Draft season is about honing in on the process by gathering the information necessary to make the best decision possible on a few draft prospects. Rookie drafts can be looked at as a shot in the dark by some, but they are absolutely vital to a dynasty owner’s success. A wrong move can set a team back a few years. On the contrary, picking the right guys or making a smart trade can quickly turn a team around.
We are currently looking at a wide receiver class that could impact the landscape of dynasty just like the 2014 wide receiver class did a few years ago. With that being said, there are going to be multiple receivers at our disposal who could be the catalysts to turning our dynasty teams into championship contenders.
Athletic comparisons are important because they deliver some context to a player’s workout metrics. The comps provide a depiction of how a player might look like when they hit the NFL field. However, it doesn’t provide an exact comp to the players listed, because it doesn’t factor in traits or production.
My database has athletic metrics for wide receivers from the NFL Combine and pro days from the year 2005 to now. The database has over 630 prospects in it, providing a deep sample of talent at the wide receiver position.
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Kelvin Harmon, WR North Carolina State
Allen Robinson is the name in flashing lights in Harmon’s comparable list. Both players are roughly the same size and they both ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. However, Robinson displayed elite level burst at the combine with a 39-inch vertical which overshadows Harmon’s 32.5-inch jump.
Even though Harmon draws comparisons to Robinson, it doesn’t change that his performance at the combine didn’t meet expectations. We knew he wasn’t a speed demon going in, but it would have been more encouraging if he could have recorded better times for his 40-yard dash and three-cone.
N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State
There are not many receivers who compare to Harry in the NFL. The fact he runs in the low 4.5s and can jump out of the building just means that he’s a special athlete. It’s not every year we see a prospect like Harry come out for the draft. He’s 228 pounds and has the speed and burst to pull away from defenders in the open field. When you combine his production and athleticism, he’s easily one of the top wide receivers in this draft class. He will more than likely get drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft and when that happens, he will solidify himself as a blue-chip prospect in dynasty.
Andy Isabella, WR Massachusetts
Isabella lit the combine on fire. All of his metrics compare closely to Brandin Cooks. They also resemble each other’s playing style on the field. Both players are great route runners who have the speed to blow by defenders. Isabella has the potential to be a fantasy producer right away in the right situation. He can be used as a slot receiver and a field stretcher. Hopefully, a team who has a coach with a creative mindset drafts him because he’s a versatile player and can be used in multiple different ways. Even if he lands in a less advantageous situation, he can still hold value in fantasy due to his ability to eat up yards after the catch.
KeeSean Johnson, WR Fresno State
With two straight 1,000-yard seasons, Johnson was plugged in as a trendy late-to-mid round flier in rookie drafts this year. However, his 4.6 40-yard dash at 201 pounds leaves more to be desired. He tested as a subpar athlete and it appears he has a long row to hoe before we can even consider him a reliable asset in fantasy. None of the comparables listed are exciting and that’s because there aren’t many receivers in the league that are successful with his level of athleticism.
Terry McLaurin, WR Ohio State
McLaurin surprised everyone with a 4.35 40-yard dash time. Josh Boyce was the only player in the database compared to him. McLaurin tested a little faster and with more burst. He’s going to be a trendy play in the middle to late rounds of rookie drafts this year. I believe his stock in dynasty will increase the closer we get to the draft because of how well he produced at the combine. He’s a player who can carve a role with an NFL team as a deep threat. His speed will help him latch on a roster because teams will want to at least utilize his speed by using him as a gunner on special teams.
DK Metcalf, WR Ole Miss
Metcalf won the combine. No one added more value to their draft stock than him. We have seen him compared to the likes of Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson. On the flipside, due to his weak numbers for his three-cone and short shuttle, we are also seeing comparables for Kevin White and Breshad Perriman. The reason why we are seeing such a large disparity in his dynasty value is that there aren’t really any players that compare to him.
His 136.2 height-adjusted speed score is in the 99th percentile amongst wide receiver prospects. On top of that, we don’t see many wide receivers who can hit the 4.3 mark on the 40-yard dash at 228 pounds. There’s obviously more to the Metcalf debate than his athleticism, but we can all agree that there are ways he can win on the football field.
Riley Ridley, WR Georgia
As you can see, there are not many successful wide receivers who compare to Ridley athletically. His 89.7 height-adjusted speed score was one of the worst scores for a wide receiver in this year’s combine. This is bad news considering he barely broke 1,000 yards during his entire three-year career at Georgia. The production numbers weren’t on his side and now his athletic metrics suggest that he’s not capable of competing at the NFL level.
Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina
Although they have different styles of play, it’s quite encouraging that Samuel compares athletically to James Washington. I had to expand the model a little bit to find players who actually compare to him. He’s faster and more explosive than the players listed here. His 39-inch vertical indicates that he has a lot of burst which will allow him to explode off the line of scrimmage on his release. Samuel is a player who can make defenses pay with his ability to churn out extra yards after the catch. He could easily find himself in the first round of rookie drafts if he gets drafted into the right situation.
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