2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Josh Imatorbhebhe

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Josh Imatorbhebhe

by March 25, 2021 1 comment

You can’t teach natural (freakish) athleticism, which is what makes Josh Imatorbhebhe (pronounced ee-MAT-or-bay-bay) so intriguing. On the Illinois Pro Day, Imatorbhebhe made headlines and had a vertical leap of 46.5”, which would have broken the NFL combine record had there been a combine. However, Imatorbhebhe is raw in some of the nuances of the receiver position, such as route running and awareness of space. Both of which can be coached. Josh and his brother Daniel both transferred from USC to Illinois after the 2018 season, where they were both full-time starters for the 2019 and 2020 season. He is an older prospect as he’s a Redshirt Senior and will be 23 for the start of the 2021 season. 

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio 

Name: Josh Imatorbhebhe

Jersey: #9

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Illinois 

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height: 6’2” 

Weight: 220lbs 

Speed (8.5/10)

Imatorbhebhe isn’t the fastest guy on the field, but he consistently showed the ability to control his speed, allowing him to put himself in a better position to catch the ball. At 220 lbs, his speed is exceptional and will give defenders a very difficult time if they can’t slow him down. 

Athleticism (9.75/10)

He is an exceptional athlete who may have some of the best jumping ability in the NFL. Acceleration is dynamic for a player of his size, and overall he’s an explosive player on all three levels of the field. He’s able to get vertical in a hurry but also able to jump high while on the move – something not every receiver can do well. Overall, an athletic monster is probably the best descriptor for Imatorbhebhe.

Route Running/Separation (4/10) 

Imatorbhebhe has shown the ability to utilize his frame and stack defenders. He doesn’t separate well largely due to being 6’2”, 220 lbs, and is more of a contested receiver. The route tree was limited to screens, hitches, and go’s, and there weren’t a lot of routes where he could show off technique. While we haven’t seen a dynamic route running, it doesn’t mean Imatorbhebhe can’t do it.

Hands (7/10)

He shows great catching technique on footballs thrown below his waist. Shows he can consistently make catches away from his frame. Imatorbhebhe appeared to pull in everything he could get both hands-on. However, there weren’t a lot of accurately thrown footballs, and lots of footballs were uncatchable, which makes it fair to wonder how reliable his hands are if he gets an accurate quarterback. 

Run after Catch (7.25/10) 

His run after the catch was evident against Northwestern, Imatorbhebhe bulldozed defenders and was tough to bring down. Looks for contact and gains extra yards instead of setting up defenders. Should require multiple people and solid contact to bring down, but he sometimes went down easier than expected. Able to break one tackle through contact balance and strength. 

Contested Catch (8.5/10)

Imatorbhebhe undoubtedly thrives when making contested catches. He has the strength to out-muscle defenders when they try to swat the ball out of his hands. He squeezes the ball with precision and concentration, making it difficult for defenders to get their hands on the ball, a skill put on display in the 2020 Iowa game. 

Body Control (8.75/10)

There was some high-end body control where he flashed spectacular catches very few others could do. There is also an innate ability to control his body and put himself in a position to make any catch. The body control assisted him in making catches on lots of the errant throws that came his way at Illinois. 

Release (7.75/10) 

Strong compact release shows Imatorbhebhe’s release was excellent in college. However, he didn’t go up against any physically dominating defender, making it fair to wonder how he will hold up in the NFL. Explosiveness shows off the line and puts defenders in a bad position right off the bat. Overall, Imatorbhebhe is going to get off press coverage with strength and hand fighting. 

Awareness/IQ (4/5)

Imatorbhebhe wasn’t given much room for route adjustments on simplistic reads such as running a hitch when a cornerback played off coverage, vertical go route when cornerback played press. Overall good awareness with the ball in his hands and when going to catch the ball. 

Fluidity/Agility (4/5)

For being 220 pounds, Imatorbhebhe is abnormally fluid. With a more diverse route tree, there will most likely be able to show off more agility. 

Injury/ Durability (4/5)

Was held out for three games with an undisclosed injury. Durability has not been an issue during Imatorbhebhe’s college career. 

Blocking (3.5/5)

Can overextend arms at times and lunge at defenders when blocking. He has shown good reps where he makes critical blocks to spring running back. 

Player Summary

The numbers aren’t impressive – 22 receptions, 297 yards, and three touchdowns in his 2020 season; his 2019 statistics were more explosive with 33 receptions, 634 yards, and nine touchdowns. While the numbers went down, Imatorbhebhe lost his starting quarterback for a few games, had to play through a covid-19 season and had several games canceled (including against Ohio State). As well, on-field, there were inaccurate throws and a limited number of targets. One thing remains undisputed though, while the numbers weren’t as good, there were some high-end momentum boosting plays. The high-end plays made by Imatorbhebhe were chain-movers and were errant throws where he had to correct the poor throw with a great catch or adjustment. 

In his rookie season, he will most likely profile as a red zone threat who can out-muscle, and out-jump cornerbacks, or as an explosive vertical threat. Moreover, the term ‘developmental prospect’ is used often when a freakish athlete underperforms or doesn’t have a great statistical year in college, yet I believe Imatorbhebhe was just misused and wasn’t featured enough. I would not be surprised to see him as a complete receiver in year one and someone that makes an impact on an offense. Overall, Imatorbhebhe is a sleeper in this class and someone who has a very high ceiling and could be very successful with the right coaching. 

Final Grade (77/100): Day Two Talent 

Player Comp: Dez Bryant


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Contributor for Prime Time Sports Talk for the NFL. Covering the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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