When an NFL wide receiver “checks all the boxes,” what do we mean? Let’s do a quick run through the questionnaire:
- Does the player possess any above average physical attributes when compared to his peers?
- Was the player a significant portion of his college team’s offense?
- Did the player display phenomenal talent at an early age?
- If given the chance, did the player make the most of his opportunities?
- Is there a path to more opportunity in an efficient passing offense?
If you know anything about Donte Moncrief then you know where this is going. If you don’t. Sit down. Class is in session.
I know it’s cliche but next to the definition of size-speed freak is a picture of Donte Moncrief. He ran a 4.4 (91st-percentile) 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL combine. Moncrief weighs in at 6-2, 221 pounds which equates to a 119.5 (96th-percentile) Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS), and his Burst Score is 133.2 (93rd-percentile).
Is Moncrief an above average physical specimen with above average workout metrics?
Survey says: Yessir!
Just because he’s an Adonis to a metrics-loving Aphrodite like myself, doesn’t mean he’s good at football. That’s why PlayerProfiler.com posts each player’s College Dominator Rating which relays the percentage of offensive production that a player contributed in his most prolific college season.
In Donte’s case, he was dominant in the SEC during both his sophomore and junior seasons at Ole Miss. During that two year span, he accounted for 32-percent of the Rebels’ offense. In 2012, Moncrief was 6th in SEC receiving yards and receptions, and 3rd in touchdowns. He finished 7th in receptions and 5th in receiving yards in his final collegiate season.
Above average college production in a major conference?
“But what about his 2011 numbers? They weren’t so great.”
No disagreement there. And yet we can find still find a silver lining. Moncrief started 12 games for the Rebels after turning 18 on August 6, 2011. That’s 100th-percentile. You cannot find a younger starting wide receiver at the college level than Donte Moncrief. In fact, he turned 22 just a month ago. He’s a full year younger than rookie Kevin White who was taken with the 7th overall pick in the 2015 Draft. Think about that.
The term we use to describe Donte Moncrief is: “phenom”
Let’s look at what Donte did in his rookie season while he was buried behind Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks.
Despite playing only 43-percent of the Colts’ offensive snaps over 14 games. When given a chance to play, he responded with top-30 efficiency numbers.
There are very few teams that can support three fantasy relevant pass catchers. Fortunately for the prospects of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and 2015 first-rounder, Phillip Dorsett. The Indianapolis Colts are one of them.
The Colts led the NFL in pass attempts in 2014. With no attention paid to the defensive side of the team in the offseason, there is no reason to think those numbers will decrease. Colts GM Ryan Grigson seems hell bent on creating a team that will outscore their opponents by infinity plus one.
In Week 1, Andrew Luck attempted 49 passes against the Buffalo Bills. 22-percent of those targets were in the direction of Moncrief. Even more encouraging was that prior to the Hilton injury, Moncrief was on the field in 3-WR sets.
Acquired in the offseason after being jettisoned by the Texans, Andre Johnson had a poor showing in his first game as a Colt. I don’t want to overreact to Johnson’s numbers (4 for 10, 24 yards, no TDs) after only one week but the 2nd oldest WR in the NFL looked cooked. This could mean that Luck will look Moncrief’s way even with Johnson on the field.
Hopefully you didn’t suffer the nightmare of accidentally sleeping through your waiver period without putting a claim in on Moncrief. I feel like Donte’s opportunity to be the next big thing is mutually exclusive of T.Y.’s health or Dorsett’s playing time. How big his target share will be this season may hinge somewhat on Andre Johnson. This offense can make a talented role player relevant but it can make a player that checks all the boxes, like Moncrief, a superstar. The future is now.
Keep calm and FEED MONCRIEF. Class dismissed.
Aaron Butler is an unapologetic New England Patriots fan and a contributor for RotoViz and PlayerProfiler.