Analyzing Rookie WR Landing Spots
The 2019 wide receiver class is an intriguing bunch to say the least, there were several quality players who seen significant value increases due to landing spot. There were twenty seven wide outs selected in the draft and I will examine the majority of them and how their landing spot impacted their overall dynasty value. Unlike other positions we may not see the best of this WR class for two or three years as it is an immensely difficult position to transition to from the college level. Unlike the runningbacks I feel that the majority of the receivers had favorable landing spots. We had to wait until nearly the end of night one of the NFL draft to hear a wide receiver get his name called, but once day two rolled around they were coming off the board at a furious pace. When the dust settles the wait was well worth it as there are many top prospects in great situations with paths to playing time as rookies.
Marquise Brown 1:25 Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens selected Brown 25th overall making him the first wide out selected in the 2019 draft. In Marquise Brown Baltimore is getting a player that plays with incredible energy and possesses ridiculous top end speed, his feet never come to a halt until after thw whistle he's always moving. Brown has the ability to play inside as a play maker or outside as field stretcher, he is an impeccable route runner, with great burst and above average quickness. Brown will immediately become Baltimore's WR1 or WR2, due to a relatively thin depth chart which includes. Willie Snead, Chris Moore and Seth Roberts an uninspiring group to say the least. I like the landing spot for both the short and long term value of Marquise Brown, as he is now tied to a young star quarterback in Lamar Jackson for the foreseeable future.
N'Keal Harry 1:32 New England Patriots - Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots add arguably the most talented wide receiver in the draft, just what they needed. Harry plays with a fearless demeanor and swagger. He's a big, presentable target for Brady on slants and intermediate zone routes, he plays with patience and poise to win contested catches. Possesses strong hands, excellent ball skills, and outworks opponents to create space. Wins jump balls with well timed leaps and uses his large muscular frame to shield defenders and come down with the ball. Harry is a great blocker and a nightmare to bring down after the catch. It is hard not to like this landing spot in the short term as he gets to learn the nuances of the pro game from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. His long term outlook remains somewhat murky as it is unclear how much longer Brady will be playing at an MVP level, as the impending age related drop off is coming at some point.
Deebo Samuel 2:04 San Francisco 49ers - This is another landing spot that I really like as the 49ers continue to surround quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with weapons. San Francisco has assembled an impressive group of talented young receivers in Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Jordan Matthews, and Richie James. Samuel is fearless and focused when working the middle of the field, and possesses strong hands with ability to win contested catches. He works aggressively back to the football, powers right through arm tackles, shows running back traits with the ball in his hands, and has incredible top end speed to separate down field. This is a great landing spot for Samuel as I think he slides directly into steady playing time as a rookie. He has all the talent and traits to succeed, now combine that with the fact he is playing with a quality quarterback and an offensive minded head coach in Kyle Shanahan. Samuel is set up for success.
A.J. Brown 2:19 Tennessee Titans - For the second time in three years the Titans spent an early draft pick on a wide receiver. This time they selected Mississippi's A.J. Brown in the second round to play opposite Corey Davis giving quarterback Marcus Mariota another formidable weapon on offense. His routes are crisp and clean, he's able to add speed variances when needed, sells his routes to manipulate the feet and hips of defenders. Brown can stick, stop and go for short possession throws, his low center of gravity allows for sharper breaks and access to complicated routes. He is essentially a big running back with the ball in his hands after the catch, possesses incredible athleticism with the ability to slip tackles. This is another landing spot I really like, Brown will not have the pressure of having to be the WR1 and will rarely draw a teams top corner playing opposite of talented teammate Corey Davis.
