Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.55 seconds (37th)
Vertical: 38” (81st)
Broad: 122” (63rd)
20-yard shuttle: n/a
This 4-star recruit followed his father and brother to Iowa State, despite other scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Nebraska, California and Iowa.
It didn’t take long for Lazard to make an impact for the Cyclones. He scored a TD in the 2nd game of his true freshman campaign and hauled in 8 balls in both his 6th and 7th games. Lazard finished the season 2nd on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs.
He emerged as the top dog as a sophomore, leading Iowa State in catches, yards and TDs. Lazard also chipped in on special teams, averaging a big 19.5 yards on 11 punt returns. He was named 2nd-team All-Big 12.
2016 brought a true breakout season. Lazard led his team and ranked 35th in the nation with 1,018 receiving yards. He topped 100 yards in 6 different games, including 3 straight to end the season. Lazard also set new career highs in catches, TDs and yards per catch. He was named 1st-team All-Big 12 and to the Biletnikoff Watch List.
While Lazard’s yardage dipped a tad this past year, he registered personal-bests in catches and TDs. Those 10 scores ranked 16th in the country. He again led his team in all major receiving categories, accounting for 23.7% of the catches, 26.5% of the yards and 37.0% of the TDs. Those marks rank 8th, 10th and 5th among the 15 WRs we’ve looked at so far.
Lazard was again named 1st-team All-Big 12 and to the Biletnikoff Watch List. He left Iowa State with 7 different school records, including single-season TDs, career receptions and career receiving yards.
Games watched - Oklahoma (2016), TCU, Oklahoma State, Memphis
Lazard simply out-sized a lot of the college DBs he faced. He’s a 6’5, 227-pound behemoth who also boasts a 79-inch wingspan (80th percentile among WRs).
That said, I saw Lazard lose too many contested situations in the 4 games I watched. He needs to do a better job timing that 38-inch vertical that he flashed at the Combine.
You’ll probably see the play below in Lazard’s highlight packages. The initial deflection by the defender is another example of Lazard underachieving in contested situations. But the concentration to come down with the ball inbounds shows impressive sideline awareness that we see throughout his tape.
Here’s Lazard again doing a nice job to secure the ball and stay inbounds near the sideline:
He also combines that large catch radius with impressive body control to make grabs outside his shoulder pads.
Lazard isn’t an explosive route runner, but he does a nice job setting up defenders and using his reach to create separation.
Lazard isn’t much of a threat after the catch, averaging a subpar 4.1 yards after the catch for his career. And it’s worth noting that Pro Football Focus charted him with a career 11.0% drop rate. His hands looked just fine to me, but I watched a relatively small 4-game sample.
Lazard boasts an intriguing combination of college production and measurables for a guy slated to be no more than a mid-round pick in the NFL Draft. He was a 4-year producer at Iowa State with solid market-share numbers. Then he tested as a 76th percentile athlete at the Combine with a prototypical “big WR” frame.
Lazard still needs work on taking full advantage of that frame. He flashes the potential to be a dominant contested-catch guy but is too inconsistent right now.
He’ll be an inviting target for his NFL QB, though, thanks to his height, wingspan and body control. And he looks like a good-enough route runner to create separation at the short and intermediate levels of the field.
Highlight Lazard’s name as an upside target in the later rounds of your dynasty rookie draft.