Jalen Hurd, Emmanuel Hall, Miles Boykin, and Antoine Wesley are all rookie wide receivers that should be available in the third round of your dynasty rookie drafts and beyond. My thoughts on who you should take a shot on:
There are A LOT of talented rookie wide receivers in this class. They come in all different shapes and sizes and it is going to be exciting watching where all of these guys end up in the NFL Draft and seeing how they will fit into their respective offenses.
In dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts, I want as many of the rookie wide receivers on my team as possible if I’m drafting before the NFL Draft. There are a lot of players that are being forgotten or ignored by the dynasty fantasy football community that could see significant stock rises when NFL teams invest more in them than what many anticipate.
I think that the middle rounds of the NFL Draft are going to be teams just picking their flavor from this excellent crop of receivers. Here’s a look at a few of the guys that are options in the late second round of your dynasty rookie drafts and beyond.
Jalen Hurd is a raw, but ascending wide receiver prospect. A former running back for Tennessee, Hurd has only one year of experience as a wide receiver at the college level. He’s expected to be raw, but he is more polished than you would expect for someone with his lack of experience at the position.
Hurd’s route running is still a work in progress, but he has surprising attention to detail and shows flexibility and explosiveness out of his breaks at the top of his routes.
His releases at the line of scrimmage are going to be the more concerning part of his lack of experience. He hasn’t had much experience facing press coverage, and it isn’t something that comes naturally to all receivers. His lack of experience in this area will probably move him to the slot early in his career, but he is big and physical. This is an area that he projects to be able to improve on with coaching.
Jalen Hurd catches the ball away from his body, has soft hands, and shows the ability to catch the ball in contested catch situations. These are all things that are going to help him early as a big slot receiver. He presents a good catch radius and should be a nice target for his quarterback at the next level.
He’s not a top end burner like some of the other receivers in this class, but that was never going to be Jalen Hurd’s game. He has adequate speed for the roles that he would fit into in the NFL.
After the catch, Hurd is predictably good. His experience as a running back shows. He is a tough runner that is hard to take down and has the natural feel for angles, setting up blockers, patience and minimizing full contact to gain extra yards.
I’m comfortable taking Jalen Hurd in the third round, understanding that he make take some time to develop due to his limited experience. He does have the opportunity to work immediately as a big slot receiver in the NFL, and could transition to the outside if he works on releasing off the press. I like the upside here and he is a player that is pretty consistently falling out of the third round of dynasty rookie drafts.
Emmanuel Hall is a size/speed combo player that is going somewhere in the range of the late second to the third round of dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts. His athletic and physical profile certainly present intriguing upside, but there are a lot of other rookie wide receivers that I would rather select in that range.
Emmanuel Hall wins with two things: His speed, and his ability to beat press coverage.
Those are two good traits to have, especially as an outside receiver and, if he can fix the other issues with his game, those will be invaluable. It’s overused, but it’s true. You can’t teach speed.
So where do Emmanuel Hall’s traits fail him? While he has an impressive athletic profile, he doesn’t run good routes, shows very little attention to detail, doesn’t vary his speed through his route and doesn’t try and manipulate the defender. Those are things that are fixable, but his lack of attention to detail and his on-the-field effort concerns make this more of a projection than it would be for other players with his athletic profile.
So, If his routes aren’t going to be how he wins, he is probably locked in primarily as a deep threat early in his career.
The problem is that he doesn’t do a lot of the things well that he should be able to in order to project to the NFL as a successful vertical receiver.
Emmanuel Hall has issues tracking the football, has far too many instances of mistiming jumps, favors body-catching, and he doesn’t extend or attack the football in the air. He has glaring issues with dropped passes and double-clutches. Hall isn’t physical at the catch point, and doesn’t win in most contested catch situations.
Those are things that are important to being a vertical receiver in the NFL. You can’t just run in a straight line and bucket catch balls at the next level. Defensive backs are good athletes. You have to find ways to win other than just pure speed. So far, I haven’t seen that from Emmanuel Hall.
The upside is obviously there, but he needs to improve in a lot of areas to become a splash player in the NFL. I won’t be drafting him in the third round of dynasty rookie drafts, and he may not even be around in the third round anyway.
While I’m not interested in Emmanuel Hall at his price, Miles Boykin is a far more interesting size/speed combo to me, and he is cheaper to acquire.
Boykin is raw. He has some of the same flaws that Emmanuel Hall does. He doesn’t run the most deceptive routes and needs to work on his technique and ability to set up defenders to consistently gain separation at the next level. Like Emmanuel Hall, his athletic traits suggest that he is capable of this.
Like Hall, he isn’t particularly good at tracking the football, but this is more an issue of wasting movement as he runs under the pass than it is ending up out of position and having to make a late recovery. He isn’t terrible in this area, but he is consistently not impressive.
Additionally, unlike Emmanuel Hall, Miles Boykin struggles to get off the press. His size suggests that he should be able to bully smaller corners, but that just hasn’t been the case thus far in his career. He needs to improve in this area to play on the outside in the NFL, where the rest of his game seems to best fit.
Despite the obvious weaknesses in Boykin’s projection as a deep threat or outside receiver, he has some positive traits that help to negate the negative.
Boykin has an excellent catch radius, strong hands, and wins in contested catch situations. He attacks the football with consistency and extends away from his body to maximize his frame. At 6’4, with a 43.5 inch vertical, he is going to be a really nice target for an NFL quarterback. With his ability to make catches in contested situations, he has immediate value to an NFL team, even if his route running and releases take a little while to develop.
I really like Miles Boykin in the third round of dynasty rookie drafts. A lot of rookie wide receivers come off the board in this area, and I think that he stands out and has incredible upside. He’s starting to rise up dynasty owners’ draft boards and may not be available in the third round much longer.
If an NFL team doesn’t spend significant draft capital on him, he probably falls right back into this third round range. I think I’d still be ok with selecting him there if that was the case. His game is raw. A lot of teams don’t want to spend high capital on raw players. Personally, I think someone falls in love with his athletic profile.
Antoine Wesley is a player that I really liked after watching his tape. After seeing his incredibly poor athletic testing, I’ve cooled off on him significantly, but I still think that the traits are there to warrant a late-round pick in dynasty rookie drafts.
Wesley is a good route runner, especially given his athletic limitations and manipulates defenders well at the top of his routes. He makes crisp cuts, even if they aren’t as explosive as you’d like to see. His athletic testing suggests that he is never going to be an elite separator, but his route running is good enough to be serviceable in this area in the NFL. While he doesn’t have good top end speed, he is a fluid runner in a straight line and has long strides.
He has good, natural hands and wins at the catch point. He plays physically and can box out defenders and use his elevation skills to go up and get the ball. He tracks the ball well and has good sideline awareness and should present an immediate contributor in the red zone.
I think that, while he certainly has athletic limitations, his technically sound route running and his ability to make contested catches and present a large target for his quarterback could earn him red zone work, and he may find his way into the big slot role on a team.
He’s a player that I would take toward the end of the third round in rookie drafts, knowing that I may be able to wait on him until the fourth. He doesn’t have the same upside as some of the other rookie wide receivers in this group, but I think that he has an interesting skill set that an NFL team may find a use for.