Who is 6’3”, 22 years old, played 38 games, first name is four letters, last name is eight letters, plays in a Power Five conference, had 2,700+ yards receiving, and is the best ball tracking/high pointing receiver in the draft?
If you guessed Mike Williams, you’re wrong. It’s Josh Reynolds. In the same number of games, Reynolds had 60 more receiving yards and nine more touchdowns than Williams on 12 fewer targets.
Josh Reynolds: 38 GP, 258 targets, 164 catches, 2,788 yards, 17.0 avg and 30 touchdowns
Mike Williams: 38 GP, 270 targets, 177 catches, 2,727 yards, 15.4 avg, and 21 touchdowns
Josh Reynolds has been under the radar dating back to his days at John Jay High School in San Antonio, Texas. As a three star recruit, he had one DI offer coming out of high school from Oregon State that was eventually rescinded because they had signed too many wide receivers in that class. Off to Tyler Junior College he went where he had a solid, but unspectacular season. It was enough to get him a couple of D1 offers as a three star JUCO recruit.
He eventually chose Texas A&M and joined the powerhouse SEC conference where he’d be tested by some of the best players in college football and he wouldn’t disappoint. In three seasons, he finished fourth in receptions, third in yards, and second in touchdowns in school history. Let’s see how he got there.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Reynolds’ first season at A&M was better than anyone expected. He was second on the team in receptions, first in yards, first in yards per reception, first in touchdowns, and scored in nine of 13 games. He had 21.2% of the teams receiving yards and accounted for 33.3% of the teams receiving touchdowns. We have to remember that the Aggies had two five star receiver recruits on board at the time in Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil. Seals-Jones was rated as high as #1 in his 2013 class, and Speedy Noil was rated as high as #1 in his 2014 class. Reynolds outperformed both prized five star recruits by a wide margin. This continued to be the trend throughout his three years at College Station.
In 2015, the Aggies offense saw some regression and Reynolds saw even more competition. Kevin Sumlin signed his third five star WR recruit in a row, and brought in Christian Kirk. The difference this time around was that Kirk would actually pay dividends for the Aggies, and Josh Reynolds took a back seat to the true freshman. Reynolds worked primarily as the deep threat while Kirk worked as the possession receiver. Despite being second in most receiving categories to Kirk, Reynolds had 27.2% of the Aggies’ receiving yards.
In his final season at College Station, Reynolds finished with career highs in receptions and yards. He led the team in yards, yards per reception, and touchdowns. He outperformed Kirk on his way to gobbling up 31.3% of the receiving yards and 48.0% of the receiving touchdowns. He scored against UCLA, Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, and Kansas State. The only SEC team he didn’t score against in 2016 was South Carolina. Incredibly, Reynolds scored 30 touchdowns in 35 games in the toughest conference in college football and still gets no love.
Let’s take a look at how he stacks up on Player Profiler.
Reynolds checks almost all of the boxes. I’d like to see a higher speed score than 54th percentile, but at least it’s still above average. That said, his thin frame plus a weaker speed score is worrisome. He’ll be asked to add some weight to help with press coverage and the rigors of the NFL. If he does add weight, it will likely be at the cost of speed.
Now, let’s check out the many positives beginning with college production. He boasts a healthy 39.7% college dominator rating, good for a solid 78th percentile mark. I touched on the yards per reception above and his 17.0 mark is good for 79th percentile. Lastly, despite his time at JUCO, Reynolds had a 19.6 breakout age (76th percentile). From a college production standpoint in the best conference in college football, Reynolds was in the top quarter of every production metric on Player Profiler.
From an athletic profile, he’s someone to get excited about. Ran a solid 4.52 forty (58th percentile) despite being a long strider, which suggests he has great top end speed. He had a burst score in the 72nd percentile, and had a better than expected agility score in the 77th percentile. Lastly, the part that could carve out a role for him early is juicy catch radius of 10.21 (85th percentile).
Simply put, he has the top end speed to beat you deep, has great leaping ability, plenty of agility to get in and out of breaks, and an elite catch radius.
A lot of NFL potential lies in measurables and how it stacks up against peers. Another great source for that is Mock Draftable.
Outside of the weight, the only real sub-par measurable is Reynolds’ unusually short arms for a 6’3” receiver. I’m not worried about it since he’s one of the best high pointers/tough catch makers in the league. He makes it work despite the deficiency using a 37” vert and excellent timing. Although he isn’t at elite in any one physical aspect, he’s well above average in most.
The highlight video below will demonstrate how easy Josh Reynolds makes extremely difficult catches and will show glimpses of the potential he possesses as a future well-rounded receiver. My favorite highlight is against LSU where he shakes Jim Thorpe Award finalist, Tre’Davious White, on a slant and outruns the entire secondary for a touchdown.
Reynolds’ greatest asset is without a doubt his ability to come down with the ball in one on one situations. He tracks well, has great body control, solid hands, and excellent timing. From day one in the NFL he can be a red zone weapon. You’ll notice how long of a strider he is and that hurts his initial burst and against press coverage, but he has some nice foundational footwork to build on and uses his hands well. Where the long strides benefit him is how quickly he eats up cushion and stacks cornerbacks. Most taller receivers with long strides are stiff in the hips (think Keyarris Garrett), but its evident Reynolds is as smooth as peanut butter allowing him to change direction without losing momentum.
One thing not shown in the highlight video is his willingness to block and compete. You’ll see him consistently working downfield to find a body to get after. Another thing that’s missing is a few concentration drops. That’s not atypical for even some of the best receivers, but it’s still something to note.
A player Reynolds reminds me of is the late Chris Henry. They offer similar lean bodies, long strides, great body control, ball trackers, jump ball winners, downfield threats, willing blockers, but aren’t threats underneath and lack ideal strength to beat press coverage.
Reynolds is flying too far under the radar for a player with his measurables and production. He’s an immediate red zone threat with room for upside as a Robin to another receivers Batman. I don’t if he has enough upside to develop into a go to WR1, but I liken him to Tyrell Williams, Cameron Meredith or Marvin Jones as guys that can be elite WR2’s in an offense. Williams, Meredith, and Jones have a very similar build to Reynolds. Williams and Meredith both happened to go undrafted and needed a year of development before their sophomore campaign breakout. Jones was a fifth round pick that also needed a year of development before catching 10 touchdowns in his sophomore season.
While everyone overpays for Mike Williams at the top of the first or spends a second round pick on Malachi Dupre, just stock up on running backs and tight ends and then snag Josh Reynolds in the third. You’ll thank me later.
- Rookie Profile: Josh Reynolds, WR Texas A&M - April 25, 2017
- Running Back Confidence Zones: Part Four - March 8, 2017
- Running Back Confidence Zones: Part Three - March 8, 2017