Just about every year, a wide receiver from outside the FBS is drafted in the top 100 selections. The Rams pulled the trigger on Appalachian State’s tall, lean Brian Quick with the first pick of the second round (33rd overall) of the 2012 draft. It was the sixth time in the past eight drafts a “small school” receiver heard his name called in the first 100 picks, including notables Vincent Jackson (drafted by San Diego in 2005 out of Northern Colorado), Laurent Robinson (Atlanta, 2007, Southern Illinois), and Jerome Simpson (Cincinnati, 2008, Coastal Carolina).
There is a chance Mellette claims that title in 2013, although specific performances during his senior year could make evaluators hesitate, namely against UNC in the opener. In 2012, he started all 11 games and caught 97 passes for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns. Mellette led the Football Championship Subdivision in receptions (113) and receiving yards (1,639) while scoring 12 times and earning first-team All-Southern Conference honors as a junior in 2011. Even Vanderbilt (11 catches, 180 yards, TD) and Quick’s ASU squad (14-236, TD) weren’t immune to Mallette’s talent. The Phoenix will continue to throw the ball with impunity throughout 2012 (they’ve averaged 39 pass attempts a game over the last three years) behind senior quarterback Thomas Wilson, so look for Mallette’s strong hands to see a lot of action again this fall. It was the second straight year he was Elon’s top receiver, again scoring 12 times and finishing among the top six in the FCS in both receptions (86) and receiving yards per game (100.0, 1,100 total) in 2010. Those numbers were a bit of a surprise given his minimal production as a redshirt freshman (8-117, 2 TD), but the graduation of former All-American Terrell Hudgins (whose single-season receiving yard mark Mallette broke in 2011) was a major factor.
Good height to be a solid possession receiver at the next level, has enough size to shield defenders on slants. Reliable hands, wins jump balls in traffic and snatches the ball away from his frame whether tracking it over his shoulder or facing the quarterback. Not afraid to go over the middle, and can turn and run if hit in the soft spot of a zone. Flashes the flexibility and body control to adjust to high and low throws, as well as those behind him. Used on bubble screens and fly sweeps despite his size, has the agility to make a man miss after the catch.
Long speed will be a concern for scouts, who may doubt his ability to separate from pro cornerbacks with quickness alone. Inconsistent strength as a ballcarrier, shows balance to keep his feet after contact at times but will fail to run through arm tackles. Must answer the level of competition question and prove himself confident in his abilities at a post-season all-star game.
Mellette was lucky to play in a passing oriented offense, with the majority of his time under current Ball State head coach Pete Lembo. Prior to Mellete, Elon put forth a record breaking receiver in Terrell Hudgins, but Mellette's pro potential is much better. He won't win with long speed or athleticism, but Mellette has displayed the ability to make catches in traffic and win with technical route running. Expect a fourth- or fifth-round selection.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.