2013 NFL Draft Skill Position Rookie Rankings

Latavius Murray doin' his thang vs. East Carolina.

Latavius Murray doin’ his thang vs. East Carolina.

We’re almost there folks. Less than 10 hours until the 2013 NFL Draft. I could not possibly be more excited, despite the “weak” class of players that will be picked this year. For dynasty nuts, this is the 2nd best event of the year, right after winning that championship. For some of us… this might be even more exciting. Anyways, onto the positional rankings. I have rankings for QB, RB, WR, & TE, based off metrics, film study, and in most cases, both. Keep in mind while reading this that I am chasing upside. To me, there’s no point in selecting a low ceiling player like Stepfan Taylor or Kenny Stills. Those are the players I’ll be cutting next year to make room for that extra 4th round pick I got through a trade. I’m chasing upside players, those will impressive physical measurables and college production who are undervalued by the general public. I’m likely overvaluing talent and undervaluing draft position, so keep that in mind while you’re perusing. This is geared mostly towards dynasty inclined folk. Feel free to talk/question/yell at me on twitter.

 

Quarterbacks

geno

When I rank quarterbacks, I weed through the trash and only look at games versus teams that are .500 or better, while also isolating performance against the best college teams (.800 or better). This method was pioneered by Jon Moore, I only attempted to build upon it. AY/A refers to Adjusted Yards per Attempt. It’s similar to Y/A, except touchdowns count as 20 yards and interceptions count as negative 45 yards. This class of quarterbacks is weaker than I can remember in recent years. There are 4 guys that I feel have a decent shot to be ‘good’ at absolute worst.

 

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A

TD%

INT%

1

Geno Smith

West Virginia

7.22

8.01

7.25%

1.45%

Geno Smith is my clear #1 quarterback, there really isn’t any debate. He has excellent TD and INT percentages, in addition to solid Y/A and AY/A figures. He profiles as being more of a ‘good’ quarterback than a truly great or elite one.

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A

TD%

INT%

2

E.J. Manuel

Florida State

7.71

7.23

3.49

2.62

Manuel being this high is purely about the rushing potential. He was a better passer than Colin Kaepernick was in college, although Kaepernick racked up way more rushing yards. If Manuel falls into a similar situation where he’ll be managed and manipulated, this ranking will look smart. If he ends up on the dumpster fire that’s the Jets, then forget about it.

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A

TD%

INT%

3

Ryan Nassib

Syracuse

7.38

7.34

5.26

2.43

Nassib is my #3, but I don’t have to feel great about it. He has a mediocre/okay AY/A, but his TD% is solid. In a very small sample size versus 2 teams .800 or better, he had an AY/A of 9.27 and threw no interceptions, which is stellar. Again, small sample size, so use caution. He has the potential to be a decent starter at the next level, but I don’t think he’ll up being the star player some are projecting.

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A

TD%

INT%

4

Ryan Griffin

Tulane

7.12

7.47

5.38

1.61

Griffin being my #4 is probably going to shock some people, although it shouldn’t. Everyone after this is basically a non-prospect for me fantasy wise; Griffin is the last guy in this class that I think really has a chance to be a pretty good starter. He’ll likely be drafted very late and rot on a bench for a couple years, but I think Griffin has starter potential. His AY/A and TD% are good, while his INT% is elite. I’ll be keeping an eye on where he goes this weekend.

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A

TD%

INT%

5

Tyler Wilson

Arkansas

6.67

7.70

4.14

4.14

Tyler Wilson is a Tale of Two Seasons. His 2011 was superb, and he should’ve come out. However, misguided loyalty to the ever-so-wonderful Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas fans kept him in school. In 2011, he had an 8.51 AY/A, 5.1% TD rate, and 1.18% INT rate. The difference between the two years? In 2011, he had ZERO games with 2+ interceptions. In 2012, 4 games with 2+ interceptions. I’m wary of a player who regressed so badly in his senior season, and so should you.

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A*

TD%

INT%

6

Matt Barkley

Southern Cal

7.95

7.33

7.92

4.91

Matt Barkley isn’t a player I’m interested in for fantasy. His TD% in elite, but INT% is bust worthy. On more pass attempts, he threw 50% more touchdowns than he did in 2011, but also threw 433% more interceptions (13 vs. 3). Again, a player who regresses so badly their final season is a scary thing, and I would probably shy away. No doubt someone in your league will fall in love with him, while talent falls to you.

