Chicago Bears Draft Scout: Marcell Ateman

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 04: Wide receiver Marcell Ateman
STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 04: Wide receiver Marcell Ateman /
1 of 3

Is Marcell Ateman a fit on the Chicago Bears?

Marcell Ateman lost his entire 2016 season due to a foot injury. 2016 was supposed to be his senior season, but with the extra year of eligibility, Ateman was able to recover and get back into strong shape. In fact, he had the best season of his college career, with 59 receptions for 1,156 yards, 19.6 per catch. He also added eight touchdowns. All of those were career highs. Is he flying too far under the radar, and is he a good fit on the Chicago Bears?


Age: 23

School: Oklahoma State


Ateman has the height and length to take over in the air. He uses every bit of his length to go up and get passes and uses strong hands to bring them down. With this, Ateman is a star in contested catches, and jump balls. He also has the ability to erase accuracy with a wide catch radius that includes full body extension while in the air and on the move.

In the play below, Ateman is showing a variety of what he brings to the table that will translate to the NFL. He is in the air and spinning his body at the same time. Still, he is able to track a high pass by his fingertips. Then, notice how he is able to control his body, get his head down and look at the sidelines to ensure that he is able to get two feet down. Going up to getting the ball is half of the battle. Landing as easily with two feet planted like he did is what is going to make him an NFL player.

Ateman’s body control gives him the ability to be a nuanced route runner as well. Notice on the play below how he first sells the break but then positions his body to set up yards after the catch. Ateman turns quick and opens his entire body up to the outside. He sees the cornerback is protecting the middle of the field, so opening outside gives him that ability to create space and be able to move with the football after the catch. This ensures that Ateman gets the first down.

Ateman has strong hands to make physical catches and the physicality to help in the running game as well. In the play below he is able to hold his block well over 10 yards downfield while running with his back to help spring a big run.


The combine is going to be more important for Marcell Ateman than some other wide receivers. Ateman wins with a lot of nuance and precision in his movements. This likely will translate to immediate success. However, the question becomes how high is his ceiling?

On tape, he does not have burner speed. He hardly ever has separation from his defender, which adds into how often he is making contested catches or separating in the air. Conservative quarterbacks will not throw his way, and higher quality, elite NFL cornerbacks will be able to hang with him athletically. There are instances where Ateman does not haul in the circus catch.

While he does have some precise movement, there are still occasions where he will sell his route too early. Ateman gives away hard cuts in and out and has had defensive backs jump his out routes.

Lastly, being 23 years old is certainly worth noting. Ateman is 26 months older than JuJu Smith-Schuster and is two months younger than Amari Cooper. Once he is in the NFL the rookie label is completely off of him, and he will have to adjust much quick to fall in line with his peers in the NFL. He should have been dominating 19-year-old cornerbacks who are figuring it out. The real question becomes why was he not more dominant? On top of that, he will be 28 by his second contract, making his long-term attachment to the team a questionable proposition.