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2017 Prospect Preview: Trent Taylor

Trent Taylor will take the field in the Armed Forces Bowl with 1,570 receiving yards, third most in the nation. His 3,946 career receiving yards rank No. 13 overall since 2000. With production like this, why is he likely to go undrafted this spring?

In my draft profile on Taywan Taylor, I discussed the interaction of production, age, and experience at length. We have to consider the production of seniors differently, and we also have to put that production in the context of overall team results. Taylor shares the Louisiana Tech receiving duties with Carlos Henderson, a player who has gained 1,406 yards in his own right. Henderson is more explosive with an average of 19.6 yards per catch to go along with 17 TDs.

The Bulldogs score points in waves. It’s a tremendous offense for putting up stats as a closer look at Taylor’s profile illustrates.

Year Rec Yds Avg TD msYDs msTDs
2013 28 260 9.3 2 0.11 0.20
2014 64 834 13 9 0.24 0.30
2015 99 1282 12.9 9 0.31 0.32
2016 124 1570 12.7 10 0.34 0.26
Career 315 3946 12.5 30 0.27 0.28

Although the market share adjustments mute the gaudy totals, Taylor still looks like a solid prospect. He has three good seasons, including two with a Dominator Rating above 30 percent.

The low yards per attempt number probably tickets him for future slot duties, as does his size. Taylor stands 5 feet 8, 178 pounds, and despite what you often hear, this does make a difference.

The Positive Outlook

While Taylor is more of a watch list candidate than a draftable player this summer, he may also provide an arbitrage opportunity on other receivers. CBS currently has Taylor ranked No. 46 at WR, and North Carolina’s 5-foot-10, 185-pound Ryan Switzer at No. 18 (and projected into the fourth round).

Switzer broke out with 1,027 yards as a senior with 11.3 yards per catch. He’s a good player, and the comparison with Taylor isn’t meant to denigrate him. We’re simply trying to create context.

Ryan Switzer Trent Taylor
Year msYD msTD msYD msTD
2013 0.10 0.11 0.11 0.20
2014 0.21 0.14 0.24 0.30
2015 0.19 0.19 0.31 0.32
2016 0.29 0.18 0.34 0.26
Career 0.20 0.16 0.27 0.28

Taylor’s production is far more impressive, besting Switzer in each category for every season.1 In fact, Taylor looks very similar to Zay Jones, the record-setting WR from East Carolina and 2016’s leader in receiving yards. Jones finishes his career with a 26 percent share of receiving yards and 21 percent of ECU’s receiving scores. As Jones finished his career averaging below 11.0 yards per catch, the biggest difference between the two players is the five inches in height.

We’ll finish with a look at what light, undrafted WRs are doing in 2016 in terms of expected receiving points (reEP). From the RotoViz Screener:

PLAYERreEP 2016WT.Q1
Cole Beasley136.6177
Robby Anderson93.2180
Eli Rogers78.1181
Corey Brown75178
Andrew Hawkins72175
Taylor Gabriel64.1167
Jordan Norwood53.9180
Danny Amendola47.6186
Chester Rogers37.3180
Chris Harper19.8185
Tommylee Lewis17.3168
Bryce Treggs14.1185
Brittan Golden10.9185
Griff Whalen7.6185
Nick Williams7.5183
Shane Wynn4.9157
Lucky Whitehead3.6163
Rashad Ross1.7175

Cole Beasley is having an excellent 2016, and Eli Rogers might have posted surprising rookie numbers if not for injuries. If we use the Screener to pull in all such seasons since 2000, the five best individual player seasons belong to Wes Welker.2

Add Trent Taylor to your watch list in PPR leagues, and make a note to follow his progress during the summer. If he is drafted and/or finds himself in a good situation next fall, he could be an inexpensive way to add some possession value to your WR portfolio.

 

  1. I didn’t include Switzer’s TD passes in figuring his share, as you shouldn’t be punished for throwing TDs.  (back)
  2. Beasley and Welker both finished their college careers with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.  (back)

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