2020 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Prospects part II

By John Laub
John Laub

 

 

 

   2020 Wide Receiver Prospects

  

        Rating the Receivers part II

 

 

 

 

7. Jalen Reagor, TCU

Horned Frogs’ playmaker begins professional career after three seasons on campus. In 2019, Second Team All-Big 12 and PFF Third Team All-Big 12. In 2018, TCU’s Dan Rogers Most Valuable Player and Second Team All-Big 12 after snagging 72 passes for 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2017, True Freshman All-America Team by 247Sports and Big 12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year. In high school, a track star, four-star recruit and No. 6 overall receiver prospect by ESPN. Montae Reagor, father, played nine seasons in the NFL. Enrolled at TCU over Alabama, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas. At 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, quick-twitch athlete who gets immediate separation. Big-play specialist who shines in space. Stupendous elusiveness: Rapidly sinks hips and explodes out of breaks with false steps, head snap and shifty moves. Obliterates opponents’ ankles. Gains chunk yards on quick passes. Excels on post, corner, crossing and go routes. Challenges the defense vertically. Good ball tracking skills. Courageous returner: Runs into traffic and does not avid contact. High-points ball well with vacuum mitts. Creative and dynamic playmaker who can hit a home run any moment. In three seasons, played with seven different passers. Limited and modest route tree at TCU. Smaller catch radius. Lapses in concentration sporadically and drops passes. Six fumbles over past two campaigns. At times, body catcher. Combine results in the 40-yard dash disappointed some onlookers; nevertheless, a productive professional career ahead.

 

 

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 148

Yards per Reception: 15.2

2019 Season

Catch Percentage: 47%

Team Aerial Dominator: 25%

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.47

3-cone Drill: 7.31

20-yard Shuttle: 4.46

Draft Potential: Second round

 

8. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

JUCO transfer who dramatically rose up draft rankings after an eye-opening senior season with 65 catches for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2019, replaced N’Keal Harry in the starting lineup as the ‘X’ receiver, earned First Team All-PAC 12 and AP Third Team All-American. In 2018, logged 33 receptions for 474 yards and three touchdowns. At Sierra College in 2017, named First Team California Community College Football Coaches Association All American: All-Purpose athlete. Totaled 2,399 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns. At 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds, a home run hitter who pressures defenses vertically and stretches the aerial assault. Rapidly reaches second gear on deep patterns. Quick-twitch athlete who easily escapes tacklers and is dynamic in the open field. Loose and fluid frame with long arms. Good footwork to gain separation. Awesome acceleration and easy glider. Tracks football well in the air. Willing to engage physically: Finishes runs with a punch. In return game, looks like a running back with good instincts and open-field vision. Takes top off the defense, ventures into the middle of the field and slippery after the catch. Inconsistent route runner. Press coverage can jam route at line of scrimmage. Lack of proper hand technique hampers release and separation. Body catches occasionally and suffers from apparent concentration drops. Needs to employ frame more effectively in one-on-one matchups. Did not participate in Senior Bowl after being flagged with a minor hip issue. Scouts will monitor Combine drills and results closely. In NFL, immediate day one contributor in return game and will be successful from the slot in multi-receiver formations. As a professional, a wide as range of possible outcomes: tremendous ceiling and low floor.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 98

Yards per Reception: 17.0

2019 Season

Catch Percentage: 63%

Team Aerial Dominator: 37%

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.50

3-cone Drill: n/a

20-yard Shuttle: n/a

Draft Potential: Second round

 

9. Laviska Shenault, Colorado

One of the more fascinating receiver prospects in the past decade. Unfortunately, injuries derailed draft stock: Suffered turf toe injury and missed three games in 2018 and required surgery in left shoulder labrum in February 2019. Recently, diagnosed with inflammation of pubic bone and needs surgery to repair a core muscle injury. In 2019, Second Team All-PAC 12. In 2018, PFF Second Team All-American, First Team All-PAC 12 league’s coaches and Jacob Van Ek Award as team MVP: 86 receptions for 1,011 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a freshman, volunteered for special teams and returned first career touch on a fumble for a touchdown. A multi-talented competitor, concluded career with 2,223 yards from scrimmage (1,943 receiving and 280 rushing) and 17 touchdowns. Mother played college basketball at Dubuque, and at 10, father died in tragic accident (dreadlocks in memory). Nicknamed “Viska” by teammates. At 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds, thickly built and stout frame. Rare blend of power, size, burst and speed with muscle elasticity, core power and contact stability. A ticking timebomb and fiercely competitive athlete with stupendous field vision. Catches football away from body with soft, strong and reliable hands and holds on throughout contact. Effortlessly transitions into a running back after securing the pass. Astounding acceleration. Excelled on jet sweeps, quick screens and shuttle passes. Stunning short-area burst with deceptive jab step. Versatile and tenacious player: Employed at nearly every skill position on offense. Wins one-on-one battles with athleticism and power. Kicks into second gear in the open field and at top of stem. Assertive at catch point. Impressed interviewers at Combine. Average route runner and needs to master nuances of position. Lacks elite long speed and does not always create a lot of separation late in route. Chess piece for an out-of-the box offensive coordinator as a multi-dimensional weapon. Every medical staff will evaluate long-term impact of injuries on career before placing a grade on the former Colorado celebrity.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 149

