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2022 Pre-Draft Rookie Wide Receiver Ranks and Profiles, Part 3

John Metchie

John Metchie

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL draft around the corner, I’m releasing my pre-draft rookie ranks with in-depth analytical profiles. Below are my 11th-18th (because I couldn’t stop at 15 for some reason) ranked rookie wide receivers in the 2022 class. Part one covered wide receivers 1-5. And part two covered wide receivers 6-10.

These rankings are fantasy football-focused and driven by statistical metrics that I’ll explain throughout the profiles. These rankings also factor in expected NFL draft position. NFL draft position, and the scouting that drives it, plays a huge role in prospects’ success and failure. The biggest post-draft swings in my rankings will come from draft-dependent prospects locking in high draft capital and strong analytical prospects slipping more than expected in the draft. One note regarding draft position is that, as much as possible, it is my hope that NFL general managers, scouts, and evaluators are not factoring the various metrics that I rely on in my positional ranks. If they were, I could save a lot of time and just rank prospects by expected draft position. Obviously, there is overlap between what scouts are looking for and the type of stats teams tend to favor when putting their boards together. But ideally, the metrics below are adding a predictive element that we can add to draft position to better predict fantasy success.

These profiles also include statistical comps. These comps are based on key metrics for wide receivers like career production, college breakout, and underclassman status. They also factor in height and weight, but the comps won’t always be perfect stylistically. The primary purpose of the comps is to help illuminate a range of outcomes for each player and serve as a reminder that a player’s prospect profile is a helpful tool in projecting them to the next level but an imperfect one.

11) John Metchie, Alabama

At a glance:
Metchie is slightly undersized at 5 foot 11, 187 pounds but offers versatility to play inside or outside. He has major production question marks that are somewhat understandable given his ridiculously talented target competition. He suffered an ACL tear in December.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Declared early. Wide receivers who turn pro when just three seasons removed from high school have excellent track records.

Played with other talented wide receivers - Metchie joined Alabama in 2019 and walked into a wide receiver room that included Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. Understandably, he had a 2% yardage share as a freshman. He then operated as Alabama’s second or third option in 2020, during Smith’s Heisman winning campaign and Waddle’s five-game emergence. In 2021, his potential ascendency was interrupted by Jameson Williams, who had also been stifled by a loaded depth chart in his first two seasons.

Versatility - Metchie played 26% of his snaps in the slot in 2020 and 33% in 2021. His lack of deep production indicates that he could be a better fit for the slot, but he has multiple paths to an NFL role.

Yards after catch - Metchie averaged 1.35 YAC per route in 2021. As we’ll get to, he could depend on schemed touches at the NFL level. But although 54% of his YAC came behind the line of scrimmage, he was still impressive will the ball in his hands.

Red Flags:

Never broke out - Metchie had an impressive 2021, producing 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and eight TDs. But he managed just a 25% yardage share and an 18% TD share in 13 games. This was Metchie’s strongest season, and he was well short of the 30% dominator rating threshold.

Career yardage share - Metchie managed just a 20% career yardage share, which is concerningly low for a three-year wide receiver. There were extenuating circumstances, but there’s only so much faith we want to extend due to target competition. Metchie’s lack of a dominant final season combined with poor career numbers remains a major red flag.

Yards per route run - Jaylen Waddle was in a similar position to Metchie at Alabama, blocked by an extremely talented trio for two seasons before emerging in his final year. And Waddle played only five games as a junior in a season when senior DeVonta Smith exploded for a 47% dominator rating. As a result, Waddle had an even worse career yardage share than Metchie, at just 18%. However, Waddle flashed as an elite playmaker when given the opportunity. He finished with a career 3.57 YPRR, which is off-the-charts good. Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, and Marquise Brown are the only drafted wide receivers in the PFF database with a better YPRR over their first three seasons. Metchie... is not Waddle. He finished with a career 2.22 YPRR, and his peak season of 2.41 is significantly worse than Waddle’s career-low 2.98.

Schemed production - Even if Metchie had been highly efficient as a junior, it would come with the caveat that 20% of his yardage came on screen passes. Metchie was excellent on screens, producing 3.60 YPRR, but it’s still not a good sign that he struggled with overall production and efficiency while seeing numerous schemed targets.

Metchie’s designed touches also undermine his reputation as a strong YAC producer. 48% of Metchie’s YAC came on behind the line of scrimmage touches with just 24% coming on targets 10+ yards downfield. This highlights the possibility that Metchie could offer YAC on screens and sweeps but fail to deliver playmaking ability on conventional wide receiver routes.

