2020 Rookie Class: An Early Look at Laviska Shenault, WR Colorado

Peter Lawrence

The DEVY community has been looking towards the mountains of Colorado for years. A fascinating size/speed athlete who took the Pac-12 and the college crowd by storm, Laviska Shenault may represent an interesting schism between the film and the analytics crowd. How much do we believe in the talent? Are there mile-high warning signs for us to be concerned about?


Listed at 6’1″ and 203 pounds, Shenault was a three-star recruit in the 2017 class. According to 247sports, he was the 117th ranked wide receiver and ranked 872nd overall with a composite score of 0.8701. His offer list included Arizona State, Arkansas, Iowa State, and Alabama among others.

His college production was not massive, but a strong senior year with 48 receptions, 834 receiving yards, and nine receiving touchdowns helped attract attention to the large-bodied receiver. In track and field, he posted a 5’8″ personal best in the high jump and a solid 24.49 in the 200 meters competing in Texas.

He grew up facing multiple tragedies. He witnessed his father being killed in a terrible traffic accident when he was ten years old. Just a few short years after the death of his father, his mother was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. The sickness limited her ability to work and eliminated the family income. With help from the community, his family was able to make it through all of this and Shenault set off for Colorado.


He had a relatively quiet freshman season where he played in only seven games and recorded a mere seven receptions for 168 receiving yards. It was his junior season that got him on the map for most fantasy fans. He put up 86 receptions, 1011 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns. He added 17 rush attempts for five rushing touchdowns. Inconsistent play dropped his production in 2019 as he played in more games but could not top his sophomore breakout.

Shenault has continued to build and fill in his frame during his time at the Colorado weight room. Now measuring in at 6’2″ and 220 pounds, he proved a formidable foe for would-be tacklers. In 2018 he was brought down by a solo tackler only 24 times; in 2019 on 70 touches only 14 solo tackles.

Statistics from sports-reference.com.


Size and speed. Shenault was originally focused more on basketball while in high school, but the coaching staff had a rule on dreadlocks. It didn’t matter if he was growing his hair in memory of his father. So he took to the weight room and started stacking on good muscle. This continued from high school to college where it was reported he has hit 500 pounds on squat and works out with the linemen. Here he is putting up 425 pounds for three reps his sophomore year:

Body type is going to be big. His thick and stoutly built upper body allows for major yards after contact. People will see him and think of what Deebo Samuel has been doing for the 49ers. That size allowed him to lineup as the running back in wildcat formations, in the slot, off the hip of the tackle in tight, and in the traditional outside receiver position. It is believed that he might post a 40-yard dash at or below 4.4 seconds.

As discussed, he is unique with the ball in his hands and what he can do after the catch. His size allows him to shield off defenders from the ball and he can get into position to succeed. His hands are a plus attribute and you’ll rarely see him trapping the ball with his body as he plucks the ball from the air with strong hands.


A slight negative with these attributes is that Shenault was called upon to run a rather limited route tree while with Colorado. The offense did its best to use him vertically and down-field, while mixing in plays close to the line of scrimmage to maximize his ability with the ball in his hands after the catch.

What Shenault posts at the combine could vault him up draft boards. Film scouts will see the talent that flashed his sophomore season. It is hard to knock him for the decline in offense that Colorado suffered in 2019.


  • Speed
  • Size
  • Yards After Catch/Run After Catch
  • Strength
  • Hands
  • Ball skills
  • Change of direction


  • Route running
  • Blocking – needs to be more dominant, with his size he should be an alpha.
  • Route knowledge – needs to use his size and speed better vertically at times. Allows himself to get walled off.


A major concern will be his health. Fantasy owners and NFL general managers are going to be scrutinizing his medical concerns similarly to those of DK Metcalf last year. He suffered a toe injury and a torn shoulder that required labrum surgery after his breakout sophomore campaign. A core muscle injury limited him this past season. Other knicks and bumps had him listed on medical reports as well.

Shenault is a day-one pick and likely a top-10 overall type player. NFL GMs will appreciate his size. After the breakout of Metcalf and Deebo Samuel, coaches will want their own big-bodied receivers. Projected to teams like Green Bay, Baltimore and any team in need of a WR, he should step in and be helpful on the field and for fantasy owners.

NFL Draft projection: day-one pick


Shenault has long been seen as the competitor to Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb as the top receiving options in fantasy drafts. With such a loaded class at running back as well, Shenault might be available to fantasy players in the middle of round one.

Best-case scenario: Shenault slips a little and lands in Green Bay. Playing opposite of superstar Davante Adams, he can grow and learn how to beat opposing defensive backs not just with his physical gifts, but setting up plays with his technique. He needs to go to an offense where the coaching staff will take advantage of his gifts and focus on getting the ball in the hands of a playmaker, similar to what Seattle has done with Metcalf in his first season. Coaching staff should run him in routes that maximize his potential and put him in positions to succeed.

Shenault shows the tendencies of an alpha WR1 for fantasy. He’s a big-bodied receiver in the mold of Julio Jones. Fantasy players should target him as a player who will develop into a player that becomes an early-round startup pick. He will need to work on diversifying his route tree and becoming refined, but he shows the talents and physical attributes of the next wave of elite talents.

Dynasty rookie draft projection: Early round one

peter lawrence