Rank

Player

College

Y/A

AY/A*

TD%

INT%

7

Matt Scout

Arizona

7.32

7.14

4.95

2.59

8

Landry Jones

Oklahoma

7.41

7.56

4.56

1.68

9

Zac Dysert

Miami (OH)

7.07

6.24

3.65

3.34

10

Mike Glennon

North Carolina

8.01

7.75

6.67

3.53

11

Tyler Bray

Tennessee

6.62

5.14

4.35

6.62

12

Sean Renfree

Duke

6.49

6.12

3.19

2.24

The rest of the quarterbacks have some sort of fatal flaw in their game, whether it be outlandishly horrible completion percentages (Glennon and Bray) or putrid performances versus the .800 or better squads (Dysert and Bray… again). Matt Scott is interesting to me because of the upside to run the read option, and Jones had some good years, but plateaued. It’s likely they’ll be undrafted after your rookie draft, although I wouldn’t waste a roster spot unless they land in a dynamite situation.

Running Backs

My #1 running back: Christine Michael.

My #1 running back: Christine Michael.

 

With running backs, I look at their best season in college in addition to physical profiling metrics. I’m searching for guys with starter upside, and I severely discount players I believe aren’t talented to hold off other running backs, like Vick Ballard, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Shonn Greene. It behooves you to spot the Arian Foster’s and Frank Gore’s before they become stars. Situation and draft position plays a huge role in fantasy points scored for running backs, so these rankings can, and will, change drastically after the draft.

 

 

 

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

1

Christine Michael

Texas A&M

103.57

10.71

168

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

16.56

99.89

0.89

0.89

Despite the character concerns, my #1 back is Christine Michael. Come 2014, I’ll either be a genius, or an idiot wondering why my #1 back is pulling a Titus Young. Michael gets dinged for never blowing up statistically at the college level, although Frank Gore never had a 1,000 rushing season, and he’s turned out okay. What sticks out to you right away is his off-the-charts amazing Agility Score. When adjusted for weight, it’s the 2nd best Agility Score since 1998! You see the quickness on film, and the ability to make cuts at speed. You also see him dancing in the backfield, and at times thinking like a smaller back. Michael gets the ‘injury prone’ label because he broke his leg and tore an ACL, injuries I think are more fluky than a sign of anything structurally wrong with his body. No question Michael needs a good coach, but if he gets one who can harness his potential, you’re staring at a prototypical workhorse back.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

2

Jonathan Franklin

UCLA

100.88

11.20

146.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

20.14

123.86

0.93

2.36

Franklin’s ranking here goes against the metrics to some degree. He’s fairly average in all three, although his college production is excellent. On film, I saw a player who runs tougher than his size would indicate, and if I’m going to take one of the smaller backs in this class, Franklin would be the one I’d want most. 2 months ago, he was underrated, but he’s rapidly approaching overrated territory.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

3

Eddie Lacy

Alabama

100

11.34*

147.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

14.57

94.43

1.21

1.57

Were this ranking based solely on talent, Lacy would be much lower. He’s my #3 because I expect him to be the first back taken, and thus given ample opportunity. He’s just average physically, and I’m very concerned over him literally quitting his pro day. Lacy is more Mark Ingram than Trent Richardson, and that’s not a good thing. If he goes falls into the 3rd/4th round he’ll drop on my board.

*Agility Score assumed based on backs of a similar size profile

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

4

Le’Veon Bell

Michigan State

102.74

10.99

149.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

29.38

137.92

0.92

2.46

Le’Veon Bell is the poster child for why raw stats don’t matter. People point to his sub-5 YPC as a reason why he won’t succeed in the NFL, failing to mention that the Michigan State offense fell apart without Kirk Cousins, and passing game took a huge step back. Bell was handed the keys to the offense and did the best he could considering the situation. Put Bell behind Alabama’s or Wisconsin’s offensive line and he’s the top running back prospect in the mainstream media. When adjusting Agility Score for weight, Bell has a top 10 score amongst running backs since 1998. That foot quickness is evident on film, and watching him routinely make defenders miss was a treat. He can dance behind the line at times, and try to move like a smaller back, but these are minor issues than can be cleaned up. Bell is 230 pounds of hulking Man Meat. Good luck future NFL attempted tacklers…

