On Sunday evening, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Oklahoma State receiver Jhajuan Seales, who had initially signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent but has since been released.
When Jhajuan Seales went undrafted, it wasn’t nearly as much about talent or production as it was his off-field issues in the past. Seales had two arrests during his sophomore and junior seasons with the Cowboys — one for public intoxication in 2014 when he and a teammate were found passed out in a drive-thru lane, and another in 2015 for a DUI with a breath alcohol content of .08.
Seales was productive for a freshman with the Pokes, catching 39 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns, but would only catch 36 passes for 649 yards and five touchdowns combined in the next two seasons, with James Washington, a top 2018 draft prospect, taking away a good chunk of his targets. As a senior, however, Seales managed to have his best season yet, catching 37 passes for 615 yards and four scores — leaving what he had on the field for NFL teams to decide.
At his Pro Day, Seales turned heads again, running a 4.51 forty-yard dash with a 1.56 10-yard split, jumped a 41.5” vertical and benched 20 reps of 225 pounds, solidifying himself as a “freak athlete.” Seales still had questions about his off field issues, however, and went undrafted. With Seales signing with the Bucs today, I figured I’d give a full breakdown of what he can bring to the table, and if I think he can compete for the fifth or sixth receiver job.
This play is Seales’ bread and butter — despite being only 6’0” and 206 pounds, he’s got a huge vertical and does a great job of timing his jumps and being able to high point the ball. Seeing him going up and competing in full pads is going to be interesting to see, especially in the red zone.
Jhajuan Seales Clip #2 (he lays the boom as a blocker). pic.twitter.com/kS3oOk7BDc— Riley Auman (@junioraumanac) July 30, 2017
This is something that doesn’t ever show up in the box score but is something I love about Seales’ game — how much he values and does as a blocker. On multiple occasions while I was watching him, he did this to free up his teammates to create more yards after the catch, and we know general manager Jason Licht loves guys who do that.
This play really encompasses what I think Seales can do as a player on the boundary. He uses his left hand to be physical and set the tone from the snap and kicks it into a second gear from there, allowing himself to free up several yards of separation, and Mason Rudolph puts it right on the money where he can catch it cleanly. It’s an NFL catch, too — he drags his other foot to get both in bounds and the Cowboys officially take a commanding lead over Colorado in the game.
While I understand that Seales’ man slips and falls just as the ball is arriving on this play, I think he would have made the catch under either circumstance. He once again times his jump near-perfectly and high points the ball exactly how it needed to be done. You start to see how Seales wins as a whole from the plays I’ve shown so far.
Seales does more of the same here — high points the ball, maintains possession through the contest by the defender, and keeps both feet in bounds.
Now this is the part where we get into the areas where Seales flashes that I think could be developed into something more, specifically his yards after the catch ability. Sealaes runs the crossing route here and does a good job of forcing the defensive back to reach out in a last ditch effort instead of immediately tackling him. He then breaks away from the incoming safety and accelerates upfield and if he hadn’t exerted as much force as he did with the first two defenders, I think he could have burst away even quicker and gotten a touchdown.
Seales does a good job of hopping up for the ball but touching down and immediately bursting towards the endzone. He breaks a tackle and gets in, and I think this is another summary play for him. His ability to time when the ball is going to arrive so he can accelerate and break away from the defender, make some ridiculous leaping grab for the football and try to create some yards after the catch.
Jhajuan Seales Clip #8 (YAC monster). pic.twitter.com/oMq0H12zAL— Riley Auman (@junioraumanac) July 30, 2017
... and this is my favorite play of all from my watching of Seales’ tape — he makes a nice catch, turns upfield, spins and gets hit but somehow stays on his feet, pushes a Cyclones defender away and is into the endzone for a touchdown.
Overall, Seales probably had day 2 draft talent based on what I saw on tape, but because of his low production, below average 40-yard dash for his height and weight, and his documented off field concerns, he went undrafted. It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s something he’s since corrected and now can look to make better on in the NFL.
The Bucs’ top four receivers are set in stone without any moving room in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and Adam Humphries. The next one or two spots will likely have to be supremely talented in other areas, or will have to have significant special teams value. That's why I think that Josh Huff makes the team right now as the kick returner and due to the fact that the team gave him a hefty bonus. I think Derel Walker can prove his value as a gunner and make the team as well.
Seales is likely in the same range as Donteaa Dye and Jesus “Bobo” Wilson, right now, as players who are young and likely practice squad candidates — Dye as a third-year exception. I think Seales would be the ideal player you put on the practice squad, raw but with potential and can be developed as a whole. I’m excited to see what he does tomorrow and in the rest of camp and the preseason.