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Nelson Agholor's skills not ready for fantasy primetime

Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, each day NFL Fantasy will profile a prospect who could make a splash in fantasy next season. Today's subject is former USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor.

During his USC career, Nelson Agholor continually found himself overshadowed by the Trojans' other top pass-catchers, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. In 2014, Agholor finally got his chance to shine and showed himself to be a technically proficient player at the position, even if he lacked the outstanding abilities to make be a top receiver prospect in the draft. Nonetheless, I checked out some of Agholor's tape to see where his fantasy football fortunes might lie in the coming year.


» Reliable hands
» Excellent route runner
» Productive runner after the catch
» Added value as a punt returner

After waiting his turn in USC's receiver rotation, Agholor became one of college football's most productive receivers in 2014. The junior finished among the top 10 in the nation in receptions (104), yards (1,313) and receiving touchdowns (12). His dependable hands made Agholor a primary target for quarterback Cody Kessler in Steve Sarkisian's offense, working mostly in short and intermediate range routes. While Agholor didn't possess the same type of speed as his USC predecessors, his quickness and precise route-running allowed him to frequently get open in the middle of the field and made him dangerous on crossing routes.

However, it wasn't just before the catch that Agholor was a threat. With the football in his hands, Agholor was just as much of a playmaker. That after-the-catch ability was likely a by-product of his skills as a punt returner. That proficiency as a special teamer might not make an immediate impact in most fantasy leagues, but it could help Agholor see the field more quickly as a rookie.


» Lacks top straight-line speed
» Struggles to gain separation
» Needs to improve strength
» Could struggle as outside receiver

Agholor has good quickness to help him get open off the line of scrimmage. However, he lacks the type of speed that is going to help him get past defenders downfield. It's for that reason that many NFL scouts believe Agholor could be limited to being a slot receiver at the professional level. Certainly plenty of receivers -- especially in recent seasons -- have made a healthy living primarily as slot receivers (we're looking at you, Wes Welker), but it certainly puts a cap on a player's on-field potential.

The other issue that could limit Agholor's potential is a lack of physical strength. At 6-foot-1 and just 190 pounds, scouts worry about his lean frame. It's an issue that could hamper Agholor in a number of ways, from his ability to get off the line of scrimmage against physical defenders to his ability to be an effective blocker downfield. The good news on this front is that a little time in the weight room can start to change that. Someone get this man on a strength training regimen, stat!

Ideal NFL fantasy fits

After letting DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin go, the Eagles could use some receiving help to go along with Jordan Matthews. Agholor's ability as an intermediate route runner could fit nicely into the Eagles offense. Similarly with Mike Wallace slated to run deep routes for the Vikings and Charles Johnson presumably taking over the No. 1 receiving job, Agholor could take a season to hone his skills in the Minnesota passing game. The Seahawks remain in the market for solid wide receivers, plus Seattle's need for a quality punt returner could make Agholor even more attractive to Pete Carroll's club.

Early fantasy draft projection

Agholor is not going to be on the radar for a lot of fantasy managers in standard leagues. He does have some mid-round value in dynasty leagues as long as he's not asked to do too much for his NFL squad. For the time being, it's probably better to take a wait-and-see attitude before adding Nelson Agholor to your fantasy football roster for the 2015 campaign.

-- Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG

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