2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Prospect: Antonio Callaway
Ht: 5'10" Wt: 193
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Callaway has certainly made headlines in his first two seasons in Gainesville. Unfortunately, not all of them have been for his play on the field. He is just one yard short of 1400 receiving yards for his career thus far and will look to add to that total as a junior. Still, the first number scouts are going to be concerned with is the number of suspensions Callaway has racked up. In 2016, he and a teammate were suspended indefinitely after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman. While he was later found not responsible in that instance, there was a clear lack of judgment on his part, and Callaway will also be sitting out the opener of the 2017 season for failing a drug test. His play has left many salivating over his potential at the next level, but if his decisions off the field don't improve, his draft stock will continue to take a major hit.
Initially, when I watched Callaway, I thought he reminded me of DeSean Jackson. After having scouted him for five games, I think he lacks that extra gear that, quite frankly, only Jackson seems to have on the field. Still, he is a speedster with the ability to make big plays from anywhere on the field. He has terrific vision in the open field, and he plays at full speed. He also has loose hips which allow him to be extremely agile. Callaway weaves through traffic while losing very little speed when he has the ball in his hands. This not only helps him as a receiver but also as a return man where he is one of the most dangerous in the country. Florida also designs a lot of "gadget" plays in order to get the ball in his hands. He regularly gets screens, jet sweeps, and reverses which will likely be included in his duties at the next level too.
Two things really surprised me when scouting Callaway. First, he runs very nice routes for a smaller receiver. Usually, little speedsters like Callaway don't run the best routes, and if they do, it is from the slot position. Callaway has a knack for running possession routes like curls and comebacks, and even stems his deep routes well. He regularly gets defenders to flip their hips before breaking in the opposite direction. The other thing that shocked me was how comfortable he was extending his hands to the ball, and snatching it. Just watching Callaway play, I didn't peg him to have exceptional hands, but he does. Even more important is that extending his hands to the ball seems to be his default. Some receivers have good hands but let the ball into their body far too often (see my Scouting Report on Calvin Ridley). The more I watched, the more I noticed that he extended his hands to the ball far more often than not.
The hard truth to his game is that he is just a slender build and not that tall. Callaway may be lightning in a bottle, but when he gets bottled up, he needs to get to the ground. With his game being centered on speed, it isn't realistic to think that he can add the necessary bulk to survive in the NFL. With that being said, he can develop the mentality that when the play is over, it is time to get down. He does tend to play with his emotions on his sleeve, which is good when things are going in his favor. On the other hand, Callaway can quickly become his own worst enemy when things aren't going his way. Focus is everything at the receiver position, and Callaway has to learn to keep that focus at all times. He also doesn't offer much as a blocker in the run game.
Callaway would have a fringe first-round status if we limited our scope to what he does on the field, but as I mentioned earlier, that isn't where his story ends. There are a lot of character "red flags, " and if a top-10 talent like Dalvin Cook can watch his stock drop because of similar issues, then Callaway could see an even bigger fall. He keeps himself in very good shape, and the passion he plays with on the field are good signs that he loves the game, but is he willing to make some lifestyle changes in order to secure his future? The failed drugs tests, and poor decisions off the field, as well as the company he keeps, will not be tolerated in the NFL. He still has a while before next April, and that is only if he chooses to leave early. I would spend whatever remaining time he has in Gainesville and turn myself into the model citizen if he wants to get his name back into the first-round conversation.
Compares to (Current NFL Player): Stefon Diggs (Minnesota Vikings)
- Electrifying player with terrific speed and agility
- Great vision in the open field
- Plays at full speed
- Advanced route-runner
- Comfortably extends hands to the ball and snatches it
- Added value on "gadget" plays and in return game
- Slender build
- Under 6'0" tall
- Serious character issues
- Focus lapses on field
|Video Courtesy of Gator FX|
1)   Antonio Callaway among Gators reportedly set to face felony charges   - Collegefootballtalk.com |
2)   Jim McElwain 'really disappointed' in Florida WR Antonio Callaway; no word on discipline   - SECCountry.com |
3)   Column: Florida's win vs. Tennessee shows that the Gators don't need Callaway
- Alligator.Org |
4)   Antonio Callaway Instagram|