Our rookie scouting reports combine film and analytics to provide the best possible predictions for player performance. With the 2023 NFL Draft less than a month away, let’s take a look at the scouting report for Florida WR Justin Shorter.
Justin Shorter NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Florida
- Year: Redshirt Senior
A five-star recruit out of South Brunswick High School in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, Shorter was one of the top college prospects in the entire country. He started his collegiate journey at Penn State. But as a freshman, he barely played, which enabled him to qualify as a redshirt.
Forced to compete for targets with the likes of KJ Hamler, Jahan Dotson, Pat Freiermuth, and Juwan Johnson, Shorter never could really get going at Penn State. After failing to earn a meaningful role in his second year as a Nittany Lion, he transferred to Florida ahead of the 2020 season for what would be his redshirt sophomore year.
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Unfortunately, upon arriving at Florida, it was more of the same. Shorter was faced with stiff competition from future first-rounders Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. Eventually, Shorter was able to get on the field as a more prominent player. During his final two college seasons, Shorter posted lines of 41-550-3 and 29-577-2, respectively.
Overall, Shorter ended his five-year collegiate career with 110 receptions for 1,552 yards and eight touchdowns.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Justin Shorter
Strengths: Big-bodied receiver who displays himself as a solid vertical threat. Possesses outstanding length, long arms, and big hands. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage into pass routes and works hard even if he’s not involved in the action. Tracks the pass in the air, uses his frame to shield away defenders, and makes the difficult catch in a battle.
Possesses eye/hand coordination, extends his hands, and consistently snatches the ball away from his frame. Comes back to the ball or settles into the open spot of the field to make himself an available target. Gets vertical and adjusts to come away with the catch in a crowd.
Weaknesses: Never had overwhelming production, nor was he the red-zone threat he should’ve been. Lacks deep speed and a second gear. Average route runner.
Overall: Shorter was a reliable wideout for Florida and comes with tremendous numbers and measurables. He offers possibilities as a fifth wideout who can be a possession receiver. Shorter could also put on 10 pounds and then be used as a move tight end. He offers a lot of untapped potential, but he must really start to pick up his game and produce on the field.
Justin Shorter Combine Measurements and Results
- Height: 6’3 3/4″
- Weight: 229 lbs
- Arm Size: 33 3/4″
- Hand Size: 9 1/2″
- Bench Press: 18
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.55
Florida WR Justin Shorter’s Current Draft Projection
On Tony Pauline’s latest Big Board, Shorter ranked 225th overall and is projected to be drafted in the sixth round. With a 3.33 grade, he’s Pauline’s WR32 in this class.
This year’s wide receiver class features plenty of depth but lacks the true high-end talent we’ve been spoiled with in recent years. That could open the door for more later-round selections to work their way onto NFL rosters.
Even so, Shorter is no longer the same caliber of prospect he was coming out of high school. Evaluating players at the NFL level is an inexact science. At the high school level, it’s even more difficult.
College production is the most predictive indicator of NFL success. Shorter’s best season was his redshirt junior season in 2021, where he saw a 16.1% target share. However, he never topped 577 receiving yards or three touchdowns in a season.
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Shorter’s best attribute is his downfield ability. While his 4.55 speed isn’t objectively fast, it is for a guy as big as him.
Shorter was never going to be a guy who was heavily targeted or caught a bunch of passes. Throughout his 43 college games played, he caught more than four passes in a game just six times. Yet, he was able to post six 90-yard receiving games and 12 games of 50+ yards. During his final season at Florida, Shorter averaged 19.9 yards per reception, which included a 3-66 game against the eventual national champion Georgia Bulldogs.
For guys like Shorter, who are projected to be Day 3 picks (and a later one, at that), the path to making an NFL roster is usually special teams. While he can certainly learn the role on an NFL team, his lack of special-teams experience will severely hinder his ability to earn a spot on a roster. When NFL coaches and general managers are deciding what fringe players to keep, the ones that play special teams often get the nod.
It’s always a challenge for Day 3 picks. If Shorter is indeed around the 32nd wide receiver selected, he’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Sadly, given his lack of special-teams prowess, it’s likely Shorter bounces around practice squads and the back end of rosters for however long he remains in the NFL.