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A four-star recruit from Whitehouse, Texas, where he played with current Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Cantrell struggled with injuries early in his collegiate career at Texas Tech. After combining for 29 catches in 17 games from 2013-14, he took a redshirt year in 2015. Cantrell returned in 2016 and broke out with 58 catches for 675 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing two games.
In 2017, he put together his best season, hauling in 71 passes for 816 yards and seven touchdowns. Cantrell received All-Big 12 honorable mention honors in 2017, and was named Academic All-Big 12 first team three consecutive years.
Cantrell doesn't shy away from physical corners and has sneaky hand usage while the ball is in the air. He high-points the football and times his jumps extremely well. Cantrell shows his hands late, not giving DBs a chance to make a play on the football. Tremendous athlete with outstanding body control. Willing and capable blocker down field.
Cantrell lacks the speed and the quickness to get open consistently. He will struggle with press coverage, lacking the long speed to beat any corners. The athletic ability and agility he showed at the NFL Scouting Combine don't show up in his route running.
Cantrell is a one-trick pony who makes circus catches look routine, but he has to in order to make up for his lack of separation. His production increased every year in college and Cantrell has experience at the "X" and "Z" receiver positions, although his best projection to the NFL may be as a hybrid H-back.
--Field Level Media