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Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu sat down and literally drew out why his 3 receivers will be great in the NFL

Ta’amu broke down exactly how Ole Miss used D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and DaMarkus Lodge to be successful.

A school producing multiple top NFL prospects in a season is a rare feat (unless you’re Alabama, of course). Producing multiple top NFL prospects on one side of the ball is even harder.

Producing multiple top NFL prospects at one position is extremely difficult to do — but that’s what Ole Miss has done with wide receivers A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and DaMarkus Lodge. All of them will hear their names called in April during the 2019 NFL Draft; Metcalf and Brown both have a chance of going in the first round.

Between the three players, there’s a wide range of talent that they can offer an NFL team. They all have different skillsets, which impacted the plays that Ole Miss called for them this past season. To get a better sense of how they were used in college, and how they should be used in the NFL, SB Nation sat down with Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu at the NFL Combine.

A.J. Brown gets loose on Ole Miss’ Storm route.

Brown was Ole Miss’ most productive receiver over the past two seasons. He had back-to-back seasons of over 1,200 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in that timespan. Brown is a big receiver with nifty footwork and understands how to get open on the field — the play that Ta’amu highlighted for him shows off those traits perfectly.

The play is called Double Storm. It features two receivers on the outside running “go” routes down the field and the slot receiver (Brown) running a double move before going vertical up the field.

“They’re [the outside receivers] taking the outside release to take away the safeties and take away the corners,” Ta’amu said as he drew up the play. “A.J. Brown has all this room to find space — we call that a Storm route.

“He has all this room, so he can zig-zag however, but he needs to get out there fast because I only have a certain amount of time. He usually breaks out, breaks back in, and runs back over the top. He’s just so fast. A.J. is always going to be open.”

Here’s an example of Brown running the Storm route against Auburn last season. Auburn’s safety had no chance against Brown’s route. Then Brown put the icing on the cake by coming to a complete stop along the sideline while the safety slipped out of bounds.

Brown might have been the most polished player in Ole Miss’ receiver corps, but he definitely isn’t the most athletic.

Just stay the hell out of DK Metcalf’s path.

Metcalf is the tank of the Ole Miss’ receiving group. He showed off his big-play ability routinely throughout his college career, averaging 18.3 yards per catch and 21.9 yards per catch in 2018 alone. Ta’amu said that Metcalf’s physical abilities helped when Ole Miss had the ball near the end zone.

“DK, I love him in the red zone just because of how big he is,” Ta’amu said. Ta’amu’s favorite play to get Metcalf the ball isolates him on one side of the formation.

Ta’amu called the play “Dancer.” He has three receiving options on the right side of the formation and one receiver on the left side of the formation, usually Metcalf.

“I usually read this [three-receiver] side first and if they have four [defenders] on that side, I want to go back to DK because I know he’s going to have one-on-one coverage.”

“Usually corners play press against him. If they play press, boom, he can win over the top. Throw a nice, high ball. He’s a big, strong guy. If they want to play a little bit off, I’d give him a little back-shoulder throw just because he’s flexible and can do all of that,” Ta’amu told SB Nation.

“DK likes slapping corners around — and it shows in film,” Ta’amu said.

That trait was on full display on the first play of their game against Alabama, which was actually the Double Storm play that Ta’amu said was the best play for Brown. Just watch Metcalf blow past the cornerback before racing to the end zone.

“It’s all about finding space. See how he just went away from the safety? As soon as he beat the corner, he knew he had space. He kind of faded away from the safety so I could give him a nice little ball.”

When LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, another top prospect in this draft, was asked about playing against Metcalf in their games over the past couple of years, Williams laughed and said, “I had to put my big boy pants on.”

Watching Metcalf on the field shows that he’s clearly on a different planet when it comes to athleticism — he proved that further at the combine. Despite weighing 228 pounds, Metcalf ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash and absolutely dominated the rest of workout, outside of the agility drills.

Make sure to give DaMarkus Lodge some love too.

While Brown and Metcalf are likely to go early in the draft, Lodge might have to wait a bit to hear his name called — but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a lethal receiver in his own right.

Ta’amu noted he liked the reps when Lodge got to run deep routes down the field like Metcalf, but he added that Lodge gave him a little more flexibility to turn the deep routes into shorter routes.

“This guy on the outside is Lodge,” Ta’amu said as he pointed to the rightmost receiver on the formation. “If he can’t win over the top, he can break it down, you know?”

“Lodge is a good fit for this just because he’s a little more shifty and he’s fast. If I’m scrambling, boom, I can just find him along the sideline because he likes to toe-tap and all that,” Ta’amu said.

Here’s an example of a play where Ta’amu was able to find Lodge along the sideline. Lodge runs the cornerback into the end zone before breaking back outside and keeping himself inbounds for the catch.

Even on the plays where Ta’amu and Lodge weren’t able to connect for a big gain, you can still see the quickness that Ta’amu was referring to. Here’s an example from their game against LSU. Ta’amu overthrows Lodge, but it’s still a beautiful rep for Lodge as he puts the cornerback in a blender and finds himself wide open for a would-be touchdown.

NFL teams will be able to pick their flavor when it comes to the Ole Miss receivers in the draft this year. Whether it’s the polished game of Brown, the dominant athletic ability of Metcalf, or the savvy route running of Lodge, all three of these guys can immediately contribute in the NFL.

If your team needs a receiver this year, don’t overthink it — just grab one of the Ole Miss guys and feel good about the talent you added.