Coming out of high school, wide receiver Justin Shorter was one of the highest touted prospects in the country. Both ESPN and 247 Sports had Shorter as the top-ranked wide receiver as part of the class of 2018.
And while it would be unfair to classify his college career as a bust, he never lived up to the five-star rating he had in high school. Given his size and catch radius, Shorter can still be a serviceable receiver for the Buffalo Bills.
Justin Shorter: Coming up short
Listed at 6’4″ and 223 pounds, Shorter is built more like a college linebacker than he is a wide receiver. His size in high school allowed him to be an absolute monster, but he never developed the skills needed to take the next step once in college.
He started his college career at Penn State but transferred after two lackluster seasons. He spent three years with the Florida Gators, developing into one of the featured receivers in 2021 and 2022.
His most productive year was the 2021 campaign when he caught 41 passes for 550 yards and three touchdowns.
The biggest deficiency for Shorter is he never developed his route running to create separation with consistency. Combined with average speed, evidenced by his 4.55 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Shorter just never got open enough to produce more than he did.
But he was solid at catching in traffic and could use his size to win 50/50 balls with consistency. If he plans to stick around with Buffalo, he must make it his niche to catch balls over the middle in tight windows.
Shorter probably won’t develop into a featured receiver, but it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to see him settle as the third receiver and consistently haul in 50 catches for 500 yards.
And in the end, that’s probably what Buffalo is hoping for by drafting him in round five.