The 2018 Prospect Success Indicator Report

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

Welcome to the 2018 Prospect Success Indicator (PSI) article. For those who have followed me since day one, you’re already familiar with the PSI model. For those of you who are new to, or recent followers of my work, here is a quick rundown of the PSI advanced metric.

For all readers, here are the commonly used PSI metrics that will be referenced in this series:

[Note: description of the metrics and their originating source are included in the link above]

BA: Breakout Age

SWRM: Successful Wide Receiver Measurements

PI: Phenom Index 2.0

DR: Dominator Rating

BP: Bench Press

HaSS: Height-adjusted Speed Score

So without further ado, included below, are the PSI scores and subsequent rankings for the top 12 2018 rookie wide receivers:

12.Christian Kirk, Texas A&M | PSI Score: 4.21
Photo Credit: Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports
  • The Good
    • DR: 37% (1st-2nd round grade)
    • BA: 18.8
  • The Bad
    • SWRM: 5 of 8 (Short and lacks elite explosion/agility)
    • PI: 2.32

Player comp: a more athletic Jarvis Landry.

Christian Kirk can/should step in and make an immediate impact as a slot receiver in the NFL due to his draft capital. If he doesn’t, I would begin to have serious concerns about his long-term potential. Kirk reminds me a lot of a more athletic Landry. However, Landry has required insane target volume to become the productive player that he is. Due to Kirk’s 4.47 speed, I think he can be more just as productive, but on fewer targets. He’s currently going in the 1st round of Dynasty League Football (DLF) mock drafts but would need to deliver immediate results to be worth the pick considering the talent ranked ahead of him on this list.

11. Allen Lazard, Iowa State | PSI Score: 4.32 (PSI Ceiling: 4.43)
Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo
  • The Good
    • DR: 33% (2nd-3rd round grade)
    • HaSS: 111
  • The Bad
    • SWRM: 6 of 8
    • PI: 0.73 (3rd lowest among the top 12)

Player comp: a little less athletic and productive Mike Evans.

Allen Lazard has been a draft crush of mine for the last two years. He’s a tall wide receiver, but after reviewing his college production, it’s worth noting that he fails to gain separation and was very touchdown dependent, a common theme among this wide receiver class. A physical and athletic comparison to Evans may sound appealing, but the realist in me knows he’s more of an Evans-lite. Lazard is currently being drafted early in the 3rd round in the DLF rookie mock drafts; ahead of fellow rookie wide receivers who are ranked higher on this list. Therefore, I would target Lazard no earlier than the 4th round.

10. Dante Pettis, Washington | PSI Score 4.32 (PSI Ceiling: 4.43)
Photo Credit: Jennifer Buchanan / AP Photo
  • The Good
    • DR: 39% (1st-2nd round grade)
    • 3-cone: 6.87 seconds (has elite agility, quickness, and fluidity)
  • The Bad
    • PI: 0.14 (lowest in class)
    • SWRM: 6 of 8
    • BA: 20.9
    • Pounds-per-inch: 2.58

Player comp: a slower Will Fuller.

Dante Pettis will be able to make an immediate impact on special teams or as a slot receiver if drafted by a team needing one. Pettis has been injured this offseason, and his low pounds-per-inch concerns me for the well being of his health and NFL future which is the same issue I had with fellow Washington alumni John Ross last year. Pettis could prove to be a massive boom or bust player for this reason. I could easily see him flashing only to get oft-injured and as a result never be able to be relied upon to be healthy. Pettis is currently being drafted in the third round of rookie mock drafts according to DLF.

9. Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa | PSI Score: 4.32 (PSI Ceiling: 4.54)
Photo Credit: UNI Athletics
  • The Good
    • DR: 37% (1st-2nd round grade)
    • HaSS: 103
  • The Bad
    • PI: 1.00
    • SWRM: 6 of 8

Player comp: Josh Doctson.

Daurice Fountain is a small school guy with big potential. With his height, speed, and college production coming largely from touchdowns, he strikes me as a Josh Doctson-type in the NFL. He’s the big-bodied outside wide receiver capable of high pointing the football and making splash plays. He might lack the consistent yardage numbers to provide a good floor in fantasy and ultimately be touchdown dependent he’s still a prospect worth monitoring. According to DLF’s March ADP data, Fountain is going undrafted in rookie mock drafts. I think he’s worth a mid-to-late 3rd to 4th round flier depending on your league’s format.

