From Colts Authority’s across-the-pond scout Olly Dawes comes the low-down on the Colts’ third-round pick Donte Moncrief. See all of Olly’s work at his personal website here.
Agility 7.5 – Moncrief is by no means a quick-twitch athlete and it sometimes shows up in his game. He doesn’t always change direction well either through his route running or with his movement after the catch, but he did post a fairly impressive score in the 3-cone drill for his size, suggesting that some issues could just be based on technique.
Blocking 5 – A willing blocker who packs a punch and won’t give up, Moncrief excels in this area of his game. Being an able and willing blocker is valued highly by the Colts – as seen by the usage of Darrius Heyward-Bey last season – and Moncrief fits that bill perfectly. This section of the grade is based on a half-scale; after all, blocking is not an integral part of being a receiver, and shouldn’t be weighted in the same way as other aspects of the position.
Hands 7 – Unfortunately, Moncrief will also remind fans of Heyward-Bey in the way he catches the ball. Moncrief doesn’t seem to be a natural hands catcher, and whilst he does flash that ability on some plays, he too often allows the ball to come into his body, which will cause problems moving forward unless he works on it.
Release 7.5 – Whilst Moncrief clocked an impressive 4.40 40 time at the Combine, it takes him a while to get up to that speed and as a result, he doesn’t always explode off the line like you see some receivers do. Instead, Moncrief looks a little sluggish whilst he builds up his speed down the field – which could be an issue in the NFL.
Route Running 7.5 – As mentioned earlier, Moncrief’s below par change of direction skills make his route running somewhat questionable at times. The lack of sharp cuts mean he often rounds off his routes, but this isn’t as much of a problem as it might seem. Most college receivers have issues with route running coming out, but it’s something that must be corrected in the future if Moncrief is to reach his potential.
Catch in Traffic 8 – Moncrief’s size is a big advantage when it comes to contesting for passes – once he figures out how to use his frame. With such an erratic quarterback like Bo Wallace, Moncrief regularly had to fight for contested catches, but sometimes he allows defenders to make plays on the ball where he could use his size to win the ball – and a welcome addition to the Colts offense.
Speed 8.5 – that impressive 4.40 40 yard dash at the Combine kind of demonstrated what Moncrief can do, but he’s not a speed receiver. He needs to build up his speed for it to be noticeable, but when he has the opportunity he can fly in full flow. Would be useful to have on Go routes and other deeper patterns.
Yards After Catch 7 – Moncrief is far from elusive, which is to be expected given his size. When in a straight line, Moncrief can once again use that build up speed to make plays but he isn’t the kind of receiver to make a defender miss. With average change of direction skills, Moncrief won’t be expected to be making big plays after the catch.
Body Control 8.5 – As mentioned earlier, Moncrief has often had to adjust to astray passes from quarterback Bo Wallace, and he was excellent at it. At the Combine, Moncrief posted the third highest vertical jump and the joint highest broad jump. This athleticism makes him adept at controlling his body and making catches with his impressive catch radius, but he needs to do a better job of playing to his size by boxing out defenders.
Versatility 8 – Moncrief is an interesting receiver because his size and body control means that you can throw jump balls to him, whilst he also has the required build up speed to be an impressive deep threat too. He isn’t really the kind of player you’d use to create yards after the catch, but in most other areas of the field, he’s a threat.
Verdict: 74.5/100 (late third round)
My grade on Moncrief was pretty much exactly where the Colts took him. There is huge upside in Moncrief, particularly if he can improve his catching technique and his route running. He’s athletic when going up for contested passes and has deep speed, so working out the minor technical faults in his game will make him a dangerous part of this offense. Behind Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton and Hakeem Nicks, I’d actually expect Moncrief to take snaps away from the likes of Da’Rick Rogers and Lavon Brazill early on as the fourth wide receiver. This was actually a pretty good value pick given the potential Moncrief has, but his success will ultimately be determined by whether he can iron out the wrinkles in his game.