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Faulty Comps: Percy Harvin & Denard Robinson

The post draft process is when most of us get down to dirty work. We rank our dynasty rookies, undergo our start up drafts, and systematically evaluate each and every player who could possibly have long term fantasy football value. However, every single physically impressive athlete doesn’t equate to a fantasy football star. A trap that we as analysts fall into is simply believing that two players with equal measurables will have equal production. While this can often be incredibly helpful, and in fact is the basis of the most successful projection systems, all comparisons must be viewed objectively and with careful consideration.

The best example comes from Percy Harvin and Denard Robinson. The physical measurables of these two players are eerily similar. Harvin’s 40 time was 4.39 and Robinson’s was 4.34; broken down to the 20 second dash, Robinson’s measured 2.50 and Harvin’s 2.51. They are both 5’11 and Robinson weighs a mere 7 pounds more than Harvin. Robinson’s broad jump was 10’03” and Harvin’s was 10’01”. Robinson’s vertical leap is 36.5 inches and Harvin’s was 37.5 inches. Honestly, it is hard to find two athletes this similar in size and combine performance.

Then why do they not resemble each on the field? Clearly, Denard didn’t play the wide receiver position in college and limits our ability to create statistical projections for him at running back or wide receiver. There is some thought out there that Robinson will immediately excel in a ‘joker’ role in the Jaguars offense. Unfortunately for the Jaguars and for Robinson, that will require at least adequate pass catching skills. To quote Doug Farrar, who observed Robinson at the Senior Bowl, “Robinson has struggled mightily with the most basic elements of his new proposed position.” Perhaps more disturbing is his report that “The 4.4-40 field burner actually looks slow on a number of routes, because his cuts aren’t generally quick.”

While I must admit that the process of visual scouting is fraught with difficulties and inaccuracies, the multiple reports of Robinson struggling at the wide receiver position suggest that he will most likely play running back. At that position, Robinson’s 4.34 time is vastly intriguing, but that alone won’t guarantee him success. When looking at the type of player Robinson will be, it’s important to remember how raw his skillset is in comparison to how he will be expected to perform. Skills such as pass-blocking and catching outlet passes are something that Robinson will need to learn before he gets consistent playing time and until those skills develop, his redraft and dynasty fantasy football stock remains low.

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