The back end of my WR rankings for 2020 include some crushes that I hoped would have generated some buzz at the combine but didn’t, plus one athletic freak that caught everyone’s eye but I still have doubts about.
In the pre-combine top 30 rookie wide receiver rankings I laid out the key factors I was looking for and why I ranked the players where I did. As a follow up I am now adjusting based on new information such as body mass index (BMI), athletic testing and overall post-combine buzz coming out of Indianapolis.
There was a lot of movement within the WR rankings because so many players are very close and small details can cause big ripples. I did penalize the players who did not run at the combine because I think in a class so tight, that will matter on draft day, impacting projected draft round.
A Word About BMI
Numberfire ran a nice study in 2015 and their conclusion was “If we’re talking absolute, elite production, your best bet is more than likely a tall wide receiver, and a heavy one, too.” The correlation was fairly weak, but in general bigger WRs had more success. The study found that the average BMI for WRs that scored 10+ touchdowns was 27.09 and the average BMI declined in groups with less touchdowns. While that was from 2015, this past season saw 10 of the top 12 WR finishers in points per game had a BMI of >26.5 and 7 of them had a BMI >27.
Only DJ Chark (24.1) came in under 26. I don’t think it’s linear, as in a 28 BMI is better than a 26.5, but I do think a threshold is probably needed. Most WRs at the combine hit at least 26 because that’s just the typical pool of NFL players. This year is odd because the top 2 consensus WRs did not register a 26, but draft capital cures a lot of ills. The lesser known players that didn’t get to 26 got dinged for me because their draft slot was already tenuous.
|Rank||Movement||Name||School||BMI||Forty||Projected Draft Capital|
|WR16||-3||Lynn Bowden Jr||Kentucky||28.8||n/a||4+|
|WR17||-6||KJ Hamler||Penn State||26.6||n/a||3+|
|WR19||+7||Chase Claypool||Notre Dame||28.8||4.42||3+|
|WR22||Quez Watkins||Southern Miss||25.0||4.35||4+|
|WR25||+3||Cody White||Michigan State||27.1||4.66||4+|
|WR29||NR||Quartney Davis||Texas A&M||26.3||4.55||4+|
Tier 6 – So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance (For a Day 2 Selection)
WR16 – Lynn Bowden Jr
WR17 – KJ Hamler
WR18 – Tyler Johnson
Each of these three dropped after not participating in athletic testing at the combine. Bowden remains a favorite sleeper of mine, but given his unique college career a day 2 pick now feels iffy. Not being able to impress in Indy doesn’t help him in that regard. Hamler came in a tick under 5’9″ and sub-180 pounds, making it very difficult to project a volume role for him in the NFL. Additionally, after tweaking a hammy he wasn’t able to challenge Ruggs for the fastest time. Tyler Johnson remains an enigma throughout this process, and I find it very hard to see him picked before day 3. Should he get tagged in the 3rd round he’d get a bump.
Tier 7 – Relative Unknowns and/or A Lot to Prove
WR19 – Chase Claypool
The biggest riser on the back end of the WR group is Claypool. The college career leaves a lot to be desired, but he surely got some NFL attention running a 4.42 at 238 pounds and turning in a 40.5″ vertical. While I try to remain unaffected by gaudy athletic numbers when the carer doesn’t back it up, Claypool might have bought himself a ticket into the top 3 rounds and if that’s the case he’s one to monitor. At his probable rookie draft price, you can do worse than take a chance on a guy who comps athletically to DK Metcalf and Calvin Johnson.
WR20 – Devin Duvernay
He confirmed his speed, but is still a raw prospect.
WR21 – James Proche
Another guy I have to knock down because he didn’t show anything while others made their marks. I still think Proche can be a sneaky productive pro.
WR22 – Quez Watkins
He flaunted his breakaway ability with a blazing forty time but came in undersized. He’s still an intriguing under-the-radar guy but might be too small to project as a true difference maker for fantasy.
WR23 – Kalija Lipscomb
Solid producer, solid combine.
WR24 – Quintez Cephus
One of the few guys I’ll drop just for a forty time but over 4.71 is pretty rough, especially when he’s not a notable prospect otherwise.
WR25 – Cody White
I remain curious about this big bodied (27.1 BMI) receiver who led his team in receiving as a sophomore then exceeded the 30% MS bar as a junior. He could be a possession type receiver at the next level, perhaps a late round steal.
WR25 – Trishton Jackson
WR26 – Collin Johnson
WR27 – Van Jefferson
Tier 8 – New Arrivals
WR28 – Quartney Davis
WR29 – Darnell Mooney
Two new prospects enter the top 30, with Davis having more upside to me. Quartney was on the cusp of inclusion on the pre-combine list but ultimately didn’t make it. His testing went well, and showing up with a BMI over 26 was good. He did have a 19 year old breakout for TAMU showing some potential. Mooney is a thin speedster who dominated at Tulane and could eventually develop into a field stretcher.
These guys had interesting profiles but tested below some minimum thresholds for NFL receivers. I am still kinda intrigued by Parker as college career was so good. I’d still keep an eye on either should they get a chance!
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