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Overshadowed at the Combine, David Sills Is Still a Sleeper to Target

Now that we have official combine testing results for the majority of the 2019 NFL Draft class, it’s time for a quick review of former West Virginia Mountaineers’ wide receiver David Sills V.1


Sills’ collegiate journey is nothing short of amazing. A quarterback prodigy, he was offered a scholarship at age 13 by USC’s then-head coach Lane Kiffin. He eventually landed at West Virginia in 2015, making the switch to wide receiver mid-season. In four games played he amassed a 7-131-2 receiving line.

Despite his moderate success at a brand new position, Sills decided to transfer to El Camino Junior College in 2016 in an effort to resurrect his QB career. He completed just 54 percent of his throws but did show his athleticism, adding five TDs as a runner. It was a risky move with a disappointing ending. But a return to a familiar place would dramatically alter his career trajectory.


After transferring back to West Virginia in 2017, Sills began his torrid run by scoring multiple TDs in six of his first seven games. He cooled off down the stretch with just three TDs in his final five games, eclipsing 70 yards receiving only once. He finished the season with a 60-980-18 line, tied with Anthony Miller for most receiving TDs in the country. Sills accounted for 37 percent of his team’s receiving yards and TDs in 2017, enough to register as a breakout season, an important milestone for WR prospects.

Sills has remained a dangerous scoring threat posting a 61-896-15 line in 11 games this season. He’s scored at least one TD in nine games and has five or more receptions in seven contests. His Dominator Rating decreased from 2017, but still crossed the 0.30 threshold (0.31). In terms of raw TD production across an entire career, Sills is the best WR in the 2019 class.


There’s little doubt regarding Sills’ production over the last two seasons. His penchant for finding the end zone is simply undeniable. But adding context to counting stats can provide important insight to dynasty owners preparing for rookie drafts. Incorporating a prospects’ age into the equation is an excellent start. Blair Andrews has shown that WRs who play their rookie season at age 23 — Sills turns 23 in May — have produced a 200-point PPR season around 13 percent of the time.
Sills does land in a favorable bucket based on Anthony Amico’s work regarding adjusted breakout age. Although his circuitous route to elite WR performance keeps him out of the preferred breakout group, he averaged over a TD per game in his college career and more than 15 yards per reception in all three seasons.


We can use the RotoViz Combine Explorer to dig deeper into his athletic measurables.
Sills combine
Sills finished with a mixed profile in the drills, running a 4.57-second forty at 211 pounds, good for a very solid Freak Score (56).2 He also managed a 37.5-inch vertical and sub 7.0 three-cone, the latter of which places him in a strong cohort for NFL success. While Sills generated some promising results among the mediocre numbers, his performance was overshadowed by the freakish results turned in by many of his peers. Expectations for Sills’ combine performance were tempered to begin with, but a stronger showing would have provided a needed boost to his current draft stock.


As one of the most inexperienced WRs in this year’s draft class, Sills’ production profile is encouraging. His propensity for scoring TDs is attractive to both fantasy owners and NFL front offices and remains his best translatable skill from college to the next level. While his age and likely draft position are valid concerns concern, his depressed cost in rookie drafts make him a viable later-round dart throw this summer.

  1. The original, pre-combine version of this article was published on December 26, 2018.  (back)
  2. Freak score uses height, weight, and speed to forecast a prospect’s TD-scoring potential.  (back)

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