2018 is most likely going to be remembered as a great running back class. The wide receiver position seems to be losing some steam with less than a month away from the NFL Draft. The group as a whole is polarizing, making it difficult to find a true consensus of who the WR1 is in this class. Currently, it seems to be a toss-up between Courtland Sutton, DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley and James Washington. I personally think Christian Kirk at least deserves to be in the conversation with that group.
With so many RBs likely to be drafted in the first round of rookie drafts, they are going to leave some nice value in round two and later to grab some of these WRs. Before we get ahead ourselves, let’s go dive head first into Christian Kirk. We’ll look at his production, athleticism, and overall dynasty outlook.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Kirk was a five-star recruit (according to 247 sports) coming out of high school in Arizona. He burst onto the scene at Texas A&M as a true freshman and led the pack with 80 receptions, 1,009 receiving yards and nine touchdowns (two as a punt returner).
During his sophomore season, he was named third-team Associated Press All-America which earned a spot on the first-team All-SEC team as a receiver, return specialist and all-purpose. He led the SEC with 83 catches for 928 yards and nine scores and led all of FBS with three punt-return touchdowns.
Kirk was a team captain and was named second-team All-SEC in 2017, leading the team with 71 receptions for 919 yards and ten touchdowns. He was named first-team All-America as a returner as well, having eight punt returns for 175 yards and one touchdown and 21 kick returns for 480 yards and a score.
A couple of impressive metrics are Kirk’s college Dominator Rating which was 36.8% – in the 73rd percentile – and his breakout age of 18.8 which catapulted him in the 93rd percentile. He did this while playing with other quality college skill position players in Josh Reynolds, Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones.
I joined Eliot Crist on the Draft Daily Podcast to break down Kirk’s game and discuss his outlook. I also posted a thread of some cut-ups on Twitter, which you can find here:
— Jake Anderson (@NFLDraftTalker) March 5, 2018
Kirk is a versatile athlete who was hindered by both poor quarterback play and offensive scheme while at A&M. Because of this, he was underutilized on way too many bubble screens and gadget plays that defenses were game planning for. He was mostly used out of the slot but also got usage out of the backfield and obviously in the return game.
There are some questions remaining if he will have the capability to play outside at the next level. I believe he can (so does he) but his value will be most likely built out of the slot and getting him the ball in space. He has a great knack for finding the zones in defenses and routinely got behind coverage on busted plays.
Let’s take a look at Kirk’s measurables via Mock Draftable:
Kirk weighed in at 5’10’’, 201 lbs but is rocked up for a smaller WR. He displayed this strength during the bench press portion of the combine with 20 reps of 225lbs. Overall, Kirk did not have a great combine and I was a bit surprised with some of his burst and agility scores. Although he did have a solid vert (35.5”) and 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds), his broad (115”), three-cone (3.09s), 20-yard shuttle (4.45s) and 60-yard shuttle (12.03 s) left something to be desired.
His tape would indicate he is not only fast but explosive and agile. I tend to not let these combine numbers change my evaluations too much. None of these drills really correlate to how players move on the football field in pads in live action when bullets are flying. You can take a look at his metrics but I’m trusting the tape in this case.
Kirk’s DLF April Rookie ADP is currently at 12 overall and that seems just about right. Since there is no real consensus on this WR class we could be looking at a shakeup amongst this first and second round WRs after the draft. Landing spot will be a crucial factor and before knowing, no one should feel comfortable locking down their rookie rankings in terms of dynasty valuation.
I do believe that Kirk will be a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and that he is as pro-ready as any WR in this class. The key to his value will be if a team with a creative offensive coordinator drafts him and will feature him in a way to maximize his skill set and versatility.
If he lands in an ideal spot like Atlanta, he could vault up into the middle of the first round in rookie drafts. Kirk has the high floor and high ceiling I love taking stabs at – especially on a strong contending team. I don’t see him being a WR1 in dynasty over his career but he definitely could become a mid-to-low end WR2 if everything pans out just right.
Kirk’s strengths are his football IQ, work ethic, vision, and explosiveness. Kirk comes off as a polished prospect off the field. He has the right mentality and wants to be great. He has talked continuously about the importance of preparation side of the game.
Oh boy, that’s a big surprise, right? Don’t all of these prospects say things like that? Yes, that is a valid point but having followed his career closely for the past three years; every time he speaks, he displays a humble confidence and professionalism that has always seemed genuine to me. I also like knowing that a prospect isn’t going to rest on their draft capital and is going to put in the work to be the best version of themselves.
Kirk does still need to work on his route running, beating press man coverage and catching fundamentals. My biggest concern with his game is the transition from the catch point to securing the ball into his body. There were several instances where he would be juggling the ball after making the catch to secure possession. None of these concerns are glaring but in order for him to become an impact dynast contributor, he will need to clean up those issues.
We are only just over two weeks away from the draft. It’s draft season baby! This is my Christmas and I can’t wait to see how these player values shake out post-draft. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch you on Twitter sometime soon! You can follow me @NFLDraftTalker. I’m always up to chat dynasty football!
Latest posts by Jake Anderson (see all)
- 2018 Rookie Profile: Christian Kirk, WR Texas A&M - April 9, 2018
- Feeling Minnesota: The Dynasty Impact of Kirk Cousins to the Vikings - March 16, 2018
- Dynasty Capsule: Minnesota Vikings - February 8, 2018