In Defense of Laquon Treadwell

by Christopher Gerrish, April 21, 2016

Just a few months ago, Laquon Treadwell was locked into the number one slot in dynasty rookie drafts.  Then people with stop watches watched him run around for a bit and now he’s the second coming of Buster Davis.  I will hopefully go on to accomplish two things: first, get people to see Treadwell as they did a few months ago, and second, get everyone to start calling him Judge Tread and inserting bad law puns into their analysis of his game.  With that being said, court is in session and I have prepared an opening statement.

Opening Statement

Ladies and gentlemen of the fantasy jury, we have been given a difficult task.  Before us lies a young man who tested so poorly athletically that many scouts thought he was two much smaller people in a trench-coat attempting to run combine drills.  This same athlete lacks the desired dominator and production-based metrics typically seen in a first round selection. He is a wide receiver who suffered a gruesome leg injury his sophomore year.  Astoundingly, this same WR is regarded as one of the highest-rated receivers in the 2016 draft class. The fantasy community is rightly cautious.

However, Laquon Treadwell is more than just field tests and receiving yards. He’s potential. He’s height and body control. He is in fact one whole person, and not two smaller people.  This article will show that Treadwell is not only worthy of a top three rookie pick, he has the qualities and abilities of a number one pick.

Objection: That 40-time

Laquon Treadwell ran in the high 4.6’s.  That’s pretty gross, even for a guy who’s 6-2.  Beyond speed, Treadwell underwhelmed across athletic measurables from Height-adjusted Speed Score to Burst Score to Agility Score.  He’s no De’Runnya Wilson (what happened!?), but like Wilson, Treadwell’s workout metrics all fell under the 40th-percentile. The majority of fantasy owners want explosive, point scoring monsters at the top of their rookie draft.  Not slow, lumbering possession receivers.

Treadwell

Laquon Treadwell Advanced Metrics Profile

If you’re looking for Laquon Treadwell‘s closest cringe-worthy player comparison, it’s Dwayne Bowe.  In fairness, Bowe has six 750-plus receiving yard seasons and a lengthy career.  It’s not his fault that he was in wide receiver touchdown purgatory over in Kansas City.  Treadwell has the ability to produce on the big stage, but the attention is now on his measurables. His Combine/pro day numbers are troublesome, but looking past raw athleticism, reveals exceptional real football skills.

Objection: He Didn’t Produce

Laquon Treadwell 29.0-percent (45th-percentile) College Dominator Rating was statistically average.  Even looking at Treadwell’s counting stats, back-to-back six hundred yard, 5-touchdown seasons followed by a 1000-yard junior campaign with double-digit TDs, is abnormal for a top-3 dynasty rookie draft selection.

Give Laquon Treadwell some credit.  After a disastrous leg injury suffered during his sophomore year, he returned in 2015, didn’t miss a game and had 1153 yards and 11 touchdowns.  If those numbers still aren’t marginally impressive to the reader, consider the quarterbacks “Judge Tread” has had in college.  If he can catch footballs from Bo Wallace and Chad Kelly, imagine what he can do with an NFL caliber quarterback.  Treadwell tried to keep order out there on the field with Kelly scrambling about in the backfield.  Breaking off routes and coming back to the ball, coming down with contested catches.  Those poorly thrown footballs are probably one of the reasons he has such great body control.  Even though Treadwell did not produce stellar production share numbers, he overcame significant obstacles at Mississippi to get to where he is today.

Overruled

One of the most telling signs of future NFL success is a player’s breakout age, a category where Treadwell exceeds expectations.  In fact, he’s still only twenty-years old.  That means that in his third year in the NFL, he will be the same age that Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard are right now.  Age isn’t everything, but it is a critical component of any sound prospect evaluation.

Table

Recent Young, First Round Picks

Reviewing a list of recent young, first round picks, reveals a medley of first round wide receivers, but the general idea is that if a player is talented and productive early on, he’ll be talented and productive later on as well.  Because Laquon Treadwell is still 20-years old, he is bursting with potential even if his Burst Score on PlayerProfiler was abysmal.  After all, nothing powers dynasty rookie draft hypes quite like Talent + Youth.

Verdict

The bottom line is this: Laquon Treadwell may have deficiencies, but they can be overcome.  He can work to be faster and more explosive after the catch.  The qualities he has in his favor cannot be taught.  For example, Josh Doctson can never learn to be younger, and Sterling Shepard can never learn to be taller.  Treadwell is also an intangibles monster giving maximum effort in the pass and run game that shows up in his blocking tenacity.  These positive all-phase characteristics separate him from many in the 2016 WR class, regardless of his underwhelming metrics profile.  Confidently draft Treadwell with the second overall pick (assuming Ezekiel Elliot is selected first overall).  Harness his fall and watch him produce for your dynasty team.

Court is adjourned.