Day 1 always has a big impact on rookie drafts. How should it change your plans? Shawn Siegele explores the updated WR Prospect Lab Scores for the six first-round selections at wide receiver.
The WR run started a little later than expected but was on in full force by the end of the night. CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy, the top receivers in our dynasty rankings and the RotoViz Scouting Index, were overshadowed by Henry Ruggs. It’s more proof the NFL worships athleticism.
With height-weight-speed profiles that gave them mediocre Freak Scores of 52, Lamb and Jeudy slipped. WR-needy teams like the Jets and 49ers prioritized other positions.
By contrast, we had enthusiastic selections of Jalen Reagor (21) and Brandon Aiyuk (25). Can they now compete with the big names in fantasy drafts?
The WR Prospect Lab
The WR Prospect Lab is a fun tool because it gives us accurate projections based on historical results, but it’s also fun because of the flexibility. In our pre-draft rankings, we emphasized the characteristics that teams tend to prize in WRs. In our post-draft model, draft position is in and some of those traits are out.
- We no longer need to adjust for level of competition.
- Research shows that, if anything, NFL teams overdraft forty times.
- And final season production also falls out of the model. GMs have that final season in the front of their minds when they make their picks.
What is still relevant?
Long-time readers won’t be surprised to discover that we can still beat draft position alone by including breakout age, career yardage share, and career punt return yards per game. Teams still do not place enough emphasis on early production and career performance. They also underestimate peripheral touches. In the RotoViz early years, Jon Moore pointed to special teams production as a secret to NFL success. That still shows through here.
Today’s model focuses on projecting a receiver’s total points over his first three seasons and is slightly different than the one I used in my 3-Round Rookie Mock. I’m updating the mock live during the draft, and in that piece we’re projecting a WR’s total points in his best season. (More flexibility from the Lab.)
Superstars litter the top historical scores in our post-draft model.
Odell Beckham, Amari Cooper, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Sammy Watkins, and Hakeem Nicks all scored more than 500 points over their first three seasons. Demaryius Thomas eventually became a perennial top-10 WR.
Can any of our 2020 first-round WRs reach this illustrious group?
2020 WR Prospect Lab Rankings – Round 1 Receivers