(Mostly) Under the Radar Rookies With Good Team Context

There are many things I’d like to consider myself very knowledgeable about that spans most of the major sports. However, I’m not a scout, never have been, and never will be. For the most part, I shy away from posting my thoughts on prospects because they wouldn’t be original.

On the other hand, I consume a lot a of written content as well as podcasts that span traditional scout types to the more cutting edge metric podcasts like RotoUnderworld. Therefore, my goal in this article is to compile the knowledge that has been imparted on me from these sources and break it down into easily digestible material.

At this point, everyone knows about Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, D.J. Moore, and Calvin Ridley, or if you don’t, information will be incredibly easy to find. I tried to dig a bit deeper for the purposes of this article, though admittedly, there is still some low hanging fruit. Finally, so there is no question or controversy regarding credit, all metrics used were found playerprofiler.com and I linked each player’s name to their player profiler page. Any scouting report information was taken from the prospect pages on NFL.com for accessibility purposes.

Wide Receivers

Michael Gallup

  • Draft Information: Round 3, Pick 17 – Dallas Cowboys
  • Key Stat(s): 37.4% dominator rating
  • Things to Know: Began his college career at a community college before being extremely productive at Colorado State. As his playerprofiler page suggests, he doesn’t stand out in any one way athletically.
  • Why he Matters: The Cowboys WR depth chart is uninspiring to say the least and injury/poor play could push Gallup into a large role immediately.

Equanimeous St. Brown

  • Draft Information: Round 6, Pick 33 – Green Bay Packers
  • Key Stat(s): 6’5”, 16.1 YPC
  • Things to Know: Several outlets questioned St. Brown’s competitiveness. Perhaps more importantly, scouting reports noted that he struggles against more physical corners.
  • Why He Matters: Randall Cobb played 53.7% of his snaps out of the slot last season, and Jordy Nelson is in a Raiders uniform. Geronimo Allison is the presumed second receiver to lineup outside opposite Davante Adams, but anytime a receiver is paired with Aaron Rodgers there should be intrigue.

Christian Kirk

  • Draft Information: Round 2, Pick 15- Arizona Cardinals
  • Key Stat(s): 18.8 breakout age, 36.8% dominator rating
  • Things to Know: Kirk is projected to work out of the slot in the NFL and did so frequently while at Texas A&M.
  • Why He Matters: The Cardinals made a significant investment in Kirk, and much like the Cowboys, the Cardinals have a cluttered wide receiver position but is widely unproven outside Larry Fitzgerald.

Anthony Miller

  • Draft Information: Round 2, Pick 19- Chicago Bears
  • Key Stat(s): 89th Percentile SPARQ-x score, 39.9% dominator rating
  • Things to Know: Miller has the college production of Gallupm but their SPARQ-x scores are not comparable. He played both inside and outside in college.
  • Why He Matters: The Bears have bulked up their receiving core this offseason, but Miller should start the season as a top four WR on the team (with perpetually injured Kevin White counting as one of those four).

Running Backs

Nyheim Hines

  • Draft Information: Round 4, Pick 4 – Indianapolis Colts
  • Key Stat(s): 4.38 40 yard dash, 13.7% target share
  • Things to Know: Hine is a good receiving back and the Colts plan to use him as a slot receiver in addition to a traditional running back role.
  • Why He Matters: Marlon Mack and Hines are both strong in the passing game, so their skillsets don’t necessarily complement each other to the point where one will be the dominant ball carrier and the other a satellite back. It will be interesting to follow trends in training camp to see how this workload settles.

Rashaad Penny

  • Draft Information: Round 1, Pick 27 – Seattle Seahawks
  • Key Stat(s): 50.1% dominator rating, 7.8 YPC, 10.3% target share
  • Things to Know: The biggest knock on Penny in his scouting report is a lack of explosiveness and long speed. His combine numbers seem to defy that.
  • Why He Matters: The Seahawks drafted him earlier than anyone expected and before the likes of Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, and Derrius Guice. That should speak for itself, but just to spell it out the Seahawks running game has been ineffective since Marshawn Lynch declined and left the team, and they have tabbed Penny as the guy to resurrect it with this pick.

Ronald Jones II

  • Draft Information: Round 2, Pick 6 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Key Stat(s): 33.4% dominator rating, 5.9 YPC
  • Things to now: Is a home run hitter as a runner. Didn’t show much as a pass catcher in college.
  • Why he Matters: Nothing is holding Jones back from being the workhorse from day one, so whatever flaws the scouting and/or metric community have are lessened based on his role. Think Kareem Hunt opportunity, if not impact.

 

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Dan Marcus

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Dan recently moved to Columbus, Ohio but is a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan. Fantasy baseball was and always will be his favorite fantasy sport, but he also enjoys football and basketball as well.