NFL Downfield ability - Metchie’s designed targets aren’t the only reason to be worried about his NFL role. Metchie had a career aDOT of just 10.1 with 20+ yard attempts making up only 16% of his targets. Meanwhile, deep shots made up 28% of Jameson Williams’ overall targets as he operated as Alabama’s primary downfield option and No. 1 receiver. Metchie’s lack of deep targets also stands out against Alabama’s recent first-round picks. Smith (19%), Jeudy (20%), Ruggs (20%), and Waddle (22%) all had deep attempts account for a significantly higher percentage of their overall targets. Metchie also produced just 28% of his yards on deep targets, which again trailed Ruggs (30%), Smith (32%), Jeudy (36%), Waddle (40%), and Williams (41%).

It would be easier to bet on Metchie if he offered game-breaking downfield ability. But while Metchie should have sufficient speed to play in the NFL, he will likely be deployed closer to the line of scrimmage than we’d prefer for fantasy.

Unknown athleticism - Speaking of Metchie’s speed, we’re taking that on faith due to his 2021 ACL tear. Metchie wasn’t used on special teams or as a rusher, and he wasn’t efficient on his routes. So outside of efficiency in the screen game and YAC on shallow targets, he doesn’t have a strong resume of on-field athleticism. It would be easier to buy into his profile if he blazed the 40 or crushed the 3-cone.

Injury - Metchie’s ACL tear didn’t just impact his Combine. The junior suffered the injury on December 4th, so it will likely cost him games in his rookie season as well as all of this first NFL training camp. This will put Metchie behind the 8 ball to start his career and likely impact his draft capital in a meaningful way.

Outlook:
Metchie is a leap of faith in two ways: we have to trust that he can recover quickly from a December ACL tear, and we have to trust that he can be more productive as a pro than he was in college. To the second concern, there may not be a player in college football to whom we should be more willing to extend trust than Metchie. He played behind four first-round picks, all of whom were 1-2 years ahead of him in the program. He was then was outproduced by yet another star wide receiver in Jameson Williams, who may also go in the first round despite an ACL tear.

However, it’s not just about who Metchie played with; it’s how Metchie played. His resume is unimpressive and yet clearly inflated by designed touches. If you’re concerned that Metchie is a middling talent with the skillset of a gadget player, there’s not much in his production profile to suggest otherwise. But we’re not trying to rank college players here. We’re trying to project how well these prospects will play as pros. As a three-year receiver with Day 2 draft capital and playmaking ability, there could be significantly more to Metchie than he showed at Alabama.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 2nd Round

12) Jahan Dotson, Penn State

At a glance:
At 5 foot 11, 178 pounds, Dotson is a diminutive outside receiver with good but not great speed. He had a highly efficient breakout junior season in 2020. Dotson returned for his senior year and was productive and efficient once again. He looks locked into a Day 2 selection with an outside chance at Round 1.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Underclassman breakout - Dotson had an impressive junior season, producing 52 receptions for 884 yards and eight TDs in nine games. Within the context of Penn State’s passing offense, Dotson’s output was spectacular. He accounted for 38% of his team’s receiving yards and 47% of their TDs, producing a 43% dominator rating.

Dominant final season - Dotson returned to school in 2021 and delivered 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 TDs in 12 games. He again dominated the passing game, delivering a 36% yardage share and a 50% TD share for a 43% dominator rating.

Career yardage share - Dotson wasn’t very productive as a freshman or sophomore and only played nine games as a junior. His career yardage share is 28%, which would be very good for a three-year player. But it’s actually a minor red flag for a four-year player. However, it separates him from truly unproductive upperclassmen. His 31% career dominator rating also helps ease any concerns around his career production.

Yards per route run - Dotson was highly efficient as a junior, producing 2.63 YPRR, over 1.5 yards more efficient than his teammates’ average. He impressed again with 2.56 YPRR as a senior. Dotson didn’t have a ton of target competition, but his efficiency lessens concerns that he was the best of bad options.

Athleticism - Dotson ran a 4.43 40 and posted a 121-inch broad jump and 36-inch vertical. As an undersized wide receiver, he needed to impress as an athlete, and he delivered.

Versatility - Dotson profiles in some ways as an NFL field stretcher. But his 4.43 speed is a tad slow to guarantee downfield success at just 178 pounds. Fortunately, Dotson played 24% of his 2021 snaps in the slot and could see some work inside.

Red Flags:

Four-year player.

Target competition - Dotson didn’t break out until K.J. Hamler departed following the 2019 season. While Hamler was at Penn State, Dotson delivered dominator ratings of just 7% and 18%. Of course, many impressive NFL wide receivers didn’t have a breakout freshman or sophomore season, so this isn’t necessarily a huge red flag.

