6’4, 214lb Junior from Oak Ridge, Tennessee with adequate upper and lower body build who boarders on the skinny side. A 2019 First-team, All-ACC selection who is 2nd on the team with 52 catches and leads with 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns in 474 snaps. His 27 career receiving touchdowns tied a school record set by DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Higgins is also the only receiver to post consecutive, double-digit touchdown reception seasons in school history, competing with individuals like the Hopkins and Watkins, Mike Williams of the Chargers, and Martavis Bryant; with 3 of those 4 being first-round picks.
Hands: 9 ¼”
Arms: 34 1/8”
Vertical: 31” (outside top 15 at Combine)
Broad Jump: 10’3” (outside top 15 at Combine)
20-yard Shuttle: 4.25 (6th best at Combine)
Higgins’ best ability are his ball-skills; good leaping ability, a good hands-catcher, and a big catch radius make Higgins an instant RedZone threat in the NFL and isn’t afraid to use his catch radius over the middle working out of the slot. Where he lacks in size and strength, he makes up with his ball-skills and ability to win with athleticism. A fluid route runner, isn’t asked to run every route but gets in and out of his breaks quickly and possesses enough leg strength to sink his hips, plant his foot and break off a route sharply and not lose a lot of speed. Good deep route running; good consistency running the deep routes from the X and Z positions as well as work deep out of the slot. Isn’t a burner, but his fluidity and savvy make everything look the same and doesn’t give away the route. Keeps the defense honest, and can win as a technician, but also flip the switch and win with athleticism on contested balls. Good change of direction as well, his 40 time isn’t an indicator of how quick his feet are off the LOS. He’s quick into his route, and without the elite speed, does a good job stacking the defender and using his mental processing to its full advantage when he can use his tall frame to shield defenders to draw PI calls on deep underthrown balls.
Lacks the strength to win week in and week out against more physical corners which shrinks his ability to be a field-flipper, possession guy and catch radius. Adequate top-end speed; Higgins is a 4.54 guy, and his 31” vertical leaves more to be desired and could suggest he lacks that dynamic, explosive factor to take the top off the defense. Is limited in his routes; this could be Clemson’s scheme, but as someone who isn’t a constant deep-threat, teams may want to see more polish to his short and intermediate routes.
This year’s draft class is very deep at the WR position. There are potentially 6 receivers that have the talent to go in the 1st round. I think it will be interesting to see how teams view Higgins’ skill set as a first-round talent. Teams may see more value in a bigger, stronger, more physical WR in Michael Pittman who brings equal versatility, and might even demonstrate more NFL starting traits than Higgins and who did more with less. Teams may also see Higgins as someone who they wish had a bigger workload. What he does now, he does very well, but teams may wish to have seen that role expand, especially as someone who has been so productive throughout his collegiate career. As of now, I view Higgins as a mid/late first round talent, but due to position depth at WR, EDGE, QB, and OL, I’m not sure he fits into the first round. There are guys like him in every draft, and I think that hurts his value.
I’ve seen the AJ Green comparisons and I think that’s crazy. He may look the part, and possess the body control traits, but Higgins’ skill set reminds me a lot of a guy like Kenny Golladay. He isn’t a burner, isn’t the biggest or strongest, but uses his body well to box-out and come down with contested 1-on-1 with a slight tendency to drop those contested balls. He requires a QB in an offense that isn’t afraid to give his WR a chance to make the play and delivers deep throws with elite touch and accuracy in a vertical passing attack. In short, I think you can find a guy like Higgins in mid-rounds, and will be more of a piece to the puzzle rather than the dynamic factor that’s heavily relied on week-to-week.