Is John Hightower from Boise State a player the Chicago Bears should consider in the NFL draft?
John Hightower was known more for his track speed than his football play in high school and ran track at Junior College while he played football as well. However, as he started to get the hang of the football thing, bigger schools noticed and in 2018, he found himself at Boise State.
In two seasons Hightower hauled in 14 touchdowns and averaged over 18 yards per reception as a senior on his way to being named All-Mountain West.
The Chicago Bears need a speed weapon with Taylor Gabriel out of the mix. Should John Hightower be a player that they are looking at?
As you can see, his speed and vertical jump are his best attributes. He can create an instant explosion and when he has a step on you, he is gone. He is a bit slender, for his size, though.
There is no questioning his straight-line speed. According to Pro Football Focus, the average depth of each target to him is over 17 yards down the field. When he is on the field, his speed, and the threat of throwing deep has to be respected. Over half of his touchdowns came from 20 yards or more. When it comes to a straight go-route receiver, it is tough to find one better in this draft than Hightower.
He can track the ball well at times, but it can be inconsistent. Beyond that, his biggest questions come with physicality. His slender frame shows in two areas; when being pressed, and when the football is in the air. When he faces physical corners, he can be knocked off of his spot. He has a “my-ball” mentality and will go get it, but often he can be out-muscled. He does not have an expansive route tree either, coming from JUCO and being used primarily as a go-route runner.
Looking at the two best comparisons for him in recent years are Trevor Davis and Darius Slayton. Both players were used in the same regard as Hightower in college as a deep threat without a deep route tree. Both were taller, but more slender, and were threats in the return game.
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Davis went pick 163 in the fifth round and Slayton went pick 171 in the fifth round. This could be a fair projection for John Hightower as well.
Davis was a return man for the Packer for four years and found his way a nice deep threat who adds depth and special teams value for the Raiders. Slayton had a breakout rookie season with 740 receiving yards.
The boom and bust of a raw route runner with limited experience can be shown in both of these outcomes for John Hightower.
Fit for Chicago Bears
Similar to Davis and Slayton who were fifth-round picks, that is the right time to take a shot on a player like John Hightower.
With that in mind, should he be the Chicago Bears fifth-round pick? He would not have to start right away, but rather rotate with Javon Wims and Riley Ridley as the three sorts out roles with each other. However, one thing would be clear amongst the three; John Hightower is the true speed threat of the bunch.