Dotson also competed with Pat Freiermuth in 2018-20. But although Freiermuth was at Penn State in 2020, he only played four games. So while the tight end helps ease concerns about Dotson’s lack of a freshman or sophomore breakout, he doesn’t make Dotson’s 2020 emergence much more impressive.

Then again, it’s possible that we’ll view Dotson’s situation differently if Parker Washington emerges in 2022. Washington was a four-star recruit and has had two solidly productive seasons so far. If Washington ultimately earns high NFL draft capital, Dotson’s ability to dominate the offense while playing with him will ultimately look like a positive indicator. For now, Dotson’s target competition adds a bit of risk to his profile.

Early career YPRR - Dotson ended his career very efficiently, but he produced just 1.36 YPRR over his first two seasons. Even with his junior season included, he had just 1.87 YPRR in his first three seasons. His slow start in terms of efficiency creates risk for the same in the NFL.

Weight - Dotson weighed 178 pounds at the Combine, and at 5 foot 11, he’s unlikely to play at a significantly higher weight in the NFL. His weight will likely be a limiting factor in the type of roles he can play for his offense.

NFL Downfield ability - Dotson had a 14.9 aDOT as a sophomore operating as a true deep threat. However, his aDOT fell to 12.7 in 2020 and to 11.4 in 2021. And Dotson’s production increased as his targets became more shallow.

Dotson ultimately produced just 31% of his career yards on 20+ yard targets, which ranks below receivers in previous classes who are very much not NFL deep threats, such as Keke Coutee (35%), Amon-Ra St. Brown (35%), and Braxton Berrios (32%). That’s not to say that Dotson can’t see more deep targets as a pro. But in light of his good but not great 4.43 40 at the Combine, it seems plausible that Dotson is an undersized traditional wide receiver rather than a genuine deep threat. He could struggle if asked to consistently stretch the field since that isn’t actually how he broke out in college.

Outlook:
Dotson has a chance to go in the late first round, which would not only provide a major stamp of approval from NFL scouts but could land him with one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. And Dotson looks like a player worth betting on to overcome some fairly significant red flags if he lands in a strong situation. Even if he ends up being the next Eddie Royal--an undersized intermediate receiver who eventually converts to the slot--Dotson could be a fantasy contributor with strong quarterback play. To that point, Royal averaged 15.3 PPR points as a rookie in Jay Cutler‘s last year in Denver. Of course, not every undersized outside wide receiver can successfully play out of the slot, as Andy Isabella reminded us. Dotson looks like one of the more situation and draft capital-dependent prospects in the class.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 2nd Round

13) Khalil Shakir, Boise State

At a glance:
Shakir is 6 feet, 196 pounds, and a well-rounded athlete. Early in his career, he was a borderline gadget player but broke out as a junior with a spike in his downfield production. Shakir still projects as an underneath option but was most productive and efficient when playing outside rather than in the slot.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Underclassman breakout - Shakir emerged in 2020 as a true junior with 52 receptions for 719 yards and 6 TDs in seven games. That was good for 42% of Boise State’s receiving yards and 50% of their receiving TDs.

Dominant final season - Shakir followed up his breakout with a senior campaign of 77 receptions for 1,117 yards and seven TDs in 12 games. He delivered a 36% yardage share and a 35% TD share for another breakout season.

Yards per route run - Shakir didn’t emerge as a big-time producer until 2020, but he became highly efficient in 2019 with 2.65 YPRR. He then took things to another level with an outstanding 3.24 YPRR in his breakout season and remained highly efficient in 2021 with 2.83 YPRR. Shakir was the most efficient receiver at Boise State for his final three seasons, notably besting John Hightower when Shakir was a sophomore and Hightower was a senior. And Shakir’s 2.79 YPRR over his first three seasons ranks sixth among FBS receivers, behind Justyn Ross, Chris Olave, Skyy Moore, Treylon Burks, and Wan’Dale Robinson.

Declining Schemed Touches - Shakir produced 28% of his yards on screens as a freshman and 19% as a sophomore. But in his junior breakout, just 6% of his production came on screens. And his screen usage remained low (10%) in his senior year.

Shakir didn’t necessarily turn into a different type of receiver. He had a 9.5 aDOT in 2019 and was at 10.7 in 2020 and 9.7 in 2021. In other words, he was a shallow-intermediate option in each of the three seasons where he saw extensive playing time. But when at his peak, he was earning the vast majority of his targets on his own.

