University of Virginia

PRO 2023 Rookie Spotlight: Dontayvion Wicks, WR Virginia

Rookie Spotlight: Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
Height: 6-1 (unofficial)
Weight: 206 (unofficial)
Hands:
Arm:
40 yard dash: 4.65 sec (projected)
2023 Age: 22
NFL Comparison: Tyler Johnson, Allen Robinson
Breakout Age: 21 (junior)

Offensive Market Share Metrics (Final Season)

Receptions: 16%
Receiving Yards: 19%
Receiving TDs: 29%
Total Production Percentage: 21%

As a high school prospect: Class of 2019; 3-star

Pros
– Comprehensive route tree
– Ability to separate through savvy route running
– Sinks hips
– Deceptive changing gears
– Good body control
– Tracks ball well through the air
– Quick release
– Productive deep and shallow
– Among FBS leaders in 2021 yards per route run

Cons
– Lacks deep speed
– Doesn’t play as strong as he looks
– Too many drops his senior season
– All-around lackluster senior season

Scouting Notes:
Wicks wins off the line of scrimmage with a quick release and nuanced footwork, often implementing double moves and head fakes effectively. He’s also able to sink his hips low and change direction, key elements for successful NFL WRs. He’s not the fastest player down the field, but the work that he does out of the snap helps him to routinely create separation. He’s also willing to fight for the ball at the catch point and/or layout for it. Wicks lets the ball into his chest more than I’d like to see, too. His drops in 2022 were horrible. Per PFF, his 9 drops were good for a miserable 23.1% drop rate, tied for fourth-worst among FBS qualifiers — this compared to a middling drop rate of 8.1% during his breakout junior campaign. A consistent chain mover, Wicks has deep play ability in his repertoire as well. In fact he plays the perimeter and the slot to great effect, as he has a knack for getting open. He broke Herman Moore’s 32 year-old single season receiving yards(1,203) record at Virginia, so he’s legit, but his 2022 season was comparatively a let down, as he made too many unforced errors and drops (9). Helping his cause is Wicks’ dedication to the blocking game, which is often lost on no.1 WRs. That being said, I could stand to see Wicks display more of his play strength in breaking and running through tackles. One metric that is hard to deny with Wicks is his 2021 yards per route run, where be posted a stellar 3.25 in this traditionally powerful and predictive efficiency metric. This put him in the same class that year as guys like Skyy Moore, Drake London, Wan’Dale Robinson, Treylon Burks and Jaxon Smith-Njigba and ahead of Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson, Jordan Addison, David Bell and virtually everyone else as he ranked 14th-overall among all FBS qualifiers. Unfortunately, that number dropped all the way do a pedestrian 1.45 in 2022, but these sorts of highlights from the 2021 season show us that Wicks has at least done it before, and, presumably, still has it in the tool bag.

Fantasy Outlook:
If we’re just going off of Wicks’ 2021 season, then it’s hard not to like him a lot as a potentially productive pass-catcher at the next level – His route-running and ball skills are undeniable. His 2022 campaign was a step back though, as he just didn’t seem as focused on the field. We’ll be paying close attention to his drop rate at the Senior Bowl, in addition to his ability to thrive against the press. Wicks’ play reminds me a lot of Allen Robinson, but that’s not always a good thing. He could dominate one week and then disappear the next. I’m optimistic based on his skill set though.

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