Name: DaMarkus Lodge
Position: Wide Receiver
Size: 6’2″ / 200
School: Ole Miss
Pros: DaMarkus Lodge wins at the line of scrimmage with plus footwork and agility. He’s proficient and varying his releases from the line to give himself a clean break. Clever footwork has a tendency to get defensive backs crossed up and turned around. Very solid hand usage as well at the line of scrimmage, showing a very good ability to deal with press coverage and stay clean in his breaks. Exhibits incredible body control along the sidelines, contorting his body in startling ways to come down with the ball, while maintaining the awareness to get his feet in-bounds and complete the catch.
Lodge’s biggest asset as a receiver; however, is his speed. Somehow, Lodge’s long speed is almost boring. That may sound like a knock, but it’s anything but. Lodge has such long strides and is such a smooth athlete that he almost lulls you to sleep, and then BOOM. In a flash Lodge can turn on the jets and get by you. One of the most impressive things about Lodge is his control of the gas pedal. He turns from 0-60 almost effortlessly.
Cons: Though a very willing blocker — which is always something I keep a keen eye out for — Lodge has a lot of room for improvement in this area. Lodge is always on the look-out for someone to block in the open field, and is quick to engage with the defender. However, Lodge has a tendency to, once engaged, be driven back and into the path of the ball carrier. Lodge is going to need to develop more lower body strength to improve his blocking. Once that happens, Lodge is going to be dangerous in this area.
Much like his teammates A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, Lodge is going to have to face questions about his route running ability. The Ole Miss offense doesn’t do its wide receivers many favors in this area, asking them to run most of their routes on a vertical plane. I do think that Lodge has the traits to put most of these questions to bed pretty quickly. He wins consistently off the line of scrimmage and he does so in a variety of ways, which should translate well to the next level.
Outlook: DaMarkus Lodge is one of my favorite sleepers in the 2019 NFL Draft class of wide receivers. He may not get the same kind of attention as his more heralded teammate, D.K. Metcalf, but I believe he can have a similar impact at the next level. Much like Metcalf, Lodge ultimately wins with solid agility and great speed. Though almost exclusively an outside receiver at Ole Miss, Lodge has a skill-set that will translate to playing either inside or outside at the next level. Lodge isn’t going to be a first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but it wouldn’t surprise me if, in three years, Lodge wasn’t one of the top performers from this class. He should come off the board early on Day 2, before the end of the second round.