2022 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Western Kentucky WR Jerreth Sterns

From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, we’ll take a look at a Western Kentucky wide receiver Jerreth Sterns, who burst onto the scene in his lone season with the Hilltoppers.

#8 Jerreth Sterns, WR, Western Kentucky (Jr.) — 5073, 183 lbs.

East-West Shrine Bowl


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Jerreth Sterns 5073/183 9″ 30″ N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.62 1.6 4.14 6.8
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
9’11” 40″ 12

The Good

– Savvy route runner that creates ample separation at top of stem
– Showcased sure hands in 2021 in Air Raid system
– Good feel for finding soft spot in zone coverage; patient overall receiver
– Compact frame that allows him to handle slot punishment despite smaller size
– Good feel for route running overall; knows how to set up defenders well in space
– Surprisingly large catch radius despite size; wins consistently in the air
– Tracks football very well down the field, able to adjust route to track football without losing speed
– Uber productive final season at Western Kentucky; consistently produced week after week out of the slot
– Projects as a slot receiver in the NFL that also brings punt return abilities

The Bad

– One of the smallest receivers in the draft class overall
– Majority of production came in Air Raid system designed for open looks for quarterback
– Lacks the high-end speed necessary at the next level to win consistently after pro defenders
– Primarily a slot receiver; will not threaten boundary corners, rarely dealt with a challenge at the line of scrimmage in college
– Despite toughness, won’t offer much after the catch as a YAC guy
– Most of touches were manufactured in Air Raid system
– Lacks overall explosion, especially into and out of breaks


– Won the college football statistical triple crown for receiving, yards and touchdowns; third player ever in CFB history to achieve that statistical trio
– Competed in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas
– Named Associated Press Second Team All-American in 2021
– Named C-USA Newcomer of the Year
– Set single season receiving, yards and touchdowns record at WKU, breaking former NFL wide receiver Taywan Taylor’s record set in 2016
– Prior to WKU, spent three seasons at Houston Baptist with fellow transfer Bailey Zappe, where he put up 220 receptions for 1,971 yards and 18 touchdowns in 27 career games over three seasons for the Huskies
– Played high school football for former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna in Texas

Tape Breakdown

Just three times in the long, illustrious history has a receiver accomplished what Western Kentucky’s Jerreth Sterns did in 2021 for the Hilltoppers. Sterns, a transfer from Houston Baptist to follow his quarterback in Bailey Zappe to Bowling Green for a year with the Hilltoppers, burst onto the scene last fall, finishing with a program record 150 receptions for 1,902 yards and 17 touchdowns, winning the receiving triple crown in college football.

That feat marked the third time in college football history that a receiver led the country in all three categories as Sterns joined Alabama Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith in 2020 and Texas Tech star Michael Crabtree in 2007.

While those two receivers were first-round draft picks, that won’t be the case for Sterns, who is one of the smallest receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft class and lacks the overall speed and explosiveness necessary in today’s game. However, he does profile as an end-of-the-roster option in the slot, where he can utilize his toughness, sure hands and general feel for route running and finding the soft spot in the zone to potentially develop into a No. 4/5 option moving forward.

Sterns lacks some of that burst and explosiveness into and out of his cuts that you’d like to see from a slot receiver. However, he does a nice job getting into the Army defender, using a powerful outside plant to burst back inside, cross is face and catch the in route. From there, he does a nice job staying on his feet, breaking the tackle and waltzing into the end zone for the score.

That’s pretty much Sterns’ game right there. He’s a sound possession receiver that can win his 1-on-1 matchups and move the chains.

Sterns have a very good feel for finding the soft spots in zone coverage, and he isn’t afraid to go into traffic to take a lick and make a catch. Here against Michigan State last season, Sterns does a nice job of working vertically but not running himself out of the soft spot in the zone. You can see him throttle down ever so slightly after clearing the Spartans’ defender, allowing him to sit int the zone just a bit, make the cats hadn’t take the hit from the safety for the key catch to move the chains.

I do like Sterns quite a bit out of the slot in a vertical passing attack. Though he does not have the speed to run away from guys at the next level, he can win with his route running overall, and his ability to track the football well in the air. Look at the way he sets the UTSA defender up on this slot fade from deep in WKU’s own end.

Once he sells the setup, he’s able to create enough separation down the field and tracks the football well down the sideline to make the basket catch. He should have kept running though, which leads to concerns about his ability after the catch. He’s not going to create much, and isn’t going to break many tackles. He profiles as more of a possession style receiver, which is perfectly fine.

That said, he did have some splash at WKU. Again, Sterns wins quickly on in-breaking routes, which seemed to be his bread and butter. He’s able to take away any sort of angle here from the Old Dominion defensive back, makes the catch in stride and then breaks that tackle before taking the crossing route to the house.

WKU did try and get the football to Sterns any way they possibly could on offense, and I could see a similar usage in the NFL, depending on his landing spot. Getting the football to Sterns in space is a nice way to let him try and manufacture some plays. Though he doesn’t offer a ton of speed or creativity after the catch, he’s a guy that can can move the chains when given the football, reminding me a lot of Albert Wilson.

While his tape historically doesn’t show many true signs of him making an impact after the catch, he did flash it some in the bowl game win over Appalachian State. Look at the way he’s able to pick through the defense on the short catch, breaking two initial tackles before working to the sidelines and scoring, breaking another tackle in the process.

Though he doesn’t have the speed and doesn’t have the ability to consistently breaks tackles with the football in his hands, I do like his vision overall, as he plays more like a running back than receiver with the football in his hands.


