ATHENS, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Xavier Legette #17 of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks for yardage during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Xavier Legette #17 of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks for yardage during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Xavier Legette Reminds Former NFL Scout of These Legends

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COLLEGE STATION, TX – OCTOBER 28: South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) warms up before the football game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 28, 2023, in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

While there is all this scuttlebutt at the Reese’s Senior Bowl if South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette is 6-foot-3 (as listed on South Carolina’s website) or 6-foot-1 (as measured at the event), I was focused on something more important.

I was focused on Legette’s game film.

He reminds me of receivers of yesteryear, Art Monk (Redskins), Jerry Rice (49ers), and Al Toon (Jets). The guys I grew up watching as a kid.

That’s my compliment to Legette. It was that much fun watching him on game film.

What does he have in common with the greats?

Legette makes it look easy.

Tell me more

Legette has an ironclad athletic build. He’s lean and dense muscle wearing football pads.

This South Carolina draft prospect also looks like a crafty NFL veteran the way he runs his routes.

Wow, he’s smooth.

Legette has this spontaneous and impulsive ability to put little moves on corners, whether releasing from the line of scrimmage at the snap or when ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz,’ with a quick little move when going deep. Either way, it’s enough to earn Legette route leverage (position advantage against the cornerback he’s matched up against).

He destroys zone coverage.

Legette glides with quickly building speed ⎯driving into secondaries like a paper airplane. Knowing how to work cornerbacks is another trait he possesses. He sails across the quarterback’s face either on shallow or intermediate-level crossing routes or he drives with authority into his routes (secondaries have to respect his deep game) before turning back and making receptions while using his strong frame to shield and box out cornerbacks.

A CBS commentator against Georgia said, “He’s got that type of look that we’d seen years ago, Mike Evans [Buccaneer’s wide receiver], where it’s a tough match up,” when speaking of Legette.

Did I mention the deep game?

I touched on it, but now I will say more.

Legette’s deep game is legit. This isn’t another possession receiver with a pretty face. While he can catch short wide receiver lateral bubble screens, that’s not really his deal. He thrives further downfield.

Highpointing the ball-contested catches ⎯ are both things he excels at. Legette has a good sense of timing when to go up and get it and he gets it. Good vertical too, which is another check-marked box.

The good prospects are so easy to write.

Catch rate

A look at Legette’s catch rate (South Carolina):

2020: 7 receptions on 14 targets (50%)

2021: 8 receptions on 15 targets (53%)

2022: 18 receptions on 31 targets (58%)

2023: 71 receptions on 97 targets (73%)

What will happen?

I tend to look at league prescience when grading as well. There is some Deebo Samuel (49ers) and Treylon Burks (Titans) mixed into Legette in terms of valuation. Legette has the build for it and has been known to take handoffs. Legette has that deep game Burks showed coming out of Arkansas.

Samuel went No. 36 overall to San Francisco in 2019, but Burks went No. 18 to Tennessee in the 2022 draft.

Xavier Legette 6-foot-1 (Senior Bowl) 223 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: First-Round (I would select him)

Projected by 21.1% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of February 1, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2022 game film reviewed: Notre Dame (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

2023 game film reviewed: Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State, Clemson and Texas A&M

2023 stats: 71 receptions for 1,255 yards (17.7 avg.), 7 TD, long of 76

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Strong target who showed high-level receiving skills beyond his years. Trusted target at South Carolina. Competitive. Lines up out wide or in the slot. Smooth strider. Runs routes to get open rather than well-defined routes which makes him tough to cover. Gets to the spot. Works back to quarterback when in trouble. HIGHLY INSTICTUAL. Natural. Good hands, but does occasionally drop passes he shouldn’t have. Average adjust. Showed burst after the grab (Mississippi State). Not the easiest to bring down. Excellent deep ball tracking. Gets into blocking.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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