Mecole Hardman 2:24 Kansas City Chiefs - For those of you who found yourself asking. Who the hell is Mecole Hardman? When the Chiefs drafted him 56th overall on day two of the draft. He is essentially an exact clone of Tyreek Hill. With the exception of Hardman not being a wife and child beating piece of shit like Tyreek Hill. They are the same height almost exactly the same weight, had nearly identical 40 yard times and played similar roles in college. I fully expect Hardman to be Tyreek Hill's replacement on both offense and special teams for the Chiefs. He is raw but explosive with burst to uncover underneath and a second gear to threaten over the top. Hardman is a relative newcomer to the position and it shows up at times in routes and his struggles competing for the ball in traffic. I find it ironic that the majority of draft guru's including myself compared Hardman to Hill in their player comparison. It's a potentially great landing spot if Hardman can fill the void left by the impending departure of Tyreek Hill from K.C.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 2:25 Philadelphia Eagles - Better known as JJAW in the draft community due to the ridiculous length of his full name. Arcega-Whiteside has quickly found himself inside the first round of rookie drafts after landing with the Eagles. He joins a group of receivers in Philly that includes veterans Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor as well as unknowns Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, and Braxton Miller. Meaning it's not hard to imagine a scenario where JJAW finds his way to playing meaningful snaps as a rookie and develops into a reliable weapon for Carson Wentz. He possesses an imposing combination of height, weight, speed, and play strength, and had steady increases in production each season at Stanford. Capable of putting cornerbacks in his hip pocket and keeping them there, great ball tracking skills and impeccable timing to come down with the football. I feel that Arcega-Whiteside is in an excellent situation in Philly and his dynasty value should reflect that.
Parris Campbell 2:27 Indianapolis Colts - The Colts landed a player that I have regularly referred to as TY Hilton 2.0 which is interesting to say the least. Catching passes from Andrew Luck while learning the tricks of the trade from Hilton is an excellent opportunity for Campbell. He is incredibly explosive while maintaining fluidity, and due to his quick feet he can dart around defenders looking to make contact. Campbell is capable of generating separation on all three levels of the football field, and possesses the size to break initial tackles, with scoring potential on every play with ball in his hands. I believe that Campbell will have an opportunity for success as a rookie, and continue to develop into Hilton's future replacement. The depth chart in Indy is wide open behind TY Hilton and Devin Funchess and according to multiple unofficial depth charts Campbell is already slated to be the Colts WR3.
Andy Isabella 2:30 Arizona Cardinals - After selecting what the Cardinals hope to be their franchise quarterback in the first round in Kyler Murray. They decided they should start surrounding him with more young offensive weapons in the very next round adding Massachusetts product Andy Isabella. He could step directly into a high volume slot role as a menace on option routes with the ability to stretch the field from the slot. Isabella possesses all the necessary traits to transition seamlessly into a starting role for the Cardinals as a rookie. Great deep ball threat with the ability to blow right past coverage. Routes are sharp, smooth, and leveraged, ran at a ridiculous pace. Isabella is a very versatile receiver with elite athleticism, he could easily become Murray's favorite target behind Larry Fitzgerald. Giving him both short term and long term dynasty value due to his favorable landing spot.
D.K. Metcalf 2:32 Seattle Seahawks - The receiver needy Seahawks added a great one in Mississippi's D.K. Metcalf at the end of the second round. He instantly slots in as the WR2 in Seattle behind Tyler Lockett, with the impending retirement of Doug Baldwin. Seattle has a bunch of unknown commodities in the rest of their receiving group, with David Moore, Amara Darboh, Jaron Brown, and Gary Jennings. This should lead to a full time role for Metcalf right from week one, which gives him incredible short term and long term value at this point. He's an excellent athlete with loose hips who runs smooth routes, with a blend of physical tools to work all levels of the field. Possesses light feet for his size to stutter step creating release up the field, can take the top off defenses. Metcalf is an incredible athlete which he proved by hauling in multiple one handed circus catches in 2018. He always plays physical and can consistently win on contested catches. Needless to say this is an excellent landing spot for Metcalf as he has a legitimate chance to contend for offensive rookie of the year if he can pick up the offense quickly.
