According to this article on ESPN.com, Kiper’s top 5 wideouts are Cordarrelle Patterson, Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, Quinton Patton and Tavon Austin. Using the career graph comparison app that I posted here, we can pretty quickly compare the receivers based on their body of work in college. NFL evaluators probably don’t give enough credence to a theory of evaluating wideouts that says basically “If he can do it, he can do it.” If a receiver can produce in the college game, that’s probably as close as you’re going to get to evidence that he can play in the NFL as well. In order to try to isolate a player’s production from yards or touchdowns that might be produced by his quarterback or the scheme he plays in, we can use percentages, or market shares of team production to determine how dominant a player is.
None of this year’s crop of receivers were really dominant in the college game (or at least the ones at the top of the draft boards weren’t) but let’s take a look at Kiper’s top 5 for comparison purposes.
First, here is the group if we look at their share of their college team’s passing yards. This stat tends to be one of the more predictive college stats.
Market Share of College Team Receiving Yards
I think you would probably say that Keenan Allen displays the most promise based on this metric, while DeAndre Hopkins and Quinton Patton are in the same range.
If we look at each player’s share of their team touchdowns, we get this graph:
Market Share of College Receiving Touchdowns
Again, Allen probably leads the way with Hopkins and Patton behind him, but sort of in the same ballpark.
The interesting thing will be to see what these guys do at their pro days and at the Combine. Once we have some more concrete information on the size/speed metrics for these players it will be possible to create a Similarity Score app that mixes college resume with physical attributes. Stay tuned.