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

5

Giovani Bernard

N. Carolina

95.94

11.03

155.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

18.4

122.8

1.2

4.7

Bernard is going to be a great receiving back in the NFL, I can almost guarantee it. He was heavily involved in the passing game at North Carolina, catching 4.7 balls per game, and his Agility Score is very good. My fear with Bernard is that might be all he’s capable of. I’m unsure whether he’ll be able to grind between the tackles at his size. His film reveals a lack of strength, and for a quicker back, he sure got tackled 1 on 1 a lot. Ray Rice comparisons are inaccurate and misleading, in my opinion. He’s going top 4 in rookie mocks right now, and that price is too rich for my blood.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

6

Zac Stacy

Vanderbilt

100.79

10.87

155

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

15.92

87.77

0.77

0.77

Compare Stacy’s measurables to Doug Martin and you’ll be shocked. Why isn’t he receiving the same amount of buzz that Martin was this time last year? The difference lies in their schools: Martin attended Boise State, whose football program has made a name for itself the last couple years, and Stacy attended Vanderbilt, the SEC chew toy. I’d love to see Stacy is a Bengals or Colts uniform next year. Watch his film against Georgia, where he beats up a tough SEC defense with 2 or 3 NFL starters on it. Stacy’s valued could be depressed depending on how late he goes this Thursday.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

7

Latavius Murray

South Florida

121.18

11.17

160

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

18

100.55

1.36

2.45

The comps for Murray are literally off the wall. He profiles as a more explosive/agile Ryan Mathews, or a quicker Adrian Peterson. Murray is just a tsunami of pure upside, the holder of the 12th highest Speed Score ever. When he wasn’t injured, he was dynamite in college, scoring well over a touchdown per game, and chipping in a couple receptions as well. On film, it doesn’t even look like he’s trying, everything just look effortless and smooth. The best part is that you probably won’t even have to draft him! That’s right, Murray is so under the radar at this point that he’s not even in MyFantasyLeague’s system yet. Worst case scenario, you burn a 3rd round pick on a guy you just have to have. It’s guaranteed I will own him in every single league this year. The upside is a top 5 back in the NFL, and the downside is nonexistent.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

8

Knile Davis

Arkansas

124.49

11.34

154.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

15.69

101.69

1

1.46

Knile Davis is such an enigma, I really did not know what to do with him. On one hand, he has top 10 running back measurables, and his 2010 season was really amazing considering it was the SEC. On the other hand, his 2012 film is terrible. Davis runs like a smaller back looking to make people miss instead of using his massive frame to run people over. He runs like Quasimodo, hunched over, which causes him to trip over his own feet when making cuts. Just looking at his 2012 production would garner him an undraftable grade, but looking at 2010, I see the potential. Perhaps the countless broken bones sapped his desire to use his body as a battering ram. Can’t really fault him for that. I’ll bank on the upside if I can get him late enough. If he goes undrafted, that tells me NFL teams aren’t really interested, therefore I won’t be very interested. If a team gambles on him in the 3rd though, I’m much more excited about him.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

9

Chris Thompson

Florida State

100.61

DNP

DNP

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

11.38

85.88

0.63

2.63

At RB9, I’m taking a big leap of faith with Thompson. When healthy, I firmly believe he’s the best small back in this class, ahead of Giovani Beranrd, Kerwynn Williams, and Kenjon Barner, to name a few. Thompson ran a 4.4 40 seven months after tearing his ACL. On tape, he’s a clear mid-4.3 guy at worst, which would bump his Speed Score up to 107 territory. Thompson has the strength (26 bench reps) and quickness on tape to become the next Sproles. He’s a better prospect than LaMichael James was last year, but he might go undrafted. 2 serious injuries the last 2 years have murdered his draft stock, and I’ll be waiting to take advantage. Worst case scenario, he’s a really good receiving back in the NFL. Best case scenario, he’s a stronger C.J. Spiller.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

10

Jordan Roberts

Charleston

106.81

11.07

164.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

21.64

142.91

1.64

1.82

Like Murray, banking on pure physical upside. Roberts dominated the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference like he should have, amassing almost 150 yards per game to along with 1.64 touchdowns per game. Roberts has ideal size (5’10”, 219) with good speed (4.5) and great agility marks. He might not even be drafted this weekend, but if he is, you could do way worse for an end of the roster stash.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

