2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief

By Alex Kozora

Our focus has shifted to the offseason and for the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on several draft prospects. Some of these players the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at and others will be top players that will be off the board before they select. All to make you as prepared as possible for the 2014 NFL Draft.

With the need growing after the loss of Jerricho Cotchery, a look at wide receiver Donte Moncrief.

Donte Moncrief/WR Ole Miss: 6’2/3 221

The Good

– Long, lean frame

– Impressive triangle numbers (4.40 40 at Combine)

– Super smooth athlete and a long strider, glides around

– Tremendous leaper (39.5 vertical)

– Vertical threat

– Fluid hips, very little stiffness, in and out of his cuts quickly

– Playmaker and pretty dangerous in the open field

– Uses hands and size/burst to beat jams

– When committed, strong run blocker who can stick and drive DBs

– Relatively productive career

– Lots of starting experience

The Bad

– Inconsistent

– Drops far too many passes

– Body catcher

– Too often tries to go for the one-handed, spectacular grab

– Doesn’t always play to his height

– Flat out quit on some plays, especially when play is extended

– Sometimes seems disinterested in run blocking, doesn’t give full effort

– Limited to mostly playing as the “X” receiver, outside the hashes


– 37 career starts

– 2013 Stat Line: 59/938/6

– Career: 156/2371/20

– Averaged 15.2 YPC in career

– Turns 21 in August

– 10 of 59 (17%) catches in 2013 went for 30+ yards

– Only caught 52.6% of targets in 2013 (59 of 112)

– 66% of receptions went for a first down

– Caught 19 of 34 passes on 3rd or 4th down (55.9%), converted 17 for a first down

– Cousin of Shay Hodge, who spent a short stint in the NFL with the 49ers and Redskins

– Top 25 WR in nation by Rivals and Scout coming out of high school

Tape Breakdown

Before even putting on the tape, it’s hard to not be intrigued by Moncrief. A receiver at that size with that vertical who ran a 4.4 flat. In my “true heights” that will be unveiled in the coming weeks, Moncrief came in third of those who worked out at the Combine. That bested the likes of Kelvin Benjamin, Martavis Bryant, and Jordan Matthews.

On the tape, Moncrief provides just enough tantalizing plays to keep you watching.

Again, for his size, he’s as smooth in the open field and coming out of his breaks as you could hope for. Top of the screen, chop and break on this curl for the first.

Though he does fumble at the end of the play (recovered by Ole Miss) you can just see the type of athlete he is. Long strider who can change direction without losing speed.

Possesses the size, strength, and when he wants to, the desire, to be a powerful run blocker on the outside. Bottom of the screen on the following clip.

But oh man, is Moncrief inconsistent. And the issue really centers around his hands. Just so many drops. At least six drops in the four games I watched. Part of it is him being a body catcher and not getting his arms extended away from his body. Plays with a much smaller catch radius than he should.




Critical drop in the end zone down by 14 against Missouri. Just inexcusable.

And on this post against Alabama that would have gone for a huge gain. Poked away by the defensive back.

On a fade in the end zone.

This doesn’t even count the times he only high points the football with one hand instead of two. Tries to make the spectacular catch.


In the four I watched, I don’t recall him ever winning a jump ball. Concerning for a guy with that height and vertical. What I mean when I wrote he doesn’t play to his height.

Times where he doesn’t give effort. On this screen, once it turns into a scramble drill, Moncrief (top of the screen) just stands there and spectates. Doesn’t provide his QB any assistance. No effort in trying to get open.

Same after running this jerk route.

Keep in mind the stats provided in the “Other” category are all relative and I haven’t worked the numbers for most of the other receivers. Only category I have is the overall catch percentage. Of the 27 receivers I looked at, which included the top receivers, Moncrief’s 52% finished only ahead of Brandon Coleman.

