Do Chicago Bears need this Wide Receiver prospect?
Jalen Tolbert was under-recruited out of high school and wound up staying near his hometown and playing for South Alabama. Tolbert did not see the field much as a freshman but immediately started to get action as a sophomore. In 2020 Tolbert really broke out with 1,085 yards, and then topped that in 2021 with 1,474. A small school player with big-time production will be entering the 2022 NFL draft. Should the Chicago Bears be interested in this wide receiver?
Jalen Tolbert Stats and Athleticism
Thanks to MockDraftable we can see the combine data and how Jalen Tolbert has compared to wide receivers at past NFL combines. Overall, Tolbert is in the 44-65% range for plenty of of these areas which shows that he is normal for an NFL athlete. He does have big hands as well.
Thanks to PlayerProfiler.com, we can also see how his statistical profile compares to wide receivers of past drafts. His weight-adjusted speed score is about average. However, you can see from his college dominator and his college target share ratings that the South Alabama offense ran through him. He was responsible for 51% of the South Alabama production last year.
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His age and breakout age are worth noting. Wide receivers who excel before age 20 are often primed for success, and Tolbert was 20.5 when he took off. He also will be 23 years old for the draft, which is a tough older than most prospects.
Jalen Tolbert’s strengths that translate in 2022 NFL Draft
You can see it by the higher than average yards per reception, and that is what Tolbert’s game is, he is a field stretcher. His combination of height, length, and big hands allow him to stretch out and find ways to haul in passes in his area for big splashes down the field.
Tolbert has great tracking ability and late hands that allow him to find the ball and pluck it into his basket at the last second. The South Alabama wide receiver is also experienced at running double moves and routes down the sideline that can clear his space.
Still, while he primarily lined up outside, South Alabama moved Tolbert into the slot often in 2021 to highlight his versatile skill set. Tolbert has a defined role and is a master at the little things that make him better than just a 50/50 deep ballplayer.
What are the Weaknesses of Jalen Tolbert?
Jalen Tolbert does not have a strong well-refined game. Most of his routes come down the field and down the sidelines. He is not experienced working over the middle, and while he can shake away from press at times, he can also get jammed up and get taken out of the play.
Tolbert has great concentration and a tracking ability to get under the football, but he is not the strongest when it comes to contested catches. This can be seen over the middle, and also when he gets hit hauling in curl routes. The lack of physicality shows with Tolbert as a blocker as well, and he is mainly just too thin and lanky to be a bigger presence in this area in the NFL.
With this skill set what is a comparable NFL comparison for Jalen Tolbert?