Thanks to our affiliation with the Pro Football Writers of America, RosterWatch has yearly access inside Lucas Oil Stadium to view every route run by every WR in attendance who elects to take part in the on-field portion of NFL Combine drills. The RW crew is a few of only 20-or-so media members allowed in, and certainly the only media entity in the world who grades each rep in Indy in order to create a quantifiable “grade” or score for the on-field portion of drills.
While there is much to be learned from the numbers that come from quantitative testing such as the 40-yard-dash and the vertical leap, it has been our experience over the last half-decade-plus that the on-field portion – and how the receiver runs his routes and catches the football comparatively to the others – is perhaps more predictive of future NFL success and subsequently fantasy relevance. In short, if history is any indication, this is very likely the most important evaluation-based tool of our offseason.
Every rep by each receiver is graded by the members of RW on our proprietary grading sheet per the scale noted in the sheet’s bottom right corner. The average is taken from all graders for each rep. The sum of those averages equals the player’s total score.
Since 2012, this painstaking and maniacal practice has helped us identify under-the-radar prospects who had the movement skills, receiving abilities and general fundamental bases as pass-catchers and/or route-runners (such as John Brown, Albert Wilson, Martavis Bryant, Stefon Diggs, Jamison Crowder, Tyler Boyd, Cooper Kupp, and numerous others) that forced us to go back to the tape and examine them more closely.
It has also helped immensely in validating our initial positive thoughts on players such as Justin Blackmon, Odell Beckham, Jr., Deandre Hopkins, Michael Floyd, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Christian Kirk (among others) while giving us pause on certain others who the draft industry seemed significantly higher on (ahem … Dorial Green-Beckham … ahem)
This season is no different.
Except for one major issue: due to the scheduling of our radio show and our flights out of Indy, we had to miss the second session this year, cutting the number of evaluations in half and leaving out any of the WRs with last names alphabetically coming after “Humphrey”. The combine switched the schedule up in 2019 for the throwing sessions and we learned a lesson in allowing more time as buffer in case of scheduling changes by the National Scouting Group. Moving forward, it will not happen again and we apologize to the Nation for not being able to attend both sessions this once.
With that said, one very special WR in this class registered a grade among the highest we’ve assigned over the course of his on-field workout, so we did come away with extremely important intelligence regardless.
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