2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Anthony Schwartzby Alex Barbour March 9, 2021 0 comments
Hidden in the shadow of Seth Williams lies one of the most lethal players in the 2021 NFL Draft: Anthony Schwartz. Anyone who watches Auburn fears his speed. Coming out of high school, Schwartz was in the conversation with Rondale Moore for the fastest weapons entering college (each running in the 4.3 range). He has had a mediocre college career, having his highest yards in a season be 635. The question remains: is the issue Schwartz, the scheme, or Bo Nix? Let’s find out.
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Name: Anthony Schwartz
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 179 lbs
This is a bad start for Schwartz. Nix may be the reason why there are so many drops, but the numbers do not lie. Schwartz dropped 13 passes in 3 years (6 in 2020). His hands are off and on in terms of securing the ball on first contact. Schwartz also seems to have a slight fumbling problem (1 per year, but 2 in 2020 with 1 called back). The numbers do not look alarming, but given Schwartz’s playstyle (avoid contact and get to the sideline), these numbers are something to worry about. In short, there are too many factors to judge his hands. The drops and fumbles must be noted, however.
Contested Catch (3.75/10)
Schwartz is hot and cold here. Again, thank his quarterback for truly clouding a scout’s ability to see if the wide receiver can actually play. This said, Schwartz does position well on deep balls and sometimes can handle a contact screen pass. His problem lies in either ball tracking, contact slants, or simply Nix. Only time will tell. To be fair, why would a quarterback throw up a 50/50 ball to a 179-lb. target when he has Williams?
Straight Line Speed (8.5/10)
Now Schwartz gets to shine. As stated before, coming out of high school, he was placed against Moore for the fastest in the nation. Their 4.3 speeds scared defenses every down each played. Surprisingly enough, Schwartz plays at a far higher speed than Moore. His tape shows consistent lethal speed at all levels of the field. Schwartz will be drafted due to his game-breaking speed, no doubt.
Short Area Burst (7.25/10)
Schwartz has zero lag when it comes to his acceleration. This is apparent on literally every snap. His only problem lies in his shiftiness. To be fair, Schwartz is shifty; however, his speed is what he uses in order to outplay competition (exactly the opposite of Moore). This leads to Schwartz routinely finding the sideline more than trying to juke out opponents.
After the Catch (7.25/10)
Schwartz surprisingly did not impress in his best category. He still is very solid after the catch, but his reputation is overhyped here. This solely came down to his juking and ability to break tackles. There were very few tackles broken, but when they were, Schwartz used strength instead of finesse. In the NFL, where defenders are faster and stronger, this will not work. Schwartz does find the sideline well and makes the most of each and every yard attainable. Overall, Schwartz is solid here, but he is not elite.
For his usage, Schwartz has a pretty solid release package (albeit not developed). He uses his arms well mid-route to keep the defender away not to mention that he uses his feet to keep the defender on edge. Schwartz did have one play where he ran directly into a press corner (10 yards downfield) and could not get off of him. In short, this was quite a pleasant surprise.
Route Running (6.25/10)
Although his route tree is limited, Schwartz is quite a solid route runner. His soft outs, double moves, and fades are all run with NFL-grade proficiency. Schwartz’s quick foot speed allows him to project well as a solid route runner. He will need to develop more complex routes like comebacks at the next level, but the basics are surprisingly high level. Schwartz is no elite route runner, but for his role in the offense, he plays better than most like him.
Schwartz gets solid separation. His issue lies in how he gains it: Schwartz uses his speed primarily to gain separation, which may not translate well in the NFL where defenders are usually similar in athleticism. In order for Schwartz to become a better separator, he will need to use more ‘wiggle’ and combine it with his insane speed. Schwartz is far from a lost cause, though.
Positional Versatility (6.5/10)
Schwartz played in every position except running back and tight end. That being said, he was given the ball behind the line of scrimmage many times. Schwartz projects well as a deep threat combined with gadget weapon usage in the screen and shuffle-pass game. Note: he will not be an asset in the blocking game.
Competitive Toughness (4.25/5)
Schwartz usually gave it his all on most plays. He did not seem to want to block much. For his size and role, Schwartz is perfectly fine with the effort he put out every play.
Schwartz has been noted as missing games throughout his career. Given his role, this may not be much of a surprise. Schwartz did have surgery on his hand in 2019.
The rumors are perfectly accurate. Schwartz is a toolsy gadget weapon who needs to be drafted. With his combination of speed and raw tools, this young prospect can easily develop into a formidable wide receiver. He will be buried on the depth chart year one, but Schwartz seems to be worth scheming a few plays for here and there to test out his home-run-hitting ability. Giving a quarterback like Justin Herbert a check-down gadget weapon may be the perfect fit for maximizing Schwartz’s potential. Just like every prospect, the team who drafts him will determine whether he will be a boom or a bust.
Final Grade (61.5/100): Fourth Round
Player Comp: Mecole Hardman
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