“It’s possible to both know and not know something.”― Emily St. John Mandel
Huddle up, Nerds! It’s that magical time of the year when we put the incoming rookie class under a fantasy microscope. As in the NFL, drafting well is a cornerstone of successful dynasty fantasy football. But fear not. Dynasty Nerds has you covered with a series of draft profiles bursting with scouting details guaranteed to have you sitting pretty for your pending rookie draft(s).
In this installment, we’ll explore the latest receiver stemming from a storied LSU lineage. Junior wideout Kayshon Boutte (BOO-tay) made some news in the offseason when he first committed to returning to Baton Rouge for his senior campaign, only to reverse course and declare for the NFL Draft just days before LSU’s Citrus Bowl appearance.
Boutte’s collegiate career was nearly as enigmatic as his draft decision process. The highly coveted prospect burst on the scene as a true freshman, appearing in 10 games and collecting 735 yards and five touchdowns. However, after an injury-truncated sophomore season, he failed to rebound in 2022. Boutte’s springboard season to the NFL saw him accumulate just 538 yards and a pair of scores.
So what does Boutte do well? Is there enough potential to believe that he can succeed as a pro? And, should you be concerned about his lack of recent production? Read on, my friend, as we explore the answers to these questions and more!
What Is There To Like?
No stranger to slot play, Boutte has proven himself as a reliable option on short to intermediate routes. He is unfazed by traffic and can locate and operate within tight windows. Unlike many young receivers who can be plagued by concentration drops, he consistently secures the ball even in the face of certain impact.
The clip below is a trademark example of Boutte’s midfield toughness. Against UCLA, Boutte runs a slant route with defenders lurking. He deftly executes the hands catch while on the move. Then, undaunted by the pending contact, he keeps his legs churning through impact and manages to break a tackle before ultimately going down.
These types of receptions will never lead a highlight reel. However, they are essential to keeping an offense on schedule, and this sort of dependability is sure to impress coaches and scouts.
Boutte reportedly ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.37 seconds as a teenager in New Iberia, Louisiana. In addition to football, Boutte was a track athlete at Westgate High School, where he headlined a crew that shattered a 23-year Louisiana track record in the 4x200m relay.
On film, Boutte has certainly shown flashes of his speedy potential in his LSU tenure. Somewhat surprisingly, the attribute shines brightest in his usage as a runner in jet sweeps and reverses. He hits the edges with good momentum and utilizes crafty footwork to elude defenders. The clip below against Central Michigan is a prime example of these talents.
Though Boutte has a demonstrated history of quickness, Combine and Pro Day performances under a stopwatch will be critical in validating his acceleration and velocity. Should he post impressive speed numbers during these evaluations, Boutte could easily see his stock surge.
What Should Concern You?
While it is true that Boutte does not seem to suffer from concentration drops, his overall commitment from play to play is a very real concern. There is a marked drop-off in effort when he does not anticipate being targeted as the primary receiver. Running routes at half speed and lackluster attempts at blocking are likely to give scouts a negative first impression.
Take, for example, the clip below against Kentucky. Instead of positioning his man on this designed outside rush attempt, Boutte simply goes through the motions. He remains almost entirely vertical through the block, failing to bend his knees in order to adequately anchor. With his hands, he simply pattycakes the defensive back, who easily sidesteps Boutte en route to making the tackle.
Whether it’s a question of situational awareness or simple willingness, these lapses are a significant concern for Boutte’s pro prospects. Granted, intangibles like attitude and grit don’t show on a fantasy stat sheet. They do, however, have a very real impact on how much trust (and therefore playing time) a coach is willing to invest in a young player.
Comparison – Percy Harvin
Prior to seeing some of Boutte’s pre-draft measurables, he is admittedly a tough prospect to gauge. However, in looking at his film, I find a lot of similarities to Percy Harvin.
For those newer to the game, allow me to give a brief overview of Harvin’s NFL career. A speedy prospect out of the University of Florida, Harvin was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Vikings. His eight-year pro career was hallmarked as a speed threat who made his biggest impact as a gadget player and through special teams contributions. Though he was always respected by defenses as a big play threat, he never eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Take a look at the clips below. In the first, Boutte is utilized on a reverse which is designed to capitalize on his speed and spring him for a big gain. Then, contrast that with Harvin on a nearly identical play, in which his top-notch mobility springs him for a red zone chunk play against Washington.
Based on the film alone, I fear that Kayshon Boutte’s career arc may mirror that of Harvin. And though the prospect of an eight-year NFL stint is certainly nothing to sneeze at, that type of role is not one that portends a ton of fantasy value.
With good hands and tremendous speed, there’s no question that Boutte possesses the tools to become a valuable weapon in a pro offense. That said, concerns over effort and maturity cloud his outlook and may possibly limit his overall potential.
For a player with such quickness, examples of Boutte being utilized as a deep threat are surprisingly scarce. This absence may be simply schematic or reflective of a larger hole in his abilities. Nevertheless, it’s an element that bears further attention.
Like many young players, Boutte would benefit most from sound coaching and a development opportunity to emerge from a supporting role. Sadly, a return for his senior season at LSU would likely have been Boutte’s best option. However, as an early declaration, he’ll need to land in the right NFL situation for long-term success.
Boutte has routinely been drafted in NFL mocks as a Day 2 selection. Personally, I feel that may be optimistic. However, if a team does indeed make that type of investment, it will obviously be a strong indicator. Watch out for a fall to the later rounds, as it may suggest that Boutte will not receive the type of coaching attention needed for maximum development.
Pre-draft evaluations, draft capital investment, and landing spot will all have a huge impact on Boutte as a fantasy prospect. That said, he currently projects as a mid-round asset when it comes to rookie drafts. In the absence of additional info, I would be hard-pressed to select him any higher than the third round.
Boutte still has time to impress. Perhaps he will dazzle at the Combine and be a late riser. It’s a phenomenon that seems to happen every year. However, the clock is ticking, and there’s simply not enough on film to warrant a great deal of enthusiasm. As it stands, the Louisiana speedster has potential that continues to outrun his potential.
I thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this piece and would love to continue the conversation on Kayshon Boutte. Please feel free to comment below or contact me @Spydes78 on Twitter. And also, stay tuned to @DynastyNerds for a steady pipeline of content from our eminently qualified staff to carry you through your offseason. If you like what you read, please consider becoming a subscriber to any of the elite tools that Dynasty Nerds has to offer. Make sure to use the promo code “SPYDES” to receive a 15% discount. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the grind!