Ht – 6’1” Wt – 194lb Class – SR Age – 22
2021 Stats – 82 Rec, 1474 Yds, 8 TD (12 Games Played)
Career Stats – 178 Rec, 3140 Yds, 22 TD (40 Games Played)
Hands & Ball Skills – Tolbert has inconsistent hands, but at his best, he is a freak. He came down with MANY spectacular catches and one-handers throughout his career. He also had multiple concentration drops or just plain drops.
Contested Catch – Whether it was the scheme or his great separation ability, Tolbert had few truly contested catches. In those few, he showed the ability to come down with 50/50 balls. However, because of the lack of competition and sample size, I don’t feel comfortable assuming he can be a consistent 50/50 ball winner at the next level.
Size & Speed – Possesses rare break-away speed for a player of his size. Despite not being a dominating presence, he has the size to match up with bigger and more physical Corners, and his height is above average. Watching him pull away from defenders on deep routes or with the ball in his hands is a thing of beauty.
Release – Wasn’t pressed very often, but he has very quick feet. He plays with great physicality and confidence, so match that with his quick feet and I don’t think he will struggle with press coverage at all, even in the NFL.
Routes & Separation – Uses outstanding suddenness and sharpness to his route breaks. He has very good speed to not only maintain separation but gain separation after the break. Tolbert runs routes with precision and quickness.
YAC – Tolbert is more of a maneuverer than a tackle breaker. He doesn’t have great shiftiness, or a large arsenal of juke moves, but he uses his elite vision to maneuver around defenders. He turns and changes direction with quickness, helping him get around defenders with ease. Still, playing against the poor competition of the Sun Belt Conference, I wonder how successful he will be against NFL tacklers.
Football IQ – Very undeveloped route tree, due to playing at small-school South Alabama. He is very comfortable in zone coverage, and he has a good feel for the zones, so I think he can develop his route tree with the proper coaching.
Versatility – Tolbert was the offensive weapon for this Jaguars’ offense. He was moved all over the line pre-snap and post-snap, and there is little he can’t do.
Combine – Not exceptionally exciting, but promising. He didn’t put up any shocking numbers, but his speed was confirmed with a good 4.49 40, and his 7.08 3-Cone drill was very impressive. He did, however, come in lighter than we previously expected.
Jalen Tolbert is a small-school prospect, coming from the hardly mentioned South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference. It’s safe to say that there aren’t many successful NFL prospects from there. Tolbert could one of the few.
In terms of traits, Tolbert has it all. Ridiculous twitch, elite route running and separation ability, a good size/speed combo with great hands and ball skills, he has few flaws. He also possesses the most seamless change-of-direction ability in this class, as evident in his great 3-Cone time. His mentality is also not an issue, as he has the confidence and moxy to be a dominant WR1 for any team. He was the main target for the South Alabama Jaguars, and he flourished in that role. Some may say that his attitude could be toxic in locker rooms, but I think he possesses the right amount of confidence to be able to come in and dominate in the NFL off the bat.
On the other hand, Tolbert is far from a finished product. His route tree is very undeveloped, and there were many situations he hasn’t faced yet. Additionally, he didn’t face any top-tier Corners, and it showed.
There is a lot to like with Jalen Tolbert, and the potential is tantalizing. He could drop a little in the draft, but he could very well be a late-round steal.
See Jalen Tolbert’s overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.