Versatility - Shakir spent 62% of his career snaps in the slot, peaking in 2021 with a 77% slot rate. But he was actually at his most productive and most efficient in 2020 when he spent a career-high 61% of snaps out-wide. Shakir has the size and athleticism to play inside or out, and his versatility gives him multiple paths to a starting job.

Yards after catch - Shakir flashed right away as an after-catch playmaker, delivering 1.31 YAC per route as a freshman and producing impressively efficient YAC seasons for his entire four-year career.

Rushing ability - Shakir has 413 career rushing yards on 71 career attempts. He projects as a dynamic player with the ball in his hands.

Athleticism - Shakir had a strong Combine with a 4.43 40 and a 124-inch broad jump at 6 feet, 196 pounds. The only minor red flag was his 34.5-inch vertical. Shakir took care of that at his Pro Day, increasing his vertical to 38.5 inches. He isn’t an off-the-charts athlete, but he has above average and well-rounded athleticism for an NFL wide receiver, which should help his draft position.

Red Flags:

Four-year player.

Career yardage share - Shakir finished his career with a 25% yardage share, a weak result for a four-year player. He was hurt a bit here by only playing seven games in 2020--his most productive season--and 10 games as a very unproductive freshman. Still, his final season was good but not great for a senior, and overall his career production paints him as a risky bet.

NFL Downfield ability - Although he saw his fair share of screen passes and behind the LOS targets, especially early in his career, it would be unfair to call Shakir a gadget player at Boise State. However, he definitely did most of his damage underneath, with just 26% of his YAC coming on targets 10+ yards downfield.

Shakir also produced 62% of his yardage on 10+ targets, which is only slightly ahead of John Metchie (60%) and David Bell (58%); both players project as underneath options in the NFL. With a 9.7 career aDOT, Shakir is likely to run shallow routes in the NFL, but he might be able to earn targets on his own rather than needing them schemed up.

Outlook:
Shakir no-showed in 10 games as a freshman, but outside of that, he actually has a very strong profile for a four-year player. He was impressively efficient for each of his final three seasons, had multiple breakout seasons that we not manufactured by schemed touches, and has an impressive after-catch profile with the athleticism to match. Shakir seems to have flown under the radar in the lead-up to the draft, but with Day 2 capital, he looks like a strong bet to land a starting job in the NFL. As a fantasy player, he won’t be the most exciting archetype--likely an underneath receiver who frequently works out of the slot. But as long as an underneath receiver can earn targets, he can also generate PRR points... and dynasty trade value.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 3rd Round

14) Justyn Ross, Clemson

At a glance:
Ross is 6 foot 4, 205 pounds, and operated as both a deep threat and a slot receiver at Clemson. He was incredible as a freshman but fell off as a sophomore. And he has some major injury red flags, missing his junior year and struggling through a stress fracture as a senior. It’s possible that he falls to Day 3 if NFL teams are scared off medically. His chances of slipping increased after a poor showing at his Pro Day.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Played with other talented wide receivers - Ross overlapped with Tee Higgins at Clemson. As a freshman, Ross had a 46-1,000-9 receiving line to Higgins’ 59-936-12. Ross’ 26% yardage share was meaningfully better than Higgins’ 22%, while Higgins’ 32% TD share was much better than Ross’ 26%. But Ross was a freshman and Higgins was a sophomore. The fact that Ross outgained Tee Higgins in receiving yardage is extremely impressive. Higgins pulled away in 2019, delivering a 30% dominator rating to Ross’ 21%.

Underclassman yards per route run - Ross was truly exceptional in YPRR in his early career. Among drafted wide receivers, His 3.41 YPRR within his first three years of high school is behind only Michael Gallup, Marquise Brown, Cedrick Wilson, and Jaylen Waddle in the PFF database. Ross was particularly spectacular as a freshman, with a mind-melting 4.98 YPRR.

Versatility - Ross played 83% of his snaps out-wide as a freshman and 79% as a sophomore. But in 2021, he moved into the slot, playing 54% of his snaps there with 45% out-wide. Ross will probably operate best downfield, but he could have a few different paths to a starting role.

Size - At 6 foot 4, 205 pounds, Ross’ frame meshes with his versatile college usage.

Yards after catch - Ross averaged 2.2 YAC per route in his freshman year, displaying elite ability with the ball in his hands. He never recaptured that magic, with 0.8 YAC per route in 2019 and 0.83 in 2021. But what he flashed early in his career still indicates a high ceiling as a playmaker.

Downfield production - Ross produced 40% of his career yardage on deep targets and 36% on intermediate targets. Among likely Day 1-2 receivers, only Jameson Williams (79%) had a higher percentage of his production at the intermediate and deep levels. Ross also has the size of an NFL deep threat. Although, as we’ll get to, he may not have the athleticism.

