Pro Football Focus not only grades every player on every play of every game in the NFL, it also expands to every FBS game since 2014.
Using that dataset, we look at how the 13 wide receivers taken in Rounds 1-3 of the 2019 NFL draft and the four first- and second-round tight ends fit with their new teams. We identify each player's highest-graded route run in college last season and provide context of how their NFL team performs when their pass-catchers run those routes.
Best route: Hitch | Draft: Round 1, No. 25 overall
Brown had a whopping 103 targets his way in his final season at Oklahoma. Yet only nine of those came on contested situations, as he was able to separate with relative ease and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray got him the ball in the open field on numerous occasions. Brown's ability off of a hitch concept stands out, as he ran 37 pure hitch routes and was targeted on 17 of those, making 15 receptions for 223 yards, 12 first downs and a touchdown. His ability to draw a defender upfield and stop on a dime was apparent. He forced an additional four missed tackles after the catch while averaging 14.9 yards per reception, even though the average depth of target on these routes was just 9.3 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Unfortunately for Ravens fans, Lamar Jackson really struggled to hit hitch routes last season, completing just 8-of-15 attempts for 72 yards and an interception. In fact, he had three of his nine total turnover-worthy plays -- PFF's lowest-graded passes and should-be turnovers -- on hitch targets last year. Maybe having perhaps the draft class' best hitch-route runner as a weapon means better things are coming for Jackson in that department.
Best route: In | Draft: Round 1, No. 32 overall