AstroNotes: WRs After The Combine

Photo of former Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool from ndinsider.com.

My impressions after a watch of the Combine:

The Bills want high completions; McDermott said it this week. I’m tempted to take the lowest 9 in catch rate OFF my BillsMafia War Chart, or drop them down a color. Here are the worst-in-class catch rates:

  • Donovan Peoples-Jones — Least-Worst at 67.5%, but explosion was amazeballs: Best broad and vertical jump for receivers. 4.48 forty time was expected.
  • Denzel Mims — 8th-worst catch rate, met at Combine, Combine winner with 6’3, 207,  4.38s 40-yard dash (90th %ile ), 38.5” vertical jump (84th %ile), 10’11 broad jump (94th%ile)
  • Jauan Jennings – not scouted
  • Collin Johnson – no speed plus no catch rate = drops 1 round, despite his height. 
  • CeeDee Lamb 
  • John Hightower – not scouted
  • Tee Higgins – Third-Worst of the Day 1-2 WRs, despite having next year’s #1 pick as QB
  • Justin Jefferson — Second-Worst of the Day 1-2 WRs, despite having this year’s #1 pick as QB  
  • Jalen Reagor — Lowest Catch Rate at 48.3%, punt returns are great

Now, despite his poor catch rate, Justin Jefferson is still in play for a RD1 trade-down. Face it; he’s no longer making it to RD2#54. He’s likely going to Saints, Vikes, Chiefs in RD1 or to the Bengals RD2#33

Photo of former Ohio State WR K.J. Hill from 247sports.com.

.So, who had 2019’s best catch rates in this Day 1-2 WR class, and what was their DraftTek Big Board rank before Combine? Note: Van Jefferson and Tyler Johnson were not scouted. I’ve highlighted the Bills’ post-season contact:

  • K.J. Hill Ohio State  —best catch rate in class with 87%  COMBINE, #54
  • Omar Bayless Arkansas State #103
  • Brandon Aiyuk Arizona St  SR BOWL #101
  • Devin Duvernay Texas — Now RD3#86 as he dropped an inch to 5-10
  • Laviska Shenault Jr. Colorado  First College Player Visited; COMBINE #22
  • Tyler Johnson Minnesota # 38
  • Jerry Jeudy Alabama #7
  • Michael Pittman Jr. USC #55
  • Van Jefferson Florida # 148 (injured, surgery)
  • Henry Ruggs Alabama — 10th-best catch rate with 69%;  COMBINE #26
  • Chase Claypool Notre Dame was 11th,  SR BOWL & COM  #86

Rising after Combine results (which don’t sway players as much as people think):

  • Chase Claypool 4.42 at his new weight vaults him up. Asked to try out in 2 positions, he’s still the 11th in catch rate! Was #154 (Bills’ RD5a will be right there), but he could go early as a WR/TE, Funchess type.
  •  Antonio Gibson 4.39 and being asked to try out in 2 positions makes me swoon. He was #174, realistic for the Bills’ RD5b pick, but as a fan, wouldn’t you draft him in RD3? Earlier?
  • Joe Reed, Virginia. He’s a meatier Nick Easley at 6-0, 224, 4.47. Not quite Nick’s explosiveness, but elite nonetheless. Top 5 bench. Bills need more Reeds.
  • Binjimen Victor,Ohio State, 6-4 199, 4.6 forty (we expected 4.57) – such natural hands. Best Gauntlet.
Photo of former Arkansas State WR Omar Bayless from astateredwolves.com.

Steady in my mind after Combine results (which don’t sway players as much as people think):

  • Omar Bayless — RD3
  • Tee Higgins. He wasn’t there, so he didn’t lose much, still #4-5 best WR, and 3rd-best pure receiver. Ruggs passed him up. RD1#25
  • KJ Hill dropped an inch, now 5-11, 196, and his 4.6 forty was well under the 4.42 we expected. His class-best catch rate keeps him in RD2-3, and still a consideration there. #95
Photo of former Colorado WR Laviska Shenault from buffalonews.com.

Dropping:
Laviska Shenault was a tenth slower and iced up afterwards. We expected 4.47 and got 4.58. I used to think he was the DK Metcalf –now it’s Claypool.

Devin Duvernay — We expected 4.3, got 4.37, could reach 86 as he dropped an inch to 5-10″, and his 4.2 shuttle was < Easley’s 3.77 

Jauan Jennings: 4.72 –RD3

Quintez Cephus: 4.73 –Day 3

Jalen Reagor 4.47  

Collin Johnson — tall guy who can’t catch or run routes.

Editor’s babble: Was hoping we would get ‘The Dean’s” thoughts on the first day of the 2020 NFL Combine. You can find Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro. Also, be sure to bookmark Dean’s “BillsMafia War Chart” to follow along during the Combine. Thanks to Dean for all his contributions to our blog. On to Day 2!!!