Red Flags:

Four-year player.

Never broke out - Ross had a very strong freshman season with a 26% yardage share, a 26% TD share, and an impressive raw stat line of 46 receptions for 1,000 yards and nine TDs. Still, he didn’t hit the 30% dominator rating threshold for a breakout season. He then fell off in 2019 with a 21% dominator rating. After returning from his missed junior season, he managed just a 28% dominator rating. There are some extenuating circumstances, however.

Injury history - Following the 2019 season, Ross underwent spinal surgery and missed the entire 2020 season. It was unclear if he would be medically cleared to play football again, but he received clearance prior to the 2021 season.

Ross then played through a stress fracture in his foot in 2021, which he ultimately aggravated in November, ending his season. The injury limited his final season production and kept him from working out at the Combine. Ross’ injury history is extensive enough that it is likely to affect his NFL draft position, which could, in turn, have a big impact on his NFL career.

Career yardage share - Having missed his junior season, Ross’ 24% career yardage share isn’t as bad as it looks for a four-year player. Still, it’s well below ideal.

Final season yards per route run - Ross was less efficient in each of his three college seasons. In 2019 his YPRR dropped dramatically from 4.98 to 2.5, which makes sense considering his production dropped off as well. But in 2021, he was even worse, recording an unimpressive 2.06 YPRR. In addition to dealing with a stress fracture, Ross played primarily in the slot in 2021, and his aDOT dropped to a career-low 10.9. This change in role is somewhat concerning as Ross was previously at his best when used as a field stretcher. It also undermines the idea that he has a versatile skillset since he only achieved impressive efficiency as a deep threat.

Schemed Production - Ross’ freshman season was legit. Only 26% of his YAC came on targets behind the line of scrimmage, and he only produced 8% of his receiving yards on screens. But 2021 was a different story; 52% of Ross’ YAC came on targets behind the line of scrimmage, and 18% of his yardage came on screens. Ross’ YAC was unimpressive in 2021, as was his 2.00 YPRR on screens. 2021 tells the story of an offense feeding the ball to a trusted redshirt junior rather than an elite playmaker dictating opportunity.

Pro Day athleticism - Given Ross’ inefficiency as a redshirt junior, it would have been nice to see him crush a workout. Instead, still presumably hampered by his foot injury, he turned in dreadful numbers. Ross ran a 4.64 40, with a 116-inch broad jump and a 31.5-inch vertical. Given what he did downfield at Clemson, Ross almost has to be more athletic than he showed in March. But it should not be a surprise if he falls to Day 3.

Quarterback play - Ross’ hyper-efficient freshman season came with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. In 2021, he wasn’t even half as efficient as he’d been in his 2018 season. It’s possible that a meaningful amount of Ross’ initial success was a byproduct of playing with Lawrence. Although, given Tee Higgins’ NFL success and Lawrence’s rookie struggles, it’s also possible that Ross deserves full credit for his freshman efficiency.

Outlook:
In our WR deep dive podcast, Anthony Amico put it best: Ross is arbitrage George Pickens. Both players burst onto the scene as a freshman, fell off as sophomores, and then had injuries mar their college careers. Ross’ injury history is more serious. At one point, it seemed unclear if he’d play football again. And Ross is a four-year player while Pickens will earn better draft capital after just three college seasons. But Ross was also stunningly efficient as a freshman and is a high upside prospect. If his Pro Day isn’t telling the full story on his athleticism, he should, like Pickens, be able to fit in right away as a downfield option. Unfortunately, Ross looks increasingly likely to fall to Day 3 of the draft, which would make him a low probability bet.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 3rd Round

15) Alec Pierce, Cincinnati

At a glance:
Pierce is 6 foot 3, 211 pounds, and profiles a potentially one-dimensional outside deep threat. He impressed at the Combine, which should earn him a Day 2 selection. Pierce wasn’t particularly efficient in YPRR and comes with production red flags, but he will have a decent chance of earning an immediate starting role.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Downfield ability - Pierce had a 17.1 aDOT in his final season and a 16.8 aDOT for his career. Pierce saw 33% of his targets 20+ yards downfield in 2021, so it shouldn’t be shocking that he led all likely Day 1-2 receivers with 54% of his yardage on 20+ yard targets.

Pierce’s production profile leaves a lot to be desired, but he has a clear-cut role waiting for him as an outside field stretcher.

