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2024 Rookie Profile: Xavier Legette, Wide Receiver

One of the hot names heading to the Senior Bowl next week is Xavier Legette! Bobby Bishop (@imbobbybish) showcases why you should consider drafting Legette with your 2024 second-round rookie draft picks.

Xavier Legette exploded onto draft radars during his breakout 2023 season. Taking advantage of Juice Wells’ injury issues, Legette stepped up as Spencer Rattler’s top target. Legette is fast, physical, and has excellent hands. Xavier Legette is a freak athlete who you should consider drafting in 2024 rookie drafts.

Profile

  • School: South Carolina
  • Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 223 lbs.

College Career

In high school, Legette was the starting quarterback at Mullins High School. Mullins is an extremely small town with an estimated population of around 4,000 people. To piece together a football team, small schools typically make their best athlete the quarterback to get the ball in their hands every play. Legette never had the arm to end up at the Elite 11 or to be considered a QB at the next level legitimately. According to 247 Sports, he was the 17th-ranked athlete in the 2019 class with a four-star ranking. Legette committed to South Carolina.

South Carolina decided to transition Legette to the wide receiver position. Muschamp had put Xavier through receiver drills at camp the previous summer and liked what he saw. During Legette’s developmental years, he was buried behind receivers like Bryan Edwards, Shi Smith, and Josh Vann on the depth chart.

Also, Gamecock QB play was notoriously in a dark place during these years. In 2019, Jake Bentley broke his foot after a tough loss against UNC (rumor is that he kicked his locker postgame), which led to an up-and-down freshman campaign by Ryan Hilinski. Next, in 2020, Collin Hill had previously torn the ACL in his left knee three times, and he had no business being an SEC starting quarterback. Then, in 2021, following an injury to starting quarterback Luke Doty, graduate transfer Zeb Noland was thrust into action as the quarterback, despite coming to South Carolina to be a GA and begin his coaching career.

Finally, in 2022, Spencer Rattler came to South Carolina. Legette earned himself a starting role but still had a pedestrian season. His biggest contributions throughout the regular season were on special teams as an elite kick returner, highlighted by a kick return touchdown against Texas A&M to open the game. At last, Legette broke out in the Gator Bowl against Notre Dame. He had seven receptions for 78 yards and two TDs.

In 2023, Legette built on his bowl game performance. His years of hard work at the wide receiver position paid off, and he blossomed into one of the top receivers in the SEC. Legette finished the season with 71 receptions for 1255 yards and seven touchdowns. Let’s dive into the attributes that make Legette a special player.

Speed/RAC

Legette is not incredibly shifty after the catch, but he is fast. Here, he has a solid release on a drag route. Legette puts a foot in the ground when he secures the catch and takes off upfield. The safety (unnamed because I don’t know his name and will never need to) clearly underestimates Legette’s blazing speed. Legette hit 22.3 MPH on this play, according to Reel Analytics. This mark would have been the fastest in the NFL in 2023, beating out DK Metcalf’s 22.23 for the top spot. I fully expect Legette to run in the 4.3 range at the combine.

Here, we have a simple go route. Once again, we see Legette’s devastating speed. Legette blows past the DB with ease. Rattler underthrows the ball. Legette had time to slow down, catch the ball at his ankles, accelerate again, and go untouched to the house. He has some serious speed.

After the catch, Legette avoids some would-be tacklers. The moment he puts his foot on the ground and turns upfield, it’s over because Legette’s speed is off the charts.

Contested Catch

There is nothing worse than a fast receiver who cannot catch. Xavier Legette is not that guy. Legette is capable of being a QB’s “Screw it, Legette is out there somewhere.” Time and time again, it shows up on film. Legette is 6’1″ and 223 lbs., and I can’t wait to see him vertically at the combine. He does a great job of high-pointing the football. On his back shoulder, this Florida DB didn’t stand a chance.

Playing Georgia’s defense is the closest any college player will come to playing an NFL defense. In my eyes, quality tape against Georgia weighs heavier. Here, we see another contested catch that Legette again wins. It’s not a great ball by Rattler, and Legette slows down and jumps too early. That is where Legette’s athleticism shows up. He hangs in the air an extra second and still wins the ball.

Body Control

Not an NFL catch. Only one foot down; however, Legette has unbelievable body control here. At full speed, Legette jumps and snags the ball, simultaneously having the awareness to get a foot down. Body control is an incredibly important skill to have as a wide receiver. This bowl game against Notre Dame marked the beginning of the Legette breakout.

Weaknesses

Many analysts point to the fifth-year breakout as a weakness. Often, those analysts have no idea that Legette transitioned to receiver in college. That position change is a massive puzzle piece and cannot be ignored. Due to his rawness, I think his release and route running are his biggest weaknesses. We are going to get a great look at these abilities at the Senior Bowl in a few weeks, but I don’t see a smoothness in his routes. Furthermore, I have yet to see Legette run every route in the route tree. This skill can be improved with time and effort, but route running is an important skill that he needs to improve.

Conclusion

Legette is going to explode onto the NFL scene. He is going to fill the starting Z role on an NFL team. For anyone unfamiliar with the X, Y, and Z receiver roles, the Z is the second option, often the receiver taking the top off of the defense. Legette has the size to be an X, but I think he must develop as a route runner. He is a very natural fit in the Z role right away.

It’s hard to predict Legette’s draft capital at this time. A solid Senior Bowl would raise his draft stock. Legette could be drafted anywhere from the late first to the early third round. I think Legette is WR8 in the draft, which would put him in the early second round.

Legette’s playing style relies on big plays; therefore, he may be a boom-or-bust receiver. He may be a better option in Best Ball leagues; however, we have seen players of his type produce every week.

Legette would be a great fit on many teams, but the best-case scenario would be the Bills or Chiefs in the late first round. On the Bills, Legette will easily fill in the Gabe Davis role if Davis walks in free agency. On the Chiefs, he would immediately be their second-best receiver and provide Mahomes with a deep threat option that can both get downfield and catch a football (most of his current “receivers” struggle with the actual catching part). Additionally, a solid fit at the top of the second round is the Carolina Panthers. He would become the Carolina Panther’s best receiver and might have a Christian Watson-type rookie season.

Do not hesitate to draft Legette with your 2024 second-round rookie draft pick. I think it will pay off big time.

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