When Texas Tech wide receiver Jakeem Grant was on RotoViz Radio in February, shortly after he had learned that he had been snubbed from the 2016 NFL Combine, he said these six simple words:
I want to prove them wrong.
On March 11, at Texas Tech’s pro day in Lubbock, he proved them wrong.
Proving Them Wrong
Despite being one of the most productive all-around players of the 2015 college football season — in 13 games, he had 90 receptions for 1,268 yards and 10 touchdowns, eight rush attempts for 68 yards and two touchdowns, 39 kick returns for 1,017 yards and two touchdowns, and one pass attempt for a 72-yard touchdown — Grant has received little draft hype and was utterly overlooked by almost everyone in the draft community . . .
. . . until at his pro day he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds, per the official Texas Tech Athletics twitter account:
— Texas Tech Athletics (@TechAthletics) March 11, 2016
On Twitter, there are reports that his 40 might have even been unofficially clocked at 4.10 seconds.
I’ll go with the official time published by TTU, because that’s really the safest thing to do, but even with “only” a 4.34-second 40-yard dash Grant emphatically proved that he deserved an invitation to the combine.
He also proved that he deserves a shot in the NFL.
Jakeem Grant: The 2016 RotoViz Reach
Shortly before Tech’s game against Louisiana State University in the Texas Bowl — in which Grant torched LSU unlike any of the elite receivers from the Southeastern Conference had been able to do, to the tune of 10 receptions for 125 yards and three touchdowns — we published a prospect profile in which we argued that Grant is the 2016 John Brown.
After Grant demolished LSU, we issued an update in which we noted that Grant is Tech’s most dominant versatile receiver since Wes Welker. In fact, Grant even outdoes Welker in that he was Tech’s No. 1 receiver in his two final seasons.
It’s never good for a wide receiver’s NFL prospects when he is not invited to the combine. In general, it doesn’t bode well for their draft position, and it doesn’t bode well for their NFL production. In fact, over the last decade, the highest a non-combine wide receiver has been drafted is pick 107 (Kris Durham in 2011). And since 2000 the only non-combine wide receiver to have more than three seasons of top-30 positional success in the points-per-reception format is Welker.
But, when it comes to Grant, RotoViz has been boldly ahead of the curve. We’re not about to stop that now.
With his combination of athleticism and production, Grant has a highly underappreciated chance of being drafted as high as the third round. Now, it might not happen — because the people who didn’t invite him to the combine aren’t all that different from the people who will decide if and when to draft him — but it should happen.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Jakeem Grant deserves to be drafted no later than the fourth round — which is exactly the round I think he will be selected . . . very early . . . by the San Francisco 49ers.