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Dodging Unwarranted Hype: Evaluating Big WRs


This is the grand finale of sorts for the series on how the height of WR prospects determines which characteristics we should look for while scouting them. We covered the small WRs and medium sized WRs over the past two weeks.

The tall guys are the WRs who are most likely to become game breaking players. This fact often causes tall WRs who may not have much else going for them to be reached for not only in fantasy drafts, but also in the NFL draft. Tall WRs who had below average production in college are often considered boom or bust prospects, or lottery tickets. Here’s what you need to be looking for in WRs 6’3 and above:

 msYRDSmsTDSDRR AgeWeight40 TimeVertRZTDRYPT

Our sample consisted of 10 hits and 23 misses. Once again, DR separates hits and misses by a large margin, but this time msYards is the bigger separator. We’ll come back to that later. Hits are over half a year younger than than misses, which is a big gap. Hits weighed 4 pounds more than misses, which isn’t a large difference, but it is something to note. As they have been with the other two groups, 40 time and vertical leap are pretty much non factors.

This is where it gets interesting. The misses actually have a RZ TD rate of just above 7% better than the hits. Of course, being effective in the red zone could never be a bad thing so why would the misses have a higher RZTDR? I have one guess. I think it’s fair to say a player’s size correlates with RZTDR in a good way. Though the hits had a lower RZTDR than you would expect, their RZTDR isn’t terrible. It is interesting that even though misses had a much higher RZTDR, they had a much lower msTD score. It may be possible that the misses are good in the RZ, but lack big play ability in-between the 20s which could be reflected in their lower msYards. This is the reason I added the yards per target column, which didn’t prove to be as much of a difference as I had predicted, so this guess of mine may not be fully accurate.

Another thing I found interesting was that 7 (34%) of the misses had a RZTDR of 50 or above while 0 of the hits met that criteria. Maybe the big thing to take from all of this TD nonsense is that the majority of big WRs are good in the RZ by default, but finding the guys who are can score from outside of the RZ (big plays) as well are the guys you want to target. I plan on looking into this puzzle a little deeper later in the week.

2014 Prospects:

These findings don’t really help Mike Evans. He’s certainly young enough to pass the age test. His DR is low, but we already knew that going in. He has a msTD score of 30, but his RZTDR is 36%, which isn’t so high that it makes you question his downfield ability.

Jordan Matthews comes in just under the average age of hits at 22.5. He has a high msTD percentage of 47, but a low RZTDR of 14%. Matthews low RZTDR bothers me a little because his junior season wasn’t much better at 22%. At the same time, Matthews also has the highest msYards score in this class.

Brandon Coleman is the same age as Jordan Matthews, but had a RZTDR of 50% and a low msTD score of 18. That’s probably something to keep an eye on.

Martavis Bryant falls into the same category as Coleman except he has a rookie age of 23. He should probably be moved down in your rankings a touch.

Kelvin Benjamin is old as we all know, but his RZTDR of 54% and msTD rating of 36 should also cause a slight concern.

Now that we’ve explored what measurables we should be paying more attention to for each WR height category instead of all WRs combined, we can now adjust our rankings accordingly. Don’t forget you can always check out how your favorite WR stacks up using the College Career Graphs App.

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