Kevin White and Breshad Perriman and the Value of Mystique

by Aaron Butler ·

Kevin White and Breshad Perriman were hot wide receiver prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft.  Both were selected in the first round and landed in prime opportunity spots for immediate fantasy production.  Then they suffered lower body injuries. Their ailments were shrouded in mystery and ultimately they both sat out their rookie campaigns.

Last spring, I hopped on the Kevin White bandwagon.  I bought into the hype and was admittedly excited about the potential of a 6-3, 215-pound wide receiver with 4.35 speed.  The ADP data from June 2015 on points out that I wasn’t alone.  Only Amari Cooper, Todd Gurley and (sometimes) Melvin Gordon were selected earlier.  The Chicago Bears appeared to be an excellent spot for White to end up.  They had an emerging star in Alshon Jeffery and had just traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets.  The 250 targets that Marshall and Jeffery split in 2014 was a siren song for fantasy gamers looking to score the next rookie sensation.

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Kevin White Advanced Metrics Profile

Similarly, White’s identical twin (minus the age appropriate hairline) on, Breshad Perriman, melted faces with his sub-4.3 pro day 40-yard dash.  Perriman’s 125.7 (99th-percentile) Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) cemented his place in the first round of 2015 rookie dynasty drafts.  Like White, Perriman ended up in a wonderful position with the Baltimore Ravens. Torrey Smith bolted to the 49ers in free agency.  The Ravens top-WR heading into the draft was a 36-year old Steve Smith, who despite a pleasantly productive 2014, slowed down drastically at the end of the season. Big-armed Joe Flacco was gifted a 6-2 target with 4.3 speed?  Now we’re cookin’.

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Breshad Perriman Advanced Metrics Profile

No 2016 Discount

I compared their current ADPs with those just after the 2015 NFL Draft.  I found it interesting that White and Perriman have held their dynasty value despite sitting out their entire rookie season.  Apparently the only thing that hurt the value of the top rookie WRs in 2015 was Sam Bradford and somewhat ironically, Chip Kelly.

Top-6 2015 Rookie WRs

Top-6 2015 Rookie WR ADPs

The other thing I found while perusing the latest DLF mock draft data is that if these two redshirts were in the 2016 rookie drafts, their ADP would be up from last year.  White would be the third player off the board after Ezekiel Elliott and Laquon Treadwell.  Perriman would go fifth after Josh Doctson.  That’s a one spot jump for White and a four spot leap for Perriman. Is that an indictment of the talent in this year’s draft?  Maybe.  Or it may just be that we know where White and Perriman will be playing this season.  An uncertainty which has probably kept the “true” rookie values suppressed for the time being.

Primed for success?

A fair question to ask is; are the Bears and Ravens still premium spots for immediate fantasy success?  Each team has approached this offseason in a different manner.  The Ravens have been stockpiling WRs by bringing in Mike Wallace and re-signing their leading receiver in 2015, Kamar Aiken.  They hope the ageless Steve Smith will return to his early 2014 form and 2nd-year super-sleeper Michael Campanaro can contribute as well.  While it’s assumed the 26th overall pick of 2015 will be a focal point of the offense in Baltimore, with so many capable bodies in town, it’s far from a given.

Meanwhile, Chicago has parted ways with three of their aging offensive stars in the last 14 months.  White appears to be the ideal receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery.  White stretching the field on the far outside would allow Jeffery to naturally slide into a flanker target hog role in the offense.  Despite having the most cap money allocated to wide receivers in the NFL, the Bears don’t have much to show for it in terms of depth and talent at the position.  For this reason, I could see them drafting a wide receiver for the second year in a row.

Of the two, Kevin White would be my choice to have an immediate fantasy impact.

I’m too old for this…

What about their career outlooks?  I used the PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis Tool to try to find some similar comps.  I sorted the database by wide receivers over 6 foot, between 210-219 pounds and drafted in the first round.  I removed any players who weren’t in the elite percentile of HaSS in order to accurately compare proper split end-type WRs.  Finally, I removed Cordarrelle Patterson because he was the only one with a sub-30 percent College Dominator Rating (red flag!) and technically never broke out (red flag!).

The remaining players are a mix of underachievers and potential (super)stars.  What separates the two groups?  Breakout age.

White and Perriman Comparable Players

White and Perriman Comparable Players

I know it doesn’t necessarily need to be a black and white (pun!) evaluation but if I had to classify White and Perriman into one of the two groups, they are closer to the underwhelming duo than the two young prodigies.

I believe the Kevin WhiteRobert Meachem parallel should serve as a warning beacon to dynasty owners.  Both players were one-year wonders in college. Meachem played the stretch-X position for the Saints with Drew Brees manning the controls.  In his best season, Meachem finished as the fantasy WR26 in 2009.  White figures to be the secondary receiver in Chicago with Jeffery garnering most of the looks from Jay Cutler.

Meachem had his moments in the NFL.  Would you have been satisfied with selecting Meachem as the WR24 WR18 in a dynasty startup before his rookie year?  Well that’s the going rate for Kevin White, right now.  That’s forgoing receivers like Jordan MatthewsDonte Moncrief, Michael Floyd, Tyler Lockett, Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker.  WHAT?!?

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Robert Meachem Advanced Metrics Profile

Breshad Perriman profiles very similar to the wide reciever that Al Davis infamously overdrafted, Darrius Heyward-Bey.  Steady, unspectacular production in middling collegiate offenses.  Both share the trait of unprecedented speed as well as the unfortunate characteristic of unreliable hands.  The consensus scouting profile was that he’s not a finished product and still needs some time to hone his receiving skills in order to be successful in the NFL.  Like Meachem, Heyward-Bey also failed to break into the WR2 range for fantasy production. He topped out as the WR27 in 2011.  Heyward-Bey has survived in the NFL despite being a massive draft bust.  It’s fair to wonder how much longer he can hold on. History has not been kind to aging speedsters.

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Darrius Heyward-Bey Advanced Metrics Profile


NFL draft position has been shown to be a predictor for future success.  Would the Bears still have selected White at 1.07 if they knew he was actually a year older than they thought?  Both players were older prospects when they broke out at the college level.  A lost year has set them back even further in their development.  Breshad Perriman will be 23 years old before he plays a snap in the NFL.  Kevin White will be 24 this season, that’s a full year older than Sammy Watkins who will be entering his third season in the NFL.

I’m not doubting their athleticism.  I’m not saying they are bad at football.  What I am pointing out is that based on their advanced age, history says their perceived upside is likely being overstated.  In the PlayerProfiler’s Dynasty Rankings, both White and Perriman are outside the top-40 WRs, and once you get past the mystique of the unknown, that’s about right where they should be.