The 2017 Prospect Success Indicator Report

UPDATE: Updates to the model in 2019 have changed scores and rankings for all prior draft classes

To start it’s important to know that no one can predict just how well Player X will do in the NFL, so I won’t sit here and say “Player X will be a HOFer, take it to the bank” I would be lying to you. I’m an analyst, not a fortune-teller.

However we do know it’s a fact that not all Rookie WR’s that enter the NFL will succeed, history guarantees us this. So if we begin our analysis knowing that not all WR’s will succeed at the next level then how do we narrow the pool of WR’s entering the league down to increase our odds of hitting at the position when our draft pick is on the clock?

Great question, and one I hope to answer here today, and refine as the years go on. But for now here are the different metrics I used to compare all WR’s (58) who attended the NFL Combine to get to my conclusion.

  1. Breakout Age (BA) – is defined by their age at midpoint of the college football season when they first posted a Dominator Rating at or above 20% – This was pioneered by Frank DuPont and Shawn Siegele first examined each wide receiver’s breakout age on A Breakout Age under 20 is exceptional.
  2. Successful Wide Receiver Measurements (SWRM)Jacob Feldman of DLF wrote an article in 2012 detailing out what the average Combine/Pro Day metrics were for the average Top 25 WR at the time. For a couple of reasons, age of article/data and this Harvard Article on the Combine and WR’s, I weighted this the least amount across all metrics.
    • Lbs per In, Hand Size, Height, 40yd dash, Vertical Leap, Broad jump, 2yd Shuttle, 3 Cone
    • Top 25 WR’s hit on a least 7 of those above on average
  3. Phenom Index (PI) – Created by Jon Moore of Rotoviz, the Phenom Index is calculated by looking at player’s age and market share of receiving yards in their final season and bolting them together using z-scores. Typically, I like to think about this as a filter for finding young, talented players who could emerge to be among the game’s best within three seasons. The baseline here is 1.98 or above for WR’s.
  4. Dominator Rating (DR) – Created by Matt Kelly of Player Profiler, Dominator Rating looks at the market share of a team’s passing offense–yards and touchdowns– for which a player is responsible, ignores age. In terms of predicting NFL success, any number over .50 – which roughly corresponds to having caught 50% of your team’s yards and TDs – projects as an NFL superstar or Top 10 overall pick value. .45-.50 is excellent (roughly Top 15 pick value), .40-.45 very good (Top 20 pick), .35-.40 (late first, early second), .30-35 (second round to third round), below .30 (middle round pick). Of course, DR in isolation only provides part of the picture.
  5. Bench Press (BP) – According to the HSCA the bench press was the only statistically relevant drill that could predict future success.  WR’s have to be able to get off press coverage, push-off DB’s (without getting flagged) and block, right? The baseline here is 10 or more reps for WR’s.
  6. Height Weight Adjusted Speed Score (HasS) – Created by Bill Barnwell, HaSS is scaled with 100 being a solid draftable score, anything over 110 being excellent, and anything over 120 suggesting complete physical dominance for WR’s 6’1” or taller, not as impactful for shorter WR’s.
  7. WR Prospect Success Indicator (PSI): This is the cumulative score I have based on how each WR ranked across all the metrics listed above. Here’s how I weighted the metrics to get to my final rankings: DR and PI at 40% each, BP at 15% and SWRM at 5%. BA is accounted for well enough within PI, and HaaS is only good to look at for those WR’s at/over 6’1” from my understanding. This will need to be refined as time goes on but for now works well I think. So using this WR PSI I ranked each prospect below.

So now that you know the how, now let’s get down to the what you came here for, the who. Let’s begin at the bottom, at #12.

  • Robert Davis – Georgia State – WR PSI: 3.54
  • The Good
    • DR: 31% – 2nd/3rd rd grade
    • SWRM: 8 of 8
    • HasS – 113, over 110 is excellent for some one his size
  • The Bad
    • PI: 1.57 – Only WR to rank below the top 25 Avg for PI
    • Lowest DR score of the group
  • Final Note: I love Robert Davis for his upside but his lack luster PI score is concerning, pair that with low-level competition and he has an uphill battle on his hands. On the flip side he does have NFL bloodlines and has been reported to be a man committed to good work ethic. Depending on where he gets drafted you might be able to get him in the 4th rd or later, possibly UDFA in your league. However I think he’s worth grabbing in the 3rd if all other WR’s on this list are gone.
  • KD Cannon – Baylor – WR PSI: 4.56
    The Good

    • DR: 39%  – 1st/2nd rd grade
      • PI: 2.43
      • BA: 18.8
    • The Bad
      • SWRM: Hits on only 5 of 8 metrics that an avg Top 25 WR had.
        • Weighs less than he should with a low lbs per in of 2.49, this is concerning for press coverage and overall health
        • Hand size is less than 9in – not a fan of WR’s with small hands when they make a living with them but maybe that’s just me.
    • Final Note: KD is a surprise for me, going into this analysis I did not hold KD Cannon in high regard but given the fact that he meets a lot of the criteria to be a successful WR I think he’s worth a look. I wouldn’t draft him in Rd 1 but if you can get him mid-late 2nd or early 3rd you would be doing ok, my fear is he will be over drafted. I know a guy in my league who loves him and I could see him going very early.
  • Jalen Robinette –  Air Force – WR PSI: 4.67
    The Good

