CFF Overview: WRs – Buyer Beware
With the final set of receivers in this overview, Gordon McGuinness notes a handful that could fall short of expectations.
CFF Overview: WRs – Buyer Beware
Continuing our look at wide receivers today, we’re now going to move on to those players that teams should be mindful of. We’re calling it our Buyer Beware section, where we’ll highlight a few receivers who we think have the potential to disappoint those teams that draft them.
Not every receiver can go on to be productive in the NFL, and it’s only natural that some of the higher rated prospects won’t quite work out for the team that selects them, but who from this class scares us to the point that we’d be wary of drafting them? Let’s take a look.
Devin Funchess, Michigan
Any time some people are trying to tell you a wide receiver is a tight end you know there are some issues with his game. Funchess does not look like a tight end to us, but he looks like a Marques Colston kind of ‘big-slot’ receiver. Colston of course was another player that people claimed was a tight end at the next level but carved an excellent career for himself as a wide receiver working the middle of the field.
Funchess doesn’t have great speed, and is completely disinterested at best in blocking (hence being a non-starter as a tight end), but does show the ability to work the middle of the field and make things happen. His real problem is not the lack of speed (if he plays in a Colston role), but his inconsistent hands and desire to take the hit over the middle. Funchess had six drops this year and was the primary target on four interceptions, one of which (against Utah) was entirely his fault as he made a lazy one-handed attempt to pull in a pass over the middle rather than extend for it. Colston made a career out of reliability, Funchess needs to become more reliable to replicate it.
Signature Stat: Dropped six of the 68 catchable passes thrown his way in 2014.
Chris Conley, Georgia
Everyone loves a combine superstar, but how often do they actually pan out in the NFL. Conley wowed many with his athleticism in February, but it does beg the question of where that player was at Georgia. It’s fair to say he didn’t see a lot of passes thrown his way, such was the Georgia offense this year, but even when he did he was less than impressive.
He’s a player who looks really good when he doesn’t have a defensive back close to him, but when someone is covering him remotely closely, he seems like a completely different receiver. He didn’t show great hands, and the athleticism we saw at the combine wasn’t there to see on film, hence why everyone was so surprised with his performance in Indianapolis.
Signature Stat: Seeing just 40 catchable passes thrown his way, Conley had four drops in 2014.
Justin Hardy, East Carolina
Hardy is someone who has gotten a lot of love as a sleeper in this draft, but is just someone that neither Sam or I were particularly impressed with. The phrase “Jack of all trades, master or none” fits him quite well in that while in college he was decent at most things, but didn’t overly excel at anything. When I watch him I just don’t get the sense that he can develop into a No. 1 or 2 receiver.
Perhaps that’s harsh, but I’m doubtful that he can be anything more than a solid No. 3 or 4. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I think in the right system he could be quite productive – New England is a favorable destination for him in my mind, but I think anyone who drafts him to be anything more will be disappointed.
Signature Stat: His 2.33 Yards Per Route Run average was tied for 16th among receivers in this class.
Titus Davis, Central Michigan
Davis is an interesting prospect because some of his stats are really quite eye-popping. His 3.46 Yards Per Route Run is the seventh-best mark in this class, and he had 402 yards, and four touchdowns, on passes 20 yards or more downfield.
For as much as a big play threat as he is, though, there is some inconsistency in there. His hands weren’t great, with too many drops to go along with those deep receiving yards, and at times you’d want to see him go up and win the ball as opposed to waiting for it to come to him. He’s the type of player who could really pay off and become a very good big play threat in the NFL, but at this stage I worry a bit too much about his hands.
Signature Stat: From the 17 catchable passes thrown his way on deep passes, Davis dropped four.
Rashad Greene, Florida State
Like Hardy, Greene is a player that I don’t particularly dislike, and he’s someone I could see having a decent career as a fourth receiver somewhere, but I just don’t see anything about him that’s anything more than that.
He’s not particularly bad at any one thing, it’s just more that there isn’t really anything on film which suggests he can be anything more than just another guy on a team. Maybe that’s fine, as with Hardy, I just think anyone who thinks he can be anything more than a complementary receiver is going to be disappointed.
Signature Stat: His 2.59 Yards Per Route Run was tied for just 16th in this class.
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Gordon McGuinness | Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst
Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.