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.
Catch up on any of the previous match ups in this series by clicking one of the links below.
(8) SIMMIE COBBS VS. (9) AUDEN TATE
Simmie Cobbs put scouts on notice in his first game of 2017, dropping 11 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown on a talented Ohio State defense. With a big-bodied frame, Cobbs has the size to bull most defensive backs. That size could be enticing to a team at the next level. Currently Cobbs projects as a Day 3 selection in the fifth-round range. Late round picks with 10th-percentile SPARQ scores don’t usually make for a successful recipe. Luckily for Cobbs, he may be taking on his doppleganger this round.
Auden Tate is a tough prospect to grasp. Blessed with size, Tate stands at 6-foot-5 and 228 pounds, making him one of the bigger WR prospects of the past few years. Tate has been able to put that size on display by scoring 16 TDs over the last two years. Unfortunately, that success hasn’t carried over into the yardage department as Tate has never eclipsed 550 yards. As Dave Caban points out, Tate’s development was slowed by an injury to starting QB DeAndre Francois. Will that info be enough to overcome a bad combine and allow our panel to advance him past Cobbs?
Anthony Amico – Simmie Cobbs: Tate was such a non-athlete at the Combine that I’m worried he won’t even be drafted before Day 3. Cobbs, meanwhile, showed some signs that he may be near fully recovered from injuries that set back his college career. Cobbs’ projection isn’t great in my model, but there are clearly extenuating circumstances in play. His projection also still is better than Tate’s.
John Lapinski – Simmie Cobbs: Both players are big and relatively slow, but Cobbs has had more production and very good agility for a player his size. Tate is younger, but Cobbs broke out as a sophomore and was delayed entering the draft by an injury that derailed his junior campaign. Though it’s close, Cobbs currently looks like he may go a full round after Tate in rookie drafts. I’ll take the discount in this case.
Scott Smith – Simmie Cobbs: Among the WR group, Tate may have been the biggest disappointment at the combine. While the combine isn’t the end-all be-all of evaluations, things aren’t clear when looking at his college production either. Tate’s QB situation wasn’t ideal, but at some point you have to stop making excuses for a prospect. Cobbs has similar size with better athletic traits. The real kicker is the performance Cobbs had against the Ohio State secondary, a unit which boasts a few guys that will be playing on Sundays.
Cort Smith – Simmie Cobbs: Tate has youth and size on his side, but not much else. Cobbs, too, has size to pair with a superior production profile. Cheaper and a little more athletic, Cobbs gets the edge.
Matt Wispe – Auden Tate: The benefit of Tate’s poor combine is that he just became a cheaper buy. Tate is only 21 and was responsible for 48 percent of Florida State’s 2017 receiving TDs. He may not be fast, but if he continues to be a red zone threat, he’ll find a home in the NFL.
Jordan Hoover – Auden Tate: Neither Tate nor Cobbs are great athletes. But as others have mentioned, Tate’s busted combine likely lowers his cost, making him a more attractive asset. He’s also younger with a stronger production profile.
Blair Andrews – Auden Tate: Neither Tate nor Cobbs were any good at the combine. This one is pretty close, but Tate is younger and has a slight edge in Dominator Rating.
Hasan Rahim – Simmie Cobbs: I’m a bigger fan of Cobbs, given that he has a superior production record and projects slightly better in Anthony Amico’s WR prospect model. Although neither players are outstanding athletes, Tate was the biggest loser at the combine after testing incredibly poorly.
Ryan Bobbitt – Simmie Cobbs: Remember back in high school when you couldn’t ask your crush to the homecoming dance because they were already in a relationship and you waited too long so now you really only had two options left? (Just me? OK) That’s what this feels like with Cobbs getting the corsage over Tate. Production matters at WR and is where Tate holds the edge, but I worry he’s not an NFL athlete after he bricked the combine. Cobbs wasn’t a lot better, but his agility numbers are good for his size.
Simmie Cobbs advances by a 6-3 margin. In the end, this decision boiled down to the a slightly better production history. With both players being roughly the same in athleticism and stature, landing spot could ultimately determine who will be more successful at the next level. At this point in the process, both Cobbs and Tate could be afterthoughts. Neither should sniff the first round of fantasy drafts.
Simmie Cobbs will advance to set up a matchup with top-seeded Courtland Sutton.