Athleticism - Pierce had a terrific Combine. At 6 foot 3, 211 pounds, he ran a 4.41 40 and recorded a 129-inch broad jump and a spectacular 40.5-inch vertical. With confirmed high-end athleticism, Pierce’s downfield ability looks far more likely to translate to the NFL. His Combine performance also gives him a legitimate shot of being selected in the second round.

Yards per target - Pierce was excellent when targeted over the course of his career, finishing with 11.1 YPT. He comes up short in numerous production metrics, but YPT was a key indicator for Terry McLaurin, who also failed to produce at a high level over his college career.

Red Flags:

Four-year player.

Never broke out - Pierce was decently productive over 2019-2021, but in his peak season, he produced a 27% yardage share and a 24% TD share, falling short of the 30% breakout threshold.

Career yardage share - Pierce’s 26% career yardage share and 23% career dominator rating aren’t terrible. But as a four-year player, he’s well below the ultra-productive levels that we typically see from successful NFL wide receivers who were 4+ year college players.

Outlook:
Pierce was very good when targeted deep at Cincinnati. But he didn’t earn targets at a high enough rate to make up for the fact that the deep ball was basically his whole game. As a result, he never delivered a breakout season. That’s a concern, especially because Pierce had a willing deep ball thrower at Cincinnati in Desmond Ridder. But Pierce still has a good chance of seeing a substantial quarterback upgrade if he lands in a good situation. And his combination of size, athleticism, and deep ball chops could make him an immediate producer. He profiles as a similar bet to Nico Collins last year and an arbitrage version of Christian Watson this year.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 3rd Round

16) Romeo Doubs, Nevada

At a glance:
At 6 foot 2, 201 pounds, Doubs has sufficient size to operate as an outside field stretcher, which is the role he played for four years at Nevada. Doubs was slightly less productive than ideal but still had a strong career. He did not work out at the Combine or Pro Day, so his athleticism is a question mark, making his draft capital difficult to project.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Underclassman breakout - In 10 games as a sophomore, Doubs recorded a 44-649-4 receiving line, good for a 30% yardage share, a 33% TD share, and a 32% dominator rating. He followed up as a junior with 56-985-8 for a 34% yardage share, a 31% TD share, and a 33% DR.

Dominant final season - Doubs stayed at Nevada for his senior season, which is a red flag. But he did at least record a third breakout season, with a 79-1,090-10 receiving line, a 28% yardage share, a 33% TD share, and a 31% DR.

Career yardage share - Doubs wasn’t dominant as a freshman but wasn’t completely uninvolved with a 19% yardage share. He finished his four-year career with a 28% career yardage share--slightly lower than ideal for a four-year player but still separating him from upperclassmen who were genuinely unproductive in college.

Declining Schemed Touches - As a freshman, Doubs produced 24% of his yards on screens. That dropped to 16% in his breakout sophomore season, 10% in his follow-up breakout, and just 8% in his senior season.

Doubs’ YAC tells the same story. As a freshman, he produced 65% of his YAC on behind the line of scrimmage targets. That dropped to 45% as a sophomore, 44% as a junior, and 37% as a senior. Doubs’ production profile isn’t off-the-charts impressive, but he was earning a large percentage of targets and YAC on his own.

Downfield ability - Doubs had a 14.5 career aDOT at Nevada and produced 41% of his yards on deep targets, tying Jameson Williams and Chris Olave and besting George Pickens (40%), Justyn Ross (40%), and Drake London (38%). At 6 foot 2, 201 pounds, Doubs has an outside field stretcher’s size and college production.

Hands - Doubs has 10-inch hands. Blair Andrews has shown that hand size appears to make an impact for wide receivers beyond what we’d expect based on draft position alone.

Red Flags:

Four-year player.

Unknown athleticism - Doubs did not work out at the Combine and then only did the bench press at his Pro Day due to a knee injury he’s been dealing with since the Senior Bowl. Doubs has sufficient size to succeed as an NFL deep threat... if he’s athletic. Without speed, he’s not going to cut it. Doubs had just a 41% contested catch rate at Nevada. He’s not going to be bodying up cornerbacks downfield.

YPT - Given significant uncertainty regarding his field stretcher skillset, it’s not a great sign that Doubs was inefficient when targeted at Nevada. He had a 9.7 career YPT, which is far lower than other deep threats in the class like Jameson Williams (13.1), Christian Watson (11.9), Alec Pierce (11.1), and Chris Olave (10.8). Doubs earned deep targets and produced, but he’s about to move from a non-Power 5 program to the NFL. He’ll need to be far more efficient on his targets, which is hard to trust without confirmed athleticism.

