2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Javon McKinley

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports


Notre Dame wide receiver Javon McKinley will enter the NFL draft process as an underachieving pass-catcher relative to the flashes of talent he put on display with the Irish during his graduate season in 2020. McKinley enjoyed a career year, posting 42 receptions for 717 yards (17.1 YPC) as a vertical target for Ian Book. The Irish offense served as a nice foil to McKinley’s vertical skills; he successfully stacked defenders with hand fighting and physicality and showed effective over-the-shoulder ball tracking skills to help consistently pick up chunk gains as a pass-catcher. The Irish did sprinkle in some alternate usages, such as a now screen out of trips to give him run after catch opportunities, but McKinley is a slow-burn, long strider and his appeal in pass-catching comes down the field, not in creating for himself with the football. Medicals are a cause for concern for McKinley as well; he played in just 10 games between the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons combined in large part because of a foot injury that forced him to miss the entire 2017 season. Given his low usage (31 games) as a graduate senior, McKinley is understandably raw as a pure route-runner and will need development. But his athletic ceiling may be a barrier to long-term investment and McKinley will need to impress on teams in order to stand out and stick as a young NFL receiver. The good news? He was asked to participate in plenty of blocking at Notre Dame and he was pretty good at it. 

Ideal Role: Special teams contributor.

Scheme Fit: Vertical passing offense.

Written by Kyle Crabbs

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Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Founder and Director of Scouting

Kyle Crabbs is the Founder and Director of Scouting for The Draft Network. Prior to his time with TDN, Kyle worked for seven years as the founder of his own third-party scouting service, NDT Scouting. Providing media coverage and also consultation services for agencies, Crabbs penned an annual NFL Draft Prospectus featuring 300+ player profiles on an annual basis from 2014-2020. Crabbs is currently the co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast with fellow TDN scout Joe Marino and helps coordinate TDN's national scouting effort.

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