11

Treavor Scales

Harvard

96.31

10.88

171.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

16.8

100.2

1.3

0.90

Scales interests me because of metrics alone. I haven’t seen any film, just highlight reels, so it’s all I really have to go on. I feel like he could be that Giovani Bernard style back at the UDFA price. I was much more interested before he ran a 4.5 at the Super Regional Combine, but he’s got great Agility and Explosion Scores (his Explosion Score ranks 7th all time), but he’s another unlikely-to-be-drafted option, which puts a damper on his value. If he lands in a situation like Indianapolis where he has the chance to beat out a less talented back, I’d be very interested in him. I don’t feel that great about this ranking in particular.

 

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

12

D.J. Harper

Boise State

101.1

11.42

153.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

17.54

87.46

1.15

1.77

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

13

Montee Ball

Wisconsin

90.76

11.28

150

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

25.43

130.71

1.57

0.71

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

14

Andre Ellington

Clemson

96.2

DNP

156

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

16.31

83.15

0.62

1.08

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

15

Kerwynn Williams

Utah State

97.31

11.30

153

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

16.77

116.31

1.15

3.46

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

16

Kenjon Barner

Oregon

93.91

11.07

157.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

21.38

135.92

1.62

1.54

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

17

Rex Burkhead

Nebraska

85.51

10.94

164

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

21.85

104.38

1.15

1.62

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

18

Mike Gilleslee

Florida

97.06

11.52

149.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

18.77

88.62

0.77

1.23

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

19

Stepfan Taylor

Stanford

83.87

11.63

140

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

23

109.29

0.93

2.93

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

20

Montel Harris

Temple

100.61

DNP

DNP

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

11.38

85.88

0.63

2.63

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

21

Miguel Maysonet

Stony Brook

86.72

11.13

145.5

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

18.6

105.4

1.2

1

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

22

Jawan Jamison

Rutgers

84.63

DNP

139

ATTs/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

19.62

82.69

0.31

2.15

The rest of the backs don’t do much for me. Ball gets a lot of press for his 77 touchdowns at Wisconsin, but I was extremely unimpressed with his film, and would look elsewhere for extended production. You’ll always have to worry about a more talented back taking the job from him. I see nothing more than change of pace potential in Ellington, Barner,  and Williams. Burkhead has been compared to Stevan Ridley, and his Agility and Explosion scores are excellent. He’s white and slow however, two things that will work against him. Gilleslee, Taylor, and Harris are plodders who will be situation dependent. Whoever on the NFL  Advisory Committee gave Jawan Jamison a 3rd round grade should be fired. 

Wide Receivers

The Studman himself.

The Studman himself.

For ranking wide receivers, I used a variety of metrics, including Height-adjusted Speed Score, an idea spawned from Shawn Siegele. I don’t have the formula he uses, so I created my own. I didn’t have a chance to see all of the wide receivers this year, so some of these players are based off metrics only. This draft lacks the superstar wideouts of yesteryear, but there are some damn fine players to be had.

 

 

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

1

DeAndre Hopkins

Clemson

95.08

11.33

151

Physically, Hopkins is slightly underwhelming. He’s 6’1”, 213 pounds, and ran a 4.57. I’d be more worried if he hadn’t absolutely dominated the best college competition over the last 2 years. I don’t think he can be a #1 wide receiver in the NFL, but I think he has the best shot out of the guys in this class. The best part is that he’ll be a bargain come draft day. I have a feeling he’ll be the 3rd wide receiver selected, after Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

2

Keenan Allen

California

94.73

DNP

DNP

Keenan Allen is a guy I’m still going to pound the table for. Excuse me if I don’t put much stock in the sub 4.7 40 time of an injured player. I penciled Allen in for a conservative 4.55 40 time, giving him the Height-adjusted Speed Score of 94.73. It’s dangerous to say such things, but on film, Allen is clearly faster than Hopkins, in my opinion. He’s another smallish receiver who doesn’t profile as a true #1 at the next level, but his playmaking ability is clear on film. Metrics guys, like myself, will kill him for his low RZ TD%, but his half-brother absolutely murdered that with terrible quarterback play. Another likely bargain in your draft.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

