Draft season is here and we are witnessing one of the deepest wide receiver classes we have ever seen. This year’s group of players might rival the epic 2014 class that shelled out Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Davante Adams, and many other productive wide receivers. There’s a good chance this year’s class will change the landscape of the NFL by boosting some of the passing attacks around the league.
Looking through recent history, the number of players achieving a 30 percent market share or more of their respective passing offenses decreased about roughly 25 percent in the last four years. In 2015, we had 52 players surpass the 30 percent mark compared to last year where there were 39 players hitting that benchmark. The sample size is too small to peg any trends, but it’s still interesting to note that we might be seeing a change amongst the field. The recent decrease could be just traditional ebbs and flows of production and the market share rates could increase in the near future. The fact this is one of the most talent-laden wide receiver drafts in some time means that there’s a lot of quality at the position.
For the report, I pulled the top 200 receivers in yardage from 2018, figured out their market share percentages then separated them by class. By dividing the players by class, we get a macro view of which players are breaking out in their classes. This helps us in devy leagues because we get a view of which freshman and sophomore players are making a major impact. The report also helps us for the NFL Draft, because it displays which draft prospects are key impact players.
Below are the links to the market share reports from the previous three years:
- 2015 College Market Share Report: Wide Receivers
- 2016 College Market Share Report: Wide Receivers
- 2017 College Market Share Report: Wide Receivers
As a reminder, market share is a great guide, but shouldn’t be used as an absolute for player evaluation. The data from this report is best used in conjunction with film analysis and other metrics.
* All stats are courtesy of ncaa.com
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Andy Isabella, WR MASSACHUSETTS
Isabella is your market share champion for 2018. His 48 percent dominator rating was also very impressive. He’s a small, shifty receiver who packs a lot of speed. It’s going to be very interesting to see where he goes in the draft. He’s already receiving some buzz from a lot of draft analysts. There’s a good chance he could be a top-100 pick. Isabella is one of the top slot receivers in this draft class.
KeeSean Johnson, WR FRESNO STATE
Johnson is an under-the-radar draft prospect who should receive more publicity the further we get into the draft season. His six 100-yard games helped finish the season third in the Mountain West with 1,340 receiving yards. He was highly efficient, catching 75 percent of the passes thrown his way for 10.5 yards per target.
Anthony Johnson, WR BUFFALO
Johnson finished his career at Buffalo with back to back 1,000-yard seasons. He led the team with 57 catches for 1,011 yards. He saw 27 percent of the team’s passing targets while also receiving five percent of the red zone touches. Johnson has the size and athleticism to compete at the next level.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR STANFORD
This was his most productive season to date, catching 63 passes for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns. The year before he managed to own a 29.95 percent market share of the team’s passing production. In 2018, he received 11 percent of the touches and saw a 26 percent target share. A good performance at the Combine could drastically help his draft stock.
Deebo Samuel, WR SOUTH CAROLINA
Samuel is another player who could see a significant rise on draft boards if he performs well at the Combine. Even though he shared the field with junior wide receiver Bryan Edwards, he still accounted for 26 percent of the passing targets and led the team with 4.4 targets per game. One of the biggest concerns surrounding Samuel is that he will be a 23-year-old rookie. The track record for older wide receiver prospects isn’t that good and it’s something we have to keep in mind during our evaluations.
Emanuel Hall, WR MISSOURI
If you haven’t heard of Hall, you will soon. Opposing defenses have to take his speed into account at all times and his ability to track the ball while it’s in the air makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the football field. He was a key focal point to Missouri’s offensive game plan, finishing the season with a 22.11 percent dominator rating. He was also very efficient, catching 67 percent of his targets while averaging 14.5 yards per target.
Tyler Johnson, WR MINNESOTA
Not only did Johnson post a 43.07 percent market share but he also led the nation with a 51.54 percent dominator rating. Not to mention that he also received a 40 percent target share. When you take into consideration his production metrics, he’s one of the most underrated wide receiver prospects in the country.
Hakeem Butler, WR IOWA STATE
Butler is a very promising wide receiver. He is being touted as one of the top wide receivers in this draft class. His 42.08 percent market share combined with his 43.54 percent dominator rating is very encouraging. He’s easily going to be a first-round option in rookie drafts this year.
