Editor’s Note: To help you dominate your rookie drafts, this series will feature a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of over 40 dynasty rookie draft prospects and run all through the month of May and even into June. We’ll cover all the premier prospects but also give you critical information on some of the lesser known talents. All of these rookie updates will be loaded into our ever-evolving 2018 Rookie Draft Guide – the ultimate resource for dynasty enthusiasts all over the world.
Name: Antonio Callaway
Position: Wide Receiver
Pro Team: Cleveland Browns
College Team: Florida Gators
Draft Status: Round Four, Pick No. 105 Overall
- Height: 5’10 5/8’’
- Weight: 200 Pounds
- Hands: 9 1/2”
- Arm Length: 31 1/2’’
- Bench Press (225 Pounds): N/A
- 3-Cone: N/A
- Broad Jump: 121”
- 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.51
- Vertical: 34’’
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- Arguably the most talented wide receiver in this class
- Elite route runner who can easily create separation in and out of breaks
- Plays “big” and attacks the ball at the catch point
- Excels at tracking the ball over his shoulder downfield
- Can perform from any alignment and is a capable slot and outside (X & Z) receiver
- 95th percentile breakout age
- Explosive return man
- Extensive off-field concerns
- Not a premier athlete
- Occasionally suffers from concentration drops
- Lacks “prototypical” size
The story with Callaway is simple. On-field, he’s easily one of the best talents in this entire draft class. Off the field, he’s had an incredibly hard time staying clean. He was accused of sexual assault (and was cleared by a Florida football booster after Callaway claimed he was high), has been cited for possession of marijuana, and was involved in Florida’s credit card scam in which he was charged with fraud. Throughout his college career, Callaway continued to surround himself with the wrong people and showed little indication his behavior would change. He had four run-ins with law enforcement and was dismissed from the team on two separate occasions, including for the entire 2017 season. Callaway also tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine. In short, there are a whole host of red flags here.
Callaway could push Corey Coleman off the roster. Recently, it’s been opined that Coleman could get traded to give both him and the club a fresh start, which would allow Callaway the chance to “start” in three wide receiver sets.
Despite his undeniable talent and Cleveland’s propensity to pass (typically due to trailing late in games), the path to targets is incredibly murky. New slot receiver Jarvis Landry typically commanded a massive target share while in Miami and should expect to see 100+ once again. Their top target, Josh Gordon, will likely lead the team in yardage and touchdowns. Duke Johnson and David Njoku will also command significant target shares as well, leaving few for Callaway himself. Additionally, if Coleman sticks on the roster, Callaway will have to compete with him directly.
As mentioned above, Callaway’s immediate outlook is murky. Barring injuries (or suspensions), Callaway is probably fifth in the pecking order for targets. Despite his immense upside, it would take a series of events in Callaway’s favor for him to be a fantasy-viable option at any point in the near future.
Because of his talent, though, Callaway’s long-term upside is immense. He will need to stay out of trouble and cannot afford to slip up, but both Josh Gordon and Duke Johnson are free agents following the 2018 season. While Landry should be the target hog underneath, Callaway could develop into the true number one on the team in just a year or two – assuming Gordon departs.
It should be mentioned again, though, that Callaway’s character does present him and his dynasty owners with significantly increased risk. As we’ve seen with Gordon himself, the NFL’s drug testing can be rigorous and harsh. If Gordon has truly changed for the better, perhaps he can help steer Callaway in the right direction.
Player comparisons are difficult because I believe people tend to read the names and gloss over the rationale behind the selections. On-field, Callaway truly reminds me of Antonio Brown – whom Callaway has actually trained with throughout the pre-draft process. Both sub-six feet, they both play much bigger than their size, attack the ball at the catch point, and excel at catching the ball outside their frames. They’re also both elite route runners who can easily create separation in and out of breaks while being good but not truly explosive athletes.
PROJECTED RANGE FOR ROOKIE DRAFTS
Pre-draft, Callaway wasn’t being selected until the late third on average (35th overall on average), but that has since risen. Callaway sits at 28th (3.04) in DLF’s Rookie ADP, being selected as high as 23rd and as low as 34th. For what it’s worth, Callaway hasn’t made it out of the second round of any of the eight real rookie drafts I’ve been a part of post-draft – so you may have to pull the trigger earlier than mock draft ADP indicates if you want a chance to secure him in your league. He fares a bit better in our rookie rankings, coming in at 25th overall (with a high of 22 and a low of 30).
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