2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Khalil Shakir (Fantasy Football)
We are back with our rookie profile series, and today we are looking at WR Khalil Shakir. The 2022 NFL draft is filled with talented WRs, and Shakir is no different. A 4-star recruit hailing from Murrieta, CA, Shakir played in ten games as a true freshman at Boise State in 2018. The following year, he broke out as a sophomore playing 14 games and leading the Broncos to an undefeated record in conference play. Let us look at Shakir’s college production, measurables, and game tape to assess his 2022 fantasy outlook.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2022 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2022.
The Broncos threw Shakir right into their game plan as a freshman, utilizing him in all parts of their playbook. In addition to catching the football, he was used in the run game and special teams. He had 12 punt returns and four kick returns during the 2018 season. After his breakout sophomore outing, the Covid shortened 2020 season came about. Only playing seven games that year, Shakir still managed to make a significant impact. He scored the same number of TDs that season as he did in 14 games the previous year and caught about 150 yards less. Had 2020 been a full season, Shakir would undoubtedly have had a big one. He was on pace for a 1,200 receiving yard 12 game season.
Shakir is on the smaller side when it comes to the NFL WR1 college average. According to the rookie production profiles in the UDK + Dynasty pass, WRs at the NFL level are around 6’1” and 210 pounds. While comparable height-wise, Shakir is smaller in overall size, and could stand to gain some weight to aid him in the ability to muscle away defenders. With only a 70 3/8” wingspan in addition to being on the shorter end of the WR spectrum, there is some concern about his ability to go after contested catches. According to PFF, in 2021 he had 18 contested targets and caught 44% of them.
|Height||Weight||40 yd||Vertical||Broad Jump||Shuttle||3 Cone|
What’s On Tape
Games Viewed: Nevada (2021), Colorado State (2021), San Diego State (2021), UCF (2021)
Creativity and Versatility
Profiling as a slot receiver heading into the draft – garnering 77% of his snaps from the slot during 2021 – Khalil Shakir is far more than just that. Playing under two head coaches during his tenure at Boise State, both Bryan Harsin and Andy Avalos understood the complete toolbox that Shakir had to play with and utilized it. He is a WR who can take handoffs and play on special teams, all while making insane catches to boot. In a 2021 game against Nevada, Shakir had a catch where he reached out with his right arm to full extension and pulled in the football for a spectacular grab. He seems to have a Mike Williams-Esque non-fear of landing in awkward positions from great heights. However frightening that trait may be. Shakir followed late in the same game with another one-handed grab, this time while being double covered for a TD. As I watched tape on Shakir several times, I said aloud, “how did he make that catch?” Shakir had a punt return for 40 yards to cap the Nevada game, where he broke at least two tackles. There was some concern about Shakir’s ability to make these contested catches when he clocked a 34.5” on his vertical jump at the NFL combine – if you are not super tall, you need to at least be able to jump. However, about a month later, he added four inches to that score at the Boise State pro day, hitting a 38.5” vertical. Shakir is an overwhelmingly versatile player who does not shy away from creative play calling.
Khalil Shakir moved up on my board this weekend.
He should probably move up yours too. pic.twitter.com/dv8TxdEy2L
— Christian Williams (@CWilliamsNFL) April 4, 2022
Shakir is a superb intermediate route runner, and with an ADOT of 9.8 his last year as a Bronco, he was utilized there the most. He is excellent when he plays in the middle of the field, knowing when to end his routes and get open. Shakir was not significantly used in deep ball situations while in college; he seems to lose steam running after a certain distance and will need to work on this area of his game coming into the NFL. He is fast and explosive out of the gate but sometimes lacks the follow-through on the longest routes downfield. His ability to separate is complimentary to his route running. Knowing he has a smaller frame, his ability to separate is something Shakir clearly works on and is on display on his game tape.
Khalil Shakir is a future ____ pic.twitter.com/ztBu0kJSfP
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 11, 2022
As we have said before, the ability to make plays after the catch for a WR is worth its weight in gold. Shakir has explosiveness after the catch, punctuated by his ability to make efficient reads and pivot on a dime. His smaller frame might be more of an asset here, allowing him to stop quickly and permit larger defenders to fall past him or around him. In 2021, Shakir had 14 missed tackles after a reception; his shiftiness while dancing around defenders is exciting to watch. Shakir’s yards after the catch have consistently increased (ignoring the shortened 2020 season) during his years at Boise State, finishing with 468 his last year.
When I think of a wide receiver flying under the radar the most in this class it’s Khalil Shakir
A high motor receiver who offers his future team versatility in usage and a competitive mentality
Whoever drafts Shakir is going to fall in love with him
— Joe O’Leary (@TheHQNerd) April 1, 2022
What’s Not on Tape
There is something about the quiet confidence of a smaller size player coming out of college. That “I have something to prove” vibe. Many of Shakir’s catches and spectacular plays happened because of Shakir’s inability to give up – coaches want to want to draft players that will fight to the end. Whereas many high-level NFL recruits are advised to sit out bowl games to preserve themselves for the upcoming draft, Shakir preached his love for his teammates and therefore decided he would play in Boise State’s 2021 bowl game. Whether or not you agree with the decision, it illustrates Shakir’s character. Boise State ultimately pulled out of the Arizona Bowl due to a Covid outbreak among players, but the fact that Shakir was willing to suit up speaks volumes.
Both high school and college coaches speak to Shakir’s work ethic and selfless nature as a football player. Reflecting on Shakir in high school, coach David Olson said, “you don’t come across those kids very often. He did stuff that nobody could ever coach him to do — and he still does. But he was an extremely hard worker. All the little nuances it takes to be a great receiver, he worked on those.”
2022 Fantasy Outlook
In my opinion, Shakir has this weird combination of Julian Edelman’s shiftiness and low hips, allowing him to shift and break tackles and bounce off defenders, paired with Mike Williams’s insane catchability and his devil may care attitude for giving his body up to make a catch and a play. A Mike Edel-Williams, if you will. Shakir would be a fantastic WR3 for a team with an already solidified receiving duo. His creativity and ability to make crazy catches will be a great change of pace for a team with an established WR1. NFLmockdraftdatabase.com speculates Shakir being drafted in the 3rd round, around pick 95. Grindingthemocks.com projects him as the 17th WR coming off the board with several mocks sending him to the Cleveland Browns. The best landing spot for Shakir would be a team with a crafty and original play-caller – think Sean McVay or Mike McDaniel – someone who could squeeze all the juice out of what Shakir has to offer. Los Angeles and Miami have picks at the back of the third round, so that is a possibility. Wherever he ends up, I am ready to see a great highlight reel in the years to come.