Kayshon Boutte - WR - LSU
Kayshon Boutte was once in direct competition with Jaxson Smith-Njigba to become the WR1 in this NFL Draft Class and in fantasy rookie drafts. A season-ending ankle injury derailed his sophomore season and potentially caused issues with his team chemistry and on field play in his junior season, just last year. He didn’t ever recoup his WR1 luster and has fallen down many analysts’ draft boards. But can he be a massive value for his future NFL team and a lot of fantasy teams?
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 195 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.5s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: 4.25
Vertical Jump: 29″
Broad Jump: 9-10
Bench Press: DNP
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Boutte came to LSU as the 2nd-rated wide receiver in the nation and a 5-star recruit per 247Sports. He started his career with a massive freshman year, leading the LSU Tigers in receiving as a true freshman. He had 735 receiving yards and 5 TDs, including a heroic performance against Ole Miss in which he racked up 14 receptions, 308 receiving yards, and 3 TDs. He continued his hot streak at the beginning of the 2021 season, still leading the team with 509 receiving yards and 9 receiving touchdowns despite only playing in 6 games.
Things took a downhill turn at the start of the 2022 season as LSU brought in a new head coach, Brian Kelly. There was reported dysfunction surrounding the two as they didn’t speak for some time throughout the offseason as Kayshon Boutte rehabbed from his ankle injury. This held Boutte out for much of spring practice and led to him missing valuable time to mesh with new starting quarterback, Jayden Daniels. Despite this, Boutte was second on the team in receiving yards with 538 yards in 11 games. After the conclusion of the year, Boutte announced his return to LSU and after just a short period of time, went back on his decision and decided to instead declare for the NFL Draft. There were strange reports that tried to point at a specific reason for his change of heart, but those were just speculation.
Kayshon Boutte has good size at 6’0” and 222 lbs and is a very well-rounded wide receiver. He has reliable hands with excellent body control and catches the ball away from his body with good extension. His body control and ball tracking on the sidelines and over defenders makes him a threat for some really spectacular catches. As a route runner, there is room for improvement, but his release off the line of scrimmage is very impressive and he’s shown flashes of nuanced route mechanics.
What really stands out on his tape is his yards after the catch ability. After the catch, he is incredibly physical with the ability to bounce off defenders and shrug off contact. In the open field, he has more than just physical strength. He also has the speed to create explosive plays at any point and at all levels of the field. He’ll get caught by some of the faster DBs in the league, but when he has a step or two on the defense, he’s a threat to take it to the house. To even further add to his yards after the catch game is his elusiveness and ability to make defenders miss in space. A true threat at all levels of the field and after the catch.
There are some pretty obvious reasons why Boutte isn’t in contention by most analysts in the community for the WR1 spot anymore. He had a very disappointing 2022 season after the start of a very promising collegiate career. He just couldn’t cap it off in a meaningful way. As a player and on tape, a lot of his issues come with consistency. His release package can be great at times, but there are other times he has happy feet or can, surprisingly, get bullied at the line of scrimmage.
As a route runner, his routes can tend to be inconsistent and look like there is a lack of effort. There are the occasional sluggish breaks or slow start/stop movements where the tape shows he’s capable of those crisp movements the route requires. Boutte has a solid frame and good size that he needs to utilize more in inside/outside leverage techniques throughout his routes. With all around more consistency in his game, he has the ability to be a star in this draft class.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 2
Boutte is a very well-rounded wide receiver that would fit in most schemes. He has the ability to run outside or in the slot and would excel being schemed touches early on. There aren’t limitations to his game that would make him landing spot dependent. Most likely he’ll fall into the second round from the media buzz so far this offseason, and there are plenty of great fits to choose from.
The New York Giants at the end of the second round make a ton of sense as they were severely lacking a playmaking pass catcher in that offense. If they decide to invest in Daniel Jones this offseason, he needs to be surrounded by better weapons. If wide receivers fly off the board in this year’s NFL Draft, Kansas City is another great option for him to land at. He would be an ultimate luxury pick that the Chiefs could take a risk on, as they just won the Super Bowl with a hodgepodge of wide receivers. If Boutte does work out to his ceiling, Mahomes will have a young receiver to connect with for years to come.
Post Draft Analysis
New England Patriots – Round 6, Pick 10
The New England Patriots are in desperate need of difference makers in the receiving game, yet they waited until Round 6 of the NFL Draft to select one. But they managed to select a player with a wide range of outcomes and could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft when looking back. Just one year ago, Boutte was considered one of the best wide receivers in this class and one of the best prospects. He was coming off a serious injury last offseason and had some off-the-field concerns. But this might have been one of the best landing spots for Boutte because of Belichick’s no-nonsense approach that could be just what Boutte needed. And with a wide receiver core that consists of Devante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne, and Tyquan Thornton, Boutte has an opportunity to contribute right away if he’s ready. The last time one of the receivers rostered by New England went for over 1,000 yards was in 2019 by Devante Parker.
While Kayshon Boutte took a mighty fall this offseason, there is still some hope. Many analysts thought he was a lock for Day 2, but the longer the offseason went on, the less and less likely that outcome looked. But the silver lining was that he landed in a great situation. Bill Belichick is the perfect person to get Boutte right, and if Boutte doesn’t straighten up, fantasy managers will know much sooner than later. And the competition for targets is less than inspiring. Both Parker and JuJu are the only receivers to go over 1,000 receiving yards and that was over 3 years ago. Boutte has an opportunity to make an immediate impact, even as a late-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft. The situation is set up where he can produce right away, and get back on the right mindset, and if he doesn’t, everyone will know very quickly.
In Dynasty leagues, Boutte isn’t going until the early to mid third round of Superflex rookie drafts. He is an amazing dart throw at that stage of the draft that will make it apparent very early if he’s going to be a contributor for fantasy teams. The talent is still there, he just has to capitalize on his opportunity. In Redraft leagues, there’s an opportunity for immediate production, but most likely is someone to keep an eye on in waivers and during offseason camps. Even if he carves out an early role, it’s doubtful that a rookie wide receiver is fantasy relevant right out of the gates and consistently throughout the season (unless your name is Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase).