TJ VASHER: NEXT LEVEL PROSPECTS
Well folks, I didn’t think that come early November I would be sitting here thinking about the NFL Draft. However, here we are. My Patriots are 2-5 and falling apart like 1-ply toilet paper, and our receiving corps might not be able to get open against a Division III secondary. With that being said, I, the top talent evaluator for the New England Patriots (or at least maybe I should be given the Patriots can’t draft a wide receiver) am here to give my two cents on some stud college receivers.
Starting the series is an absolute SPECIMEN at a 6’6”, 216 pounds. Meet Texas Tech’s TJ Vasher.
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 11 : T.J. Vasher #9 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders stands on the sidelines during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Texas Tech Red Raiders on November 11, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Texas Tech defeated Baylor 38-24. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
Vasher is a puzzling prospect. His size, catch radius, and potential to improve at the next level are positives. Yet his lack of production in an air raid offense is disconcerting. His freshman year he posted a promising 29-545-6 stat line. His sophomore campaign picked up a little bit. 54-687-7 in his second year was a big step forward, and he added some incredible highlight reel grabs that were destined for a date with Sports Center. However, a lack of opportunities combined with poor team success guided Vasher to a disappointing 42-515-6 line in his junior season. Through 4 games here in 2020 he has produced a slightly disappointing 14-163-2 line.
With that being said, his best game this season was against #8 Texas, and their stout secondary, where he caught two touchdowns and racked up 74 yards in their overtime loss to the Longhorns. NFL scouts love to see players show out in the biggest games, which is something he has consistently done. In his junior year, Texas Tech played 3 games against ranked teams. While he was shut down against #6 Oklahoma, he showed out in the other two games. Against #22 Baylor, he had an incredible touchdown grab in overtime. He hauled in 5 balls for 110 yards and a touchdown against #21 Oklahoma State.
In Texas Tech’s rivalry games against Texas, Vasher has always played incredible ball, posting a 22-330-5 line in just four games.
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 08: T.J. Vasher #9 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders makes a leaping catch against Tyler Rios #12 of the Lamar Cardinals during the first half of the game on September 08, 2018 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
It’s a shame that Vasher wasn’t used much in 2016 when Patrick Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns in just 12 games. However, he has shown great ability to track the ball and compete at a high level.
Multiple teams are looking to add a complimentary piece to their receiving corps. I don’t think this is what the Patriots are looking for, just because they already have their “big body” with N’Keal Harry. When it comes to Vasher and his 6’6” frame, I look at teams like the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, who might be looking for that big outside receiver to compliment Davante Adams and AJ Brown, respectively. It’s about time that the cheeseheads got Aaron Rodgers another weapon (and a little run defense). Meanwhile, Tennessee needs more help on defense than anything else, but I could see Vasher having great success in a system that fits his playstyle well. They’re a big, physical team (ie. Derrick Henry) and I think he would fit in nicely. If this guy had trailblazing speed like Randy Moss, he could be the second coming. He is projected to run somewhere in the 4.5 and maybe even 4.4 range in the 40- yard dash. If he shows out at the combine, he could climb up the draft boards.