Overall, Sterns’ numbers in his final year of college were certainly inflated due to the Air Raid offense he was in at Western Kentucky, but there’s a lot to like with Sterns overall, especially as a late Day 3/Priority UDFA guy that can work in the slot and catch the football consistently.

Sterns is not going to blow by any defenders and isn’t going to jump off the tape as an explosive player overall, but he’s quietly consistent, knows how to work himself open, and has strong, consistent hands. Add in his special teams abilities due to his punt returning at Houston Baptist, Sterns profiles as a fringe roster guy that could battle his way onto the back end of a roster in training camp and preseason due to his hands, much like Albert Wilson once did in Kansas City nearly a decade ago. That’s the comp I continue to settle on for Sterns.

Projection: Late Day 3/Priority UDFA

Depot Draft Grade: 6.1 Fringe Roster Receiver/Practice Squad (7th Round/UDFA)

Games Watched: UT Martin (2021), Army (2021), Indiana (2021), Michigan State (2021), UTSA (2021), Old Dominion (2021), Florida International (2021), Middle Tennessee State (2021), Marshall (2021), Appalachian State (2021)

Previous 2022 NFL Draft Player Profiles
QB Sam Howell OL Kenyon Green LB Chad Muma C Tyler Linderbaum
OT Trevor Penning QB Malik Willis WR Treylon Burks QB Kenny Pickett
WR Romeo Doubs DL Phidarian Mathis LB Damone Clark QB Desmond Ridder
OT Daniel Faalele LB Devin Lloyd OG Zion Johnson LB Nate Landman
DL Devonte Wyatt WR Charleston Lambo OL Luke Fortner QB Matt Corral
WR Jalen Tolbert DL Eyioma Uwazurike OT Charles Cross DL Travis Jones
WR Dontario Drummond CB Roger McCreary QB Carson Strong DB Jalen Pitre
CB Ahmad Gardner LB Christian Harris CB Kalon Barnes LB Aaron Hansford
OG Ed Ingram OL Cade Mays DL Matthew Butler TE Charlie Kolar
WR Alec Pierce  DL Perrion Winfrey CB Coby Bryant OT Ikem Ekwonu
LB Leo Chenal WR John Metchie III LB JoJo Domann OT Abraham Lucas
WR Skyy Moore OT Rasheed Walker DB Daxton Hill CB Kaiir Elam
RB Leddie Brown WR Jahan Dotson RB Dameon Pierce S Kyle Hamilton
WR Garrett Wilson OT Tyler Smith WR George Pickens LB Troy Anderson
OL Darian Kinnard OL Tyrese Robinson S Jaquan Brisker WR David Bell
DL John Ridgeway LB Malcolm Rodriguez WR Chris Olave CB Kyler Gordon
EDGE Myjai Sanders WR Christian Watson LB Channing Tindall DL DeMarvin Leal
CB Joshua Williams OL Jamaree Sayler DL Thomas Booker RB Jashaun Corbin
S Lewis Cine WR Danny Gray DB Verone McKinley III iOL Chasen Hines
EDGE Nik Bonitto OT Bamidele Olaseni CB Andrew Booth Jr. CB Alontae Taylor
DB Cam Taylor-Britt CB Derek Stingley Jr. OT Max Mitchell NT Jordan Davis
WR Justyn Ross ATH Wan’Dale Robinson CB Dallis Flowers WR Velus Jones
S Nick Cross DL Zach Carter LB Josh Ross RB Hassan Haskins
CB Cobie Durant CB Tariq Woolen H-Back Connor Heyward S Bryan Cook
WR Bo Melton EDGE Travon Walker S Tycen Anderson WR Emeka Emezie
DT Jayden Peevy C Alec Lindstrom WR Drake London EDGE Arnold Ebiketie
EDGE Sam Williams WR Jalen Nailor DL Logan Hall RB Mataeo Durant
TE Ko Kieft WR Tyquan Thornton S Scott Nelson S Leon O’Neal
OT Jean Delance EDGE James Houston IV S Smoke Monday CB Zyon McCollum
WR Kevin Austin Jr. iOL Brock Hoffman WR Isaiah Weston WR Jameson Williams
OT Bernhard Raimann CB Martin Emerson Jr. WR Calvin Austin RB Pierre Strong
OT Nicholas Petit-Frere WR Jaquarii Roberson OL Zach Tom LB Jeremiah Moon
CB Jack Jones FB Zander Horvath OL Spencer Burford RB Tyler Goodson
CB Josh Jobe RB Ty Chandler S Yusuf Corker EDGE Luiji Vilain
EDGE Kingsley Enagbare OG Thayer Munford DT Eric Johnson EDGE DeAngelo Malone
CB Mario Goodrich WR Josh Johnson LB/EDGE Jesse Luketa S Joey Blount
EDGE Josh Pascal EDGE Jeffery Gunter LB Brandon Smith S Nolan Turner
EDGE David Ojabo WR Braylon Sanders RB Sincere McCormick CB Jayln Armour-Davis
EDGE Ali Fayad LB Terrel Bernard EDGE Boye Mafe RB Ty Davis-Price
LB Brian Asamoah RB Isaih Pacheco CB Tariq Castro-Fields RB Jerome Ford
RB Tyler Allgeier EDGE Amare Barno RB Kryen Williams RB Zamir White
RB Kennedy Brooks CB Cordale Flott CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart QB Chris Oladkoun
WR Deven Thompkins CB Damarri Mathis RB James Cook EDGE Dominque Robinson
C Cam Jurgens OT Ben Petrula LB James Skalski LB Mark Robinson
RB Tyler Badie WR Samori Toure iDL Kurt Hinish NT Neil Farrell Jr.
WR Khalil Shakir OL Sean Rhyan
To Top