Andrew Scanlan — at 6-foot-1, 226 pounds — profiles as a possession-type wide receiver. He knows how to use his frame well to carve out space in an opposing defense. He’s not a burner, running a 4.66 40-yard dash at the Northwestern pro day, but that’s not the focus of his game. The Pennsylvania native — who our Will Ragatz profiled back in December — does show agility in the open field and can make tacklers miss.
His size and strength are probably his two best traits. 6-foot-1 isn’t too impressive of a height for a bigger receiver, but Scanlan makes the most of his stature. He’s a solid route-runner who served as a reliable safety valve for Clayton Thorson when plays broke down. Also, as you’ll see in some of Scanlan’s senior year highlights, he’s pretty light on his feet especially when using a little hesitation juke to shake defenders.
The lack of pure foot speed is a main drawback on Scanlan’s pro prospects. Size is great to have but with aggressive NFL cornerbacks that can bump receivers in the first five yards off the line of scrimmage, Scanlan could have trouble getting open at the next level. Athleticism might also be a concern, as he wasn’t tasked with catching many contested jumpballs over defenders on passes from Thorson.
It’s hard to remember that Scanlan only caught one pass in his first three years in Evanston, so all of his production came as a senior. While he never scored a touchdown or caught a pass for more than 31 yards, Scanlan excelled in the second tier of the defense when matched up with a linebacker or against zone coverage.
Notice how Scanlan, catching the Thorson pass at the sideline, leaves the defender — Michigan State’s Andrew Dowell, a linebacker — in his wake before breaking a few more tackles. What he lacks in breakaway speed he has in craftiness, and that allows him to still gain yards after the catch even in traffic.
He did almost the same thing against Purdue, which again shows his quickness in space but also that Scanlan benefited from defenses being slow to adjust to him. Still, though, it’s impressive for a receiver of his size to make faster defenders look silly when they try to tackle him.
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Per NFLDraftScout.com, Scanlan is the 248th wide receiver out of 437. He isn’t ranked by ESPN or CBS.
Scanlan, if he is given a NFL look, probably will be on a training camp tryout with a team. That might mean we won’t hear about him signing immediately after the draft, since news of tryouts tends to be more delayed than more traditional undrafted free agent signings.