Dez Fitzpatrick 2021 NFL Draft Profile

The Louisville wide receiver declared early for the league, and looks to be a back end pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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(Photo of Dez Fitzpatrick: Matt Stone - Courier Journal, Louisville Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Background

Born Dec. 17, 1997 (age 23) to father Greg and mother Wendy. Father played defensive back in the Canadien Football League. A native of Farmington Hill, Mich - which is a suburb of Detroit - Fitzpatrick attended Harrison HS for his freshman year, Farmington HS for his sophomore and junior year, and Waterford Mott for his senior season. During his final year in high school, he logged 60 receptions for 1,317 yards and 23 touchdowns, and was named one of the finalists for Michigan HS Football Player of the Year.

Fitzpatrick was a four-star prospect and regarded as one of the top recruits in the class. He was ranked as the No. 7 player in the state of Michigan in addition to the No. 208 nationally ranked prospect according to Rivals. He chose Louisville over Nebraska, Indiana and Arizona.

He took a redshirt in 2016, and had a solid season in his first on-field year in 2017. He appeared in all 13 games with eight starts, and finished second on the team with 45 catches for 699 yards and a team-best nine touchdown catches - which tied the freshman record.

Thanks to inconsistent quarterback play and an overall bad year for Louisville, in which they went 2-10 and fired head coach Bobby Petrino, Fitzpatrick has a down year in 2018. He had just 31 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns, but the receptions mark was good for second on the team.

Upon head coach Scott Satterfield's arrival in 2019, Fitzpatrick had a bit of a bounce-back season. While he played in the shadow of breakout star Tutu Atwell, he still finished second on the team with 35 receptions for 635 yards and six touchdowns.

Fitzpatrick briefly considered heading to the NFL after 2019, but opted to come back for his redshirt senior year. He was vastly underutilized in 2020, but still managed to finish with 43 catches for 833 yards and three touchdowns. He passed up the opportunity to come back for a sixth season, and declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Measurements and Pro Day

Louisville lists Fitzpatrick at 6'2" and 210 pounds. At Louisville's Pro Day, he measured in at 6 feet and 1 6/8 inches (6016) and 208 pounds. He also had 9 5/8" hands and 32 6/8″ arms, along with a 80 2/8" wingspan. Fitzpatrick ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46, the short shuttle in 4.26 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.06 seconds. Finally, Fitzpatrick leapt 35″ in the vertical. Based on these measurements and numbers, Fitzpatrick earned a Relative Athletic Score of 8.88 out of 10, ranking 281st out of 2517 wide receivers from 1987 through 2021 (89th percentile).

Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Fitzpatrick is a jack of all trades, as no aspect of his game is an immediate concern. Performs well in all three levels.
  • Very reliable target. 78.2% of his receptions over the last two years were first downs or touchdowns.
  • Speedier than what he receives credit for, especially in the open field when he can utilize his long stride.
  • Fluid route runner, and does a good job tracking balls while in the air.

Weaknesses

  • Fitzpatrick might be a jack of all trades, but he is also a master of none. No one of his traits stands out over the other.
  • Measurables are good, but physicality is about average. Translates into occasionally being overpowered by more athletic defenders.
  • While he can create separation, his at-times slow release can put him in an early disadvantage in his route against a defender.

NFL Comparison

Keenan Allen (Cal - 2010-12, San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers - 2013-20)

Highlights

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