NFL Prospect Preview – Allen Lazard
Allen Lazard – WR – Iowa State
Depending on which website you’re looking at, Iowa State wide out Allen Lazard is slotted to go somewhere in rounds 4-6. But upon a further look, Lazard is a high upside guy in a shoddy WR class, and with estimated day 3 value, he’s extremely cheap (both in draft and real capital). If you are a fan of my writing, and/or you listen to the Football Garbage Time podcast, you know what initially drew me to Lazard. I do not like undersized, soft, Diva, speedy receivers. I like big bodied, physical, fearless receivers. Lazard stands at 6’5 and 227 lbs. — that’s a whole-lot-a receiver.
While I’m not traditionally a stats guy, Lazard put up back-to-back impressive campaigns in 2016 & 2017. In ’16 he pulled in 69 receptions for 1,018 yards and totaled 7 touchdowns. In ’17 he came back with a 71 reception season for 941 yards and bumped up to 10 touchdowns. 17 touchdowns over two years shouldn’t be a surprise. When you are 6’5 and 227 lbs., you should be a weekly Red Zone monster. And this is exactly what I think Lazard will be in the NFL.
I read over some of Lazard’s scouting reports and watched a lot of film and highlights from college. Here’s how I sum up Lazard.
Obviously he is a physical receiver. But, that’s not just limited to the contact he can absorb, or the willingness to go over the middle. Lazard catches the ball by attacking it. On 50/50 balls, he high points it and goes up for it. He comes back to the ball on comebacks routes and in general he fights through defenders to catch the ball. From there, he is hard to tackle, and has an intense compete level. Over the last two seasons Lazard had 8 Red Zone receptions and scored on 7 of those. That is man who has a nose for the End Zone. Lastly, Lazard is smart, willing to work the middle, and a good blocker. This makes him as well rounded a WR as you’ll find in this draft.
Lazard’s weaknesses really pertain to one aspect of his game; speed. His straight line speed, his lack of explosiveness and absence of a “second-gear” are the big knocks on his game. He struggles to beat coverage off of the line, defensive backs can make up ground on him down the field, and overall just a real lack of explosiveness to his game. And to that, I say who cares. Speed for Wide Outs is as overrated as a big arm for a Quarterback.
And watch out, cause today I’m rolling with stats, not just hot takes. Lazard posted a 4.55 40 time, which isn’t “impressive” for a receiver to say the least. But hey, want to know five guys with slower 40 yard times?
1. Larry Fitzgerald – 4.63
2. Jerry Rice – 4.71
3. Chris Carter – 4.63
4. Anquan Boldin – 4.71
5. Chad Johnson – 4.57
And an honorable mention for Dez Bryant who ran a 4.52. My point? Speed doesn’t matter in this context. Look at that list. 3 Hall of Famers and three guys who were high end players in their time. If Lazard goes in round 4 and has a career like any one of those guys, that’s a day 3 steal.
This is a weak class for wide receivers, I mean, look at Matt Harmon’s player comps for the top guys in this years class. In all honesty, outside of Courtland Sutton being a good fit in Dallas, I’d avoid the WR group in Round 1 altogether in this years draft. But, I do think Lazard has the chance to emerge as the best WR taken this weekend. I’d honestly be okay with a team with a slight reach taking him in the third round, a whole round before his projection. Hell, I’d take him in round 2 except for the fact that you don’t need to, due to his under the radar status. That’s how good I think he is. If he’s there in Round 4 though, and you have a need, this is the guy to take, and there’s no doubt in my mind.