This series will feature the top NFL Draft prospects with insight from the beat reporters that covered them in college. This article is just a preview of the full interview which can be heard on the Deep Slant podcast.
Name: Jordan Addison
Height/Weight: 5-11, 173
Hometown: Frederick, MD
Sidhu: We want to talk all about USC prospect wide receiver Jordan Addison. I don't know if you've seen the mock drafts, but he's been pretty popular recently among mock draft experts saying that the Texans may take him.
James: Jordan Addison is a really good prospect. Obviously, the year before last winning the Biletnikoff Award for Pitt with Kenny Pickett. Then the stats dropped off a little bit with USC's depth at wide receiver. He helped Caleb Williams win the Heisman Trophy. A Little banged up, kind of frail, thin frame, but all in all, he's still, to me, the best route runner in a wide receiver class that's not very deep. He stands out to me. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, of course, stands out but Jordan Addison is the best route runner and has some of the best hands, especially catching the deep ball. Whoever the Texans have at quarterback definitely can get helped out by Jordan Addison day one. He's a guy that can come in right away and catch some balls 60, 70 passes his rookie year.
Smith: I think the one thing I read over and over about him is his speed and route running, that those are the traits that really separate him from some of the other wide receivers. Even during USC's Rainy Pro day, he was running some pretty crisp routes. Where do you think he fits in best in an NFL offense?
James: I think a West Coast style offense kind of fits him better just because he reminds me a lot of DeVonta Smith and I'm sure you'll hear a lot of that during the process. For him to be kind of a slender guy, he'll run across the middle for you, but he's a little better in short routes, slants and quick bursts and deep downfield too, I think he's really good. I think he had some concentration issues early on in his career, but for the most part, he can just do everything. Obviously not the best blocker in the world, being kind of a smaller guy and he's not a speedster like his Combine scores or testing wasn't off the charts, but that's not really him.
He's a guy that's just going to catch the ball, come in every day and just grind and be a team leader too. I think that's something he did in the offseason was to put all the receivers together, Brenden Rice and all those guys, CJ Williams, Caleb Williams to getting those guys together. He's going to be a leader in the locker room, which I think the Texans need and a guy that can do a little bit of everything. His route tree is just - he can run every route. So like I said, he's not going to go across the middle and catch the ball like a Andre Johnson or somebody like that. He's not a big boy, but he can do a little bit of everything for you. So that's going to be a good thing for the Texans to have coming up.
Sidhu: You've mentioned his measurables a few times, 5-11,173. He is kind of slight and that might be one of the negatives about him as a draft prospect just for people that care about size and stuff like that. But even in his final seven games at USC, his TD production wasn't super high, only two touchdowns in the final seven games even though he was catching passes from Caleb Williams. How concerned should teams be with that final lack of production and size?
James: I think for the production, USC was so deep at wide receiver. I mean, you look at at Mario Williams and Brenden Rice, Tahj Washington, Kyle Ford. They have so many receivers at USC - a couple of them transferred and they were 4 or 5 stars. Michael Jackson was there and they got some guys coming in that are really good too. I'm not really worried about the production. Caleb Williams was also running the ball a little bit more too at the end of the season and they spread it out. That's just how the offense is. If you looked at Lincoln Riley's offenses from the past, that's just how they do. They spread it out. They run a lot of four and five wides. (RB) Travis Dye was getting the ball a lot more. They were trying to run the ball more before he got hurt. So I'm not worried about the production. I don't think that's on him. His production was so high and off the charts the season before, you knew he wasn't going to match that. Those stats. I mean, Kenny Pickett, that was his guy. That's really all they had was Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison. So I figured his stats would drop off.
And the measurables I'm not worried about either. He could get hurt a little bit more so, but like I said, DeVonta Smith seems like he's been fine and they remind me a lot of each other. DeVonta was insane winning the Heisman his year with Mac Jones and all those guys. He's not quite that good, but he's right there. He could be a star wide receiver. He'll never be a top five, top ten receiver, really. But he'll always be in that 15 to 20 range and he'll make a couple Pro Bowls on the right squad.
Sidhu: Addison has an NIL deal with United which has a hub in Houston - that just fits a little too perfectly. Obviously, he's got a lot of charisma so what's his personality like off the field?
James: He does have a lot of charisma, but he kind of is quiet, a little bit. He's not like a rah-rah guy, he leads by example more so. Guys follow him. He and Caleb just had a really good relationship, them going and throwing with each other. Like nine or 10 receivers went out there and with Miller Moss, the backup quarterback, and Caleb Williams, having those guys get together in the offseason was huge. Lincoln Riley loves him, (Pat) Narduzzi,his old coach, loves him, his high school coaches love him and he does have a lot of charisma. He'll be good for the Texans and what they're trying to do. I know DeMeco Ryans has a pretty big personality as well, so he'll like that. He's got some personality to him but he's not too much, nothing too over the top for receiver.