Bo Melton is a New Jersey-born and bred football player who hasn’t left the state. He spent his college career playing for a Rutgers team that has just recently transferred to the Big Ten conference. This change has brought on more media coverage for the New Jersey-based school but has also brought a higher level of competition. This conference change has attracted athletes like Melton to stay in-state but unfortunately hasn’t attracted the competent quarterbacks they need. And that may be to his detriment. Is Melton a stand-out on a sub-par squad, or is he a stud waiting for the right QB? Let’s find out together!
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Age: 22
- School: Rutgers
- Height: 5’ 11”
- Weight: 189 lbs
- Arm Length: 31 ¼”
- 40 – time: 4.34
Melton was a 4-star recruit coming out of Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. He received over 25 Division One offers from high school, including some big schools like Michigan, Ohio State, and Nebraska. Melton ultimately decided to stay at home and commit to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Like most college players, Melton had a quiet start to his career. He only hauled in 32 receptions for 328 yards through his first two seasons. However, Rutgers only won three games during that same timespan, to put that into context. His breakout game came his Junior season when he hauled in six receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. This performance was in the first game of the season against the University of Massachusetts. Rutgers struggled with only one win the rest of the season, and Melton similarly struggled, failing to break 60 yards for the rest of the year. Then the pandemic hit.
The Big Ten played a shortened 2020 season amid the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Without fans in the stands, Melton produced 47 receptions for 638 yards that year. Despite the low volume, Melton was averaging 13.6 yards per reception. 2021 saw a similar stat line with 55 receptions for 618 yards. Melton had to deal with inaccurate and under or overthrown balls his entire college career. I should mention here that quarterback play is not the strongest for Rutgers. Rutgers University is a smaller school that recently joined the Big Ten and is still playing catch up in the recruiting game.
The numbers don’t lie, and Melton is a fast man. He clocked in with a 4.34 40 at the NFL combine this spring. And if you watch the film, you can see this speed shine on the field. In this clip, Melton put on a double move on the corner. He is about to kick into fourth gear, and this corner knows what’s coming. In this scenario, the defensive player decides that the penalty will be a much better outcome than getting torched by Melton’s top-end speed.
This clip is from a crazy ending to the game against Indiana in the 2020 season. Here we see Rutgers trying to score last second to pull out a win and use the old pitch and pray method. After many hijinx, Melton finds the ball in his hands for the final sprint down the sideline.
Finding Soft Spots In Zone Coverage
When watching the All-22, Melton has the field presence to navigate zone coverages and find soft spots for his quarterback. In this clip, he traverses across the formation for a touchdown. Melton leaves his corner behind him and lets his quarterback find him for the score. He does this while respecting the padding in the zone coverage and finding the soft spot.
Areas of Concern
Translation to the Next Level
Watching the tape of Melton is a lot of fun. I highly recommend his high school highlights if you have some time. He is the best player on the field, and you can see how he found himself with multiple Division One offers. It was undeniable he was being held back by subpar QB play in college. The one concern is how this game with translate to the next level. How will he perform on Sundays when the corner playing opposite him is just as strong as an athlete and probably has more experience than Melton.
Melton is a speedy and athletic player. He, unfortunately, had to deal with less than stellar QB play during his time at Rutgers University, but if you watch the tape, you can see the skills. He is not projected to go very high in the NFL draft this weekend but will be a name to watch out for as a surprise day two pick. His most likely landing spot will be sometime on day three, and this is less than ideal for fantasy football purposes.
Historically, day three WRs only have a less than ten percent chance of returning you a WR3 or better season. That is probably the line I would draw regarding “usable” fantasy assets. Can Melton be the next Antonio Brown? Or will he be a late-round version of John Ross? My bet would be he would fall somewhere in between. A promising third-round rookie pick but don’t let the hype cause you to reach.
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