The Most Unique Rookie In The 2022 Draft Class

July 18, 2022
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The Patriots signed Brenden Schooler as an undrafted free agent. If he makes the team, he could be a great and unique weapon for us due to his versatility. He is one of the few players who played a significant amount of snaps on offense and defense on the Power Five level. He could also play on special teams, which is how he would likely make the roster initially.

The Unique Weapon

It would be virtually impossible for Schooler to play the majority of snaps on offense and defense, as the last player to do so was Chuck Bednarik, who retired in 1962. However, if he can play thirty percent of the snaps both ways, he could become a precious player, perhaps even the Shohei Ohtani of football.

Brenden Schooler’s College Career

He was a three-star safety in high school who spent four years at Oregon and got 74 tackles and four interceptions in his true freshman season, fifth in the Pac-12 overall and fourth in the FBS among freshmen. Overall he accumulated 91 tackles and four interceptions in four seasons at Oregon. He also played wide receiver at Oregon, getting 43 catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns.

He got a second senior season in 2020 due to only playing three games in 2019 due to an injury. He also transferred to Texas, where he made just two tackles in seven games but did have 12 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He got a third crack at his senior season due to eligibility waivers given to all players for the unique 2020 season. As a result, he played exclusively as a defensive back in 2021, getting 50 tackles in 11 games. He also led Texas with eight tackles on special teams over the last two seasons, which could give him a leg up on making the roster.

Brenden Schooler could be the Shohei Ohtani of football. Talk about unique!

Brenden Schooler Pro Day

He was an outstanding athlete during his Pro Day, with a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.80, which ranked fifth out of 276 receivers this year. Additionally, His 9.76 score as a free safety would have ranked third out of 91 free safeties, and his 9.72 score as a strong safety would have ranked FIRST of all 106 strong safeties measured!

Some highlights included a 4.43 40-yard dash, a 10’8″ broad jump, a 4.10 shuttle time, and a 6.71 time in the three-cone drill. All rank well, about 8.00 on the RAS scale regardless of what position he is measured as.

Strengths And Weaknesses As A Safety

Strengths

He is a solid tackler, which is becoming increasingly important in the NFL with how much larger and more athletic many receivers are getting. He tracks the pass in the air, which helps reduce penalties which is even more critical in the NFL than in college, as pass interference is a spot foul in the NFL but only 15 yards in college. He sells out defending the run, which is especially important with the rise in RPOs. He also gets up the field quickly, which means he can keep up with speedy wide receivers.

Weaknesses

He does not possess a burst, so if a receiver gets ahead of him, he will have difficulty catching up to them. He also shows average skills on the ball, so he likely won’t do very well at getting the ball away from receivers.

Strengths As A Receiver

There wasn’t much analysis on his strengths and weaknesses as a receiver, but I would assume many of his strengths and weaknesses on defense would also translate to the offense.

Strengths

His speed will allow him to make big plays as a receiver, and he made several at Oregon and Texas. He is also known as a solid route runner, which, combined with his speed, can help him get away from defenders. In addition, his strength allows him avoid getting jammed at the line.

Weaknesses

He does seem to have an issue with drops which could become a significant issue at receiver. His lack of burst could impact his ability to get ahead of DBs. His average skills on the ball could also affect his receivers’ abilities, as that will cause issues with him catching the ball over a DB.

How We Could Use Him

The team could use him on special teams. His speed and tackling ability are perfect for kick and punt return coverage, and he has been compared to Matthew Slater by at least one writer, and it makes sense. This is how he will likely make the team and see the field in his rookie season. He may also be on the kick-blocking team due to his vertical leap and speed.

I would use him as a receiver on passing downs against strong pressing corners, and in four or five wide sets where a linebacker may cover him, he can likely outrun. As a result, I would play him on a five to ten percent chance of offensive snaps during his rookie season. He would probably be the eighth or ninth receiver on the depth chart, so this may be an optimistic amount of playing time for him.

I would use Schooler at safety primarily when we expect the opposition to run. As a result, his tackling ability can be accentuated, and his average ball-playing skills can be minimized. As a result, I would play him on about 15-20% of defensive snaps. This is possible because most of our safeties are getting up there in age and may not have the stamina or ability to play the vast majority of the snaps (Devin McCourty is an example of this), relatively inexperienced, and may not be ready to be starting level defenders either (Joshua Bledsoe).

Prediction For His Rookie Season

Receiver – 30 snaps, three catches, 40 yards. Safety – 60 snaps, three tackles, one TFL. Special Teams – 300 snaps, five tackles, one forced fumble

Wildest Dream

He becomes the Shohei Ohtani of football, becomes a solid receiver and safety, and possibly makes a couple of Pro Bowls on special teams.

Worst Nightmare

Belichick decides that he is not good enough on special teams, receiver, or safety to make a roster and is cut in camp, and no other team picks him up.

Most Likely Career Outcome

He will likely carve out a decent career as a special teams player, part-time safety, and occasional wide receiver due to his athleticism, versatility, and work ethic.

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