by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Florida Gators.
The NFL Draft talk never ends and we here at Draft 412 will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024 we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight -Florida, Wide Receiver, Ricky Pearsall
Name- Ricky Pearsall
HT/WT- 6’1” 192 lbs.
Home – Chandler, AZ
Ricky Pearsall grew up in Chandler, Arizona and attended Corona del Sol High School. As a junior, he set the Arizona High School 6A receiving yard record for a single game with 342 on 14 receptions against Gilbert High School. As a junior, he finished the season with 74 receptions for 1,153 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was a 3-star recruit who played both wide receiver and safety and committed to Arizona State over offers from Air Force, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona and UC Davis.
As a freshman at Arizona State, Pearsall played in all 13 games, on special teams and briefly at wide receiver and corralled 7 passes for 128 yards.
The 2020 season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Pearsall played in all 4 games and caught 6 passes for 86 yards and 1 touchdown. He also ran the ball 3 times for 33 yards and a touchdown during the 2020 season.
In 2021, for the 3rd straight season he saw action in every game, playing in 13 games and starting 11 at wide receiver. He finished the season leading the team in yards with 580 and hauling in 48 passes with 4 touchdowns. He once again added a rushing touchdown for the Sun Devils and after his successful season he entered the transfer portal. Pearsall ultimately selected Florida after considering Oregon.
Last season he played in every game, and started 10 out of 13 games at wide receiver. He caught 33 passes for 661 yards, a 20.0 yard average per catch. He scored 6 touchdowns, 5 receiving and 1 rushing.
So far this season, Pearsall has started 11 games and has already set career highs with 64 receptions for 948 yards for the Gators. He has 4 receiving and 2 rushing touchdowns, showing off his versatility.
Pearsall gets off the line of scrimmage in a flash and creates separation from the slot. He is a creative route runner who uses everything in his arsenal to beat the defender. He’s a fast twitch player and uses his head and hips well to set up defenders for juke moves. He is an athletic receiver who routinely makes circus catches. He attacks the ball well and is a legitimate deep threat in an offense. Pearsall possesses both inside/outside versatility and brings a different skill set to both the slot and as an Outside X receiver position. He excels at picking up yards after a catch and is creative in the open field. Pearsall can be used on special teams too, as a punt and kick return specialist. He has reliable hands and is able to find open spots in zone coverage.
On the downside, Pearsall struggles playing a physical game and has trouble getting off the line against aggressive press coverage. He can be “too creative” at times in his route running which leads to timing issues with his quarterback. He is easily brought down on contact and needs to work in space to be effective. His timed speed is faster than the speed he plays the game, and scouts will have to decide how much to take from his combine speed. He is better suited for the slot and will struggle to beat NFL defenders with straight line speed.
When watching highlights and game tape of Ricky Pearsall, Draft 412 saw a lot of Cooper Kupp in his game. His route running skills and his ability to find soft spots in zone coverage stood out right away. Kupp is a bit more physical than Pearsall, and this is something that he will have to improve if he wants to be a starting slot receiver in the NFL.
Inside/ Outside versatility
Ricky Pearsall is picking up late steam in the 2024 draft class and will most likely have to put on a strong showing at the combine and or the all-star games at the end of the season. He can add a nice dimension to an NFL teams receiving room and could become an effective slot receiver and kick returner. Draft 412 looks forward to seeing Pearsall’s combine performance and where he fits in this crowded wide receiver class.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 5th or 6th round