North Carolina Senior
Has good size and speed combination. Has good hands, and will extend to make the tough grab in traffic. Can use his size to get position against the defender and make the jump ball. Runs hard after the catch and shows power to run over defenders and deliver a good stiff arm. Smooth runner with nice balance that is good with the ball in his hands. Can make guys miss in the open field with his cuts and spins.
Dances a bit too much after the catch, trying to juke defenders rather than just lowering the shoulder and getting what it is given to him. May not have the speed to consistently challenge down the field or get a lot of separation from defenders. Runs a lot of short, crossing routes. Needs to polish up his route running. Lets the ball get into his body.
LIttle was potentially poised for a breakout senior year until the NCAA suspension locked him down. He was among the several TarHeel players busted for accepting payments from agents. He has moved back and forth between running back and wide receiver at UNC. He started off as a wideout during his freshman year, and finished the year with 13 receptions. He moved to running back for the final two games that year, where he rushed for 243 yards on 50 carries (4.9 avg) and 2 touchdowns. He started the first 7 games of his sophomore year at running back, but a midseason injury to Brandon Tate forced him back to wide receiver where he spent most of the year in the No. 3 role. He did start the last two games of the year at WR, where he caught 6 passes for 103 yards. During his first 7 games at RB, he rushed 69 times for 230 yards (3.3 avg) and 3 touchdowns. He finished that year with 339 rushing yards on 78 carries (4.3 avg) and 3 scores, as well as 11 receptions for 146 yards (13.3 avg). He stayed at wide receiver as a junior with 62 catches for 724 yards (11.7 avg) and 5 scores to lead the team. He also rushed for 166 yards on 29 carries (5.7 avg) and 1 more score. During his career, he also served as a kickoff returner with 27 career returns for an 18.8 average.
Had Little been able to come back for his senior year and get another year to polish up his game, he could have been a potential late first round pick. He's very talented because of his size, speed, athleticism, and physical playing style. He is still raw because he hasn't had the chance to play one spot and work on his game there. But he has high upside if he can be brought along in the pros. He needs to get better running routes, and someone needs to tell him he's bigger and stronger than everybody else, so he needs to stop trying to be this elusive runner. I wouldn't expect LIttle to come in right away and be more than just an average No. 4 receiver as a rookie. But given two or three years to develop, he has a chance to be a good No. 2 target. He does have No. 1 potential because of his physical tools to be a Anquan Boldin-esque player on the outside, but he's probably a possession guy that is better used as a No. 2 guy than a No. 1 guy. He reminded a bit of Hakeem Nicks while at UNC because of his physicality. I think the best way to develop him is to get him on special teams, use him in the slot and try to get him where he can be a mismatch, as well as using him on screens, reverses, and end-arounds because he's good with the ball in his hands. LIttle has very good range potential because he has the ability after the catch to be a factor on those short, 5-10 yard routes (which he ran with great frequency at UNC), as well as those deeper routes where his size and ball skills can allow him to make grabs over defenders. Not to mention with his size, he can also get work at H-back. If he can improve his route running and shows more reliable hands, then he has a chance to be a very versatile complementary option for any offense. But his length to impact may be longer than other players in this draft. So it's a trade-off.
Little has a chance to be a very good receiver for the Falcons. His size can be an asset in the slot and he can push Douglas there immediately, but then be able to move outside to replace Jenkins. The question mark again is how long it takes for him to develop. He can come in and be a nice No. 4 receiver at the start and be able to contribute 10-20 catches in that role. But depending on his route-running and gaining a better feel for playing wideout will determine how quickly he can start to move up the depth chart. He has the potential to be a very good complement to Roddy White on the outside and should be a good addition in the Falcons ball-control style of offense. He should at least be a good No. 3 receiver if he never develops reliability.
Little could have been a first round pick if he had a strong senior year, but because of the lack of development, he's probably at this point a late second or third round pick if a team is high on his potential.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 4.0
Body Control: 3.5
Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2011 Draft.
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