One of the most surprising receivers in college football last season was California’s Chad Hansen. Hansen only received one scholarship offer out of high school, which was from Idaho State University. After playing one season with ISU, Hansen went on to walk-on at California and redshirted due to transfer rules for his second collegiate season.
After redshirting, Hansen went on to have a mediocre sophomore season. He played in 11 games and had only 19 catches for 249 yards and 1 touchdown. As one of the only returning receivers, Hansen exploded his Junior season, amassing 92 catches for 1249 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 10 games. He was also awarded All-Pac 12 second team honors for his breakout season.
Hansen’s story is the classic zero to hero or rather walk-on to NFL talent story. Besides just having a great draft day story for everyone to talk about though, Hansen does have the traits to be a very good player in the NFL.
Name: Chad Hansen
Size: 6’2/202 lbs/32 1/8” Arm Length
Class: RS Junior
Comparison: Allen Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Draft Grade: Early 2nd Round
Combine Results: 40 time: 4.53 seconds, Vertical Jump: 35”, Broad Jump: 119”, 3 Cone Drill: 6.74, 20 yard shuttle: 4.13
Strengths: Catch radius immediately stands out, has the ability to climb the ladder and win 50/50 balls. Timing and body control on jump balls are top notch. These traits along with solid speed make him a very formidable downfield threat. Very good at beating defenders off the line, solid footwork and quick hands give him the ability to beat press coverage. Overall footwork in routes is solid as well. Very good hands, consistently makes tough catches in traffic look easy. Excels on deep and intermediate routes. Very smart player, knows where to find openings in zone and work his way back to the quarterback.
Weaknesses: Ran very basic route concepts at Cal, would have to develop more of a route tree in the pros. Could stand to add some more strength, would really help with his below average run blocking and make him better at beating press at the next level. Lacks the top end speed that typical deep threat receivers have. Struggles to make defenders miss after the catch, somewhat limits what he can do at the next level.
Overview: Hansen is a big receiver with good feet and good enough speed to be a capable deep target in the NFL. His catch radius and body control make him an immediate red zone threat from day one. Hansen does lack the explosion, strength, and over the top speed to be a team’s number one receiver, but has the tools and mentality to be a very successful number two receiver. Expect Hansen to be used similarly to the way Michael Thomas was used this past season for New Orleans.