Position: Wide Receiver
School: Oklahoma State
Weight: 216 lbs
40 Time: 4.62s
Cone Drill: 7.07s
225′ Reps: 13
Ateman immediately stands out as a big body. Standing 6’4”, he uses that body well to shield out defenders and grab jump balls. He’s really good at grabbing the ball at the peak of his jump, which is extremely high considering his standing height. Moreover, he has fantastic hands that help him make acrobatic sideline catches. He has great field awareness, knowing where he is in order to get a toe-tap in or knowing which way to turn once he catches the ball. His size also makes him hard to bring down. Arm tackles won’t do the trick. Ateman comes of the line well, leaning hard to sell the vertical route when he’s running something with a shorter break. He has long legs that help him make hard breaks in his routes. On his breaks, he gets deep and really sits on his route, accelerating into the break so he breaks extremely hard. This is key in routes with quick breaks. Ateman is a good blocker, especially downfield. He managed more than 1000 yards receiving last season despite being the clear number two option behind James Washington.
Ateman’s glaring weakness is his lack of top-end speed that you’d look for in a deep-threat receiver. He likely tested faster than he’ll play, and even his 40 time wasn’t good. His other major concern is long term health concerns regarding a foot injury that caused him to miss the entire 2016 season.
Often, he keeps his hands wide as the ball is approaching, forcing him to catch the middle of the ball rather than the front tip. Ateman doesn’t always play to his body size if he’s not going for a jump ball. He’s big enough where getting off the press should be easy for him, but that isn’t always the case. At Oklahoma State, he was limited to running mostly deep-outs and go routes since OSU had James Washington as a better weapon in the middle of the field.
How He Fits
With the shocking news of Jordy Nelson’s release, the need for receivers suddenly skyrockets. Ateman may not be a good enough prospect to provide instant help at receiver, but he has the potential to be an adequate replacement if he can expand his route tree to be as good at inside patterns as he is at curls and outs. He could’ve used a year or two to sit behind someone like Jordy Nelson to learn, but that isn’t an option anymore. His lack of speed will cause him to fall in the draft so it wouldn’t be a huge risk to take him late day 2 or early day 3 of the draft, where the Packers have an abundance of picks.
It has been a long time since the Packers have had someone who can consistently win jump balls in the endzone, and Ateman could provide competition with Michael Clark as someone to keep on the roster for that purpose.
3rd – Early 5th