Yards per Reception: 13.0

2019 Season

Catch Percentage: 68%

Team Aerial Dominator: 27%

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.58

3-cone Drill: n/a

20-yard Shuttle: n/a

Draft Potential: Second round

 

 

10. Michael Pittman, Jr., USC

Sensational senior season elevates Trojans’ wideout up rankings. In 2019, First Team All-PAC 12 and in 2018, All-PAC 12 Honorable Mention. At USC, incredible teammates and deep depth chart at receiver—JuJu Smith-Schuster, Deontay Burnett, Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown—limited production early during campus tenure. Over past two seasons, corralled 142 passes for 2,033 yards and 17 touchdowns. Son of Michael Pittman, Sr. who played 11 seasons in the NFL and a member of the Super Bowl XXXVII Champion Buccaneers. In high school, 2015 Parade All-American First Team and Prep Star All-American Dream Team. At 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, physically imposing competitor with a prototypical combination of height, strength, bulk and body control. Impressive agility for a big athlete. Clears defensive backs with good hand technique. Long arms and strong hands. Jumps, twerks and contorts body to haul in pass. Runs through arm tackles. Quality route runner. Victorious at catch point. Combine illustrated better than expected athlete. Willing and effective blocker in run game. Scheme versatility. Not an explosive athlete in and out of breaks nor elusive in the open field. Will not be mistaken for a speed merchant. Professional ceiling as a X-receiver with a floor of a big slot playmaker.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 171

Yards per Reception: 14.7

2019 Season

Catch Percentage: 74%

Team Aerial Dominator: 29%

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.52

3-cone Drill: 6.96

20-yard Shuttle: 4.14

Draft Potential: Second round

 

11. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina

Early breakout star as a freshman: Enrolled in January and started all 12 games. In 2016, Athlon’s Freshman All-America Second Team and SEC First Team All-Freshman. In 2018, Strength and Conditioning Award. In 2019, Team Captain and Second Team All-SEC. Two-time Steve Spurrier MVP Award (2019 and 2017). Record-breaking career: All-time Gamecocks’ leader in catches (234) and receiving yards (3,045). Snatched a pass in a school-record 48 straight games. A 6-foot-3 and 215-pounder with explosiveness and speed. Laudable blend of size and athleticism. Highly productive four-year starter and consistent playmaker against SEC opponents. Vivacious playmaker on screens, slants and crossers. Physical competitor who initiates contact and wins hand fights. Very good hand-eye coordination. Secures ball but does occasionally drop the ball. Competitive toughness: Uses body like a rebounder in the low post to box out defenders. Good agility and footwork for a big athlete. Employs double moves to gain separation. Tracks ball well and maximizes catch radius. Excellent runner after the catch. Good run blocker. Posted on Twitter that he was unable to participate at Combine due to broken foot: Reports indicate the he will partake at the Gamecocks Pro Day on March 19. Not a quick-twitch athlete and limited in and out of breaks. Must become more of a technician as a route runner and learn the nuances of the position. Endured inconsistent quarterback play at South Carolina. Early in career, projects as a big slot receiver who moves to the “X” position with more professional experience.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 234

Yards per Reception: 13.0

2019 Season

Catch Percentage: 63%

Team Aerial Dominator: 30%

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: n/a

3-cone Drill: n/a

20-yard Shuttle: n/a

Draft Potential: Third round

 

 

12. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan

Undervalued, and overlooked, prospect in the Class of 2020. Career production must be placed in context: Wolverines’ offensive scheme and quarterback performance limited opportunities and touches. Two-time All-Big Ten selection as a wide receiver: In 2018, Third Team by coaches and in 2018 and 2019, Honorable Mention by the media. Two-time All-Big Ten honoree as a punt returner. In 2018, Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Started seven games as a freshman and named Wolverines’ Rookie of the Year in 2017. In high school, five-star recruit, State Championship game MVP and named Under Armour All-American and USA Today First Team All-American. Recorded highest vertical jump (44.5 inches) and longest broad jump (11’7”) among receivers at Combine. At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, a smooth athlete with imposing frame and adroit footwork. Glides across the gridiron. Fascinating combination of fineness and strength. After the catch, explodes and acquires chunks of real estate. Stupendous vision in the open field. Makes opponents whiff. Identifies creases and maximizes angles to elude tacklers. Tracks deep ball well. Very good red zone target. Lined up in the slot and outside. High-character teammate. Inconsistent and disappears at times during games. Sloppy route runner and lack of elite twitch skills. Difficulty shaking press coverage. Dynamic special teamer from opening kick at training camp. Tantalizing athleticism and high-ceiling potential will enthrall a franchise and likely be selected higher than expected.

Key Career Stats

Receptions: 103

Yards per Reception: 12.9

2019 Season

Catch Percentage: 59%

Team Aerial Dominator: 13%

Breakaway Ability

40-yard Dash: 4.48

3-cone Drill: n/a

20-yard Shuttle: n/a

Draft Potential: Third round

 

It is John Laub’s seventh year publishing The Scholar’s Study Sheets: NFL Draft Prospects. With his Masters in history and professional experience as an educator, Laub is uniquely qualified to research, analyze and discover new insights and trends in college and professional football. Laub has played fantasy football over thirty years and published articles for FootballDiehards.com for well over 25 years. He won $10,000 in 1993, defeating nearly 15,000 owners, and published Audibles: Winning is Everything in the 1990s. He truly is The Gridiron Scholar.

Twitter: @GridironSchol91 or e-mail: Audibles@aol.com