8. James Washington, Oklahoma State | PSI Score: 4.43
Photo Credit: Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo
  • The Good
    • DR: 33% (2nd-3rd round)
    • BA: 18.4 (Tied for youngest BA of the group)
    • SWRM: 7 of 8 (Slow 3-cone drill)
  • The Bad
    • PI: 0.87
    • HaSS: 97.5 (Surprising considering many see him as a speed guy)

Player comp: Kendall Wright.

After watching James Washington’s tape and reviewing the stats he accumulated at Oklahoma State, one may assume he’s a speed guy. But his 4.54-second 40-yard dash doesn’t exactly fit the elite speed narrative, so maybe he’s a “quicker than fast” guy like Mike Mayock would say. However, Washington’s three-cone time refutes that too, and if you were to reference his speed score, it’s just shy of 100 which is considered slightly above league average. You’d be hard-pressed to avoid someone’s opinion claiming that Washington’s speed is his strength even though his metrics claim otherwise. Now, this is a big concern for me because I don’t know where he wins at the NFL level unless he becomes an elite route runner. I remain hopeful, but I’m staying realistic. In DLF mock drafts he’s the tenth player off the board and given how weak this wide receiver class is, it’s too rich of a price for me and I’d rather roll the dice on a running back.

7. Trey Quinn, Southern Methodist University | PSI Score: 4.43
Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan / USA TODAY Sports
  • The Good
  • DR: 35%
    • SWRM: 7 of 8
    • 3-cone: 6.91 (possesses elite agility, quickness, and fluidity)
  • The Bad
    • BA: 21.8
    • PI: 1.09

Player comp: Taywan Taylor.

Trey Quinn was a highly touted high school recruit. After a falling out at LSU, he transferred to SMU, received an opportunity to start alongside fellow highly touted wide receiver Sutton, and made the most of it. His DR of 35% is impressive and displays above-average athleticism that will translate to the NFL. I think he has a great chance to succeed early as a slot receiver in the NFL. Outside wide receivers are more impacted by BA than slot receivers are so his late BA of 21.8 doesn’t concern me as much as it normally would.

6. Tre’Quan Smith, University Central Florida | PSI Score: 4.43
Photo Credit: Mike Stewart / AP Photo
  • The Good:
    • DR: 33% (2nd-3rd round grade)
    • BA: 19.2
    • SWRM: 7 of 8
    • HaSS: 105
  • The Bad:
    • PI: 1.09

Player comp: DeVante Parker.

Tre’Quan Smith is a very intriguing prospect for me because of his player comp, but I don’t see a player that breaks out right away unless he somehow walks into a team’s WR1 role. If Smith can achieve the ceiling we hoped Parker would have reached, then he’s a steal in rookie drafts in the third round which is where he is being mocked. If I’m rebuilding or in need of a wide receiver, I’m targeting Smith in every draft.

5. Korey Robertson, Southern Miss – PSI Score: 4.43 (PSI Ceiling 4.54)
Photo Credit: Sean Pokorny / USA TODAY Sports
  • The Good
    • DR: 43% (top 20 grade)
    • BA: 18.8
    • SWRM: 7 of 8
  • The Bad
    • BA: 22.2
    • PI: 0.67
    • HaSS: 98.1

Player comp: Rishard Matthews.

Just when I thought I had my top 12 set, Korey Robertson came and shoved his way in with a solid Pro Day. I love his productivity, but his late breakout age is a big red flag. Given how weak this wide receiver class is, I could see him being a late-round pick in the NFL Draft. If he can put it together at the next level, perhaps he can mimic his player comp Matthews’ career and carve out a few productive seasons as a WR2/3.

4. Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist University | PSI Score: 4.54
Photo Credit: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports
  • The Good
    • DR: 37% (1st-2nd round grade)
    • BA: 19.9
    • SWRM: 8/8 (elite 3-cone time)
    • BP: 18 reps (2nd strongest WR of the group)
    • HaSS: 105
  • The Bad:
    • PI: 2.15

Player comp: a less polished Alshon Jeffrey.

