With the combine in the past, we’ve gained some very telling information on this year’s WR class. While combine numbers should never outweigh on-field production, they can be useful in letting us know the upside prospects have, as well as where they best fit on a football field.
What characteristics come to mind when you think of a #1 WR in the NFL? If you’re familiar with the great work featured on this site, as well as other places, tall, heavy, fast, and explosive should be descriptors that pop into your head. Therefore, combine results that should be emphasized when searching for the best #1 WR should include height, weight, 40 time, vertical jump score, and broad jump score.
Thankfully for us, others have already simplified the puzzle down into two important pieces, height adjusted speed score (HaSS) which grades a player’s 40 time based on his height and weight, and explosion scores, which is simply the sum of vertical leap and broad jump. Combining these two scores with small adjustments to make the outputs easier to read should give us a very good idea of which WRs are best fit to become WR1s in the NFL. The actual equation goes like this: ((HaSS+ExplosionScore)/324.5)*100. The combination of HaSS and Explosion Score are divided by 324.5 because that is the total HaSS+Explosion Score Calvin Johnson posted at the combine. Calvin had the best combine we’ve ever seen from a WR and that probably won’t change anytime soon. Because we’re using CJ as a benchmark, we’ll call this the Megatron Index.
Before we get to the 2014 prospects here are a few examples of WR1S numbers of current NFL WRs to give you an idea of how this class compares:
Calvin Johnson – 100
Julio Jones – 92.6
Stephen Hill – 91.6
Cordarrelle Patterson – 86.1
Torrey Smith – 83.8
Josh Gordon – 82.4
Kenny Britt – 81.6
AJ Jenkins – 80.7
DeAndre Hopkins – 76.5
Tavon Austin – 73.3
Any score lower than 80 indicates that its probably a stretch for that player to become an effective WR1, which doesn’t sit well for the Texans who will likely need to draft a more physically talented WR once Andre Johnson starts to regress. The AJ Jenkins score is interesting because he was valued fairly high by scouts and posted one of the highest DRs since 2006, but our score shows he wasn’t exactly fit to become a WR1 and of course has flopped so far in his career. Stephen Hill is an example of a WR with a high Megatron Index that hasn’t exactly panned out like his score suggests, although it was obvious he was a very raw football player when he was drafted. His potential is still there. Julio Jones absolutely blew up the combine and still finished over 7 points short of CJ, that’s a pretty big gap. For anyone who is still holding on to the assumption that Tavon Austin can be a #1 target on an NFL team, give it up.
If you haven’t already skipped ahead, here are the Megatron Index scores for the 2014 class:
|Odell Beckham Jr.||79.6|
– Donte Moncrief seems fit the role of a WR1 more than any other WR and by a pretty sizable margin. As much hype as Stephen Hill saw after the combine, Moncrief wasn’t far behind and isn’t getting nearly the recognition. Moncrief is also a much more polished prospect. Hill was taken in the early 2nd round. For some reason, Moncrief probably won’t sniff that. I’ll have a more in-depth look at him out later in the week.
– Martavis Bryant quietly had a great combine as well. He should be moving up in the ranks.
– The Jeff Janis bandwagon has some steam.
– Kelvin Benjamin’s score is actually pretty disappointing considering his 6’5 240 weigh-in even though he finished in 6th.
– Marquise Lee will likely be drafted as a WR1, but he certainly looks like a long shot to live up to that.
– Watkins has been criticized of having a disappointing combine, but that’s probably because expectations were too high coming in. Watkins actually had a decent combine.
– A ton of tape grinders criticized Jordan Matthews on his physical ability despite his great college production, but he actually had a decent combine and proved, at least in my mind, he’s worth a first round pick.
– This WR class has often been called “deep” and this chart proves it. 10 WRs had a Megatron Indez over 80.
– Odell Beckham Jr. was the highest scoring WR under 6 feet.
– Albert Wilson out of Georgia State is only 5’9, but posted a Megatron Index of 79. That’s pretty remarkable.
– Even though he isn’t a top prospect. Cody Hoffman is probably still over valued at 6’4 223 (great size) he only scored 72.6. That’s terrible.
– Jarvis Landry had a terrible combine and probably cost himself some money, but its important to keep in mind, not all of these WRs, especially the smaller ones, will be drafted with expectations of being a teams #1 target and go on to have great careers not only from a real football perspective, but from a fantasy football perspective as well.
Note: Mike Evans, Quincy Enunwa, Brandon Coleman, Chris Boyd, and Jeremy Gallon didn’t participate in the needed test to get a complete score, but Evans would have been a virtual lock to finish in the top 5 if he would have participated in the broad jump.