Prospect: John Hightower
Position / School: Wide Receiver / Boise State
Height / Weight: 6-1, 189
2019 Statistics: 14 games played, 51 receptions, 941 yards, 8 touchdowns, 1 interception, 639 kick return yards, 1 touchdown
A former junior college transfer, Hightower proved he belonged in Division I FBS with a highly productive two-year run with the Broncos, emerging as a legitimate deep threat. He led the team in receiving yards in 2019.
A former track athlete, Hightower’s speed is his best trait. He caught just 51 passes last year, but he averaged a whopping 18.5 yards per grab. Clearly, the competition in the Mountain West Conference doesn’t necessarily stack up against some of the better circuits in college football. Still, his speed is such that he wouldn’t have much trouble beating any college cornerback, and that could serve him well at the next level.
Hightower is also a dangerous returner, racking up over 600 yards and a score last season. In the mid-to-late rounds where he likely to be picked, this versatility will serve him well as teams tend to look for special teams contributors at that point in the draft.
Hightower is rail-thin, which prevents him from winning against more physical coverage and which could give him trouble hauling in contested catches in the NFL. Also, with just two years of Division I experience and 81 total catches, it could be hard to see him competing early on while he tries to add muscle and continue his development. Well under 200 pounds as a senior, is that likely at this point? His ceiling may be slightly lower than others at his position in this year’s crop.
Speed is the name of the game in today’s NFL, and Hightower checks that box. The Lions have a crowded receiver room but have long term concerns at the position. They may look to address that need earlier in the draft but in a loaded class at wideout, Hightower may slip. He could make sense for them on Day Three, regardless of whether they have already added a pass-catcher.