2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: JJ Arcega-Whiteside
Weight: 224 pounds
Round Projection: 2-3
Unlike many receivers that prefer a clean, uncontested catch, Whiteside prefers the contact. With the corner fighting for the ball, he will adjust catch angle to give the quarterback a wide window. In return, plays away from his body, even with the defender draped over him. Despite the physicality, Whiteside will fight to pluck the ball out of the air with a degree of certainty.
Despite averaging 15.9 yards per grab, Whiteside does not possess blinding speed. However, while he gathers speed via long strides, his acceleration allows him to pull away from defenders. When Stanford needed a vertical play, Whiteside beat the corner to get open. After the catch, he accelerates, albeit straightlinish.
During his time in Palo Alto, Whiteside evolved from a standout athlete to disciplined football player. In his routes, Whiteside does not telegraph his route. That is to say, corners cannot immediately guess or jump the pattern. As a result, some are caught off-guard by guessing the wrong route. At the next level, Whiteside must continue this versus elite cornerbacks.
For his size, the route tree looks rather open. Along with the standard post, fade, go, and out, Whiteside brings his own touch to the tree. First, he will feature a stutter drag. Whiteside will chop his stride, giving the illusion of a stutter go. However, he breaks off a drag, creating space between him and the defender. In addition, in the red zone, Whiteside does not fear the out and up, as a means of creating space. Defenders will bite on the hard out, pressing their foot too far outside, unable to recover.
The son of two international basketball players, Whiteside implements that aspect into his on-field approach. If you consider his ability to easily, rise above defenders to secure the catch. In addition, like a power forward, White will box out or shield defenders by contact on patterns.
Under Jon Gruden, the Raiders value bigger wideouts that can learn the scheme, run sharp routes and win with strength. If Whiteside does not check the boxes, who will? Between the twenties, the Raiders could enjoy a receiver, unafraid of contact. Moreover, Whiteside gives Derek Carr an aggressive target that will fight for every target in his direction. Granted, he does not possess elite speed, but the Raiders should value the physicality and ability to absorb contact during contested catches.