Outlook:
If Doubs is athletic, he projects as a starting NFL field stretcher. And there’s reason to think that he is. Pro Football Focus notes that he “consistently separates down the field,” and Lance Zierlein listed “good size/speed combination” as one of his strengths.

And we do, in fact, have some measured confirmation of his downfield speed.

Even if Doubs is fast, his YPT indicates he might be too raw as a downfield player. But Doubs also produced three consecutive breakout seasons driven by earned, downfield targets. If an NFL signs off on him as a legitimate deep threat with a Day 2 pick, he projects as a strong risk/reward bet in fantasy.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 3rd Round

17) Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky

At a glance:
Robinson is a diminutive hybrid RB/WR who impressed in 2021 as an underneath receiver. Robinson declared early and was highly productive, but a high percentage of schemed touches makes it hard to trust that production. He failed to impress at the Combine and is on the Day 2 bubble.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Age - Robinson turned 21 in January, which is a strong signal for his chances of becoming a fantasy difference-maker.

Declared early.

Underclassman breakout - Robinson played his first two seasons at Nebraska in a hybrid RB/WR role. He transferred to Kentucky in 2021 and immediately broke out as a receiver, with a 45% yardage share, a 26% TD share, and a 36% dominator rating.

Career yardage share - Despite not being a true wide receiver for most of his career, Robinson shockingly has a 35% career yardage share, which among early declares is second only to Treylon Burks in the 2022 class.

Yards per route run - Robinson wasn’t just productive at Kentucky; he was off-the-charts efficient with 3.56 YPRR. Sure, 20% of his 2021 yards came on screen passes, but Robinson was wildly efficient on screens with 4.62 YPRR. And with his Kentucky teammates combining for just 1.05 YPRR... Robinson deserves credit for an incredibly efficient junior season.

Yards after catch - Robinson was prolific after the catch, racking up 2.18 YAC per route as a freshman, besting Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb‘s junior seasons and falling just short of DeVonta Smith‘s Heisman-winning 2020. Robinson impressed again with 1.59 YAC per route as a senior; only Treylon Burks was better in 2021.

Rushing ability - Robinson saw just eight carries for Kentucky, but he ripped off 110 yards on them. At Nebraska, he turned 134 carries into 580 yards, which led to a far less impressive 4.3 YPC but leaves little doubt that he can mix into the backfield if his NFL team is interested in using him as a rusher.

Red Flags:

Size - I can only assume that this was, at one point, an April Fool’s joke:

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Robinson is not, as it happens, 5 foot 11, 185 pounds. Instead, he’s 5 foot 8, 178 pounds. Robinson has gadget player red flags, and his gadget player frame only adds fuel to.

Athleticism - Robinson ran a 4.44 40, which is decently fast but slower than ideal for such a small player. He also had a 34.5-inch vertical and 118-inch broad jump, neither of which are impressive. Normally, it would be overkill to call Robinson’s athleticism a red flag. But given his size and skillset, it’s much harder to get excited about a non-elite athlete.

YPT - Robinson’s career YPT of 8.6 is the lowest among potential Day 1-2 receivers, reinforcing concerns that he might not be a game-breaker.

aDOT - Robinson’s career aDOT of 7.8 is also the lowest among wide receivers who have a reasonable shot of going on Day 1-2.

Schemed production - Robinson’s low aDOT and YPT make sense because running backs tend to have low aDOTs and YPTs, and Robinson was a hybrid player for two years. But that hybrid profile still makes him a riskier bet to succeed as a fantasy-relevant receiver. Robinson produced 18% of his yards on screens in 2020, 20% in 2021... and 40% in 2019. Like he was as a senior, Robinson was stunningly efficient on screens as a freshman, with 4.62 YPRR, but 40% is still a huge chunk of yardage to pick up on manufactured targets.

NFL Downfield ability - For Robinson, it’s not so much that he saw too many screens. After all, he was incredible on those plays. But the concern is that he didn’t do enough outside of those targets.

Robinson saw 39 screen targets in 2021, the third-most in the FBS and representing 28% of his total targets, and Robinson produced 68% of his career YAC on behind the line of scrimmage targets. While it’s definitely impressive that his freshman YAC was on par with elite receiving seasons from the likes of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and DeVonta Smith, it’s more impressive that those receivers were producing RB-esque YAC as traditional wide receivers. Robinson was producing RB-esque YAC because he was RB-esque.

Robinson produced just 14% of his career YAC on targets 10+ yards downfield, the lowest among potential Day 1-2 receivers. (Drake London was the next lowest at 21%). It probably seems unfair to use Robinson’s career numbers here, but he wasn’t much better in 2021, with just 14.5% of his YAC on deep targets.

