Marcell Ateman is trying to fight the stereotypes attached to receivers coming out Oklahoma State’s Air Raid offense as the NFL draft approaches.
NFL scouts and draft analysts often assume receivers from the pass-happy Big 12 don’t run good routes because of the fast-paced, simplified passing attacks in the conference. Ateman told SB Nation’s Adam Stites that he is a great route runner, even if Oklahoma State’s offense didn’t always let him showcase that.
“Maybe we don’t run those routes in the games, but we work on them all,” Ateman said. “We work on all kinds of routes. We may not use them in a game, but we have them in our playbook. The whole route tree — we run outs, nine routes, a bang eight, a comeback, a curl, a slant, a hitch — we run all those routes.”
Ateman has been outspoken about his own pro potential before the draft. He said he’s a first-round talent, and he said people just don’t know that because he was the No. 2 receiver to Biletnikoff winner James Washington.
The former Cowboys wideout accepted that role and still finished the 2017 season with 1,156 yards and 8 touchdowns. Now he wants to prove to NFL teams that he did that because of his skills as a receiver, not because of a system that inflates a receiver’s statistics.
“I feel like I’m a great route runner,” Ateman said. “I’m always improving. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but for my size, I do get in and out of my breaks well. And that’s just because I take pride in working on my craft.”