3

Tavon Austin

West Virginia

99.32

DNP

152

In real NFL terms, I think Austin is massively overrated. Give me Sam McGuffie as an UDFA and he’d do a near perfect Austin imitation. Austin’s ranking is based on his draft position, which will likely be high. Any team that takes him must have a plan to just feed him the ball, which is where I think his value will come from.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

4

Stedman Bailey

West Virginia

91.36

10.90

151.5

Bailey gets my nod at the most underrated wide receiver of the draft. His physical profile isn’t intimidating, but neither is Steve Smith, a player I think Bailey is similar too. There’s been talk of Bailey being a slot guy only, but he’s actually bigger than Smith was coming out of college. He’s more suited to a #2 role, however. Looking at his Agility Score, it’s easy to see why he was open all the time. He uses good technique and quicks to get open on routes all over the field. An absolute dynamite red zone receiver, despite his size.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

5

Cordarrelle Patterson

Tennessee

110.17

11.59

165

There are too many red flags for me to recommend Patterson any higher than this. He has a good HaSS and Explosion Scores, but his Agility Score is bottom five in this class. There is a disconnect between the film and metrics; one shows Patterson as the quickest athlete to come out of a college in the last few years, while the metrics show a guy less agile than Cobi Hamilton. Keep in mind he did those agility drills at Tennessee’s pro day. Those tracks are noticeably faster than the ones at the combine. Either the tape is lying to us and Patterson is not as quick as he appears, or he did not prepare at all for what he would be doing on his Pro Day. Neither one is reassuring. Those are much bigger concerns than his terrible route running and body catching habit. Oh, and he has really small hands.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

6

Da’Rick Rodgers

Tennessee

101.44

10.77

171.5

Rodgers is notorious for getting kicked out of Tennessee for smoking too much weed. One year and 11 drug tests removed from that incident, I no longer care about it. He has prototypical NFL size to go along with excellent Agility and Explosion scores. Rodgers is a guy who I think can produce on or above the level of Justin Hunter, but he’ll definitely go later in both the NFL draft and your rookie draft.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

7

Ryan Swope

Texas A&M

113.62

11.01

162

I take back what I said about Stedman Bailey. Ryan Swope is the most underrated receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft. Swope has virtually the same measurables as Tavon Austin, but he’s 4” taller and 30 pounds heavier! Unlike Austin, Swope has a future as an outside receiver, and I’ve seen him make tough catches on the outside and over the middle with safeties bearing down on him. He has excellent metrics across the board, although he’s flying under the radar after his production dipped with new running quarterback Johnny Manziel replacing Ryan Tannehill. Swope is destined to be a draft day steal in both real life and fantasy. The only red flag are his hands, tied for smallest in this class.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

8

Justin Hunter

Tennessee

101.49

11.52

172.5

Justin Hunter… I just don’t get the hype. People tout his ‘great size’ – since when is a 6’4” 199 pound wide received have ‘great size?’ Draftniks were hyped up about his mid-4.4 40 time at the 40. I’m not that excited about it. He’s 199 pounds, so that’s decent speed, certainly not earth-shattering, or worthy of Randy Moss comparisons he’s been receiving. Hunter also did not perform at the college level anywhere near the amount of hype he’s getting. His average statline versus SEC teams was 4.5 catches, 71 yards, and .25 touchdowns per game. If you remove the cakepuff games from his schedule (Georgia St., Troy, & Akron), his per game average is 5.3 catches, 71.2 receptions, .11 TDs. 34% of his catches, 42.3% of his yards, and 77.8% of his TDs came against those 3 teams. Hunter had 1 100 yard game versus the SEC. He’s the 3rd lightest 6’4” wide receiver to participate in the combine since 1998. Not an outlier you want to be a part of. In the 1st round, I think the risk is far too high.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

9

Quinton Patton

Louisiana Tech

95.38

10.92

151

Patton is a physically unimposing player, but he absolutely dominated in college. Similar to Stedman Bailey, he gets open with impressive agility rather than speed. I’m worried about his strength at the next level, he only benched 225lbs 8 times at the combine, which is embarrassingly bad. Another guy more suited for a #2 role.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

