The 2017 WR Sweet 16: (5) Zay Jones vs (12) Chris Godwin

The RotoViz Wide Receiver Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament matches the top incoming prospects in a head-to-head March Madness style format. Various RotoViz writers break down each match-up with the winner moving on to the next round.

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(16) Malachi Dupre vs (17) Ryan Switzer

(2) Corey Davis vs (15) Josh Reynolds

(3) John Ross vs (14) Josh Malone

(4) JuJu Smith-Schuster vs (13) K.D. Cannon

(5) Zay Jones vs (12) Chris Godwin

Zay Jones enters the draft process as one of the most productive WRs ever to play college football. Jones continued to impress during his week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. With his stock on the rise, Jones also performed well at the combine, showing that he was more athletic than most analysts thought. The big questions on Jones have been about the level of competition and his production being attributed to the offensive system at Eastern Carolina. Can Jones continue his momentum in the Sweet 16?

Chris Godwin has been on a similar trajectory. Godwin also managed to prove to doubters that he is more athletic than given credit for. Unlike Jones, Godwin doesn’t face the questions about the level of competition. Will Godwin follow in Allen Robinson’s footsteps and become another underrated WR out of Penn State? Lets see what our pundits have to say.

Shawn Siegele – Chris Godwin:  Two of the biggest combine risers match off here. Jones showed size and athleticism that disputes the short area/volume label. Godwin possesses a sneaky profile where nothing is extraordinary, but his breakout age, final age, results, size, and athleticism all paint the picture of a future NFL starter.

Matthew Freedman – Chris Godwin:  I think this tweet just about sums it up:

Jones is a much better athlete than I thought he would be — but Godwin tested well at the combine, is a year younger, played in a bigger conference, and was also productive in college. I don’t like either of these guys as much as I want to, but I’ll go with Godwin.

Anthony Amico – Chris Godwin:  I really like both of these prospects, but Jones has had more overall buzz and probably costs more at this point in rookie drafts. I’ll take Godwin with the discount.

Matt Wispe – Zay Jones:  As Kevin Cole showed us with his WR prospect regression tree, production is all that matters and Jones’ production is among the best in the class. While Godwin has a slight advantage in TD market share (0.38 to 0.31), Jonesl market share of yards (0.43 to 0.27) and receptions (0.44 to 0.26) put him in a different class with regards to production. And with his rising NFL draft stock, Jones appears to be positioned to get instant opportunity.

Blair Andrews – Chris Godwin:  According to Mock Draftable, Jones and Godwin are about 79 percent the same person. Jones was a lot more productive in terms of raw stats, but their Dominator Ratings are similar. Godwin’s big advantage is his age. He pulls off the 12-5 upset here. There had to be at least one.

Justin Winn – Chris Godwin:  Godwin isn’t outstanding, but he also doesn’t really have any blemishes. He has good size, good athleticism, good and explosive raw production, good market share production, and seems likely to go relatively highly in the draft. He seems like the kind of guy who could exceed expectations and have it seem completely obvious in hindsight.

Heith Krueger – Chris Godwin:  Zay Jones’ athletic profile is intriguing, but his production tends to display traits of a stat compiler, posting an absurdly low 10.7 yards per reception average and only totaling 23 touchdowns despite catching the ball 399 times over his college career. On the other hand, Chris Godwin checked all the boxes in key areas of his profile. In his breakout 19-year-old season, Godwin posted a 16.6 yards per reception average and represented 34.9 percent of his team’s total offense. Couple this with incredible 4.42 long speed and above average agility for a guy with a 6 foot 1 inch, 209 pound frame, Godwin looks like a fantastic grab at the end of round one in rookie drafts.

RotoDoc – Chris Godwin:  Jones may have outproduced Godwin, but Godwin was more of a deep threat, is slightly heavier, and was a far bigger TD threat. He also enters the draft a full year younger than Jones, and there’s evidence age might matter more than production these days.

Jordan Hoover – Chris Godwin:  As others have noted, Jones and Godwin are strikingly similar in terms of athletic makeup. Jones is more agile and explosive, while Godwin is bigger and slightly faster, but the differences are slim. Jones’ market share of receiving yards in 2016 is impossible to ignore, but Godwin posted a strong 0.33 Dominator Rating at age 20. In a match up this close, I’ll give the slight edge to Godwin due in large part to his youth in comparison to Jones.

Scott Smith – Chris Godwin:  This is a case where the difference in talent isn’t worth the higher draft capital required to draft Jones. Jones has done well for himself during the draft process. I don’t dislike him at all, especially given his production. Godwin however, may offer similar upside at a cheaper price. Godwin is also younger and has shown to be the better producer of touchdowns.


In true March Madness form, the 12 seed upsets the fifth-seeded Jones. Unfortunately for Matt Wispe, Jones will be unable to advance as he only received one vote from our panel. Age and draft capital seem to be the deciding factors as our panel had both of these players ranked very close from a talent standpoint. Matthew Freedman raises a valid concern for Jones’ production pointing out that in his senior season, Jones managed to score on only 5 percent of his 158 touches. Godwin will move on to face the winner of DeDe Westbrook versus Taywan Taylor.

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By Scott Smith | @ScottSmith610 | Archive

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