Diontae Johnson 3:02 Pittsburgh Steelers - Out with the old so to speak with Antonio Brown, in with the new as the Steelers added talented Toledo product Diontae Johnson early in the third round. It was not a matter of if the Steelers added a wide receiver but when, they jumped in on the late second round early third receiver run. Which saw seven receivers drafted over the course of just seventeen picks. He's a dynamic talent with incredible athleticism, he runs great routes with incredible focus. His athleticism and quickness should allow for a wide range of usage on offense. Twitchy mover, agile with sudden acceleration to fly past press coverage. Excellent in the early stages of his route, great speed creates space for himself. Plays with toughness and uses leverage in his routes, Can make incredibly sharp cuts, has talent for screens and sweeps, makes an effort to angle up and hammer safeties in run game. Pittsburgh has JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Washington slated as their top two receivers, behind them Johnson only has to contend with Donte Moncrief, and Eli Rogers.
Jalen Hurd 3:03 San Francisco 49ers - For a second consecutive round the 49ers added as wide receiver, and just like that it starts to become somewhat crowded with young wide outs. Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Jordan Matthews, and Richie James are all on the roster as well as a couple of capable pass catching backs. Which makes me wonder if there is going to be enough to go around or if just Kittle and one or two receivers will be startable week to week. He moved from running back to receiver after transferring from Tennessee, has elite size and length with excellent athleticism. Has physical attributes to dominate improve as a route runner, avoids defenders with aggressive head and shoulder fakes. Uses size and experience as a runningback to squeeze out additional yards after contact as receiver. Has strength and frame to bully smaller cornerbacks, his long arms snag throws both high and wide of his frame. I like Jalen Hurd, I'm just not big on the landing spot, so for now it's a wait and see approach.
Terry Mclaurin 3:13 Washington Redskins - It didn't take long for the Redskins to start surrounding their newly drafted quarterback with offensive talent. The Skins added an excellent receiver in the mid third round in Ohio State's Terry Mclaurin. It shouldn't be overlooked that Mclaurin and Dwayne Haskins were college teammates at Ohio State as that familiarity should lead to early success for both of them. McLaurin is very quick, and he's a detailed route runner who uses physicality at the top of his route to beat cornerbacks. He has excellent ball skills and great body positioning to win contested catches. With the baron wasteland that is the Redskins receiver depth chart there is no reason that Mclaurin shouldn't play valuable snaps as a rookie. I like the landing spot for the talented rookie for both his short term and long term dynasty value.
MIles Boykin 3:30 Baltimore Ravens - Another team who desperately needed receivers heading into the draft was the Ravens, and they took their second one of the draft at the end of the third round. As I mentioned earlier the Baltimore depth chart includes. Willie Snead, Chris Moore and Seth Roberts an uninspiring group to say the least. Which means there may be a rookie take over about to take place at the receiver position in Baltimore. Boykin's size, strength and athleticism offers exciting potential as an outside receiver, as he runs crisp routes. Catches with good arm extension away from his body, his size causes mismatches downfield. High point will likely be highest on the field, he possesses the traits to become an excellent intermediate route runner. With all that being said expectations for all Ravens receivers have to be somewhat tempered as they have a QB in Lamar Jackson who rarely thrown for more than 200 yards per game.
Hakeem Butler 4:01 Arizona Cardinals - The Arizona Cardinals are another team who takes a second receiver reasonably early to help support their young quarterback. At the end of the second round Arizona selected Andy Isabella, to go along with recent draft picks Christian Kirk (2018) and Chad Williams (2017). So as you can see the Cardinals are stockpiling talented young receivers in the event Larry Fitzgerald chooses to retire. His routes are solid, as well as having consistent hands, with traits that are worth taking an early shot on. Butlers size and length creates match up problems, he is a long strider with impressive build up speed. Dominates safeties from the slot, by using his large athletic frame to create space at the top of his routes. Size, length and leaping ability swing 50-50 balls in his favor, excellent body control in the air. Extremely physical with the ball in his hands, and very difficult to bring down. I feel this is a positive landing spot for Butler, dynasty owners may just have to be patient in waiting for Fitz to retire before Butler's role is truly expanded.