It’s that inconsistency and what appears to be apathy that is holding Moncrief back. There’s no shortage of talent. While I haven’t taken a close look at the top of this class, Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, I’d wager from a pure ability perspective, Moncrief is right up there. Just don’t see it often enough.

Steelers’ obviously need a wide receiver and it’s unclear if Mike Evans will be available in the first round. Means they’ll likely have to wait until Round Two or Three where Moncrief will be available. Even being fully aware of that ceiling, I wouldn’t take him over a player like Jordan Matthews.

He’s an intriguing player but not worth the hype he’s getting from some Steelers’ fans.

Projection: Late 2nd

Games Watched: at Alabama, vs LSU, vs Missouri, vs Georgia Tech (Bowl)

Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Stanford ILB Shayne Skov/a>
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner
Boston College RB Andre Williams
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Tennessee NT Daniel McCullers
Colorado State DE/OLB Shaquil Barrett
Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio
Tennessee T Antonio Richardson
Central Florida RB Storm Johnson
Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
West Virginia DE Will Clarke
Louisville S Calvin Pryor
Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland
Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
Virginia T Morgan Moses
Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Ike Evans


  • Derick L Young

    feeling the same way. limas sweed 2.0?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Visually he looks a LOT like Wallace to me.

  • Ike Evans

    Nah….I think that moniker belongs to allen robinson this year…moncreif sounds like troy Williamson to me…which is just as bad lol

  • ApexSteel

    One thing that’s not being documented is that Bo Wallace is a very shitty QB. A lot of his balls had bad placement and bad velocity.

  • Jazz

    They would be crazy to waiste a 2nd RD pick on this guy; I would risk a 5th, 4th at best if he’s still there. This kid has way too many bad habits IMO.

  • Tullydew

    Jordan Matthews. D. Adams, M. Bryant and Allen Robinson are better value in the 2nd round.

  • RW


  • StrengthOfVictory

    Alex comes to the same conclusion as me. Intriguing, sure. But I’m hearing his name far too much as a “steal.” Not the case, IMO. And I do NOT want another body-catching WR. What’s the point of getting a big receiver if he can’t use it to his full advantage? That a big reason why I’m not high on Allen Robinson.

    Say what you will about Kelvin Benjamin’s faults, he high-points the ball WITH HIS HANDS. He uses his size to his advantage. The Steelers should be looking for a guy with a large catch radius. That’s not Moncrief.

  • Steve

    Where’s that Girl that was crying for this guy??

  • Brian Miller


  • Brian Miller

    It’s the uniform…

  • Brian Miller

    I agree…and if people keep worrying about Benjamin’s drops but laud getting Moncrief, that is a tad hypocritical…I would rather have Evans, Benjamin, Adams, Matthews, Bryant, Cooks, Landry, Janis, Evans, Huff, Street, Richardson, etc.

  • Milliken Steeler

    I like Jeff Janis better than this guy and he could be had in the fourth or maybe even the fifth but I doubt it.

    he doesn’t give up on plays and runs a 4.4 also.

  • Steve

    Alex did this excellent article. Do understand your point but wanted to give credit where it was due.

  • Ike Evans

    Lol I was thinking the same thing

  • Steve

    Probably scared to show herself. She was either related or in love with Donte.

  • PA2AK

    Yup 4th at best for where the Steelers are picking. They’re some of the worst habits to have too.

  • Jay Jaber

    Nope not a limas sweed. More like a taller version of mike Wallace. I think they are the exact same players. I swear I thought I was watching mike Wallace

  • Jay Jaber

    Davante adams should be the pick at 2 and he will be one of the best receivers in the draft

  • Alex Redfield

    I actually like Moncrief as a prospect. Not in round 2, but if we manage to get another 3rd round pick via trade (no way he lasts till our 3rd compensatory IMO). I agree with the comparison to Wallace that someone made earlier in the post. You wouldn’t want another Wallace on the team? Despite being a bit of a diva, he was a very productive receiver and big time play maker in the B&G. He is a slight risk, but has an incredibly high ceiling for where he will get drafted. He does a lot of things well that you need to be good at to succeed in the NFL. I like Matthews, OBJ, and Adams better as overall prospects, but this guy would be a very solid pick in round 3 if he is available.

