2022 Rookie Spotlight: Jalen Tolbert, WR South Alabama (Photo via South Alabama Athletics)
Arm: 32 1/4″
40 yard dash: 4.49
NFL Comparison: Josh Reynolds
College Production (Final Season)
30% team receptions
48% team receiving yards
36% team receiving TDs
Breakout Age: 20
– 2021 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year
– excellent tracking ability and length
– creative and tough after-catch
– good enough speed to outrun pursuit angles
– big-time statistical producer- good open-field vision
– flashes of elite ball skills, just not consistently
– went 7 for 143 and 1 TD versus an SEC opponent in Tennessee during 2021
– put together like an absolute horse
– great week at the Senior Bowl
– inconsistent hands
– obviously didn’t play versus the strongest competition in the Sun Belt
– relatively late breakout age given competition
– will be 23 as an NFL rookie
– more of a downfield and contested-catch threat than a natural separator through route-running quicks
Scouting Notes: Tall, angular and slender receiver who wins at the catch-point and who possesses enough speed to be a formidable, long-striding downfield threat. He also has inconsistent hands and seems to lack short-area quickness and burst to sink his hips and get into his routes without losing steam. Gifted at finding the open field and getting up to speed to tack on yardage for his offense. A mega-producer in the Sun Belt and a spark-plug for South Alabama, he tracks and frames well-placed footballs effortlessly and can really go up and get them with a “my ball”-mentality. Speed is good enough to consistently beat opposing pursuit angles, and not just at the Sun Belt level as evidenced by the Tennessee 2021 cut-up above. He’s lanky but still has the ability to go up and really win in the mold of a Josh Reynolds.
Fantasy Outlook: Tolbert is clearly the alpha in his offense and a dominating presence in the Sun Belt. He’ll have the home confines of Hancock Whitney Stadium to show his skills at Senior Bowl practices, and the nature of 1v1 drills during the week of practices would seemingly be the perfect setting for showing off the best attributes of Tolbert’s game (sort of like Denzel Mims from a few years back). If he runs in the 4.4’s at the combine and does well in Mobile, we could be looking at a player who is in late Day 2 consideration for the NFL draft, and given that draft capital along with his physical attributes, we’re probably looking at a player who could start going off the board in the 3rd round of early, 1-QB dynasty rookie drafts with room for movement in either direction, even prior to knowing his eventual NFL landing spot. As with all of our early draft-season profiles, this one will be updated with new information after the Senior Bowl, should it be necessary to relay new information and opinions gathered live from the event. UPDATE: He’s very likely going to be a Day 2 pick in the NFL draft, therefore, with draft capital and the continuation of what has been a good pre-draft process, we’d expect he might be more of a late Round 2 dynasty rookie pick in traditional 1QB leagues, with room for movement in either direction once we know his eventual NFL landing spot.
FROM THE SOUTH ALABAMA ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT
MOBILE, Ala. – University of South Alabama wide receiver Jalen Tolbert officially accepted an invitation to play in the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl, it was announced on Wednesday.
He becomes the eighth Jaguar in the program’s 13 seasons to earn an opportunity to participate in the contest, and the first from the offensive side of the ball since Gerald Everett played in the 2017 edition of the game.
Entering the final two weeks of the regular season, Tolbert leads the Sun Belt Conference in both catches and receiving yards per outing — ranking fifth nationally in the latter statistic — with 65 receptions for 1,140 yards and six scores. He’s recorded 100 or more yards in five contests this fall, highlighted by a season-best 174 on 11 receptions in an Oct. 14 victory over Georgia Southern, while leading the team in the category in all 10 games thus far this fall.
The junior from Mobile, Ala., has either set or tied eight school records this year, including most catches in a game, receptions, receiving yards and 100-yard games in a season, and catches, yards receiving, touchdown receptions and 100-yard contests in a career. He goes into Saturday’s match-up at Tennessee having caught 161 balls for 2,806 yards and 20 scores in 45 appearances since the start of the 2018 campaign.
A first-team all-Sun Belt selection last season, Tolbert was a candidate for Maxwell and Biletnikoff Awards — presented to the outstanding player and receiver, respectively, in college football — this year. He is currently one of two players in the country who has posted over 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last seasons.