Alec Pierce Draft Profile
In 2022, it seems like prospects are constantly pushing the boundaries and limitations of what is possible. Every year, the “next DK Metcalf” is coming out of the draft— at least guys with similar raw talent. This year, there are quite a few guys who are 6’4+ and run sub-4.45 40-yard dashes. It seems like every year gets more athletic and as I like to say, pushes the boundaries for what is possible. Cincinnati wide receiver, Alec Pierce is another one of those raw, freaky talents. He is 6’3, has the wingspan of an NBA shooting guard, and runs a 4.41 40-yard dash. While I don’t believe Pierce is the “next DK Metcalf”, he has the skills to make his own name in the NFL. He just has to piece everything together and land in the right system.
The reason Alec Pierce is going to be a high draft pick and scouts are drooling over him is because of his natural genetics. Teams with a quality receiver coach will trust that coach to mold Pierce into a number one receiver. He has the natural talent to be one he is just still very raw. While he is raw, he is also a very smart receiver. He does a good job at finding openings in the defense and sitting in zones. He is also a physical blocker that doesn’t shy away from contact and blocks guys that are bigger than him. His best trait as a receiver is making contested catches— what he does in that area is special. Quarterbacks can just throw the ball up to him and he makes 50/50 balls look like 70/30 balls in his favor. Pierce does a great job at coming back to and high-pointing the football. If a defender is in his face or about to light him up, Pierce will come down with the grab. His hands are soft and natural and his speed is fast enough to get behind the defense. He has position versatility— he can play both outside and in the slot. In the NFL, I see him being a “big slot” that uses his large frame and long strides to burn defenses towards the middle of the field. Offenses are using big slots more and more: Chris Godwin, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and CeeDee Lamb are all good examples of this. Pierce will be the next big slot to enter the NFL.
While Pierce’s speed and size are enticing, he lacks quickness and isn’t aggressive after the catch. Those are two categories in my scouting that I value greatly, and he is lacking both. While he is fast— he is not quick. He constantly gets pressed up at the line, he needs to find a way to make his large frame hard to touch coming off the line of scrimmage. You want the guys who are big and strong to be fearless after the catch, but Pierce constantly gets tackled by defensive backs much smaller than him. With his size and speed, he should be undeniable, but that really isn’t the case. The best slot receivers are twitchy at the top of their routes and can separate with their feet; the reason I project Pierce as a slot receiver is because I’m worried he won’t be able to get off the line of scrimmage. Even though Pierce may look like a first-round wide receiver, there are a lot of things that scare me off about him.
Alec Pierce is a boom or bust prospect, his landing spot will greatly determine his future in the NFL. While I have a mid to late third-round grade on him, I believe teams will have FOMO about his natural talent. For that reason, I believe he will be drafted in the second round. He reminds me of Broncos wide receiver, Tim Patrick, and I think he can be better than Patrick. The Packers and Bills are two perfect landing spots for him at the end of the second round. Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen love and need guys that they can just “throw it up to”; I think he’d be especially dangerous on back shoulder go balls in Green Bay and Buffalo. I could also see the Jaguars using the first pick in the third round to get a big-body receiver because all of their current receivers are smaller guys. As I’m sure you can tell, I am skeptical of Pierce, but he has the tools to prove me wrong.
Ability to Separate: 8/10
Release/Top of Routes: 5.5/8
Route Running: 5.75/8
Contested Catch: 8/8
Hands + Catch Radius: 7.75/8
Speed + Control: 6.75/7
Natural Talent: 5/5
Final Rating: 82
Pro Comparison: Tim Patrick
Team Fits: Packers, Bills, Jaguars
Draft Grade: Mid - Late Third Round Pick
Draft Projection: Second Round Pick