Good Luck in Finding a Wide Receiver in the 2018 Draft

10
Calvin Ridley

I have two reasons for examining how well the wide receivers performed at the recent 2018 NFL Combine. The first is to see whether the Green Bay Packers can find a wide receiver for the remainder of Aaron Rodgers’ career. Below are NFL Combine summaries of the top 11 2018 wide receiver prospects (roughly in order), based on numerous draft expert lists.

Top 2018 Wide Receiver Prospects

Calvin Ridley (Alabama) – the most highly-acclaimed WR in his class, his seventh percentile vertical jump eliminates him, as does his agility drill percentiles of nine and 61. Other than 4.43 dash, he had no outstanding marks, including 21st percentile weight (189). He might not be gone when the Packers get to pick.

Courtland Sutton (SMU) – his 4.54 (37th percentile) dash time eliminates him. He did well in most other tests, though only one mark reached the 90th percentile.

James Washington (Oklahoma State) – 5’11”, every combine score below average.

Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame) – tall at 6’4 3/4”, but only 214 pounds. Did no agility drills or jump tests, but had 4.48 dash.

Michael Gallup (Colorado State) – his top combine percentile was 63rd in the broad jump.

Auden Tate (Florida State) – Below 10th percentile in dash (4.68) and jumps, but huge at 6’4 7/8” and 228 pounds.

Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) – his height 5’10 3/8” seals his fate. He’s below average in most of his scores.

Keke Coutee (Texas Tech) – 4.43 dash, but only weighs 181. Was below average on most scores.

D.J. Chark (LSU) – a speedster (4.34 dash), though helped by weighing only 199. Great jumper, but so-so bench press (16), and didn’t take either agility drill. His stock following the combine is on the rise.

D.J. Moore (Maryland) – fine dash time (4.42), but smallish at 6’ and 210. Strength percentile of 55 (15 bench presses), one nice agility score, the other only 45th percentile.

Dylan Cantrell (Texas Tech) – his 23 percentile dash time (4.59) eliminates him.

Comments

A very inferior class of athletes. I can see why everyone was focusing on D.J. Chark after the combine. So why did he pass up the agility tests?

I guess my views are widely shared. Several prognosticators have only two WRs going in round one – one at 16th and 29th, and another at 24th and 29th.

In my mind, any 4.50 or greater dash time doesn’t merit first-round status, eliminating about half of the above guys.

Based just on combine marks, I’d pass on going after a wide receiver in the first round. It’s likely that one or more of these receivers will be available at the 14th pick in round two: Ridley, Sutton, or Chark. If so, I think the Packers should consider using that pick in hopes of finding Jordy Nelson’s eventual successor.

Janis Is Still the Combine King

My second reason for perusing the combine results is to verify that Jeff Janis is indeed a once-in-a-generation athletic talent – and that Mike McCarthy wasted that talent for four years.

As some of you know, I once did a study of 589 wide receivers who underwent full combine testing since 1999, and the Packers Jeff Janis came out tops overall. No one approached him in 2017 either, and there is no one within shouting distance, athletically, of Janis in this 2018 class.

This makes it over 650 wide receivers, and Janis is still the overall NFL Combine leader at wide receiver. The marks Janis put up in 2014, which indicate no weaknesses in any area, were (percentile ranking among WRs in parentheses):

  • 40-yard dash – 4.42 sec. (83)
  • 10-yard split – 1.47 sec. (95)
  • 20-yard short shuttle – 3.98 sec. (94)
  • 3-cone drill – 6.64 sec. (91)
  • Vertical Jump – 37.5” (77)
  • Bench presses – 20 reps (89)
  • Height – 6’3” (82)
  • Weight – 219 (89)

I predict that some smart team is going to get a steal of a deal in the free agency market in as little as a week’s time.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

10 Comments on "Good Luck in Finding a Wide Receiver in the 2018 Draft"

  1. PF4L

    Lol….I have a feeling that a few of those guys can make it in the NFL, despite a bad broad jump, or a slow 4.5 40, or a penis size in the 19th percentile.

    Some guys are just football players, productive football players. Other guys have great combines, but can’t think there way through an airport kiosk.

    Sometimes guys are deemed the King of pre-season, but when they get in a real NFL game, you realize that he might be better suited asking you if you want fries with that.

    As far as Mr. Janis….it’s quite the head scratcher why a guy with his superior combine metrics was passed over by the entire NFL 235 times during the draft. Now…..I’m no expert, but maybe in the real world, football players aren’t drafted based on combine percentiles.

    If a team was smart enough to get a steal of a deal by signing Jeff Janis in free agency, wouldn’t they have been smart enough, to draft him in the first place?

  2. KILLER

    The Bermuda Janis. The Janis mystery. The haunting of Janis Manor.

    Janis needs to get the hell out of Green Bay so he and we can find out if MM and AR have been holding him back or if he is actually “Looks like Tarzan, Plays Like Jane”. Think is most of those types have actual intellect issues, work ethic issues, or off field issues. That does not seem to be the case with Janis.

    Looks like WR is THE weakness of this draft. OL, DL, QB are strengths. Maybe LB also.

  3. V

    D.J. Moore, EQ St. Brown, Anthony Miller are all very intriguing prospects to me. I’m thinking one or more of them will be available in Rd2 for us to consider.
    Auden Tate was also compared favorably to Devin Funchess by Mike Mayock for what that’s worth…

  4. Mitch Anthony

    Early on the prospect of Ridley was intriguing. Then a bit more studying went into that and now I’d be more skeptical of him. He was a man among boys, being a few years older, and then there is the Alabama hype. Add to that, he needs more size. Agree with V, there might be a good Rd2 pick in the bunch.

    I’d still like the team to take a good WR prospect early on but now it seems that the first pick has to go to edge or secondary. Maybe secondary is now the stronger need of the two based on the trade that sent Randall to the Browns. We might see more dealing and moving around before the drafting begins and that would be fine. There’s a lot to fix.

    Good articles Rob. Please evaluate Tight Ends very soon.

  5. SAllen

    I predict if Belichick or Doug Pederson picks up Janis then McCarthy will look the fool once again. Remember Casey Hayward? MM didn’t play Hayward much either. MM only played Janis is emergencies and each time Janis played big. Janis saved them on a number of occasions…Detroit (twice) and the Cardinals game when he made All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson look pedestrian several times in the game. In fact, it was Janis’ catch over Patrick Peterson, which tied the game and sent it into overtime. Ask yourself this…if Janis was so bad then why did the Cardinals have their All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson mirror Janis when Janis entered the game??? Janis may be MM’s next Casey Hayward.

  6. r.duke

    I’ll take Washington or DJ Moore any day. Who gives a shit about the track meet, watch the film….Or as they used to say ask STEVE SMITH about his combine numbers…not

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