Gary Jennings 4:18 Seattle - As I mentioned earlier Seattle was desperate for receivers entering the draft, so it isn't surprising that they drafted their second one by the fourth round. He is a possession receiver with an impressive combination of size, speed and contested catch toughness. Jennings was one of the fastest players at the Senior Bowl, and his 4.42 combine time confirmed it. Jennings is one of my favorite sleepers, as he is getting no hype whatsoever in Seattle due to D.K. Metcalf also landing there. He finds himself in an excellent situation with an elite quarterback, and the best part is he can be had for a 4th round rookie pick right now. Even if Jennings doesn't produce immediately he provides excellent late round value as a taxi squad stash for 2020.
Cavin Ridley 4:24 Chicago Bears - The Bears finally decided to join the wide receiver party, and as they say better late than never, and Chicago got some great value on Cavin Ridley. The former Georgia star joins a Bears team that doesn't have an established WR3 currently. Which means there is potential for playing time for Ridley as a rookie in an excellent Bears offense. Ridley is the younger brother of former Alabama star and 2018 first round pick Calvin Ridley. He plays very physical and very competitive, with play strength to work through press coverage. He's physical at the top of his route carving out viable throwing windows for his quarterback. Has strong, sure hands with a large catch radius, with outstanding in air body control. I like the landing spot but once again I preach patience as he may play behind Taylor Gabriel this season.
Hunter Renfrow 5:11 Oakland Raiders - The Raiders are quite top heavy at wide receiver with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams sitting atop the depth chart. Aside from them two it's only Marcell Ateman, J.J. Nelson, and Ryan Grant. Meaning Renfrow may see playing time as a rookie, especially since the Raiders don't really have a tight end to speak of currently. Renfrow is a reliable, sure handed slot receiver who has decent size and speed plus creates catch opportunities for himself by varying route speed and running highly focused routes. He possesses vertical push with plus ball skills and the ability to handle contested catches. Oakland lacks receiving depth which makes this a positive landing spot for the Clemson product.
Darius Slayton 5:33 New York Giants - I liked Slayton's tape and his pre draft process, his landing spot however is another story. I feel that outside of Saquon Barkley the Giants offense will be either an Eli Manning led dumpster fire, or a rookie led transition year by Daniel Jones. Perhaps it will be a combination of both, either way it isn't good for rookie or developing receivers. Slayton is able to escape from press coverage, can hit the accelerator and blow past defenders. Runs with long smooth strides, electric on deep balls with his field stretching speed. Posted an incredible six touchdowns of 50 plus yards since 2017, agility allows for back shoulder adjustment catches. Seems to find an extra few inches of catch radius on inaccurate throws. A threat to score from anywhere in the field with the ball in his hands.
Keesean Johnson 6:01 Arizona Cardinals - The Cards draft themselves a third wide receiver in Fresno State star Keesean Johnson. I've already discussed the impending changing of the guard at receiver in Arizona following Larry Fitzgerald's future retirement. The Cardinals are going all in on offense in this draft, and with a new coaching regime that already ousted last years seventh overall pick Josh Rosen. One has to be concerned for Christian Kirk and Chad Williams if you own them in your dynasty league. He's smooth and natural in the way he runs routes. Plays with quick feet on routes underneath, his hands are big, strong and consistent. He's comfortable working for contested catches, instinctively works back to his quarterback if plays breaks down. Great at working as a high point specialist, hauling in jump balls. Has incredible catch and run ability, as he uses his elusiveness and speed.
Kelvin Harmon 6:34 Washington Redskins - Viewed by many in the draft and scouting community as the drafts top wide receiver just a few short months ago Harmon slid all the way to the end of the sixth round. I personally think that the Redskins got incredible value on a very talented young receiver, and that Harmon plays with a chip on his shoulder and has a great rookie year. I like Washington as a landing spot for Harmon for the same reasons I detailed in my Terry Mclaurin write up. The depth chart is wide open and the team currently lacks play makers. Harmon is average in the speed and quickness departments, but he knows how to play physical and he plays to his strengths. Heavily targeted safety blanket underneath throughout his time at N.C. State, can play pitch and catch all day if you let him. Has incredible ability to find open space in zones, has the instincts to scrambles and uncover when plays breaks down. Presents as a wide, confident target for quarterbacks, possesses pro level ball tracking skills with strong hand usage for late separation.