Most people would probably jump at the opportunity to draft a rookie wide receiver that they could likely get for free, and yet despite that free cost shares a number of similarities with players like Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, Alshon Jeffery and Andre Johnson.
The odds that Quincy Enunwa has a career that is anywhere close to as good as the careers of his comp group are so slim that you might call them non-existent. But at the same time, it’s impossible to ignore the upside that the Nebraska receiver might have. He weighed in at 225 pounds at the Combine and ran a 4.45 forty. He scored a touchdown per game in his senior season and accounted for 45% of the Nebraska receiving production. When he enters the NFL he’ll be younger than the following players were when they entered the league: Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery, Reggie Wayne, Riley Cooper, and Brandon Marshall.
The major reservation that the RotoViz-centric draft evaluation process would have about Enunwa is that even if his Dominator Rating is high, his raw yardage output was low. In fact he’s 20 yards under the average for his comp group. It’s probably important to note that the comp group is generated automatically and I don’t do any culling of the list. I only mention that because in Enunwa’s case what’s happening is that he’s such an outlier on that one measure that the similarity search can’t find closer matches while also still being close on the other measures. This happens sometimes when a receiver plays in a run heavy college scheme. In the way of full disclosure it was a problem with Stephen Hill coming out of college. There is maybe one more caveat to offer in Enunwa’s case. The similarity search does have some survivor bias baked into it. Because I’m using age as a similarity variable, I need to compare receivers to other players that I have age data for. It’s a lot easier to get age data for receivers that have appeared in an NFL game (even if it’s just one game). This is not typically a problem when comparing prospects expected to go in the first four rounds of a draft. It’s probably more problematic for players expected to go late or be undrafted. So there are likely some receivers that could be similar to Enunwa, but that I don’t have in my database simply because getting the ages of all of those players is a huge project.
When you use your last rookie pick on Enunwa, the player that CBS Draft Scout expects to be a 7th rounder or UDFA, you’ll have one primary risk to weigh against the upside. The risk is that even though Enunwa is a big receiver with a number of signals pointing to his potential, that the combination of his low passing output college offense and late draft position will mean more for his future than all of the positive signals combined. But at a cost of essentially free, that’s a risk I’ll be taking.