If you follow college football, you’d know that Jordan Addison from USC is a baller. He won the Biletnikoff Award as a sophomore in 2021 at Pittsburgh before transferring to USC. He racked up 2,468 yards in his last two collegiate seasons. His 18.6-year-old breakout age ranks in the 95th-percentile of PlayerProfiler’s database. His 54th-percentile college dominator rating (29.9-percent), 60th-percentile college yards per reception (15.4), and 69th-percentile college target share (23.7-percent) aren’t too shabby either.
Yet, I hadn’t really watched many of his games. Other games were on on Saturdays, and somehow he got lost in the shuffle. But now that I’ve watched the tape, I have a lot of reasons to get excited about Jordan Addison once he officially enters the NFL. Let’s dig into why.
Need for Speed?
Heading into this offseason, Jordan Addison USC, was viewed maybe not as the best receiver in this class, but perhaps the safest of this class. That’s not to say Addison doesn’t have upside, but that he was the best bet in this class to be a very good receiver. Then he tested athletically, and those numbers aren’t painting the prettiest picture. His 91.2 Athleticism Score on PlayerProfiler.com is the lowest among this year’s WR class and one of the lowest for a receiver in all of our database.
Jordan Addison is a WR prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 5.80 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1217 out of 2892 WR from 1987 to 2023.
Certainly not a flattering profile, but we've seen similar types of players succeed.https://t.co/j7LLLbqNgQ #RAS pic.twitter.com/TnSQYDuP8c
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 26, 2023
Jordan Addison‘s RAS score isn’t the best either.
Don’t Press Your Luck
So, it’s fair to worry a bit about Jordan Addison‘s athleticism, or lack thereof, and if can he win on the outside against press coverage. Yes, there are times he can get jammed up when he doesn’t win at the line of scrimmage. He and Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, soon to be a draft pick in his own right, battled it out and Kelly won his fair share of matchups.
However, as the great Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend! There are also countless examples of Jordan Addison flat-out destroying opponents against outside press coverage. When you aren’t the biggest or the fastest, you have to win with technique. Luckily, Jordan Addison has that in spades. His release off the line of scrimmage is impeccable and smooth. Watch how quickly he turns his defender at the line of scrimmage here and takes off down the field for a big catch.
Jordan Addison isn’t the biggest WR (5-11 173lbs). Would’ve been nice if his 40 was a little faster than 4.49 (I think he plays faster than that). But damn if he isn’t technical. Probably has the best release at the LOS in this class. He knows how to get open all over the field. pic.twitter.com/CPgRKt0wht
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) March 27, 2023
Jordan Addison gets open at every part of the field. That time, he burned his man deep. This time, he cooks Tyrique Stevenson (another corner who will soon get drafted) in the intermediate part of the field and finds himself wide open for a first down and YAC afterward.
He did basically the same thing earlier against Tyrique Stevenson, a corner who is going to get drafted himself too. And once again, he doesn’t go down on first contact. That’s a theme watching Jordan Addison pic.twitter.com/nFWB3FvC07
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) February 16, 2023
Jordan Addison racked up 1,031 receiving yards against press coverage in 2021 as a sophomore, according to PFF. That was the most in college football. Remember how well Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Drake London, Christian Watson, and Treylon Burks played last season in NFL as rookies? They all played college football that year too.
Inside Out | Outside In
Not only can Jordan Addison get open anywhere on the field, but he can also play from everywhere on the field. Check these usage numbers out.
Jordan Addison’s 2021 and 2022 splits are wildly different and interesting.
Contested catch rate-55.6%
Missed tackles forced-21
Slot usage- 23%
Contested catch rate-22.2%
Missed tackles forced-6
— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) March 26, 2023
Jordan Addison spent 68-percent of his time in the slot in 2021, but only 23-percent of it in 2022. It didn’t matter because he balled out regardless. Addison’s versatility is another feather in his cap of why we shouldn’t care much about his testing.
The numbers back up Jordan Addison‘s versatility. Despite playing two drastically different roles in two drastically different offenses, Addison produced. In 2021 operating primarily as a slot receiver at Pitt, Addison averaged roughly 11 yards per target, 114 yards per game, seven receptions, over a touchdown a game, and a 26.8-percent target share.
