High-end NFL Player Comp(s):
Darius Slayton Low-end NFL Player Comp(s):
Best Scheme Fit: Z receiver
in a spread offense whose primary purpose will be to alter coverage
in the same way Randy Moss once did. May need to line up often
in the slot to provide extra protection from potential press coverage.
Best Team Fit(s): Chargers, Rams, Dolphins,
Eagles, Titans, Seahawks
Non-bolded times - Good examples of attribute Bolded times - Average/poor examples of attribute
* - How well does his skill set carry over
to the fantasy game? For receivers, a player needs to be a realistic
threat for 70 catches and 1,000 receiving yards at some point
early in their career to be a candidate for a perfect grade. Positional
scarcity at the pro level is also a part of the equation.
The 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner's triangle numbers (40, vertical,
broad) tell the story: he is ridiculously explosive. His gaudy 40
time may not actually do him justice; there may not be a prospect
in this draft with more speed and ability to reduce a cornerback's
cushion quickly; he is a field-stretcher (20 catches of 20-plus
yards, seven receptions of 50-plus yards in 2022). Hyatt catches
virtually everything with his hands and tracks the ball exceptionally
well. (His 58.3 percent success rate on targets 20-plus yards ranked
No. 1 in the FBS in 2022.) Hyatt understands leverage on his deep
routes, which shows he has some nuance to his game. The first-team
All-American's 40-inch vertical jump and 32.5-inch arms suggest
he has the ability to win frequently in contested-catch situations,
but he didn't find himself in that position very often in 2022 (three
contested catches, per PFF). Hyatt was trusted or proved he was
capable of running intermediate routes - such as a stop route -
that played off the defense's fear of his speed - as the 2022 season
progressed. The South Carolina native may be slender, but he brings
more tenacity as a blocker to the table than many players his size,
even if he is unable to hold up on occasion.
Hyatt's role - or more what he was asked to do - in the Tennessee
offense was so limited that it begs the question of whether HC Josh
Heupel valued him only for his ability as a vertical receiver or
was trying to hide Hyatt's limitations. One piece of information
that indicates the latter could be true is that Heupel and his staff
lined him up in the slot on 90 percent of Tennessee's pass plays
in their two seasons together. (Per Pro Football Focus, Hyatt only
press coverage on 62 snaps over his 35-game career, and most of
those plays saw him stacked behind another receiver or featured
him catching (or carrying out a fake) on a quick screen. The overwhelming
majority of his routes were quick screens and vertical routes with
the occasional stop or post route thrown in for good measure. While
his single-season school record of 15 touchdown catches is highly
impressive, at least half of them - including most of his five against
Alabama in mid-October - came on complete coverage busts that were
a result of late motion and/or poor communication on the back end
of the defense. Hyatt's advanced metrics suggest he is great after
the catch (489 yards in 2022), but most of that production came
on the aforementioned coverage busts; he rarely did much of anything
after the catch on his shorter routes.
What Hyatt brings to the table is one of the things NFL teams
covet the most (especially at his position): speed. What he lacks
is just about everything else outside of high-level hand-eye coordination.
Considering how he was utilized by Heupel and the lack of reps
he had doing other NFL things outside of running deep routes,
it would be a huge upset if Hyatt ever becomes anything more than
a field-stretching complementary receiver. While that "skill"
certainly has a place on an NFL roster, it is difficult to justify
spending a draft pick in the first round on a player that may
not necessarily create his own offense but opens things up for
There are simply too many unknowns about Hyatt to believe he
will be an immediate contributor in the NFL. Worse yet, the degree
to which he was sheltered from any kind of physical coverage -
not to mention his relative lack of play strength - suggests it
might take him a while to get to a point where he and his play-caller
are comfortable with him running perimeter routes consistently.
He is much more of a projection than receivers that typically
go in Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft usually are. In short, the early
part of his career could end up mirroring Mecole Hardman's as
a part-time gadget player who will be asked to stretch the field.
When he splashes, he will splash big. Unfortunately, NFL defenses
will catch onto his trick quickly unless he is operating opposite
a true alpha receiver.
Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured
in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He
is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst
on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM’s
“Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy
Sports Writers Association.