There are a handful of players I fell in love with combing through college production data that the NFL didn’t seem too keen on. My process is outlined here but breakout age, receptions per game and top 3 round NFL draft capital remain important pillars in my prospect evaluation. 

The following 3 players met one or more of my thresholds but fell short of being a day 2 selection in the NFL draft. I wanted to dig deeper and watch some tape to see if the NFL missed something or if I did. 

For each player I will list why they caught my eye in the first place then dig into the film. Of course I couldn’t watch the tape and not turn it into some numbers! I charted a few items while watching:

  • Targets 
  • Receptions
  • QB incompletions – this is an instance where the receiver got open but the pass was not complete due to a bad throw
  • Slot – the percent of targets for which the receiver started in the slot
  • Most frequent route – the film I had didn’t always show the route on incompletions, so I only counted routes for receptions
  • Air yards / reception (rec) – yards gained from the line of scrimmage to the catch point only
  • Yards after reception (YAC) / rec – yards gained from the catch point to the end of the play

Gabriel Davis – Buffalo Bills

Metrics

Breakout age Best market share College receptions per game BMI Round selected
19 32% 4.5 27.7 4

Why I liked him

He checks most metrics boxes including a strong BMI that at least gives him a very high theoretical ceiling. His competition at UCF was lacking, but the program is on the upswing and making national noise which had me intrigued. 

Film Review

Games Targets Receptions QB incompletions Slot Most frequent route air yards/rec YAC/rec
3 46 27 14 4% in (8) 11.7 3.2

Subjective observations (Pittsburgh 2019, Cincinnati 2019, Stanford 2019)

  • Raw in technique 
  • Appears to manhandle inferior defenders
  • Best route is the “stop and go” which led to big gains
  • Limited route tree
  • Uninteresting after the catch
  • Favorite play – Caught a CB napping on a 40 yard stop and go up the sideline for an easy TD bomb against Stanford

NFL team fit 

The Bills drafted 2 X-type outside receivers, with Davis being the first one taken in the 4th round. He won’t be able to muscle around NFL defensive backs like he did in the AAC, and I didn’t see enough quality technique to get open otherwise. There is some promise here, but I think it will be years before he is ready to produce in the NFL.

Collin Johnson – Jacksonville Jaguars

Metrics

Breakout age Best market share College receptions per game BMI Round selected
21 26% 4.5 25.9 5

Why I liked him

Johnson’s receptions per game and the 6’6″ frame made him interesting. While the late breakout is a big red flag, I was curious to see if the Jaguars found a diamond in the rough.

Film Review

Games Targets Receptions QB incompletions Slot Most frequent route air yards/rec YAC/rec
3 27 15 7 4% curl, in (4) 13.1 1.8

Subjective observations (LSU 2019, TCU 2018, USC 2018)

  • Very unimpressive, boring tape
  • Little athleticism displayed
  • Essentially zero after the catch, fell down a lot
  • Classic “big guy who doesn’t play big”
  • Unenthusiastic blocker
  • Favorite play  – A 32 yard post with a diving layout for the score against TCU. By far and away the only interesting play in 3 games

NFL team fit

I don’t see how Collin Johnson is an NFL caliber starter based on these games watched. I have zero interest selecting him in a fantasy draft of any format. 

Antonio Gandy-Golden – Washington Redskins

Metrics

Breakout age Best market share College receptions per game BMI Round selected
19 40% 6.3 27.1 4

Why I liked him

AGG is a massive target hog from tiny Liberty University and the small school standout became a buzzy name in 2019. However, when looking under the hood, he’s been good for a while. Liberty or not, dominating as a teenager is going to catch my eye and his receptions per game sits in elite territory. I was able to find tape of games against decent competition with 2 bowl teams and Syracuse from a power 5 conference.

Film Review

Games Targets Receptions QB incompletions Slot Most frequent route air yards/rec YAC/rec
3 30 19 9 3% curl (5) 11.3 6.2

Subjective observations (Buffalo 2019, Syracuse 2019, Georgia Southern 2019)

  • Smooth movements for someone 6’4″
  • Routinely created space to work, few truly contested catches
  • Surprising YAC ability, always able to slip for extra yards
  • A man among boys on fades/jump ball situations
  • More polished than I assumed
  • Willing blocker on the outside
  • Favorite play – 15 yard slant where he beats press, finds space, redirects to the sideline, stiff arms a safety then fights off tacklers for 30 more yards against Syracuse

NFL team fit

I love this fit for Washington. Even with the impressive Terry McLaurin set for an encore, I think Gandy-Golden has an immediate role in this offense. With no tight end to speak of, AGG at least gives Dwayne Haskins a unique red zone weapon. As was the case with McLaurin last year, there is a dearth of meaningful competition in the WR room. Despite being a 4th round pick, AGG will arrive in camp with the third highest draft capital of any receivers on the roster, behind the aforementioned McLaurin and 2nd round bust Cody Latimer who signed as a free agent. 

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