If you exclude his game against Colorado where he put up only one reception for two yards and played about 20 snaps, the numbers look similar when he operated primarily as an outside receiver at USC. His numbers there were as follows: 10.64 yards per target, 87.3 yards per game, 5.8 receptions, 0.8 touchdowns per game, and a 24.4-percent target share. Either way, those numbers are pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Just a Slot Receiver?
That sets the table for the floor Jordan Addison has a prospect. What if he settles in as ‘just’ a slot receiver? Well, we know slot receivers can put together crazy numbers regardless of their athleticism. Cooper Kupp ran a 4.62. Keenan Allen ran a 4.71. Yes, they’re much bigger weight-wise than the 173-pounds Addison is listed as, but there’s always time to get stronger.
Or, Jordan Addison could continue to be an awesome receiver no matter where you put him. Just put Addison on the field and he’ll get open. It doesn’t matter, he’s just good.
There’s a slot fade running by his man and adjusting his body to haul that in. Addison’s hands are exceptional. He can adjust to any type of pass and he’ll always bring it in. He hardly ever drops the ball. His hands are glue.
Jordan Addison seriously never drops the ball. No matter if it’s contested or if he’s about to take a hit. His hands are glue pic.twitter.com/civY3ziaIn
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) March 24, 2023
If you want to scheme Jordan Addison open, you can do so from anywhere on the field. Take this play, for instance. Pittsburgh sets Addison in motion. From there, he sees his man playing outside leverage, gifting Addison the middle of the field. Addison sees it and shoots downfield for an easy 47-yard touchdown.
Didn’t realize before this watching his games that Jordan Addison was a machine in the slot, at least while at Pitt. Here they got him in motion & then the Red Sea departed for him to score an easy touchdown pic.twitter.com/LtHHPdBTn4
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) March 28, 2023
This time, Jordan Addison is on the outside but runs a crossing route. It isn’t an advanced route, but he’s running away from everybody. It’s another easy path to getting him open. From there, he snags the ball and adds on about 20+ yards of YAC. This is another area he excels at (more on that in a bit).
A few things I love about this play:
1) it highlights Jordan Addison’s versatility. Get him a free release running a crosser route lined up outside
2) it highlights his route running. Love how Addison kinda plays it like a mesh & then bolts at a 45 degree angle to get open for KP pic.twitter.com/zxepcJNnzS
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) March 28, 2023
Or you can just ask him to simply win a 1v1. He can do that from anywhere too. And from outside, zipping right past the aforementioned Kyu Blu Kelly.
Jordan Addison is phenomenal! It looks like he beat my guy Kyu Blu Kelly here! Ugh lol pic.twitter.com/FXOD5u3uJv
— Full-Time Dame 💰 (@DP_NFL) September 11, 2022
Jordan Addison‘s versatility is limitless.
If you noticed a recurring theme in those clips above, it’s that Jordan Addison is almost always breaking tackles. In a draft stocked with YAC kings, Addison certainly fits that bill. His 2021 season was one of the better seasons you’ll see in terms of yards after the catch. He’s super slippery in the open field, so much so that Pittsburgh used him as their punt returner for parts of the 2021 season. Fantasy gamers can see this on the tape when he catches a screen pass.
Haven’t really had many chances to watch Jordan Addison play, but I didn’t know he was as dynamic with the ball in his hands as he is. This shows up against teams that aren’t New Hampshire too (no offense to New Hampshire) pic.twitter.com/NUPtiYTark
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) February 13, 2023
Yes, that’s against New Hampshire. Even with that caveat, that shouldn’t have gone for a touchdown, but Addison made it happen. He also made evading defenders look effortless within his own conference, both in the ACC and in the PAC 12
Jordan Addison is the most complete receiver in this year’s class. He can operate from anywhere on the field and separate at any point on the field. He can be a chain mover from the slot, a deep threat, or take a screen pass to the house. His athletic testing was underwhelming, yes, but it should not be overblown or cause people to overlook his immense talent, versatility, and precision as a route runner. His play style reminds me of CeeDee Lamb, though Lamb is nearly 30-pounds heavier. Addison should be a lock to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. I expect him to flourish out of the gates from there.