Last year, I broke down the 2018 wide receiver class using breakout age and potential draft round. This year, we had a request to update the article using the 2019 class.
I am, if nothing else, always willing to tack down data for anyone. So I’m happy to oblige. It was actually a big moment for me to know someone liked it enough, not to only to remember it, but request an update. So, thanks for that.
I recommend reading the original because I include a lot of content and information about breakout age and draft round. But in an effort not to repeat myself, I won’t go into all that again here.
So, let’s take a look at the updated numbers and how they reflect on the new class of rookies.
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There haven’t been enough draft classes since 2018 to update the hit rates substantially. However, I have not been idle this year. Since I wrote the original, I have expanded my database a lot. So an update on the basic hit rates is worthwhile.
Note I changed the starting date range from the 2001 draft class to 2003. This is because I noticed some players who played in 2001 and 2002 are missing stats (because I only have college stats from 2000). To be as accurate as possible, I’ve removed any player drafted before 2003. I also removed players like Julian Edelman – who didn’t have significant receiving work in college because he was playing quarterback.
Let’s deal with some of the exceptions first. 100% of wide receivers drafted with a breakout age of 22 in the first round have hit, but that’s just one player. In fact, it’s Kelvin Benjamin.
Hopefully, that’s all the discouragement you need to believe that older breakouts are more likely to hit.
There was also only one player (drafted in the third round) with a breakout age of 23. His name was Kevin Curtis. He had two seasons with over 800 receiving yards and finally broke into the top 24 in PPR scoring in his seventh season with the Eagles. He never did anything like that again either.
Okay, next, how about all those players who didn’t break out in college but still hit in the NFL?
I included Drew Bennett even though he’s not in our sample because, well, he’s in my database, so I thought you might like to know.
We can also see some clear reasons for these players not turning out in college. Wes Welker was a running back, Tyreek Hill played less because of “off-field” issues (to say the least.) Even Terrelle Pryor only had three receptions in college and probably should have been weeded out when I removed Edelman.
So few players are drafted with a breakout after the age of 21 that they can almost be seen as outliers in and of themselves. However, the exceptions are neither very attractive nor hard to explain. Wide receivers who don’t break out in college or who have very late breakouts have an uphill struggle to hit in the NFL.
The 2019 Class
Let’s see how this breaks down for the 2019 class. As with last year’s class, I made a quick reference guide for 2019 players based on draft round using all wide receivers currently ranked in DLF’s consensus rankings.
I removed the “outlier” 100% hit rates to keep them from getting in the way.
N’Keal Harry has, for a while now, stood out as the most likely player in this class to break out in the NFL. As you can see, while first-round draft capital is ideal, his potential is fairly stable all the way through the first three rounds.
However, that’s for you to decide. As I did last year, I’ve made a way for you to engage with these numbers to do just that.
Make Your Own Ranks
Slightly different from last year, this sheet will ask you to “make a copy” when you click on the link. Have no fear, this just means you’ll have your own copy that you can edit it as much as you like. You can always come back to the master copy if you need to.
It also means no one else will be able to see your ranks unless you share them.
The sheet will also calculate how your rankings relate to the current DLF consensus rookie ranks as of 3/21/2019.
I have 29 other potential NFL rookie wide receivers currently not ranked by DLF in my database. So I included them in the sheet.
These players are by far the most likely to be drafted outside of the first three rounds of the NFL draft, where hit rates are all much lower.
Hopefully, this tool can give you a picture of who is your favorite WR prospect, as well as an idea of their risk as prospects, and the potential cut-offs for their value.
Thanks for checking this out.
UDFA's matter | British ex-pat | Writer of things