  • Doug Sawyer

    don’t want him and Steelers don’t need him

  • taztroy43

    I agree ive watched him live at times throughout his career and he is going to be a beast….the guy is a faster more athletic cotchery imo….he catches everything and can beat cb deep….I hope hes he’s there in the 2nd if we dont go evans in the first….

  • taztroy43

    Mike wallace was way faster!!! N perfected the go route with his electrifying speed(1 trick pony)…I see similarities but in no way is moncrief even close to wallace in that aspect that made wallace successful…

  • Milliken Steeler

    I think they banned her Steve for posting in all caps non stop.

  • Steve

    Naw,,,, Davey had a crush on her and wouldn’t do that (HA)!

  • steelster

    Ok next, I would like to see a profile on Brandon Coleman from Rutgers.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Dave, you should profile a few guys that are expected to still be out there in rounds 3 and 4. Why? Because, historically, the Steelers draft WR in round 3, and since this draft is the deepest in years with all the underclassmen, that’s where they’ll probably draft a WR. Comp 3 or 4 unless, they can move down (I’m praying they can.)

    When you initially mentioned Martavius Bryant, I thought he would have been great in round 4. Of course, now he looks like more of a round 2 but them’s the breaks.

  • steelster

    Yes, Brandon Coleman round 3 and he fits what they are looking for.

  • SteelersDepot

    you do realize that we have a few more days before the draft, right? let us work through our list.

  • Brian Miller

    I understand, appreciate the flip side…and I think it is a good article…

  • Matt Manzo

    Thanx for the clarity Dave! I don’t like words like “disinterested” and “quit”. Especially if you add in the drops!
    Does he drop the ball more then KBenjamin? Or what about MBryant? Does he drop it more then him?
    The only WR I’m completly sold on is Jordan Matthews! (Not including Watkins)

  • Axe Skot


  • Matt Manzo

    I forgot about Coleman! Thanx for reminding me. But doesn’t he have drop issues too?

  • 2winz

    Can you do a profile on Kyle Fuller? I know a lot of mocks have us taking Dennard in the 1st but from what I have seen on the highlights on youtube, I think Kyle Fuller is a better fit than Darquese Dennard or Justin Gilbert for our Defense. Dennard seems to get too grabby and seemed to trail quite a bit in his highlights and Gilbert seems like he is not that good of a tackler. he was completely out of the play on a lot of screen plays. It just seems Fuller would be the best pick if we go corner, can somebody tell me his weaknesses?

  • Alex Kozora

    Dave did a profile on Fuller. It’s in the group of links at the end of the article.

  • steelster

    yes, read some more about Coleman and he has drop issues, no thanks.

  • 2winz

    oh okay, I guess I should have looked through that, thank you! Alex

  • chris ward

    Moncrief looked innocent on tape and didn’t look great when blocking. Has good size and speed though, but I agree I like Jordan Matthews over Moncrief if the Steelers were to pick a WR in the 2nd round.

  • Douglas Andrews

    While he’d be a bit of a project Moncrief is a nice talent. The body catching and blocking are issues but his route running is just as the article stated pretty smooth. With a 3rd round pick I’d be okay with the Steelers drafting him. Guess he fits the build of a “Tall” receiver. I see he’s able to play in the slot and outside so that versatility helps him. Overall I think good value at end of 3rd round if he’s still there.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    And m.bryant

  • Xclewsive

    Was thinking the same thing. Limited route running, suspect hands and great speed.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Oh I realize that the way you’re going, you will certainly go through every prospect that is expected to be drafted in round 1, perhaps the top 50 as well. On top of that, you have already begun to try to identify later round potential picks. You must be building up to a crescendo of excitement for your final mock!

    Great work. Thanks.