Staples is one of dozens of players who were displaced when Alabama-Birmingham shut down its football program after the 2014 season -- a program which they already plan on re-starting. This Alabama native took advantage of the situation, though, going to play with the Cardinals the past two seasons. He played in 21 games, starting 12, in his true freshman (31-458, four TD) and sophomore (9-190, one TD) seasons at UAB. He was allowed to transfer to the 'Ville for the 2015 season, and he caught 37 passes for 638 yards and three scores even though he missed the first four games of the year with a knee injury. Staples started 11 games as a senior, catching 36 passes for 615 yards and two touchdowns.
Operates as the vertical threat in Louisville offense. Long strider with long speed. Had 80 percent of his catches go for first downs over last three years. Explosive leaper with springs in his hips. Can climb the ladder and win over the top. Plays with above average body control. Able to extend well beyond his frame to snare the throw. Scoops out low throws that seem impossible to save. Plays with good concentration when making combat catches. Stronger after the catch than he looks. Will shield, connect and sustain as a blocker. Praised by his coaches for work ethic and maturity.
Lanky target with a lack of strength. Has missed games in each of the last three seasons due to injury. Telegraphs his pattern. Changes stride length when nearing top of his route. Leans into slants prematurely allowing corners to get an early break. Cruises out of break points rather than explodes. Needs to work back to the ball more aggressively. Throws with pace can eat his hands up. Downfield contact throws off his play speed. On vertical routes, has a bad habit of gearing down when turning to look for the throw which allows balls to fall just out of his reach.
Sources Tell Us
"That staff is really high on him. They love his leadership and talent. When you watch the tape, you see how many yards were left on the field for him due to bad throws or missed reads by Lamar Jackson." - AFC area scout
Tall target with explosive speed and leaping ability. Staples' career numbers are unimpressive with his top touchdown production topping out at four his freshman season. His routes are sloppy and his inconsistencies as a vertical threat certainly don't help his cause. However, he should put together a big combine and will likely draw the attention of a team looking for a big-play lottery ticket they can try and develop as a third-day pick.