2016 WR Prospects Part I

By John Laub

 

With the advent of better coaching and sophisticated passing games in college, the rookies entering the NFL are capable of making an immediate impact as freshmen. Without question, speed and size often separates the college all-star from a professional superstar and cannot be ignored when evaluating players. Three indicators—Career Receptions, Breakaway Ability and Yards per Reception—among future receivers provide additional insight into long-term NFL and fantasy football potential. 

 

While teams yearn for archetypical size, astute scouting departments do not over look the quick-twitch game breakers. Listed below are the top-twelve wide receivers available in the draft for fantasy football owners to consider.

 

Benchmark College Stats for Draft Consideration

Receptions: 150

Yards per Reception: 15.0

Breakaway Ability: 

4.50 seconds (or less) in the 40-yard dash

6.95 seconds (or less) in 3-cone drill

4.10 seconds (or less) in 20-YD Shuttle

 

Wide Receiver Prospects: Position Grade B

 

1. Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi  

As the Draft nears, a highly debated prospect: Conflicting perspectives on NFL potential. Suffered a broken fibula and dislocated ankle late in the 2014 season. Remarkable comeback campaign last year, snatching 82 passes for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year. Most catches in school history, third in career receiving yards (2,393) and touchdowns (21). At 6’2” and 221 lbs., prototypical NFL size. One of the more physical wide outs to enter the league in years. Deadly combination of technique and athleticism: Prodigious footwork, quick feet and stupendous stutter step. Great release and immediately gets into route. Tremendous jumper with superior hands. With ball in the air, fights to corral it. Pro-active and aggressive hands catcher. Attacks football and plucks it with soft and reliable hands. Bountiful body control and excellent concentration. Exceptional hand-eye coordination. Long arms and extensive catch radius. Gains separation early in route with wonderful technique: Hand movement, hip fakes, shoulder dips and swim moves. Against press coverage, a technician who separates from defenders and reaches the boundary. Nasty demeanor. Physical run blocker who relishes the challenge and mauls opponents. Wins vast majority of one-on-one matchups. A long strider who eats cushions and dangerous YAC competitor. Makes really difficult catches. Only 20-years old on Draft day.  Rousing presentation in Indianapolis despite opting not to run the 40-yard dash. Route running not at elite level: Does not always focus on the minutiae of the game. At times, difficulty creating separation. Not a true burner on film. A nasty, physical and athletic playmaker worthy of a first-round selection despite atletic limitations. 

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 202

Yards per Reception: 11.8

Breakaway Ability

40-yard dash: 4.65 (Pro Day Results)

3-cone drill: 7.05 (Pro Day Results)

20-yard shuttle: 4.25 (Pro Day Results)

Draft Potential: First round  

 

 WR Josh Doctson

 

2. Josh Doctson, TCU 

One of the most electrifying home run hitters in college football last year, establishing TCU single-season marks with 79 catches for 1,337 yards and 14 touchdowns. Concluded Horned Frog career with the most touchdowns (29), catches (179) and yards (2,785) in school history. Played freshman year at Wyoming before transferring. At 6’2” and 202 pounds, employs long strides to create separation and has reliable ball skills with a large-catch radius. Utilizes his lanky frame to body up defenders, easily corralling high throws. Nimble-fingered in the end zone. A salesman as a route runner: Sells fakes and manipulates defensive backs. Savvy competitor who owns an innate ability to gain separation and find a hole in the defense. Baseline attributes to succeed in the NFL: Technical ability, route conceptions and athletic skills. Catches ball in front of defender and evades would-be tacklers with a nasty spin move to get up field. Uses body to shield defenders and out leaps opponents. Unbelievable hands, making one-handed catches look routine. Rarely drops a pass. In traffic, fights for possession. A long strider and obliterates cushions by corners. Inspiring Combine performance: Grander quickness than expected and ball adjustment skills on display. Lean frame and thin bones. A priority at the next level must be to add muscle without losing speed. Can the consensus All-American take the top off the defense in the NFL? Played in an up-tempo spread offense and limited route tree on resume. Might need time to adjust to a pro passing attack. Upright sprinter and doesn’t elude the grasp of tacklers well. Enormous upside as a professional with proper coaching and utilization of skill set.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 214

Yards per Reception: 14.8 

Breakaway Ability

40-yard dash: 4.50

3-cone drill: 6.84

20-yard shuttle: 4.08

Draft Potential: First round

 