10

Markus Wheaton

Oregon State

96.14

10.82

157

Another “speed” guy who didn’t really run fast at the combine. He doesn’t look like the speed demon he was made out to be on tape, in my opinion, but he’s still a decent player in his own right. This draft is littered with #2 wideouts, and if I was an NFL team, I’d just sit back and take whoever fell into the 3rd or 4th round, which is bound to happen with the depth of talent available. Situation is important for Wheaton, since he’s not a bigger red zone threat wide receiver, standing at 71” and 189 pounds. He’ll need volume to be fantasy relevant.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

11

Josh Boyce

Texas Christian

109.13

10.78

165

Around this point, the options start to thin out and we’re looking at less desirable options. Boyce took a step back in 2012 with all the quarterback drama at Texas Christian. He’s another wide receiver who compares favorably to Tavon Austin, but is significantly bigger (5’11”, 207 pounds). Boyce can be a good slot receiver in the NFL if he lands in a good situation.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

12

Mark Harrison

Rutgers

112.14

11.32

167.5

This ranking is based purely off of physical upside. Harrison did not dominate at the college level which is a huge red flag, but the measurable are enough for me to take a chance, especially in the 4th round of your rookie draft when everyone is just a flier at that point. He’s a Brandon Marshall type wide receiver, at 6’3” 231 pounds. On film, I’ve seen him go up and get the ball, using his size to box out defenders. He’s raw like Patterson, but more much of a physical rarity.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

13

Terrance Williams

Baylor

97.96

11.33

151.5

Williams racked up yards and touchdowns in his final year at Baylor, as he should have, since he’s almost 24 years old. The former Bear is another athletically average future #2 in this draft. There are 1st round buzz around him earlier in the offseason, but that has completely died down. If he does end up going in the first, he’ll be ranked higher post-draft, but I highly doubt that happens.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

14

Marquess Wilson

Washington State

94.28

11.62

156.5

Wilson compares to a less-athletic Justin Hunter. He’s 6’3” 194, and ran a 4.51 to go along with subpar Agility and Explosion Scores. I’m much more concerned about his poor metrics than him ‘quitting’ on Washington State. Can we really not believe that Mike Leach isn’t a saint?

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

15

Chris Harper

Kansas State

102.17

11.28

151.5

16

Robert Woods

Southern California

96.3

11.62

150.5

17

Marcus Davis

Virginia Tech

103.29

11.35

159.5

18

Sam McGuffie

Rice

108.34

10.50

176

19

T.J. Moe

Missouri

79.57

10.49

156

20

Kenny Stills

Oklahoma

105.19

11.48

157.5

Chris Harper has been drawing Anquan Boldin comparisons as of late, and has decent metrics. He’s certainly worth watching. Robert Woods is below-average in every category, which means he’s a ‘technician.’ Avoid him in the first 2 rounds of your rookie draft. Marcus Davis is less of a physical specimen than Mark Harrison but was better in college. I haven’t found any cut ups of his game, but there are highlights on YouTube that show him going up and getting balls while clearly being interfered with. Sam McGuffie is the most interesting of this bunch to me; he’s an incredible athlete, he had the highest Explosion Score of this class. He’s a Tavon Austin clone with more downfield ability. Rice badly misused him; I often found myself wondering why their speed demon videogame quick wide receiver was blocking on screen passes. How frustrating… T.J. Moe profiles as a stronger, faster, quicker version of Wes Welker. Kenny Stills doesn’t stand out to me in any way.

Tight Ends

The big Texan, Vance McDonald.

The big Texan, Vance McDonald.

This tight end class has been classified as ‘deep,’ which appears to be a euphemism for ‘not a lot of star players.’ Tyler Eifert will likely end up being the only difference maker from this class, although there are several useful real-football players to be had. I’m applying the same metrics used on wide receivers, and we’ll see how it works. As the offseason goes on, I’ll be tinkering with a more advanced model of predicting NFL player success.

