Games Evaluated: 2018 Vs: Florida, SMU, Ohio State; 2019 Vs: Indiana
Report By: Ryan Lippert
DEEP SPEED: 7.40
Peoples-Jones isn't what I'd call a "freak athlete" by any means but I think it will be adequate enough for him to at least have a role at the next level. He has solid initial quickness/burst out of his stance at the beginning of his routes but after that, his quickness isn't going to be enough to make defenders miss in the open field. As far as speed goes, his long strides help him to gain ground on defensive backs and create separation. Where he stands out athletically is his balance/body control. He has a great ability to turn and keep his balance while using his long frame to go up for contested jump balls.
WITHOUT BALL: 6.74
QUICKS OFF LOS: 7.20
RELEASE VS JAM: 5.60
ROUTE RUNNING: 6.30
As I previously mentioned, Peoples-Jones isn't going to blow you away with his quickness. As a route runner, he is more smooth/fluid as he doesn't have the quick, sharp cuts in his routes. However, he has shown that he can run a variety of routes which will help him at the next level. He will be best suited as a deep threat with the ability to create separation. I also like him as a blocker as he does a great job of using his long frame to wall off defenders from the ball carrier. One thing he will need to work on is his release against a jam as he really didn't see much press coverage in college playing out of the slot.
WITH BALL IN HANDS: 6.68
YARDS AFTER CONTACT: 5.80
ABILITY IN SPACE: 6.50
BALL SECURITY: 6.80
One thing that stuck out to me on film is that Peoples-Jones has great hands. He does a great job of looking the ball into his hands and is truly outstanding when it comes to catching contested passes. He does a terrific job of using his frame to catch the ball at it’s highest point over defenders. After the catch, he isn't electric as far as making defenders miss but he has the speed to turn upfield and pick up extra yards.
While he did have some injury concerns at Michigan, Peoples-Jones showed a nice amount of toughness when he was on the field. He showed that he could make catches through contact, isn't afraid to dive across the middle for passes, and isn't afraid to get physical as a blocker. A big thing that worries me with him is his production. After coming in as a highly touted recruit, he underperformed throughout his college career. However, his effort doesn't seem to be a concern as he always seemed to play with a high motor.
POSITION VERSATILITY: 5.80
He showed great instincts on film as he knew when to turn and look for the ball, especially in jump ball situations. His instincts were also shown when the quarterback was under pressure as he knew when to come off his route and find a way to get open as well as when to become a blocker when the quarterback decided to take off as a runner. You also won't see him make the same mistake twice very often on film as he seemed to learn from it and adjust accordingly on the next play. As far as position versatility goes, he played mainly in the slot and looked the most comfortable in that position but did play on the outside some in the red zone.
One major strength in his game is that Peoples-Jones has great hands. He truly looks the ball in and catches the ball with his hands instead of his body for the most part. He is also an athletic wide receiver that can get up and get passes at their highest point. I also love his frame for a wideout, especially his wingspan. This helps him win those contested jump balls and makes him a solid blocker. He gets extended on defensive backs and makes it hard for them to get off blocks.
The biggest thing that concerns me with Peoples-Jones is his lack of production. As the top receiver coming out of high school, he has yet to truly put up WR1 numbers. However, he also had inconsistent quarterback play so it'll be interesting to see what he can do with a solid NFL quarterback throwing him the ball. I also worry about him against press-man as he truly wasn't exposed to it as much in college. I don't see him being able to rely on his explosion off the line and speed as much as he did in college as he will likely be jammed off the line more often and by more physical defensive backs.
Donovan Peoples-Jones is a prospect who had a lot of hype coming out of high school as a five-star prospect. He has shown some flashes of potential but hasn't quite lived up to everything he was thought to be. As a freshman, Peoples-Jones saw playing time in every game as a wide receiver and punt returner. He finished the season with 22 receptions for 277 yards. As for all-purpose yards, he finished with 654 total yards and scored his only touchdown on a punt return. He made Big Ten Honorable Mention as a punt returner. As a sophomore, he improved a little as he finished with 47 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns, while continuing to serve his role as the team's punt returner, returning one punt for a touchdown. He earned 3rd Team All-Big Ten honors as both a wide receiver and a punt returner. In his junior season at Michigan, Peoples-Jones was only able to play in eleven games due to injury and finished with 34 receptions for 438 yards and six touchdowns. Although he didn't necessarily live up to his hype in college, I still believe that Peoples-Jones is an intriguing prospect as he has the physical tools. I don't see him ever being a WR1 but if placed in the right system with a reliable quarterback, I believe that he can be a solid rotational wide receiver in the league for many years to come.
Round Projection: 4-5; Team Fits: Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts;
NFL Comparison: Mohamed Sanu