At the time I started this article we hadn’t hit the Corona Virus lockdown yet. By the time I finish, we could be. Stay safe, socially isolate yourselves, wash your hands and go back to the start of my Rookie Series. After all we need our clean hands to make catches. Start with the Wide Receivers articles and then work your way through Running Backs, Tight Ends and finish back on this article. Get yourself Draft ready.
Staying with the draft theme, try doing a mock draft yourself, for your team, over at The Draft Network. Their Mock Draft machine is excellent. Not only is easy to use, but it will also help you gain knowledge of all players in this upcoming Draft. In turn, you can then apply this knowledge to your Fantasy Football Drafts later in the year. Who got drafted to a good situation? Who had an upgrade due to O-Line improvements? Stuff like that. Knowledge is power Rush Nation. Ok ok, here we go. Rookie Wide Receivers part three.
HORNED FROG ALERT!!!! Jesting aside, Reagor is pro-ready in my opinion. He wasn’t higher for me because of the lack of tape I’ve seen on him. It would be remiss of me to place him higher without seeing his whole game. The bits I have seen are good. The reason there isn’t a lot of tape is how bad TCU’s Quarterback play was last year. Reagor got open a lot downfield, but he got missed on throws more often than he was hit in the numbers.
Jalen had a mediocre season in 2019 numbers-wise, notching 43 catches for 611 yards and five touchdowns. He made some huge plays as a returner on Special Teams, where he used his blazing speed to dazzling effect. Whether it’s returning punts or facing up against Cornerbacks, Reagor torched opponents with his speed. His Combine performance was awful in the 40-yard dash. He ran a 4.47 when he was expected to run a 4.3 or a 4.4 dead. Don’t base your observations on the Combine testing. Reagor looks like an NFL Receiver on tape. That’s where you want to watch his stuff, the highlight reel is great.
Reagor is 5 foot 11 inches and weighs 206 pounds. Decent size for a speed merchant. Although I’ve mentioned his 40-yard time already, according to scouts, Reagor has run a 4.29 when working out. This coupled with his build, means he can be a real handful for the Defence. He has true burner speed like Texans Wide Receiver Will Fuller, Baltimore speedster Marquise Brown or Eagles Veteran Deshawn Jackson. Players like Reagor can score after any catch by using their speed and good hands. He could be a home run hit in the NFL.
One of the things that I have noticed is how inconsistent Reagor is when running routes. He almost doesn’t know where his route is going at times. Several NFL scouts have said the same thing in some draft prep I’ve seen. This can be added to his game and whilst he won’t be the most polished, he will improve enough to be dangerous. His 2019 numbers didn’t jump off the page. His 2018 however as a sophomore was much better. He totalled 72 receptions for 1,061 yards with nine touchdowns which is up there with the best of this tier. 2017 saw him collect 33 catches for 576 yards and eight scores showing he can get into the paint.
- Demon speed
- Good hands
- Nice build for a burner
- Route running is suspect
- Can check out of blocks
- Location is key to be productive
SPOILER ALERT!! If you’ve listened to Tuesday’s podcast you will have heard about the NFLUK fans mock draft. Johnson was drafted to the Broncos. He has all the credentials to be a top-level Wide Receiver at the next level. Production for Minnesota has been elite for over the last two seasons. He is the typical possession Receiver in the NFL. Having watched a fair amount of his tape, I think he is a better prospect than Christian Kirk. The only thing he lacks is true top-level speed.
He didn’t work out at the combine so we will have to base his measurables on his College data (sketchy I know). His size and weight can’t be argued with as he turned up to the combine weighing 200 pounds and standing 6 foot 2 inches. Great size for a possession Receiver who can impose his will on Defenders. He ain’t that explosive so won’t rise too far above athletic Cornerbacks. However, how he wins in contested catches is with his body placement and great movement timing to get to the ball. Has very safe hands and is hard to bring down after the catch.
His two seasons of production speak for themselves and in 2019 he was one of the top performers in his class. He finished the season with 86 catches for 1,318 yards with 13 touchdowns and helped the Gophers to an 11-2 record. His 2018 was almost as good as he recorded numbers of 78 receptions for 1,169 yards with 12 touchdowns. Both seasons show that he can produce and produce at the highest level. Having around 80 catches in college is superb as there tend to be more mouths to feed. The fact he also turned those catches into monster yards and touchdowns tells you all you need to know about his ability to deliver the points.
Like other star athletes in the league, Johnson has a multi-sports history. He played basketball as well and this helps him to win at the point of the catch. It’s these ball skills which have helped him be compared to AJ Brown when having the ball in his hands. Johnson is very smart when running his routes and spotting the point to accelerate into the ball arc. A star route technician who gives very little away to opposing defenders and this helps set up leverage and route breaks. He is a little short in the arm and hasn’t a great hop so needs these traits to help him win catches.