N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State
Harry is more than likely going to be the consensus 1.01 pick in rookie drafts when everything is said and done. He runs good routes and is dangerous with the ball after the catch. He has the size to out-muscle defenders at the catch point. I feel like a good showing at the Combine will cement him as the top wide receiver in this draft. Harry had a 34.36 percent market share of Arizona State’s offense last year as a sophomore and a 21.18 percent market share of the team’s passing production as a 19-year-old freshman in 2016.
A.J. Brown, WR OLE MISS
Brown is another crowd favorite. He has the size and athleticism to be productive at the next level. Even with sharing the field with D.K. Metcalf and Demarcus Lodge, he still accounted for a 31.75 percent market share of the team’s passing offense. He also saw 29 percent of the passing targets and six percent of the red zone touches. Brown has the potential to create a major impact at the next level if he gets drafted into the right situation.
Kelvin Harmon, WR NORTH CAROLINA STATE
Harmon has WR1 written all over him. He has the size and athleticism to be a mismatch nightmare against opposing defenses. He was very efficient this year, catching 72 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging 10.5 yards per target. He also saw 11 percent of his team’s touches and six percent of the red zone touches. Harmon will easily be one of the top picks in rookie drafts this year.
Jalen Reagor, WR TCU
He led all sophomores with a 38.60 percent market share of his team’s passing offense. Reagor had two games with over 100 yards receiving and he scored a touchdown in nine of his 13 games. He was a huge focal point of the offense, seeing 41 percent of the passing targets and 12 percent of the total red zone touches.
Tylan Wallace, WR OKLAHOMA STATE
Wallace took over as the team’s WR1 this season, catching 86 passes for 1,481 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had seven games with over 100 yards receiving and he racked up 442 yards combined against Texas and Oklahoma. Wallace certainly has a promising future ahead of him.
Greg Dortch, WR WAKE FOREST
Dortch was a redshirt sophomore this year and is declaring for the NFL Draft. He’s a smaller wide receiver (5’9’’ and 170-pounds) but he has plenty of speed to burn. Dortch is also very solid at the catch point and he’s a very good route runner. This draft is stocked with wide receiver talent which could cause a player like Dortch to fall in the pecking order. I like him a lot as a prospect and I feel like he can yield a solid return in rookie drafts.
Jerry Jeudy, WR ALABAMA
Jeudy is pegged as one of the top prospects in college football. Some people view him as a future first-round pick. As we all know, there’s a lot of talent on Alabama’s offense and he still managed to own 25.80 percent of the passing offense. Jeudy is a player to keep an eye on because he has the chance to be one of the top players selected in next year’s draft.
CeeDee Lamb, WR OKLAHOMA
Lamb had five games with over 100 yards receiving. He caught six passes for 167 yards and one touchdown against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. He then followed that performance with eight catches for 109 yards and one touchdown in Oklahoma’s loss in the first round of the College Football Playoffs against Alabama. Lamb is one of the hot names in devy and with a solid junior season next year, he could be one of the top receivers in the draft next year.
Rondale Moore, WR PURDUE
Moore is possibly one of the most exciting players in college football. On top of his 31.47 percent market share of the passing offense, he also saw 31 percent of the passing targets and 17 percent of the red zone touches. He was highly efficient, catching 77 percent of passes, averaging 8.8 yards per target. We all should be very excited that we get to see Moore play for the Boilermakers for two more seasons. If he continues to be a dominant force on the field for the remainder of his collegiate career, we will definitely see him suiting up on Sundays.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR USC
St. Brown saw a 25.09 percent market share of the passing offense and he also received ten percent of the touches. His best game of the season came in week three when he caught nine passes for 167 yards against Texas. He was one of the top recruits in the nation going into the season. His transition from high school to the college game has been seamless. Be on the lookout for him next season, because he’s going to be one of the top players in college football come this time next year.
Jaylen Waddle, WR ALABAMA
Waddle caught an insane 79 percent of his passes last season and recorded 19.6 yards per catch. The fact that he owned an 18.60 percent market share of Alabama’s passing offense as a freshman is an amazing feat. He had three games with over 100 yards receiving and two multi-touchdown games. It’s going to be fun watching him develop throughout his career at Alabama. He’s a player to keep an eye on in devy leagues.