    • DR: 49% – Gives him a NFL Draft grade of Top 15 based solely on production, but was this due to being 23 going against 18-20yr old DB’s?
      • PI: 2.41
      • BP: 13
      • BA: 19.6
    • The Bad
      • Age: 23
      • SWRM: 5 of 8
        • 40, Vert, and 20yd shuttle all below Top 25 Avg.
      • HasS: 97.9
    • Final Note: Jalen’s advanced age, low HasS, and only hit on 5 of 8 SWRM metrics makes it unlikely he ever hits top 25 in FF. But  it’s hard to ignore his DR, PI and other metrics. All these give him more of chance than anyone else in the field to make it in the NFL. If you have a 3rd pick you could do worse than Jalen.
  • John Ross – Washington – WR PSI: 4.67
    The Good:

    • DR: 34% – 2nd/3rd rd grade – John Ross strikes me as a candidate to be overdrafted in both the NFL and FF drafts
      • PI: 2.19
      • BA: 19.8
      • BP: 11
    • The Bad:
      • SWRM: 6 of 8
        • LB’s per in: 2.58  – this might be a contributing factor to why he has a long injury list.
        • Hand Size: 8.75 – Again, WR’s with small hands are a red flag for me.
    • Final Note: Considering how he will likely go somewhere between 1.06-1.10 based on mocks, John Ross is too big of a risk for me. Considering you can get most of these other guys later in the draft. I would let someone else draft John Ross while you grab another one of these guys. I still think he can be a good FF WR, but I don’t think he will return Top 10 ROI based on where he’s being mocked.
  • Isaiah Ford – Virgina Tech – WR PSI: 4.89
    The Good:

    • DR: 36% – 1st/2nd Rd
      • PI: 2.30
      • BA: 18.6 – 2nd youngest BA of the group
      • BP: 14
      • SWRM – 7/8 metrics only one he missed is the 40 yd dash @ 4.61
    • The Bad:
      • HasS – lowest score of the group @ 85.9 – could lead to being a possession receiver so don’t expect big plays from him he’s more of a chain mover. That’s how I read his 40 yd dash with HasS.
    • Final Note: Isaiah Ford is a big receiver who could turn into a solid possession receiver and decent Red Zone threat. His lack of speed and big plays ability limits his ceiling which is why he ranks down here for me. However, If he blocks as good as he benches then he should see the field sooner than later. @FFContrarian has him as fade in his latest Rotoviz Article but if he’s there in the late 2nd/early 3rd then I think you have a steal.
  • Josh Malone – Tennessee – WR PSI: 4.89
    • The Good:
      • DR: 35% 1st/2nd rd grade
      • PI: 2.51
      • SWRM: 7/8 only vertical leap came in below top 25 avg.
      • BP: 19
      • HasS: 114 – over 110 is excellent
    • The Bad:
      • BA: 20.5 just over the ideal base line by 6 months
    • Final Note: Ford/Malone/Lane are a toss-up and I could be persuaded to rank them differently. But I rank Josh as 7th overall due to a later breakout age and hitting 7/8 of SWRM that’s how close the rest of this group is.  He’s currently mocked as a 3rd draft pick but if you drafted him the 2nd it wouldn’t be a reach IMO.
  • Jerome Lane – Akron – WR PSI: 4.89
    The Good

    • DR: 33% – 2nd/3rd rd Grade
      • PI: 2.64
      • BA: 19.5
      • SWRM: 7/8 – 40 yd dash came in below baseline at 4.60
      • BP: 16
    • The Bad:
      • 40 yd dash he ran a 4.6 at the combine.
    • Final Note: Similar to Malone and Ford he’s someone currently going in the 3rd in mocks. I guess my strategy would be to see which one of the 3 falls and grab him in the 2nd/3rd unless there’s a reason you fall in love with one guy over the others.
  • Krishawn Hogan – Marian – WR PSI: 5.00
  • The Good:
    • DR: 44% – Top 20
      • PI: 2.28
      • BA: 19.3
      • SWRM: 8/8
      • BP: 13
      • HasS: 105.5
  • The Bad
    • He played for Marian, but that’s all you can knock the guy for.
  • Final Note: Welcome to the Krishawn Hogan Hypetrain, All Aboard! Seriously though, this is my draft crush and depending on where he goes in the NFL draft is going to affect his FF draft stock. He currently is not in the top 3 rds in Mock drafts, so he is truly your late rd steal. I will be aggressively targeting him and plan to use my 4th rd pick on him but may even trade up to the 3rd to grab him. I hope he lands somewhere like SF where WR competition is minimal so he can see the field sooner. But in addition to all his metrics owners should be aware that not only did he score +40 rec TD’s in college, he also scored 25 RUSHING TD’s, that’s insane for a guy who is 6’3”. He also seems like a guy who learned a hard lesson about being a good teammate in college early in his career and has turned it around – listen here. He might be the next Vincent Jackson or Jeff Janis but I’m banking on the former. The FF community needs to take a harder look at Krishawn.
  • Zay Jones – East Carolina – WR PSI: 5.00
    The Good

