2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Dante Pettis
Position: Wide Receiver/Returner
Weight: 175 pounds
Projected Round: 3-4
Whenever Dante Pettis had the ball, Washington was howling.
The omega to John Ross’ alpha at UW in 2016, expectations for Pettis were high. After an electric junior campaign (17 total touchdowns, 15 receiving, 2 punt returns), fans wanted more. As a senior, the Huskies dynamic weapon totaled 11 TDs (seven by way of reception and four housed punts).
Yet, despite all that, Pettis’ consensus ceiling is a No. 2 wideout or slot man. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah does have Pettis at No. 46 in his first Top 50 NFL draft prospects, and praises both his skills as a wide receiver and returner.
“One of the best punt returners I’ve ever evaluated,” Jeremiah noted. “He sets up blocks, gets north/south and makes defenders miss without gearing down.
“Pettis should emerge as a solid No. 2 wideout and a Pro Bowl punt returner.”
With nine career punt-returns for a score, that alone may get Pettis drafted earlier than anticipated. Nevertheless, there is something that cannot be ignored: He is far from polished as a wide receiver.
The Oakland Raiders’ drought at housed punts is ungodly. Johnnie Lee Higgins was the last player to bring one home. It is high time the Raiders special teams get that kind of bite back in the return game. Pettis is the template. Can become a young possession type receiver who can work in the slot.
Smooth route runner who has solid footwork and body movement. A double-move specialist who can get defenders to bite and create separation. Can reach top speed quickly and maintain quickness in and out of breaks. Electrifying return man who has keen sense of patience and pedal-to-the-metal attitude. Very elusive in open space.
Contested catches. Lack of strength and high-pointing ball when a defender is on him. If unable to create separation with route running and double-moves, will have trouble making the grab. Despite ability to breakaway, defenders have penchant to catch up and recover. Tendency to drop balls over the middle. Run blocking needs refinement, especially on a Raiders team dependent on wideouts occupying and walling off defenders.