Kentucky’s football season has produced mixed results in the first five games of the 2019 season. Through all of the unexpected twists and turns, Ahmad Wagner has become the Cats’ most pleasant surprise.
The 6-6 wide receiver entered his senior season without a reception. He has 12 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns through five games, along with more than a handful of drawn pass interference penalties. Kentucky fans aren’t the only ones paying attention. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, one of the most well-respected NFL Draft analysts, believes Wagner is playing his way into the NFL Draft.
After playing three seasons at Iowa on the basketball court, Wagner not only transferred programs, but also sports, giving up basketball and joining Kentucky’s football team. With only one season of high school football, he is still understandably raw as a route runner – his releases, footwork and tempo are all on the basement level. But Wagner has an extremely high percentage of positive plays when targeted, making acrobatic grabs or attracting penalties as defenders try to cover him. While he needs time on a practice squad to continue his development, it wouldn’t be surprising if a team uses a Day 3 draft pick on Wagner to avoid competing with other teams trying to sign him.
UK’s quarterback woes are not doing Wagner any favors. If he can consistently produce into the back-half of the season and earn a spot at the Senior Bowl, Wagner’s raw tangibles and potential will do enough to grab the attention of NFL scouts.