2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Bo Meltonby Charlie Parent April 8, 2022 0 comments
Mid-late-round receivers are at a premium in this draft. With each packing different skillsets, one standing out is Rutgers’ Bo Melton. He had excellent production for four straight years at Rutgers. Melton had constant, inconsistent quarterback play and still was able to have two straight 600-plus yard seasons while being the ever-reliable guy. Yet, many argue that Melton was still misused at Rutgers. Does the film say that? We can only look to find out now.
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Name: Bo Melton
Jersey: No. 18
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 190 lbs
Games Watched: Wisconsin (2021), Michigan (2021), Northwestern (2021)
Major Injury History: None
Hands/Ball Security (8.5/10)
Melton never had a real issue getting the easy catches, but the out-of-frame ones were tough for him. There are flashes that make you think he can get better in this department, though it’s difficult to see too much consistency. The good thing is drops weren’t really an issue. The even better thing is you can’t fault Melton for the atrocious throws his quarterbacks gave him, which could look like Melton’s issue at first from the naked eye.
Contested Catch (5/10)
Due to the size, Melton will never go up and get the ball. We saw him attempt it a couple of times on the film, but he never really came close to that highlight grab. What Melton can do well is secure the ball with guys close to him. However, the closer they get, the more likely the ball will not be caught. This happened a number of times when the window closed in on Melton, and he couldn’t secure the pass-through contact. A clear issue, Melton will have to at least work on gathering the football through traffic to succeed in the NFL.
Tracking/Body Control (8/10)
He does well to make the simple plays like most of his other catching abilities thus far. Those small twists and adjustments, while underrated moves to make, are the ones that Melton does best. When you task him with making a more difficult play, he’s struggled to make that adjustment. One play comes to mind where Melton had to make an over-the-shoulder grab against Wisconsin but couldn’t reel the ball in because he lost it mid-flight. If you look past the lack of “great” plays Melton has here, this is a solid trait for the Rutgers product.
Route Running (8.25/10)
Melton’s route running is different from a lot of receivers in this class. His cuts are crisp but more elongated in his strides. This can sometimes really help Melton and others hurt him. He does flip his hips very nicely, showing the athletic promise that he has. Melton’s go-to route is the corner post. Here, he sells the cut with a nice feint to the inside before making that long-strided cut to the outside and getting himself open. Finally, Melton has a nice ability to stop on a dime. While his curl routes didn’t see that much contest from corners that were mostly playing off-man, Melton still found himself open on almost all of these routes.
It’s difficult to project how well Melton will earn separation at the next level. Obviously, he’s not that big-bodied receiver that will win with physicality. Instead, Melton will use his hips to win best at the next level. Switching hips to gain leverage will need to become a consistent thing for Melton as it’s key to the next step in his development. He does have the potential to do this, though it will take a little time. Once Melton gets this down, he can become even better at separating from the defender.
The release is another difficult area to project, simply based on how corners played Melton. Guys almost never pressed upon Melton. When they did, they would back off quickly instead of trying to jam him. Melton showed a good true release when it was necessary. His feet are choppy off the snap and fiery. We see this a little more when Melton works out of the slot, as he tends to run more dynamic routes over the middle or outside of the field in this area. Melton’s release isn’t one of a Skyy Moore type player, but it’s more than serviceable for the NFL and another promising trait.
Run After Catch (7.5/10)
Now is probably the time to introduce what Melton did at the NFL combine. Melton was a piece of that historically fast receiver group, running a blazing 4.34 40-yard dash. Rutgers knew of this speed too. They gave Melton tons of screens and jet passes to work out in space. The problem is that the speed didn’t really translate to the run after the catch game. Melton has less than ideal contact balance but, at the same time, can be slippery out there. It seemed that Melton’s run after the catch goes on a play-to-play basis, though he wasn’t helped at all on the blocking front from his Rutgers teammates. If Melton shows he can make guys miss early in camp, this will be an area that becomes a big strength of his.
Vertical Speed (8/10)
Again, that 40 time is great, but it didn’t really translate to the film. Melton has dusted guys, getting a step past them and open for the deep ball, but he doesn’t quite have the elite long speed that others in this class possess. This also comes with who Melton was playing. Not going up against true press coverage didn’t allow Melton to get the opportunities on go-routes he should’ve had. With that, there’s an exciting future for Melton’s long speed in the NFL.
Hips play a big part in the burst of a player, which is why Melton receives such a good grade here. The improvement can come from shortening those long strides we mentioned in the beginning. If he gets his feet to be a tad choppier and crisp mid-cut, Melton can use those hips as he has all along to create even more separation and explode away from the defender.
Melton posted an 8.78 raw athletic score during his pre-draft tests. The 40 time is the one that stands out most. However, Melton was able to put up decent explosion and agility numbers along with it. Those two tests (explosion and agility) match up with what we saw on film, compared to the 40 where it seems a little more skewed in favor of the test and not Melton’s true on-field ability.
The frame is such a big issue for Melton when blocking, although he does have solid technique. Getting involved is all you can really ask Melton to do, and he does it. Melton isn’t a guy you should be relying on to lead block out in space. However, he can pull his own weight and keep a defender at bay for a long enough time that the ball carrier can get by.
Arguably Rutgers’ best weapon, Melton, was used in tons of ways. He worked primarily out of the slot. However, he got a fair share of reps on the boundary as well. In the NFL, Melton will probably have to stick to the slot unless he can get his functional strength up enough to play outside. Another thing Melton can give you is some experience in the return game, although it’s not an overwhelming amount.
In the intro, we asked the question of if Rutgers underused Melton. The answer is yes. While they did throw him all over the field in different sets, Melton has not yet reached his full potential. With development, this is a player who can be very successful in the NFL. Melton projects to play out of the slot, which is where he did best at Rutgers. In terms of a draft projection, Melton is likely a day three pick, which is just right more the talent level here.
Rookie Projection: Rotational Slot Receiver
Third-Year Projection: Low-End Starting Slot Receiver
Player Grade (69.25/100): Fifth-Round Pick
Pro Comparison: Isaiah McKenzie
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