The RotoViz Wide Receiver Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament matches the top incoming prospects in a head-to-head March Madness style format. Various RotoViz writers break down each match-up with the winner moving on to the next round.
(1) COUTLAND SUTTON VS (16) DEONTAY BURNETT
Is Courtland Sutton the top WR in the 2018 NFL draft? He certainly may be the top WR drafted. As Eric Moody points out, Sutton finished his career averaging 62.3 catches, 1,042 receiving yards, and 10.3 TDs from 2015 to 2017. Sporting a 95th-percentile 3-cone to go along with a 6-foot-4, 218-pound frame, Sutton certainly looks the part while having the requisite athletic traits. Many scouts have compared Sutton to Alshon Jeffrey. Will that be enough to be crowned Rotoviz’s top WR?
Deontay Burnett enters the draft as one of the younger WR prospects in our tournament. Burnett finished his college career at USC with 86 receptions, 1114 yards, and nine TDs. Burnett projects as a slot receiver at the next level. With youth and a Dominator Rating in the 53-percentile, Burnett is a solid 16th seed in our bracket. Does he have enough for the upset?
Anthony Amico – Courtland Sutton: I do like Burnett’s age and final year production, but Sutton is one of the more dominant players in this class. He broke out immediately in his first season playing WR and hasn’t looked back since. His stock definitely took a hit after choosing to return to school and losing some work to Trey Quinn, but he still easily bypasses the USC product here for me.
John Lapinski – Courtland Sutton: Burnett has been reasonably productive at a young age, but he also hasn’t stood out in any area. Sutton has the potential to be the best WR in this class, and with RB-fever in full effect, he may be available in the middle or late first.
Scott Smith – Courtland Sutton: Burnett should end up as a fairly decent late-round slot prospect. He is young enough with enough production to warrant interest. The problem is that Sutton is perhaps the highest-upside WR in this class. While he is far from flawless, it’s amazing what he has done in the short amount of time that he has been playing WR. Sutton managed to have a breakout before his 20th birthday and sports a 95th percentile 3-cone score at nearly 6-foot-4. Sutton is the easy choice for me.
Cort Smith – Deontay Burnett: In a WR class where no one has separated from the pack, I haven’t seen enough from Sutton to suggest he’s worthy of a early-to-mid pick in the first round of dynasty drafts. I’m happy to fade the “top” WR and let value like Burnett fall to me.
Matt Wispe – Deontay Burnett: Sutton, in a vacuum is a better prospect, but when taking acquisition cost into account, I’m taking Burnett. The two posted fairly similar final seasons and Burnett is a super young prospect. According to DLF, Burnett currently has an ADP of 56. Because he’s young, cheap, and posted a strong final season, Burnett advances.
Jordan Hoover – Courtland Sutton: This is insanely close for a 1 v. 16 match up. Burnett is younger and posted a similar final-year adjusted Dominator Rating and identical breakout age, but I lean Sutton because of his size and likely draft position.
Blair Andrews – Deontay Burnett: Sutton did himself no favors by returning for his senior season. He lost market share to Quinn and also enters the NFL draft as a 22-year-old prospect. Draft age matters. Burnett is a full two years younger than Sutton and has a nearly identical final season Dominator Rating. He’s also significantly cheaper to acquire.
In what is the closest 1 versus 16 seed in tournament history, Sutton advances. With Sutton edging out Burnett by one vote, one has to wonder if Sutton may run into some trouble as the tournament unfolds. Sutton certainly has the size and upside of a WR1. Ultimately those athletic traits, as well as his likely higher draft selection, give him the nod to move on.
Sutton will take on the winner or (8) Simmie Cobbs versus (9) Auden Tate.