Scouting Report: Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
A midsize hybrid
The list of wide receivers in this year's draft class with NFL ability is seemingly endless. Today we look at Oregon’s Josh Huff, who is a bit like South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington in that he’s a receiver who also possesses running back skills. Huff played running back exclusively in high school, and you can see it on his college game film.
Huff is often deployed in a Randall Cobb or Percy Harvin-type role, though he’s not quite the electric athlete that those two are. You could reasonably position Huff as a poor man’s Cobb or as a rich man’s Jeremy Kerley. In the end, I think he ends up somewhere in the middle of those two. Huff is definitely a player we see having some success as a professional. To do that, he’ll need to be in the right situation and he’ll need to continue to develop as a receiver.
Let’s take a look at Huff’s Combine data.
- Height - 5’11”
- Weight - 206
- 40 - 4.51
- Bench - 14
- Vertical Jump - 35.5”
- Broad Jump - 116”
Huff’s forty was a bit disappointing, but he did improve it at his Pro Day with a 4.43 time. The Pro Day number may be a bit misleading on the other end of the spectrum. We grade Huff’s speed somewhere in the middle of his two recorded times.
Things we like about Josh.
- Size - At just under six feet and at over 200 pounds, Huff projects as a very physical slot receiver.
- Open field ability - This is where Huff shines and we think he can do good things in the NFL if he finds a QB/OC combination that can help him get the football in space.
- Running back skills - Huff is good in the open field and he can also carry the ball in tighter areas and has the ability to break tackles and make people miss. He will also drop his pads and run smaller defenders over. He’s a 206 pound running back when he wants to be.
- Routes - Huff is a work-in-progress with routes. He ran a lot of flood routes, posts and screens at Oregon. Huff does run a nice out route and he usually gets out of his breaks well. We like what we see in terms of awareness. Huff works well against zone coverage and works back to the quarterback well when things break down.
- Athleticism - He’s a smooth athletic receiver, and it shows when he has the ball and in one-on-one situations. It also shows up as a blocker, where he can be very effective.
- Versatility - Huff can do a lot of things just based on what we see on film. If he continues to develop, he can do even more. He is a nice option in the return game, which is helpful when it comes to making NFL rosters.
- Blocking - As I said, Huff does some good blocking on film. He needs to be more consistent and he needs to stay mentally involved more consistently when he’s away from the play call, but we like Huff’s potential in this area.
- Production - It’s just one season of high-level production, but you see the growth year-to-year. 2013 was a solid exclamation point on the end of Huff’s four year stint at Oregon.
Here’s a look at Huff versus Washington State this past season. He has a solid game but you’ll see some of the good and the bad here. You see his versatility and special teams chops. You also see Marcus Mariota miss him on what would be an easy score.
In this game, you’ll see an early drop and a big play on a nice post route. You’ll also see Huff make a solid block that springs a teammate for extra yardage. He plays some option tailback and scores on a nice slant route near the goal line. You get a little bit of everything here.
Rather than include a highlight reel, I decided to simply post last year’s game against Oregon State. This is far from a representative sample, but it shows you what Huff can look like when he gets rolling.
Huff is not a perfect prospect. He has some of the deficiencies that we’d expect a player to have when he plays such a varied role in an offense. Huff is diverse and talented enough to do a lot of different things, but he’s yet to master his craft as a receiver. As I said earlier, Huff was a high school running back. He’s still relatively early in his growth curve at receiver. He should continue to get better if he is in a good environment.
Huff would be well served to get his head turned early on a more consistent basis. This will help him locate the ball better and that’s a crucial detail when you are running a lot of short routes. The ball will get on top of you quickly if you aren’t ready for it. Huff’s inconsistent hands could get significantly better with this one small correction. Huff also has the tendency to let the ball get into his body. He also shows very good form at times, so we know he’s capable. Getting more consistent is the key.
In the final analysis, Huff is a commodity because of his versatility and talent with the rock in his hands. The keys to Huff’s success will be his ability to get open and to catch the ball consistently. I’d also like to see him play with a bit more intensity on a snap-to-snap basis. If we could get Huff to play with Paul Richardson’s intensity, we’d have ourselves a very interesting player.
Unless we miss our guess, Huff’s going to be primarily a slot option who will line up as a flanker at times as well as in the backfield. His ability to play against press coverage remains questionable, but if he can develop that capability, he can eventually play outside too. That’s the thing that makes this player compelling. He has the capacity to play a lot of different roles from scrimmage. He’ll probably get taken by a team that places a high value on that type of versatility.
As always, I’ll update Huff’s fantasy value once we know where he is playing his NFL games. I expect Huff to be drafted in or about the fifth round. He’d go higher in typical drafts. The team he goes to is huge, because he’s a different type of player. Going to a team that embraces asymmetrical offense would be helpful. Having a good quarterback would also be nice.
Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
- Terrance West, RB, Towson
- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
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