- Ballhawk with great hands
- Production monster for two years in the Big 10
- Superb after the catch worker
- Lacks top speed
- Isn’t the most athletic
- Can get bullied when in man
Now, this is a pure numbers dart throw. I had never heard of Liberty University or Gandy-Golden until diving into the Wide Receiver class of 2019. He absolutely balled out in 2019. Improved from 2018 which in turn was an improvement from 2107. Liberty University is an independent school based in Virginia if like me you were wondering?! They don’t have a division which means their schedule can be a little flakey. It also means they don’t always play the toughest opposition, so it’s hard to say how good AGG is.
2019 as mentioned was a career year for Gandy-Golden. He finished the year with 79 receptions for 1,396 yards and 10 touchdowns. This was ranked in the top five nationally for total yardage for Wide Receivers. He also had a touchdown in nearly every game as he only played 13 games. 79 catches are up there amongst the other Wide Receivers in this class, which is good company to be in. These stats have cemented his status as a top draft prospect. So why so low then Stocks? It needs to be seen if he has the speed to play in the NFL.
As a size/speed mismatch he is ideal. He benched 22 reps in the Combine which shows great strength to not be bounced around by Cornerbacks. He had a great Broad Jump and mediocre Vertical Jump. These mean in contested catches he can muscle in with the bigger Defenders. It’s his 40-yard time that killed him. He ran a 4.6 second 40. That is truly awful for a size-speed mismatch. His three-cone was historically bad. Now I haven’t seen it but he only ran 0.03 of a second faster than D.K.Metcalf did last year. Now Metcalf has proved us all wrong in the NFL so I think AGG could too.
Gandy-Golden is a big man. He stands 6 foot 3 inches and weighs a hulking 222 pounds. Almost the same size as Metcalf. It’s the speed that kills AGG but like Metcalf, he could be great at the next level. He has tremendously good hands and is a danger after the catch. He needed a good Combine to help his Draft stock and his running let him down. I think he has a chance to be a star at the next level and a potential Draft steal for the team that nabs him. One thing to note was his focus drops in 2018. He dropped a fair few easy catches. Whilst they weren’t on display in 2019 it’s something to be mindful of.
- Size mismatch
- Great natural catcher
- Proven usage and scoring ability
- Speed may be an issue
- Focus drops in 2018
- Not played against good competition
The forgotten man perhaps of this Draft process so far is Denzel Mims. Played for a good Baylor team that balled out last year. Under newly departed Head Coach Matt Rhule the Bears went 11-3. They lost in the Sugar Bowl and Mims was a large part of their season. Mims has been productive in all his seasons at Baylor except his 2016 where he played just three games. On first watch, Mims is a fluid and a natural athlete who looks faster on tape that his numbers might suggest.
2019 saw Mims rack up 66 catches for 1,020 yards with 12 touchdowns. Pretty prolific numbers off of a medium amount of targets. 2018 was a bit of a down year for Mims. He still notched 55 catches for 794 yards with eight scores but his 2017 was better. As a sophomore with 61 receptions for 1,087 yards and eight touchdowns. One thing can be said with certainty for Mims, he knows where the endzone is. Having over eight a season is a nice accomplishment.
One of the reasons for Mims’s regular visits to the endzone is his impressive catch radius. He uses his secure hands and toughness to win in contested catches. He has very long arms which help to either box defenders out or grab balls that are errand. His lengthy frame and track star history are obvious when running his routes. Once he’s into his stride he is hard to catch as he has great long speed. His length allows him to play a part in the blocking game also. He’s not massively productive after the catch if defenders are near him. This is down to his length that enables more surface for defenders to get hold of. Saying that, he has great instincts for where the ball is in flight which again helps him win in contested catch situations.
Mims stands 6 foot 2 inches. Not huge, but when coupled with his lanky build means he plays longer. He tipped the scales at the Combine at 206 pounds. This is a little light for someone of his height, so perhaps could do with adding some more bulk. His length sometimes does get in his way. He isn’t the fastest in his lateral ability and sideline to sideline he can suffer. He is best when the ball is in the air and he can win at the point of catch. Vertical routes are his bread and butter and could be a good field stretcher at the next level.
- Great hands and catch radius
- Tough attitude when playing
- Great at contested catches
- Not a hugely diverse route tree
- Lateral speed isn’t the best
- Not sudden in change of direction
Well Rush Nation, that’s tier three/two B complete. I absolutely love doing the Wide Receivers so may well dip into the next four players. Hell, who knows, maybe even eight.
Check out my other pieces in the article section of the podcast. Follow the podcast on Twitter @5yardrush. As I said at the beginning, I didn’t start in Lockdown but I ended in it. Keep social distancing and washing those hands. After all, you need them to catch.
Until next time, Keep Rushing.