 

 

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

1

Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame

99.14

11.26

140

Pretty much the consensus #1 tight end no matter where you look, my system agrees. He’s got good speed/agility, in addition to NFL level strength. Blocking is his biggest concern, and from what I’ve read, most draftniks believe he can develop into a solid blocker at the next level. There’s not much to see here, Eifert seems as safe a prospect as they come, if such a thing exists.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

2

Zach Ertz

Stanford

92.36

11.50

138

Ertz is like Eifert in every way, except just not as good. He profiles as much of a receiving tight end than a real blocking threat at the next level. He needs to get stronger and work on technique if he hopes to take on NFL defensive lineman. On film, I like his ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls, but he doesn’t have that ‘my ball’ mentality I saw Eifert showcase with regularity. He’s faced a precipitous drop in ‘stock’ over the last 2-3 weeks that’s really puzzling. Possibly the NFL Draft Twitter echo chamber?

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

3

Vance McDonald

Rice

102.79

11.38

146

McDonald is hulk of a human being, standing at 6’4” 267 pounds. The former Rice Owl grades out as the strongest tight end in my system, scoring a near perfect 99.8. The blocking upside is there, it just needs to be coached up. McDonald is a versatile weapon who can line up all over the formation; Rice used him on bubble screens and even gave him carries out of the backfield. His Speed/Agility Scores are excellent given his size. He was never very productive at Rice, although I hold that against the coaches more than McDonald himself. Rice should’ve been top in the nation on offense considering all the talent they had. McDonald could be a surprise 2nd round pick, although I wouldn’t bank on production his rookie year, that rarely happens with tight ends. His biggest problem is his hands, they are his own worst enemy. He needs a juggs machine, pronto.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

4

Travis Kelce

Cincinnati

107.52

DNP

DNP

On tape, Kelce seems to be somewhat of stiff athlete, if my eyes can be trusted. However, his blocking ability cannot be understated, and I think that will help him get on the field sooner than some of these other prospects. Unfortunately, we don’t have much data to judge him by due to his sports hernia surgery, but we’re working with what we have. The mysterious ‘character concerns’ are coming out as some sort of drug violation. As long as he’s not an addict, I’m not concerned.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

5

Joseph Fauria

UCLA

90.80

11.26

139

What Fauria lacks in Speed and Explosion, he more than makes up for in size. He stands at 6’8”, 259 pounds of pure red zone muscle. Fauria was a touchdown machine in college, catching 20 of them on 88 career catches. He’ll never be a great blocker or a deep seam threat, but Fauria will probably catch touchdowns, and catch a lot of them.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

6

Jordan Reed

Florida

90.86

11.92

140

There are red flags for Jordan Reed all over the place. Of all my rankings, this seems like the one most likely to blow up in my face. Reed is being heralded as the next Aaron Hernandez, but there are just too many numbers screaming at me that something is terribly wrong here. First off, his Height-adjusted Speed Score is terrible. He ran a 4.76 at 236 pounds. Awful. For someone so good in the open field, his Agility Score is vomit-worthy. Back to the Cordarrelle Patterson point: either the tape is lying to us, or Reed didn’t prepare. He also is far too weak to ever become a blocking tight end, scoring one of the lowest Strength Scores in my system. This is as high as he’ll be on my list, and has the potential to fall much lower.

Rank

Player

College

Speed

Agility

Explosion

7

Jake Stoneburner

Ohio State

101.42

11.63

146

8

Chris Gragg

Arkansas

112.8

11.59

158

9

Gavin Escobar

San Diego St.

87.73

11.64

148

10

Dion Sims

Michigan St.

95.99

12.04

155.5

11

Philip Lutzenkirchen

Auburn

81.08

11.26

168.5

12

Ryan Otten

San Jose St.

92.01

12.12

145

13

Nick Kasa

Colorado

102.24

11.90

136

Jake Stoneburner and Chris Gragg are interesting options who were underutilized in college. I found Gavin Escobar to be wildly overrated after seeing many have him top 4 among tight ends. Dion Sims profiles as a good blocking tight end, but there’s some athleticism lurking in that offensive lineman sized body. I really liked Lutzenkirchen’s (limited) film, he showed soft hands and some athleticism on tape. However, he measured very poorly. Ryan Otten looked better on film that he measured. Nick Kasa is the new Taylor Thompson. Don’t get your hopes up.

About Coleman Kelly

21 year old Network Administration major from Central Connecticut. Football fanatic and New England Patriots fan. Lover of cats.

About Coleman Kelly

21 year old Network Administration major from Central Connecticut. Football fanatic and New England Patriots fan. Lover of cats.
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