New summer series for Steelers Depot highlighting a handful of 2022 NFL Draft hopefuls and options for the Pittsburgh Steelers we could be talked a lot more about nine months from now.
Romeo Doubs / WR / Nevada – 6’2, 200lb
-Displays good speed and burst for the position
-Has an angular, lengthy frame to be a long strider as a runner to eat ground
-Has the arm length and wing span to aid in making jump ball catches
-Wins vertically often against his competition, showcasing his long speed down the field
-Able to fight through the jam at the LOS to challenge vertically on his route
-Has the speed and acceleration to pull away from defenders in coverage, being able to separate vertically as well as over the middle of the field
-Does a good job tracking the ball over the middle of the field and hauling it in over the shoulder
-Dangerous after the catch due to his ability to run away from defenders, ranking #1 in returning WR in YPR who had over 1,000 yards in 2020 (17.3)
-Has the body control and the hands to make combative catches in the air when working along the sideline or in the red zone
-Used to operating as the primary target (X receiver)
-Mainly lines up on the right side of the field for most of his snaps
-Not a fan of contact and will run out of bounds instead of trying to pick up extra yardage
-Can be a more consistent hands catcher as he tends to lose focus at the catchpoint at times
-Fairly thin frame doesn’t make him the ideal possession-style receiver over the middle or with coverage on top of him
-More of a straight-line track style runner than an elusive guy after the catch
-Senior Prospect from Los Angeles, CA
-His father, Jarmaine, played football at Southern Utah
-Was a two-sport athlete in football and track & field
-Started nine games and appeared in all 13 as a true freshman, registering 43 catches for 562 yards and two TDs while throwing in 6 punt returns for 107 yards and a score
-Played and started in ten games as a sophomore, recording 44 receptions of 649 yards and four TDs while adding 86 punts return yards on eight attempts
-Played and started in nine games as a junior, recording 58 receptions for 1,002 yards and nine TDs with 100 punt return yards on 11 attempts
– All-Mountain West First Team in 2020, All-Mountain West Honorable Mention in 2019
– Earned Academic All-MW honors in 2018
When you pop in the tape on Doubs, you notice right away that the guy is a natural deep threat. He does a good job of stretching the seams of defenses or running up the sideline, making opponents pay for failing to contain him in coverage as we can see on this deep bomb touchdown from his QB #12 Carson Strong. Doubs hits the skinny post from the outside boundary, splitting the corner and safety up the middle of the field and catches the heave from his QB in-stride for the walk-in score.
While only listed at running in the 4.7s in the 40 coming out of high school, Doubs plays far faster than that on tape. He has a real knack of stacking defenders at the top of his route and challenging the defense vertically, having the long strides and efficient linear movement as a runner to eat ground quickly.
Check out this catch where he gets the easy outside release against the CB on the outside at the bottom of the screen, managing to get a step on him in coverage and use his body to shield him away from the ball, all-the-while doing a great job of tracking the ball in the air over the shoulder for the big gain along the sideline.
Here is another great example of Doubs’s stacking ability against San Diego State where he gets an immediate outside release on the corner and proceeds to hand fight up the sideline, managing to get a step on the coverage as he streaks down the field. He gets behind the defender just enough for Strong to drop it over top of the defender, catching it with outstretched arms and bringing it in away from his frame.
He does start to lose balance after making the grab though, and the defender gets enough of him to trip him up inside the 10-yard line. Still, an impressive job hauling in the deep ball in-stride while extending to make the catch and stay on his feet.
Here against UNLV, we watch Doubs get an inside release on the cornerback, getting past him within the first ten yards from the LOS to send up the Bat Signal to his QB to launch it down the field where Doubs catches the ball in the breadbasket as the defender trips behind him trailing from behind. The centerfield safety gets there to trip up Doubs by the goal line, but I appreciate him deciding to hold onto the rock instead of stretching out and possibly turning it over as the team gets great field position on first-and-goal.
On this play we see Doubs easily stack the CB to the right side of the formation, getting a step on him downfield but manages to adjust back to the ball once he sees his QB trying to evade pressure. Doubs gets position on the defensive back from Utah State in the back of the end zone as Strong throws it up into the air, allowing Doubs, who has superior length to the defender, to climb the ladder and make the grab for the score.
