Tee Higgins appears to be the forgotten man in the WR class of 2020. Whether it’s Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs from the film community or the analytics darling, Jalen Reagor, Higgins is among the least discussed prospects of the year. But he still appears to be an early-round draft selection with a strong pedigree.
Maybe it will be the forgotten man that becomes the star player from this year’s rookie draft.
High School Pedigree
Coming out of high school, Higgins was one of the most sought after players in the class of 2017 with offers from 22 schools. He was rated as the second-best WR nationally and the 19th best player overall, according the 247Sports Composite.
Those rankings came after a decorated high school career. He began by starting on Oak Ridge High School’s varsity team as a freshman, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 2002. He followed it up with over 350 yards and six scores as a sophomore en route to an undefeated season. As a junior, he had 841 yards and 16 TDs. And he wrapped up his career with 1,044 yards and 18 TDs, not including three punt return scores and one interception TD, as a senior. He was named Mr. Football at the AAAAA level in Tennessee in both his junior and senior seasons. All of this production led to Higgins becoming a USA Today second-team All-American and participating in the Under Armour All-American Game.
Since being a five-star prospect has correlated some with future fantasy success, Higgins’ profile receives a slight boost with his pedigree.
Higgins’ career will likely have mixed reviews depending on who you ask.
Higgins never qualified for a breakout season, but his efficiency makes him look like a potential field-stretching player, which is typically a good sign for fantasy value. What’s somewhat noteworthy is that Higgins finished his career with his best collegiate season. He posted his best yardage and TD season and did so with the same number of receptions as his prior year.
Using Kevin Cole’s regression tree, Higgins finishes with a strong historical success rate, albeit in one of the more volatile final nodes. He falls considerably short of the desired career market share, but his final season yardage and field-stretching ability land him in node 11. This node is tied for the smallest sample, but was one of the more successful. It’s also a positive that Higgins is entering the draft early and completed his final college season before age 21.
ADP and Potential Outlook
Grinding the Mocks currently has a median draft project of 30.3 for Higgins as the sixth WR drafted. With the upper limit Expected Draft Position being 31.2, they’re suggesting that Higgins is projecting as a late Round 1 selection. Using that draft position in the Box Scout Scout, Higgins has a mixed bag in his top sim scores.
At the top are two busts, but the seven of the 10 similar prospects are exciting comparisons for a prospect. If you add in his verified high school forty time of 4.56 seconds, arguably the most exciting comparison, Michael Thomas, moves up to the second-highest sim score.
Higgins didn’t take part in the combine, so there aren’t readily available physical comparable players. But putting his high school forty time, height, and weight into the Freak Score Calculator, you can find a few optimistic physical comparisons. Higgins scored a slightly above-average score of 63, but he shares that score with Courtland Sutton and fellow Clemson alumnus Mike Williams. While the full breadth of testing would have provided a more complete picture, he found good company in his limited testing.
Looking at Anthony Amico’s regression tree, Higgins missed out on the key breakout age node, but still ends up in the second-best final node with a 33% historical success rate.
According to the Dynasty ADP app, Higgins has an average draft position of 1.09 in rookie drafts as the fourth WR selected. Should he end up as a first-round NFL Draft selection, he will likely remain a late first-round pick in rookie drafts. Based on his college production, Higgins has the potential to be a strong NFL producer with a high weekly upside. Unless his NFL draft stock is surprisingly early, there’s no need to reach for him, but as a late first, he could be a value.