      • DR: 37% – projects as a late 1st/early 2nd rd pick
      • PI: 2.55 – 3rd highest in the group
      • SWRM: 8 of 8
      • BP: 15
      • HasS: 103.9
    • The Bad
      • BA: 20.4
    • Final Note: I really like Zay Jones but a few things keep me from moving him into the top 3 and the first is his BA. He didn’t begin to dominate until he was later into his college career, meaning he wasn’t able to beat out the guys ahead of him earlier and when you go to East Carolina that shouldn’t be too hard to do IMO. In addition, he played mostly slot and never moved from there. I think he’s a good prospect and look forward to seeing what he does in the NFL but I wouldn’t bank on an amazing Rookie season from him which is what I want from my top 3 guys. Look to draft him somewhere between 1.07-1.10.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster – USC – WR PSI: 5.00
    The Good:

      • DR: 32%- 2nd/3rd rd grade
      • PI: 2.70 – highest among this group
      • BA: 18.8
      • SWRM: 8 of 8
      • HasS: 101.2
    • The Bad
      • None
    • Final Note: Juju hits on all metrics, is one of the youngest prospects of the whole class, and comes from a top program. The history of USC WR’s will scare some owners but you really shouldn’t hold it against him. I don’t believe in the USC curse and neither should you. He’s deserving of a top 10 pick and if you have the opportunity to grab him I suggest you do but there are a few other guys I like more than Juju.
  • Chris Godwin – Penn Sate – WR PSI: 5.00
    The Good:

      • DR: 35% – 1st/2nd rd grade
      • PI: 2.13
      • BA: 19.5
      • SWRM: 8 of 8
      • BP: 19
      • HasS – 109.5
    • The Bad:
      • Nothing, absolutely nothing.
    • Final Note: Not only did Godwin score a perfect PSI Score but he also has shown up in the biggest games. If you didn’t watch his last Bowl Game performance vs USC this past year I highly recommend you go back and watch that because that was the day I was introduced to him and I haven’t been able to take my eyes off of him since. With 19 reps on the Bench and a HasS just shy of 110 tells me he’s not only fast for his height/weight but he’s also very strong and shouldn’t have a problem getting off the line in the NFL. He also was moved around a lot as a WR from left to right while at Penn and as most will tell you WR’s very rarely, if ever, come into the NFL with that kind of experience. Usually WR’s are kept to one side of the field at all times and have to learn how to run routes from both sides when they get into the NFL. I think he will see the field very early and could very well be the #1 WR of this class when it’s all said and done. If you have pick 1.06 and all the RB’s and Corey Davis are gone this should be a slam dunk pick.
  • Corey Davis – Western Michigan – WR PSI: 5.00
    The Good:

      • DR: 52% – That is far and away the highest in the class and projects as a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. This is why Davis ranks as my #1 WR, there’s no denying how productive he was in School.
      • SWRM: 8 of 8
      • PI: His 2.21 score is .23 above the baseline and ranks 9th in this group
      • BA: 18.7 – His production started from the moment he stepped on campus.
      • HasS: 103%* – over 100% means he checks this box
    • The Bad:
      • He was injured during the combine/pro day so we never got a true picture of he could do. So therefore I had to take some liberties with where I thought he would come in on each metric that I didn’t have info for.
    • Final Note: Many are still debating between Corey Davis and Mike Williams as to which is the top WR in this class but as you may have just realized we never even discussed Mike Williams in this article. Mike Williams ranks as a potential bust in my analysis and is definitely not worth investing a top pick in for FF. Corey Davis is the complete package and if he can be T.O. 2.0 then using a top 5 pick on him makes total sense.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them and I will do my best to respond to each one.  If you want to chat with me you can also find me on Twitter @DynastyGuruFF, give me a follow.

15 thoughts on “The 2017 Prospect Success Indicator Report

  1. Interesting that Godwin, Taylor and Henderson don’t show up here and they’re pretty popular names as top 5 WRs in this draft. Curious to know what metric(s) they fall short in that impacted their Guru Score.


    1. Taylor and Henderson came in at 20 and 22 in the final rankings. Both were knocked down for their lack of height (5’10”), BA both over 20, and most importantly their PI (both below the baseline of 1.98). Henderson also took a hit for a slow 3 cone.


    1. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it. I have a couple more articles in the works including a comp to 2014-2016 WR classes coming out. Follow me here or on Twitter to get the update.


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