Last year I was drooling over being able to draft Courtland Sutton, but since then, my love has faded a bit. He is likely a 1st-round NFL Draft pick, so he will have the draft capital necessary to kick-start a good career. Also, a Jeffrey comp alone is enough to get excited about. Add to this, Sutton’s great athleticism and elite quickness, and it’s hard not to draft Sutton. My concern still comes down to his overall skill set, still being labeled as raw by scouts, and the fact that Trey Quinn came from nowhere and instantly became SMU’s WR1 when we thought Sutton was that guy. Currently going at 1.05 in DLF rookie mock drafts ahead of D.J. Moore and Rashaad Penny, I think it’s too high for him; there’s no way he should go ahead of Moore. Once both Moore and the top running backs are off the board, then you can draft Sutton in the mid-1st round.

3. Justin Watson, Penn | PSI Score: 6.00
Photo Credit: Hunter Martin / Penn Athletics
  • The Good:
    • DR: 60% (top 10 grade; #1 DR in class)
    • PI: 3.74
    • BA: 19.7
    • SWRM: 8 of 8
    • BP: 20
    • HaSS: 112.2 (> 110 is elite-level speed)
  • The Bad:
    • Played football at a small school
    • Likely low-to-no draft capital

Player comp: Amari Cooper.

Anyone who has followed me for some time knows my love for small school wide receivers. Last year, I was the conductor of the Krishawn Hogan hype train and this year I’m all aboard the Justin Watson hype train. Next stop: All-Pro station. Okay, maybe not right away; first we have to see if Watson even gets drafted. Hogan sank with the lack of draft capital, and I’m afraid this could happen to Watson. But this kid is an elite athlete, headlined by his 4.44-second 40-yard dash. He was a college production monster, averaging 80/1000/10 over the last three years at Penn and like Hogan, accumulated some rushing stats as a cherry on top. Watson is a baller in every sense of the word, and he’s currently going undrafted in DLF rookie mock drafts. If he gets drafted, I expect this change, but he will still be a value even in the 3rd and 4th rounds of rookie drafts.

2. Michael Gallup, Colorado State | PSI Score: 6.00
Photo Credit: Javon Harris / Collegian
  • The Good:
    • DR: 37% (1st – 2nd round grade)
    • SWRM: 8 of 8
    • PI: 2.76
  • The Bad
    • BA: 20.5
    • HaSS: 99

Player comp: Chad Williams.

There is a lot of Twitter hype surrounding Michael Gallup, and it’s for a good reason. This kid dominated at Colorado St. and if he had a more accurate quarterback, he could’ve dominated even more. Gallup is not only dominated in the Mountain West Conference but also showcased solid athleticism across the board even if one area isn’t considered elite. He could be a 1st round pick according to some mocks but is at worst a 3rd round prospect. Therefore, draft capital should help him reach success. If you aren’t drafting early enough to land D.J. Moore, then Gallup is someone you should be targeting in the mid-to-late 1st round of rookie drafts.

1. D.J. Moore, Maryland | PSI Score: 6.00
Photo Credit: Jay LaPrete / AP Photo
  • The Good:
    • DR: 53% (2nd highest score in the class)
    • SWRM: 8 of 8
    • PI: 4.36 (3rd highest score ever recorded)
    • BA: 18.4 (tied for one of the youngest breakout ages in the class)
    • HaSS: 108
  • The Bad:
    • N/A

Player comp: a more productive and athletic Chris Godwin.

Many are still debating which between Calvin Ridley and Sutton is the top wide receiver in this class. We haven’t discussed Ridley in this article because he ranks just outside this group as the 15th best wide receiver in this class. Given his likely draft capital in both real and fantasy drafts, Ridley is a major bust candidate in my opinion, and he is definitely not worth investing a top pick in for fantasy. D.J. Moore, on the other hand, is the complete package and is currently being mocked as the 8th overall pick and second wide receiver off the board. Personally, I feel Moore should be the first, so there’s some value to be gained there.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments about these rankings or the PSI advanced metric in general, feel free to give me a follow and @ me on Twitter @DynastyGuruFF.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s