Know Your Prospect: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the former bucket-getter turned touchdown getter

It's draft season and it's time to get acquainted with some potential future 49ers

Tommy Call
April 05, 2019 - 6:41 am

We’re officially inside one month away from the 2019 NFL Draft and 95.7 The Game’s “Know Your Prospect” series is underway. Over the next month we will highlight some of the top players, best fits and names you should know for the 2019 draft class. With Jimmy Garoppolo coming back from injury and with pressure building for John Lynch in year three the 49ers desperately need to put together a draft haul that can make an impact day one.

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JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver, Stanford

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 225 LBS

2018 Stats: 63 REC, 1059 Yards, 14 REC TD

Pro Day 40-Yard Dash: 4.49

 

Technique Freak:

JJ Arecega-Whiteside primarily played on the outside down on the farm and ran a pretty standard route tree, but when tasked with creating space via pure technique he impressed. He has a nuanced approach to route running, that even when it looks like he is doing something simple he’s baiting defensive backs with each step.

What’s really impressive is how he gets off the line with his releases. Head fakes, jab steps and everything else Arcega-Whiteside has it. Standing at 6’2, 225 lbs Arcega-Whiteside can create speed with ease off the line while working into his routes. While Arcega-Whiteside is primarily known as a big red-zone target, his ability to create space off the line has turned him into an underrated receiver down the field. Arcega-Whiteside’s mix of creativity and technique checks several boxes on Kyle Shanahan’s wide receiver wish list.

Touchdown-Getter:

Dante Pettis led 49ers receivers with five touchdowns last season — that's it.

There’s no doubt they need a receiver who can find the endzone and Arcega-Whiteside might be the cure. Arcega-Whiteside grabbed more than triple the amount of touchdowns last season than any 49er with 14 of his own scores. Arcega-Whiteside was a former basketball player who turned from a bucket-getter to a certified touchdown-getter. Arcega-Whiteside grabbed six touchdowns in Stanford’s first two games to start 2018 — on only 11 receptions (that’s not a typo).  

According to Davis Mattek, Arcega-Whiteside accounted for 31 percent of Stanford’s total team touchdowns with 14.9 percent of his targets going for touchdowns. Say what you will about Arcega-Whiteside as a prospect, but there is no denying he has a nose for the endzone.

Ball Skills:

Both of Arcega-Whiteside’s parents were pro basketball players in Europe while Arcega-Whiteside himself was an all-state high school basketball player in North Carolina and it shows. Arcega-Whiteside knows how to use his size not to just outjump his receivers, but contort his body to get the football in any situation. When the ball is up in the air Arcega-Whiteside comes down with it almost not matter what. Defensive backs can hold, tackle and mug Arcega-Whiteside, but it just doesn’t work. It’s almost not fair for defenders.

Watching Arcega-White you’ll become conditioned to just expect him to embarrass a defensive back by treating him like a little kid while catching a touchdown. It’s almost like a game a three-flies up on the school yard and Arcega-Whiteside is the bully that comes down with every ball. Arcega-Whiteside seems to embrace the contact with a sense of physicality that is rare from a wide receiver.

Round Grade: Top-50 pick

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