Despite coming off the board in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Terry McLaurin was a complete fantasy afterthought heading into his rookie season. That didn’t last long though. The man they call ‘Scary Terry’ burst onto the scene with 125 receiving yards and 23.5 fantasy points in Week 1. He followed that up with several other impressive performances, including a 5-130-1 line against the Eagles and another 100 yards and two scores in Miami. He averaged 13.7 Fantasy Points per Game (No. 29 among qualified wide receivers) while seeing many of the game’s top cornerbacks such as Byron Jones, Jaire Alexander, and Stephon Gilmore. One year later, and he’s now a mid-round pick in all formats with an FFPC ADP of 62.88. PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit has him ranked nearly a full-round higher, and for good reason given the advanced stats and metrics.
Terry McLaurin was extremely efficient for a rookie, especially considering Washington’s comically bad quarterback carousel. He dealt with poor performances from Case Keenum and Colt McCoy before the team turned the keys over to first-rounder—and McLaurin’s college quarterback—Dwayne Haskins. The trio ranked No. 85 in Target Accuracy when targeting McLaurin. Despite this, he still found a way to rank No. 11 at the position with a +23.0 Production Premium and No. 2 with a+37.4-percent Target Premium. All while finishing with 919 (No. 27) receiving yards and seven (No. 13) touchdowns on 58 (No. 36) receptions. If it wasn’t for two games missed with a hamstring strain and concussion, he would have easily topped 1,000 yards.
Terry McLaurin was the clear favorite in the Washington pass attack from day one. None of his teammates came close to his 93 (No. 34) targets or 23.0-percent (No. 22) Target Share. His 36.7-percent Dominator Rating ranked No. 2 among all wideouts, as did his 47-percent share of his team’s Air Yards. His blazing 4.35 (98th-percentile) speed allowed him to be a deep threat as well as a target hog. McLaurin drew 21 (No. 24) Deep Targets, averaging 15.8 (No.14) yards per reception and 9.9 (No.12) yards per target with 13.9 (No. 21) yards of Average Target Distance. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering his incredible 20.0 (94th-percentile) yards per reception average in his final season at Ohio State.
Check out Terry McLaurin’s 2020 Projection on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:
We’ve established that F1 (another of his popular nicknames) commands targets and is a threat to go deep, but how is he in traffic? Fantastic is one way to describe it. Another is to say he led all receivers with a 68.4-percent Contested Catch Rate. With improved target accuracy, it’s easy to see McLaurin ranking near the top of the league in Catch Rate in future seasons.
Terry McLaurin’s 2.38 (No. 19) Yards per Pass Route, one of the more predictive metrics for future fantasy production, ranks third among rookie wide receivers over the last three seasons. Another indication of how efficient he is and how good he can truly be with more targets. Speaking of more targets, with a year of experience under his belt and a new coaching staff bringing in a more pass-friendly philosophy, McLaurin is in line for a significant bump in 2020. The team will see more pass volume after ranking in the bottom five in 2019, naturally leading to more opportunities for pass catchers. They’ll be playing from behind often, something the new coaching staff, particularly head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, experienced plenty of last season in Carolina. That resulted in the Panthers accumulating the second-most pass attempts in the league.
With his only target competition coming from Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, and rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden, McLaurin will see a significant share of the increased pass volume. Rivera compared his new WR1 to his old WR1, D.J. Moore, this offseason. Moore saw 135 (No. 10) targets in his second season. If McLaurin can come anywhere close to that, he will far outproduce his ADP.
If we could count on consistent quarterback play in Washington, Terry McLaurin would be even more of a smash pick in the middle rounds. His numbers actually took a dip with Dwayne Haskins under center thanks to a pretty dreadful 5.2 (No. 34) Adjusted Yards per Attempt and 34.8-percent (No. 53) Red Zone Completion Percentage. We have to trust that with a full training camp as the starter, Haskins’ play will improve from year one to year two. Even modest improvements would help McLaurin take the significant second-season jump we expect that he will. If Haskins turns out to be good, we’ll be talking about McLaurin as 2020’s biggest steal by season’s end.