Less than an hour away from where he grew up, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell saw his dream come true.
The former Ole Miss standout and Crete, Ill., native heard his named called in Chicago on Thursday when the Minnesota Vikings selected him with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Treadwell was among the top wide receivers in this year’s draft class since his collegiate career ended with a three-touchdown performance in the January’s Sugar Bowl win, but there have been questions to overcome leading up to the draft.
Many wondered if Treadwell’s lack of elite speed would see him fall. He elected to not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but he did post a 4.63 40 time at Ole Miss’ pro day in March.
That number wasn’t ideal by any means, but it was enough to ease the concerns for some decision-makers in the NFL.
The biggest feather in Treadwell’s cap is ability to catch the football and use his physicality to get open and win 50-50 battles. In three years at Ole Miss, Treadwell set multiple school records, as he posted 2,393 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns on 202 catches.
During his sophomore season, Treadwell suffered a devastating ankle and leg injury, which left his football future in question. However, the 6-foot-2, 221-pounder bounced back and led the SEC in receiving yards with 1,153 as a junior in 2015, while also posting 11 touchdowns and 82 receptions.