Draft

WR D.J. Chark was underutilized at LSU, but has intriguing NFL potential

D.J. Chark
STEVE FRANZ/LSU ATHLETICS

Every year, LSU makes evaluating its wide receivers for the NFL a chore.

LSU has produced top NFL talent at the wide receiver; look at NFL standouts Dwayne Bowe, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. With that track record, many assume LSU will have a top receiver every year, regardless of how productive the receiver was in college. Last year’s supposed potential NFL stud was Travin Dural – but he went undrafted and signed a free-agent deal with New Orleans; he didn’t play at all as a rookie.

This year’s man out of LSU is D.J. Chark – who had 66 career catches for 1,351 and six touchdowns. All of his receptions came in the final two seasons of his career.

Chark – who measured 6 feet 2 and 196 pounds at the Senior Bowl – has all sorts of potential, and could be the best receiver out of LSU since Beckham. Reports were that he had a rough week of practice in Mobile, but he had five receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s game.

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He showcased his speed, and opposing defenders had a hard time containing Chark.

On this play, Chark gains separation by using his elite acceleration and blows past the North’s defenders. Though the defense appears to be in a base cover two, Chark’s ability to eliminate any struggle at the line of scrimmage is a big plus when paired with his speed.

Later in the game, Chark found the end zone by ultimately running past everyone on the opposing defense.

Chark crosses the field and creates space. Once he has the ball in his possession, he has the balance and ability to turn the corner and stay in bounds. Once he gains a step on the outside of the defender, the play is all but over as he crosses the goal line.

The big question regarding Chark is whether he can make an impact by using more than just his speed. Diving into his tape from this past season, Chark’s speed presented problems for defenses all season. He also made a difference in the short passing game in LSU’s simple offensive scheme.

Chark was set in motion often this past season in Matt Canada’s offense. When he was, it was expected that he would find a soft space in a zone and would be LSU’s primary receiver. Above we see him find a soft spot after being set in motion. Once he catches the pass, he’s able to create a few more yards for himself.

He was a big piece in LSU’s upset against Auburn. In this play, Chark sits under the coverage, and once he hauls in the pass, he makes a move to gain more yardage and use his speed to create separation.

Though he was not put in motion on the route, he consistently spent time around the sideline in the short and intermediate passing game. He has a knack of knowing where he is on the field and getting the most out of the space between him and the sideline.

RELATED: A look at all the SEC underclassmen available in the 2018 NFL draft

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