2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: John Hightower
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Boise State University
Weight: 175 pounds
Despite only playing two seasons at Boise State, Hightower’s catching ability improved. He presented a long-limbed target with a catch radius that expands vertically. More importantly, he catches the ball with his eyes first. That is to say, Hightower focuses with laser-precision, regardless of direction. On top of that, he will open the backshoulder on the fade, allowing quarterback an ample target.
From the snap, despite the long frame, Hightower gets to speed rapidly. To his credit, he tracks the ball and does not overrun the route, even though he’s beaten the corner.
For a rangy wideout, watch Hightower’s toes. he easily stops, cuts, and accelerates. With the ball, he will cutback, across the field, inducing missed arm tackles. Additionally, with a jump stop, Hightowers utilizes a hand sweep to elude contact.
Hightower will face the jam at the next level. He will need to get stronger. As a result, he needs to rely on his quicks and length to prevent corners from burying their hands on his chest. After, he traces sharp routes and will only expand his route tree at the next level.
In surrendering a draft pick to the Bills, the Raiders hoped Zay Jones would provide a roster piece that gave Derek Carr another target. Yet, Jones failed to build any chemistry with Carr. Worse, averaging a tick above seven yards per catch does not work. Buffalo won that trade and it looks like Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden failed there. Granted, a Day Three pick may not appear like a big deal, the team practically received little, if no help in the passing game. While Maxx Crosby and Trayvon Mullen look like draft successes, Zay Jones’ inability to make a dent, remains a draft miss, considering his vanishing during games.
While other receivers possess similar traits, Hightower possesses certain advantages. First, before this article publishes, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock jointly observed Hightower at the Shrine Game. Up close and personal, they could see a vertical threat with return abilities that helps the offense. More importantly, with Hightower’s ability to separate, that nullifies any defense of the team lacking a valid deep threat. Granted, other players can run the go pattern, as well. Yet, Hightower’s variation on the vertical patterns will set him apart. Plus, as a bonus, the Raiders could see him name midway on Day Three. As a result, talent, value, and an immediate plug-in give Hightower a nod, should the Raiders choose him.