Robinson also produced just 19% of his yards on intermediate targets, which ties Christian Watson and bests only Treylon Burks (18%), Alec Pierce (17%), and Drake London (16%). Robinson’s 2021 percentage (21%) was again in line with his career numbers.

Robinson was used a lot on screens, sweeps, and handoffs, but the bigger issue is that he did very little at the deep or intermediate levels in addition to those opportunities.

Outlook:
Robinson enters the NFL as a tiny gadget player with questionable athleticism. That’s not the recipe for fantasy success. But Robinson was also an extremely productive and efficient hybrid player. Even with Day 3 draft capital, he’s good enough at what he does that he should have a chance of making an impact at some point. I don’t expect that impact to be all that big--most likely a multi-game emergence along the lines of Keke Coutee or Isaiah McKenzie. And that mini-emergence probably won’t sustain, but we’ve gotten excited about less exciting talents.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 3rd Round

18) Calvin Austin, Memphis

At a glance:
Austin is tiny at just 5 foot 8, 170 pounds, and he didn’t emerge until late in his five-year college career. But he is highly athletic and is expected to be selected on Day 2. Austin was also impressively productive on non-gadget routes.

Statistical Comps:

Positive Indicators:

Dominant final two seasons - Austin was excellent in both 2020 and 2021, producing receiving lines of 63-1,053-11 and 74-1,149-8. In 2020 he had a 31% yardage share and a 35% TD share. In 2021 he had a 32% yardage share and a 31% TD share. Both seasons meet the 30% dominator rating breakout threshold.

Final Season Yards per route run - Austin was highly efficient in his final season with 2.99 YPRR, making Austin the engine of the offense and not just a target hog.

Versatility - Austin played 80% of his snaps in the slot in 2019 before transitioning outside for 2020-21. Given his size, the ability to play in the slot will come in handy.

Rushing - Undersized players like Austin who have NFL success typically have strong rushing and special teams peripherals. (As Matthew Freedman discussed on our wide receiver deep dive podcast).

Austin has that covered in the rushing department with 169 rushing yards and three TDs... on only eight career rushing attempts. With 21.1 career YPC, Austin has flashed impressive playmaking ability.

Austin was less impressive on special teams. He has two kick return TDs on his resume but averaged an unimpressive 11.1 yards per return on 29 career attempts.

Intermediate ability - Austin saw 22% of his targets 20+ yards downfield in 2021. His 11.6 aDOT was far from deep threat territory. And only 32% of his yardage came on 20+ yard targets, which trails Wan’Dale Robinson.

But 69% of his career yardage came on 10+ yard targets, which only slightly trailed George Pickens (70%) and Christian Watson (70%) because. Austin was quite productive in the intermediate areas of the field. 37% of Austin’s production came on targets 10-19 yards downfield, which trails only Skyy Moore (46%) and Jameson Williams (36%) among likely Day 1-2 receivers. Given his size, it’s fair to be skeptical that he’ll be as involved on intermediate targets in the NFL. But Austin could surprise as a more well-rounded receiver than one might assume.

Athleticism - As we’ll get to, Austin is quite small. But he’s also very athletic, posting a 4.32 40, a 39-inch vertical, and a 135-inch broad jump at the Combine. It comes in a small package, but Austin has elite speed and burst.

Red Flags:

Age - Austin turns 23 before the NFL draft.

Five-year player.

Size - Austin weighed in at the Combine at 5 foot 8, 170 pounds. He’s about to join a very small list of very small receivers drafted since 2013:

Tavon Austin is the only one of these players ever to post a season of 150+ fantasy points, which he did once, in his third season, finishing as the PPR WR28.

Did not break out as an underclassman - Austin broke out as a junior in 2020, but he redshirted in 2017, making that his fourth season since graduating high school. His peak season prior to 2020 was a 13% dominator rating.

Career yardage share - Even with two breakout seasons to his name, Austin’s 25% career yardage share is well below the hyper-productive level we’d prefer to see for a five-year player. This is because he wasn’t a consistent part of the offense until 2020.

Underclassman routes - Three years after graduating high school, Austin had just 113 college routes to his name. In the period when most elite NFL wide receivers are completing their entire college resume, Austin was still waiting to get on the field.

Outlook:
Austin’s size and early career irrelevance are awful signs for his fantasy ceiling. Still, he should not be ignored in dynasty best-ball leagues. He’s likely to earn Day 2 draft capital, and his intermediate production provides some hope that he will be able to earn some downfield targets rather than strictly operating as a gadget player.

Rookie Pick Prospect Grade: 3rd Round