Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series in which Ryan Berry will break down potential prospects the rebuilding 49ers can consider in the 2018 draft.
Marcell Ateman - RS SR, Oklahoma State
2017: 54 rec., 1049 yards, 8 TDs
Ht/wt: 6-4, 220lb
Overseen by his WR teammate, James Washington (projected 1st-Round Pick), Marcell Ateman quietly put up a phenomenal 2017 season with 54 receptions for 1,049 yards and eight touchdowns entering the bowl game to help Oklahoma State rank first in the FBS in passing offense, second in total offense and third in scoring offense.
Ateman is a long-bodied receiver who recovered from his 2016 foot injury to become a beast in 2017. In four November games, Ateman caught 20 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns, which included a six-catch, 64-yard, two-touchdown performance against No. 2 Oklahoma.
Throughout his collegiate career, Ateman consistently won 50/50 balls, ran clean routes (although not sophisticated in the OSU offense), and regularly drew from his basketball background to position his body with smaller defenders. He isn’t perfect, in addition to injury history he doesn’t exhibit top-flight speed and quickness.
49ers usage: The 49ers have found their quarterback in Jimmy G. Now it is about enhancing the skill set around him and to grow the receiving corps of an aging Pierre Garcon (6”0) and breakout Marquise Goodwin (5”9).
Games watched: Oklahoma 2017, Texas Tech 2017, TCU 2017, Iowa State 2017, Kansas State 2015
Body control - Uses his large frame to position himself on out-routes and slants (47:00).
Strong hands - Controls 50/50 balls over defenders and back shoulder fades (3:10).
Route-runner - precision route runner who thrives with deep outs (2:23:25).
Speed - doesn’t have top-flight speed, which shows in missed opportunities downfield (14:25).
Medical - Foot surgery in 2016.
Projected Round: 2nd round. Not many wide receivers have Ateman’s height, length, and strength and translate it into success jumping over or shielding defenders. He came back from injury to post almost 20 yards per catch. If he runs well, fully clears the medical, and shows teams he isn’t strapped within the RPO-spread Pokes’ playbook, Ateman could move into the first round.
Pro Comp: Brandon Marshall
Media courtesy USA Today Sports Images