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Kenny Golladay – The Big Guy From a Small School

There is John Ross, Cory Davis, JuJu Schuster-Smith…there is even Cooper Kupp. Wide receiver is an intriguing position group in this year’s draft, with a host of players expected to go off the boards early. Productive players can be had later in the draft, and one name to consider is Northern Illinois wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

Northern Illinois does not exactly enjoy a reputation as a proving ground for NFL superstars, with former Titans and Jets wideout Justin McCareins the most notable export. But in Golladay, they may just have someone who could make an impact on Sundays, even in his rookie year. So here is a look at why, if your team took a Golladay, you could take some time to celebrate.1

After 99 receptions, 1313 yards and nine touchdowns in 20 games across two seasons for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Golladay transferred closer to home to Northern Illinois. After sitting out the 2014 season, he caught 160 passes across the last two seasons, finishing with 2285 yards at 14.3 yards per reception. He also found the end zone 18 times through the air, as well as another three scores on the ground. He was pretty much the only thing that worked for the Huskies in the passing game, as the numbers below show.

Kenny Golladay87115613.38
Aregeros Turner4041510.43
Christian Blake3445713.42
Shane Wimann2425410.66

Here at RotoViz, there are very few rules. One, you don’t write on the walls, and two…you obey all the rules. Well, there may be a few more. But one of the most important is that you refer back to Kevin Cole’s piece regarding WR measurables when writing about WR prospects. He makes mention of the relative success of big receivers, and Golladay is certainly that. Here is a look at his combine measurables, with some notable comparisons (Golladay’s draft assumption has been set at 75, with many prominent sites giving him a third round grade).


Now that’s not a bad list of comps to be involved with. Alshon Jeffery has the 15th most receiving yards among wide receivers since entering the league in 2012, despite missing 13 games in that time. Mike Evans has 27 receiving scores in his first three seasons in the NFL, tied for third most among WRs in their first three years since the 2000 season. Since the 1970 merger, only two WRs have five consecutive 1000 yard seasons to begin their careers, namely Randy Moss and A.J. Green. Davante Adams is a player who has shown that he could be the most recent beneficiary of the third year theory, postulated by Eric Moody last July. The theory

“is built on the foundation that wide receivers often become acclimated to the NFL game as they enter their third season.”


So we’ve seen that physically Kenny Golladay measures up quite well to a few notable NFL performers. But the NFL game is not played in the gymnasiums around America. What a player has done on the field previously is a great indicator of what they could achieve later. So, with this in mind, here are the comps to Golladay when we throw his career market share of receiving yards, and his receptions and touchdowns per game in his final college season.

golladay pro

If the continuing comps between Kenny Golladay and Alshon aren’t enough to get you excited, I just don’t know what will. Maybe the continued presence of A.J. Green, or late 2016 breakout star Rishard Matthews, will get the juices flowing. Maybe the prospect of another Sidney Rice is the thing you’ve been waiting for. I don’t know, I can’t speak for other people. But the numbers show that players of Golladay’s stature and track record can succeed in the NFL.

The New Orleans Saints have had Kenny Golladay in for a private workout, while the Bengals and the Lions also worked him out during his Pro Day. Despite acquiring Ted Ginn in free agency, the Saints still have something of an opening at WR after trading away Brandin Cooks, while the Bengals should be looking to upgrade their receiving options across from Green. He’d offer the Lions something different, given the diminutive nature of their leading receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, and could fit in nicely if the team don’t resign Anquan Boldin. The Lions went with three WRs on 76 percent of their offensive snaps last season.

With regards to fantasy, the vale of Kenny Golladay should depend heavily on his landing spot. If he is able to land on a team with one or even two established WRs, his impact in year one may be as a touchdown dependent streamer. If he is expected to be “The Guy” from Day one, he may struggle to put up huge numbers. But he is definitely a player that should be snapped up in every dynasty draft. He may not be the next Alshon Jeffery, or A.J. Green, but the numbers are certainly reason for excitement.

  1. Yes, that’s a Madonna pun right out of the gate. I’ll try not to do it again.  (back)

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