You can say that Doubs played against inferior competition, which may be true in the Mountain West Conference. However, the dominance he has at pulling away from coverage deep down the field with such ease makes you think he should be able to replicate this ability to separate to some level in the pros.
While Doubs is known for his ability to be a field stretcher, he has shown to be dangerous close to the LOS when he gets the ball in his hands as a RAC receiver. His suddenness and burst from when he catches the ball to when he turns it up field is evident on tape as we see on this example vs Wyoming where Doubs catches the simple screen by the boundary then turns upfield, sidestepping one defender and accelerates forward, almost pulling away from the defense if it wasn’t for a diving tackle attempt.
Doubs does a great job attacking the toes of the defender, eating the cushion in coverage whether it be as a deep threat or when working the short and intermediate areas of the field. On this play against the Aztecs we see Doubs show good burst off of the snap, getting right on top of the corner in coverage and hits a hard plant step at the first down marker, cutting back inside for the quick inside breaking route. He catches the ball away from his body, snagging it out of the air as he turns upfield and picks up extra yardage after the catch. Notice how Doubs’s move leave the defender in coverage stumbling due to the suddenness and immediacy of his break.
Here’s an example of Doubs eating the cushion while working vertically, getting right on the defender’s hip and breaks back to the middle of the field on the deep post, almost jumping through the contact while maintaining his momentum and gets five yards of separation for Strong to drop the ball in from deep as we watch Doubs angle his way into the end zone for the score.
Doubs’ ability as an open field runner has been utilized on special teams as well as a punt returner. He only has a handful of returns under his belt in his first three seasons due to his contributions on offense, but his speed and acceleration in the open field make him a viable threat to rip off a long return like we see here on this attempt.
While Doubs was mainly featured on the right side of the formation in college, he would occasionally move around to exploit an advantageous matchup in coverage. Here is a great play with Doubs coming up in the clutch in OT against the Cowboys as Doubs motions from the boundary to the slot against the nickel defender. He gets right on top of the defender and breaks in on the skinny post to the middle of the field, having Strong fire it in there for the walk off TD. Doubs manages to hold onto the ball while the defender getting his arm inside to try to pry the ball lose but completes the process of the catch to the ground.
According to a story done by the University of Nevada prior to last season, Doubs is “dubbed” an anti-diva WR by his WR Coach Eric Scott, stating “he has all the ability of any superstar WR without any of the diva-ness.” This maturity and sense of high-character, along with the play style and limited usage on the right side in college are very eerie to current Steelers WR James Washington who also dominated the college scene against suspect defenders.
And while their play styles are similar, I would argue that Doubs is more explosive and dynamic as a route runner and after the catch. His size, ability to stack corners and challenge the defense vertically, and play style in a pass-happy offense remind me personally of Mike Wallace back when he was torching secondaries a decade ago in the Black and Gold. Now, Doubs may not have the timed speed that Wallace had, but there is no denying his track-like talents on the football field to pull away from defenses and stretch the field in the same way Wallace did coming out of Ole Miss.
Doubs does need to refine the greater aspects of his game including catching the ball in traffic over the middle, cleaning up occasional focus drops, and showing more shimmy as a runner side-to-side after the catch rather than choosing to run out of bounds to avoid contact to become a better pro-style WR. His limited route tree and usage on the right side may hurt his immediate impact in the league much like Washington experienced when he first got drafted if Nevada doesn’t move him around more in 2021 as well.
However, Doubs is great at what he does, providing a viable deep threat receiver to an offense that will make defenses play him honest or pay for it if they don’t He already is a great separator and is dangerous if he has green grass in from of him, whether it be deep downfield or if he catches a short pass near the LOS. Doubs should come in right away as a field stretcher/Z-type receiver to start, picking up the offensive system and earning more playing time as he develops a greater route tree.
Given the potential losses of James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason to free agency along with the possibility of Ben Roethlisberger hanging it up, there is a legit chance Pittsburgh decides to double-dip on a couple of Nevada products with Carson Strong as a potential successor at QB and Romeo Doubs being a great compliment to Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson in three receiver sets to round out a potent and potentially deadly WR core for years to come.
Projection: Day Two
Games Watched: vs San Diego State (2020), vs Utah State (2020), vs Wyoming (2020)