Has good hands and shows ability to adjust to the throw. Does a nice job using his size to get osition over the middle and make grab in traffic. Does a nice job on the shorter and intermediate routes and works well on crossing routes.
Body catches a bit and doesn't have the length or ball skills to go and get the ball. Lacks speed and burst to really separate from quality corners. Needs to polish his footwork in order to get in and out of his breaks as a route runner better.
Whalen is a nice possession receiver that was Andrew Luck's top security blanket. He can stick as a slot receiver that has good size and hands, but not great skills or ability to separate. At best, he's a decent No. 3 option, but probably is more likely to be a No. 4 or 5 option on most teams. A three-year starter that combined for 139 catches for 1873 yards (13.5 avg) and 7 touchdowns in that span. Had his best year as a junior where he had 57-926-16.2-4.
If Whalen can contribute quickly on special teams, then he'll stand a better chance of developing early. He needs to polish up his route-running because of his lack of ideal speed and burst if he really wants to get separation. I don't think he'll ever be a reliable option, but potentially could be a poor man's Jordy Nelson. In that he can occasionally exploit matchups as a slot option, but won't be a guy that you can rely on to get open on a regular basis. He's the type of guy that in a wide open offense that uses a lof 3 and 4-wide sets, he could be a nice 20-30 catch player. But for the most part, he's probably a guy that early on will be active because of his special teams ability and get limited work on offense. If he does improve as a route-runner then done the line he could be a decent slot No. 3 guy in the Greg Camarillo-mold. But he lacks upside, and is only just an average depth guy.
For the Falcons, Whalen can potentially fill a similar niche as Finneran in recent years. Like Finneran, he's not a good enough receiver to consistently and reliably beat man coverage. So in the Falcon offense, even with improvement, he's probably a 20-catch guy for the most part. But if he can play on special teams, then he has a chance to land the No. 5 gig as a rookie. More likely, he plays on the practice squad and a year or two down the line he starts to make his move up the depth chart. But he'll probably never be more than an average No. 3 target like Finneran was in recent years, and much more ideal as a fourth option.
For a team looking for depth and a capable No. 4 receiver, he merits a late sixth or seventh round pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 2.0
Body Control: 2.5
Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2011 Draft.
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