Josh Palmer, Tennessee
Another receiver from the SEC, Palmer is the fourth-round receiver in this mock. The Volunteer originally hails from Brampton, Ontario and played his high school ball in Florida at St. Thomas Aquinas. Palmer started 41 games in Knoxville with very average production, however, as proven with the Senior Bowl that wasn’t so much his fault as opposed to his revolving quarterback situation.
In four years, Palmer recorded 99 receptions, 1500 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns. The numbers aren’t exciting but he averaged a healthy 15.3 yards per catch and posted a 70.7 PFF grade for the 2020 season.
The Volunteer measured in at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. Much like his size would suggest, he plays with good play strength that allows him to deal with contact through the route stem, catch contested passes, and generate yards after the catch. Palmer can struggle when he has to run quick timing routes like slants and speed outs because his hip fluidity is solid at best, but his catch radius and good agility still help him separate in the shorter areas.
Palmer would theoretically be an interesting fit on this team. He likely lines up as an outside receiver and can switch between X and Z, the versatility is great when recognizing the versatility of the other three starters. Starting out as a fourth option he can be used as a vertical option winning on gos, curls, digs, and posts. (Common route tree for Gallup) His instincts and mental processing to challenge the leverage of the DBs in phase allows him to stack defenders while not being the fastest or most explosive.
In the league where teams run more zone coverage, Palmer’s struggles with short-area quickness won’t be put on display as often. If anything, it just means his good instincts against zone coverage to find soft spots in coverage will allow him to be more productive at the next level in conjunction with significantly better quarterback play.
Palmer is likely someone who has greater success at the next level for a multitude of reasons. It would be fun to see him wear the star because of his ability to attack the vertical spaces of the field and his ability to generate yards after the catch, something Cooper and Lamb are very good at doing.