Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch recently announced that he would forgo his final two years of college eligibility to declare for the NFL draft. Is he someone dynasty owners should be paying attention to? There are reasons both for optimism and for restraint.
First, the good news: Dortch was extremely productive at a young age in his two seasons at Wake Forest. He played only eight games in his redshirt freshman season, but he managed 722 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in those games, good for a 41 percent dominator rating and an age 19 breakout. He followed that up with over 1,000 yards in his first full season. Although his TD production dipped slightly in 2018, he still maintained a dominator rating over 36 percent.
Dortch also produced on special teams, returning both kicks and punts for the Demon Deacons. He returned two punts for TDs in 2018,1 and amassed over 1,200 total return yards over his two-year career.
|Year||Punt Ret||Yds||Avg||TD||Kick Ret||Yds||Avg||TD|
Age and Early Declaration
Some of the best reasons for enthusiasm are Dortch’s early breakout age and the fact that he declared early for the NFL draft. Underclassmen drastically outperform seniors over their first two years in the NFL.2
And Anthony Amico found breakout age to be the main component of the most important split in his decision tree.
Dortch’s combination of breakout age and final season receiving yardage market share lands him squarely in the right-most node of Anthony’s tree, good for a historical 66 percent chance of having a 200-point season within his first three years in the NFL. The fact that he declared early and will be a 21-year-old rookie implies a 35 percent chance of having a 200-point PPR season within his first two years.
Size and Athleticism
If you’re going back to the beginning of the article trying to find out how big Dortch is, don’t worry — you haven’t missed anything. I didn’t mention Dortch’s size at the top because I wanted to you to keep reading. Here’s where we find the biggest red flag: Dortch is listed at only 5 feet 9 inches and 170 pounds. Of course, there are enough examples of successful WRs who don’t have prototypical size that this isn’t necessarily a concern on its own. However, most successful small WRs win with speed (Tyreek Hill, DeSean Jackson, T.Y. Hilton). Dortch’s testing at the combine will be critical for his outlook on draft day, but he reportedly ran a disappointing 4.66 40-yard dash as a recruit out of high school. That said, his special teams production is a good sign.
Even if he doesn’t have the speed of a Hill or Jackson, the multitude of other positives in his profile — his age-adjusted production, early breakout, and the fact that he declared early — give us at least a glimmer of hope that he’s more Antonio Brown than Jamison Crowder.
- Both in the same game. (back)
- In a sense Dortch is a double early declare, since he enters the NFL with two years of eligibility remaining. There aren’t enough examples of players who have done this to make any claims about whether it might provide an even greater advantage. The only recent examples I can come up with are Roger Lewis and Davante Adams, which leave us with about the widest range of outcomes possible. Lewis went undrafted out of Bowling Green. The fact that Dortch played in a more competitive conference may give him the edge in draft position, which makes a huge difference. (back)