3. Corey Coleman, Baylor 

Chosen as the Biletnikoff Award winner and consensus All-American last season. Produced back-to-back remarkable crusades in Waco: Scored 31 touchdowns on only 138 catches (22% TD:REC rate), averaging 17.9 ypc. Before kickoff in 2015, named the “most freakish athlete in college football” by NFL.com. With speed and explosion, blows by defensive backs on deep patterns. Plays with a swagger. Uber playmaker with elite body control. Shake-and-escape ability on catch-and-run routes. Consistently makes first defender miss. Blows the top off defenses and hazardous on curl routes. First-rate hands and ball skills. Manufactures game-changing catches. A vicious and tough competitor. Noteworthy ball tracking and adjustment abilities. Fantastic first step, blinding feet and rapid acceleration. An intelligent competitor who diagnoses coverage while on the run. At 5’11” and 194 lbs., plays much bigger than size and frame elucidates. On underneath patterns, very difficult to bring down. An extraordinary home run hitter who also makes plays all over the field. Can an Art Briles’ wide out become a star in the NFL? Diminutive route tree at Baylor: hitches, in-cuts and deep patterns. Occasionally drops easy passes and lapses in concentration. Uninterested in run blocking. Sports hernia surgery in December and missed the Russell Athletic Bowl. A general manager and coach will surely fall head over heels with game-breaking abilities.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 173

Yards per Reception: 17.4

Breakaway Ability

40-yard dash: 4.40 (Pro Day Results)

3-cone drill: n/a

20-yard shuttle: n/a

Draft Potential: First round 

 

WR Leonte Carroo 

 

4. Leonte Carroo, Rutgers

Returned for fourth season after being named to the 2014 Media All-Big Ten team. Scarlet Knights’ Offensive and Team MVP as a senior last year. Caught 10 touchdowns in each of the past two campaigns. Yards per game average rose from 47.8 as a sophomore to 101.1 as a senior. A muscular body at 6’0” and 211 lbs. A big-play threat who posted an extraordinary 19.5 ypc. during campus tenure. Smooth runner who glides across the gridiron. Great body control, good vision and ample acceleration. Excels as a hands catcher who contorts body to snatch the pigskin. Tough and fights for the football. Makes one-handed catches. Clandestine route runner: Sells curls and comebacks as go routes. Victorious in most one-on-one matchups with head fakes as well as shifty and double moves. Runs every route with maximum effort. Remains at full throttle when changing directions. Weaves through congestion. Exceptional leaper and uses frame to box-out defenders. Unique blend of quickness, adroitness and acceleration. Lined up in the slot and outside the hashes. Similar body and frame to NFL star Anquan Boldin. Without a quality thrower behind center, unfailingly produced. Impressed Draftniks during Senior Bowl week, illustrating strong hands and home run ability. Charged with simple assault under domestic violence charges and suspended two games. Short arms and diminished catch radius. Limited lateral quickness and not a speed merchant. Rounds off patterns. Sporadically, struggles to shake adversaries. Easily tackled. Draft grades and rankings will vary by clubs and could be a steal if taken after the third round.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 122

Yards per Reception: 19.5 

Breakaway Ability

40-yard dash: 4.50

3-cone drill: n/a

20-yard shuttle: n/a

Draft Potential: Second round

 

5. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh 

In a run-orientated attack, three-year starter who caught passes from three different starting quarterbacks. Pittsburgh’s all-time leading receiver (254 catches for 3,361 yards), breaking Larry Fitzgerald’s school marks. First player in conference history to compile 1,000 yards receiving as a freshman and sophomore. Earned back-to-back First Team All-ACC honors in 2014 & 2015. An advanced route runner with electric mixture of speed and agility: Quickly accelerates out of breaks. Uber competitive and smooth glider with natural route-running prowess. Magnificent hands and body control. Magnificent hands and body control. Catches the ball away from the frame. Exceptional vision and an innate ability to track the ball: Gyrates and twists in mid-air to make catch. A stupendous over-the-shoulder catcher. Corrals passes in congestion and immediately seeks the open field. At 6’1” and 197 lbs., lanky, slender frame and extended catch radius. Versatile player who was employed all over the field: Outside, slot and backfield. Intelligent pass catcher: Reads defenses and finds soft spots in the secondary. Adept route runner with a full route tree. Uses head and shoulder fakes to gain separation. Plants foot and cuts across defenders. Weaves through defenders after the catch. Despite lack of body strength, willing to venture into the middle of the defense. Returned punts and kicks. Not a quick-twitch or explosive athlete. Unbelievable on-field performance at the Combine. Added strength required in upper body. Unimpressive blocking skills. Must improve routes and eliminate rounding off patterns. Marginal long speed. Ball security must be addressed. High floor as a professional with a low ceiling. If coaching staff takes advantage of outstanding skills, could eclipse 90 catches in any given season for fantasy football diehards. 

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 254

Yards per Reception: 13.2

Breakaway Ability

40-yard dash: 4.58

3-cone drill: 6.90

20-yard shuttle: 4.35

Draft Potential: Second round 

 

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