NFL Draft: The Phenom IndexThursday, March 27, 2014
Now for the bottom of the barrel, which consists of older college players with lesser performance, all of whom performed below their age-expectation before entering the NFL.
The only top 30 performer is Donnie Avery and it took him five years to achieve that. Harry Douglas came close in 2013, but that was his sixth pro season and largely reliant on others getting injured. The rest of this bunch is pretty underwhelming with the exception of 2013 draftees Williams, Patterson and Dobson. Personally, I don’t think any of them will become elite options at the position. Cordarrelle Patterson, who derived more than 30% of his fantasy value from rushing stats, might be the most fantasy useful, but I won’t own him on any teams. Oh, and if you know anyone in the Bills’, Lions’ or Rams’ scouting departments, please point them in my direction.
What does this mean for the 2014 NFL Draft?
Let’s take a look at the 13 receivers who appear in Josh Norris’ Top 100 and how they rank on the Phenom Index.
You might be surprised to see Penn State receiver Allen Robinson so high on this list. He’s not a trendy name, but his score is one of the best I have on record. Combine that with his physical attributes and I don’t think a Dez Bryant comparison is far off. Cooks, Evans and Watkins all seem likely to go in the first round and their strong showing here reinforces that.
On the flip side of the equation, I’m pretty confused by how much love Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin are getting. Lee is smaller, older and less productive than people realize, which leaves me feeling indifferent about him. For Benjamin, his raw numbers look good, but he accounted for less than 30% of Florida State’s passing offense last year, which actually puts him below his age expectation. For context, Kelvin Benjamin is two months older than Josh Gordon. Imagine what Gordon would have done in the ‘Noles offense in 2013 and then reevaluate how “dominant” Benjamin’s performance actually was. This isn’t to say that Lee or Benjamin will have no value in the NFL, but I think it’s a reminder to tread carefully.