cone).

He workout was so poor, compare his scores to the numbers for Crockett Gillmore, a 6'6'' and 260 pound blocking TE drafted in 2014: 4.80 sec (40 time) 33.5'' vert, 4.44 sec (shuttle). Haydel is a slot WR who runs like a blocking TE. Players like that don't make the final rosters of NFL teams.

The best WRs I could dig up who had similar 40 times were Davone Bess, who ran 4.77 sec at the Combine, then 4.60 sec at his pro day and Nate Poole, who ran 4.80 seconds. Danny Amendola only ran 4.70 st the Combine, then 4.58 at his pro day. Amendola is a different type of player, because he has better wiggle and agility. Haydel isn't a shifty jitterbug. He is stiff, but with some contact balance and run strength. He's like a poor man's Pharoh Cooper.

Cooper: 5'11'' tall, 203 pounds, 32 1/4'' arms, 75'' wingspan, 9 1/8'' hands.

Cooper: 4.65 sec (40 time at pro day), 1.66 sec (10 yard split), 31'' vert, 9'7'' broad, 15 bench reps, 4.26 sec (shuttle), 7.15 sec (3 cone).

Background

22 years old. True senior. 2 star recruit. Backup punt returner until his final season, zero punt returns until 2020.

Texas State had a different player as their KR in the early games in 2020. I wasn't able to find information on why they made a change in the middle of the season, but the other guy had a fumble on a KR about when they made the switch, so maybe he got benched for ball security reasons.

4th on team in receiving yards in 2019. Tied for most catches on team in 2020, 2nd in yards. Career high in receiving production in 2020.

2020: 40 catches for 408 yards and 4 TDs.

2019: 32 catches for 324 yards

2018: 16 catches for 326 yards and 4 TDs

Career: 96 catches for 1,141 yards and 9 TDs.

Last season, was 1st or 2nd team All American as KR or PR per ESPN, Phil Steele and FWAA.

2020 (punt returns) 16 for 208 yards and 1 TD (13 yard average)

2020 (kick returns) 19 for 479 yards and 1 TD (25.2 yard average)

Career (kick returns) 54 for 1,191 yards (22.1 yard average)

He was 5th in PR ave in FBS in 2020 among players with at least 15 returns.

TDN not ranked.

PFN not ranked on board that had 873 players listed.

Drafttek not ranked.

Strengths

Plays faster than his timed speed. On field, looks more like he has between 4.65 and 4.70 second speed. I used the video from his long KR TD and estimated that his "play speed" 40 time was 4.67 seconds. I calculated his 10 yard split to be 1.67 seconds, which is isn't far off from his 1.71 split time from his pro day run. My estimate for his max speed came out to be 20.45 mph. Cooper Kupp was clocked down at the Senior Bowl with a max speed of 20.7 mph and he had a 4.62 sec 40 time. If you add up the splits when he got up to speed with his ramp up 10 yard split time, that's how I came up with a guess as to how fast he ran overall.

Had an 80 yard PR for a TD called back due to a blocking penalty.

On his big returns, defenders slide off tackle attempts on him.

Opponents respected his return ability and intentionally kicked the ball away from him many times.

KR from 3 yards deep in end zone, burst through small seam before getting pushed out of bounds at 35.

Team is down by 6 points with about one and a half minutes left in the 4th quarter, opponent punting from 50. Catches punt off bounce at 8, widens coverage by going to the right, then goes back to the left before cutting up the middle, good vision to find crease and barely get through tackles, then takes it home for 92 yard TD.

Famous for a one handed OBJ style catch in the corner of the end zone for a TD against SMU (except that he brought ball into his body instead of catching it in his hand.)

Nice sideline catch showing body control and footwork to get toes down inbounds. Made 32 yard contested TD catch, fighting for ball through contact with CB in his chest. Nice diving catch on pass near sideline. Sharp cut upfield and got open for 47 yard TD catch. Attacks upfield aggressively after catching quick outs.

Caught slant on RPO and ran for 75 yard TD, not great open field burst, but fast enough to win race with CB.

Played both outside WR and slot WR, used in motion at snap on fake jet sweeps.

Solid effort as blocker downfield and blocking on edge.

Make a good tackle on an INT.

Weaknesses

Not explosive or elusive as a returner. Gears down to make cuts with extra steps, doesn't make defenders miss, feet not sudden, needs space to accelerate. Doesn't hit holes at high velocity.

Looks like he's running in slow motion on some of his returns, barely escaping or staying ahead of tackle attempts.

On long KR for TD, there was a huge lane for him to run through, then he's barely fast enough to beat kicker up sideline.

Stats skewed by a small number of huge returns. Not effective on many of his other attempts. Often tackled by the 1st defender. From yard deep in end zone, taken down by first defender at 17 yard line. No speed burst as he takes it from goalline to 16. Runs sideways from own 9 on punt return, then tackled on 13. Chopped down by the 1st defender on KR going from 4 to the 24. On PR, tripped up by 1st defender, falling forward for gain of 6 yards. KR from 3 to the 19, gets smothered by 1st wave of coverage. Return from 4 to 25, tripped up by the 1st defender.

Not a good blocker when the kick goes to the other returner.

Almost all of his punt return yardage came in one game, against UTSA. If you took out his longest punt return, he only averaged 7.7 yards per PR. His KR stats were skewed by a single play against Georgia State, without which he would have averaged less than 21 yards per return. Played against weak level of competition and his big returns would have been less likely to happen if he had been playing against better opponents with faster players and better tacklers.

Ranked only 11th in KR ave in FBS in 2020 among players with at least 15 returns. Among the other players ahead of him was D'Wayne Eskridge who had a 27.5 yard average.

Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt and say he has 4.7 second speed, he's still not as good a prospect as someone like Nelson Spruce, who ran 4.69 at the Combine and either 4.56 or 4.58 sec at his pro day. Spruce was 6'1'', 206 pounds with bigger 10 inch hands and ran better routes. Spruce is in the CFL with Montreal.

Limited production as receiver, never more than about 400 yards in any season in college. Not required to create his own separation. His catches were typically either short passes or schemed for him to get open with double moves.

Not loose with the football, but overall seems to have average ball security. Small hands, lets ball get away from his body, fumbled the ball after catch in slick conditions.

The 2 return TDs in 2020 (plus one called back by penalty) were the only return TDs he had in his college career.

Verdict

Last year, the Rams had an UDFA returner named Brandon Polk, who I thought had a shot at making the team. Polk had 74 catches for 1,179 yards and 11 TDs his final season in college at James Madison, so he had more receiving yards in one year than Haydel had his entire college career. Polk ran 4.28 sec in the 40 at his private pro day, had a 10'1'' broad jump, 4.12 second shuttle and 6.91 second 3 cone time. Another undrafted KR candidate last year was Earnest Edwards from Maine, who had a 4.41 sec 40 time. He's currently in the CFL with Edmonton.

How do we go from KRs who run 4.3 to 4.4 seconds to one who runs 4.8 seconds? On paper, it looks nice to have an All American returner on the 90 man squad, but I don't see Haydel as a dangerous enough returner to be a good NFL prospect.