If you listen to the RotoViz Radio podcast, you know that Matt Freedman thinks Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett has a lot in common with TY Hilton and Antonio Brown.
In this article, I’m going to take things a step further and show you how the numbers support this notion.
Piggybacking on my recent article Antonio Brown, Wes Welker and the hidden value of special teams stats, I’m seeing the diminutive receiver in a new light. Let’s dig into the numbers and explore why Tyler Lockett looks like a good bet to be the next great small receiver dynamo in the NFL.
For his college career, Lockett had four kick return touchdowns, two punt return touchdowns, 29 receiving touchdowns and 192 rushing yards. How do you like them apples? If I filter my wide receiver database for players who:
- were drafted
- are not taller than 6 feet or weigh more than 200 pounds
- scored at least one kick return touchdown and one punt return touchdown
- gained at least 100 career rushing yards 1
I get this list, sorted by final season market share of yards:
|WR||Overall||F Age||RU yds||PuRt TD||KiRt TD||F msYDS|
Say hello to all the Bruce Arians small and awesome receivers: TY Hilton, Antonio Brown and John Brown. It’s too bad there’s almost no chance Arians drafts Lockett, or we might really be onto something here.
As you can see, it’s a pretty strong cohort, highlighted by the fact that a few of the “bad” players were still regarded highly enough to be top-10 draft picks. Moreover, guys like Hester and Ford were dynamic return men, even if their receiving production never showed up. And then there’s the Van Wilder of modern college football, Jordan Shipley, who played in his final college football game after his 24th birthday. Screw that.
Basically, when you consider the comparable group, of which Lockett had the best college receiving resume, it’s kind of hard to imagine him not having an impact in the NFL in some capacity.
Here’s how Tyler Lockett’s athleticism compares to the cohort, sorted by speed score:
While he’s not a standout in any category, Lockett certainly fits in with the group and finds himself near the median across the board. The important thing here isn’t to emphasize that he’s some kind of athletic marvel, but rather to show that he’s athletic enough for his size and similarly athletic to successful small NFL receivers. If there’s one thing that raises a minor red flag for me is Lockett’s hand size, but the jury is still out on whether or not that actually matters.
Even though he’s small, Tyler Lockett has the production profile and requisite athleticism to produce in the NFL and potentially become a star. Obviously landing spot will be key, and I think he’ll probably have to pull double duty with special teams contributions in the early going, but if there’s a guy in this draft class who could become the next TY Hilton or Antonio Brown, I’m betting it’s Tyler Lockett. Projected to go in the third round of the NFL Draft, and currently in the third round of dynasty rookie drafts, I think Lockett represents a great value in both instances. Have a look at him against Oklahoma in 2014.
Jon Moore is a contributor at RotoViz and a cohost of Rotoviz Radio – A Fantasy Football Podcast. Continue this conversation with him on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
- Maybe this is an arbitrary number, but it’s about half of what Lockett had in his career and is a non-accidental amount to have accumulated. Receivers with 100+ career rushing yards are getting fed the ball in every way possible by their coach. That’s a good sign. (back)