The 2017 WR Sweet 16: (16) Malachi Dupre vs (17) Ryan Switzer

March Madness is back and so is the 2017 edition of the RotoViz Wide Receiver Prospect Sweet 16 Tourney.

We take some of the top incoming WRs and put them through the brackets March Madness style. Various RotoViz writers will break down the matchups and give you the insight that goes into each selection. This exercise is meant to give readers multiple opinions and the thought processes that go into choosing a player in a head-to-head setting.

The RotoViz writers were instructed to pick a winner for each matchup based upon the following criteria:

1. RotoViz metrics

2. Projected chance of future success

3. Cost to acquire player (Draft Price)

4. Personal preference

Each staff member’s vote counts as one point. Each member will post a narrative justifying his or her pick. In the end the player with the most points advances to the next round.

Here is a look at this year’s bracket:

Screenshot (24)

Here is a look back at the 2016 results.

(16) Malachi Dupre vs (17) Ryan Switzer

Just as we did last year, we have a play-in game to face the top-seeded Mike Williams. Malachi Dupre arrived at LSU with much fanfare as a top WR recruit coming out of high school. LSU’s struggles on offense may have severely hindered the development of Dupre, leading to the early jump to the NFL. Following in the footsteps of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry may be a lot to ask and lofty goals to live up to. However, proponents of Dupre still believe he has a chance to live up to his talent.

Ryan Switzer may not be the prototypical modern NFL WR, but he does have a specific role, operating in the slot. Switzer improved each of his years at Chapel Hill and had his best season this past year with Mitch Trubisky. Versatility is another calling card of the diminutive senior as Switzer also offers production in the return game. Will this be enough to move him past Dupre in the eyes of writers?

Screenshot (26)Jordan Hoover – Malachi Dupre:  Ryan Switzer is just the seventh player since 2000 to eclipse 2,500 yards receiving and 1,000 punt return yards in a career, including seven punt return touchdowns. His ability to contribute on special teams makes him a good candidate to find a future home on an NFL roster, despite his lack of size. But in this match up, I’m siding with Malachi Dupre. The main knock on Dupre is his lack of production at LSU. However, his 0.25 career market share of receiving yards — compared to 0.21 for Clemson’s Mike Williams, for instance — indicates that the blame may fall more on the Tigers’ putrid offensive output as opposed to a lack of ability on Dupre’s part. Referencing the Rotoviz Scouting Index, he’s also more likely to end up as a top-100 draft pick, potentially leading to more opportunity. Despite legitimate question marks and Switzer’s special set of skills, I’ll go with the younger, bigger, and more-productive-than-you-might-think Dupre in this initial match up.

Shawn Siegele – Malachi Dupre:  Dupre has the easy edge on Switzer in career market share and Freak Score and is likely to go much earlier in the NFL draft.

Matthew Freedman – Malachi Dupre:  The best thing that Ryan has going for him is that he’s not related to Barry Switzer. The North Carolina product might be able to carve out a role for himself in the NFL as a returner who pretends to be a WR — his seven career punt return scores at UNC are impressive — but I refuse to be excited by a receiver who runs only a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at five feet nine inches and 179 pounds. I’m not all that excited about Dupre, but at least he’s an early entrant with decent size and straightline speed matched with near-elite explosiveness. Ultimately, I don’t expect either of these guys to do much in the NFL. Switzer might have the higher floor but Dupre probably has the higher ceiling.

Anthony Amico – Malachi Dupre:  As Siegele points out in his breakdown of the junior WRs, Dupre had a great 2015 season before falling back some in 2016. A breakout as a true sophomore is impressive, and he comes in much younger than Switzer. Progression from that 2015 season probably puts him in the elite prospect range, but he is at least a very attractive sleeper at this juncture.

Matt Wispe – Malachi Dupre:  Switzer has created some buzz over recent weeks as a potential sleeper in this draft class, but Dupre’s pedigree and career market share make him the clear selection with his currently falling acquisition cost. As mentioned, Dupre had a young breakout age. He ranked 22nd in Jon Moore’s 2017 Phenom Index compared to Switzer’s 41.

Scott Smith – Ryan Switzer:  As an LSU alumn it’s probably sacrilege to go against Dupre. Michael Thomas took a hit last year for a lack of production that very well may not have been his fault, as he proved during his rookie year. Dupre falls into that same category with what happened at LSU over the course of his career. Another thing that happened over the course of his career was a failure to make the big play when given the opportunity. One leg up I have on the other writers is seeing every one of Dupre’s games. Even after coming to LSU as the top WR out of high school, what you get with Dupre is a WR that looks good from far but is far from good. Maybe I’m bitter that Dupre’s potential never materialized.

Switzer has a lot going for him. While his numbers aren’t gaudy, there was a steady progression from his freshman to senior seasons. Add in the special teams production and I feel that Switzer can make an earlier impact that Dupre. In today’s NFL there is a place for a player like Switzer. While his ceiling may be lower, a comp to Jamison Crowder isn’t bad.1

Justin Winn – Malachi Dupre:  Dupre weighs about 15 pounds more, is a year younger, is favored by scouts, and his career market share of receiving yards is about eight percentage points better than Switzer’s.

Charles Kleinheksel – Ryan Switzer:  I’ll take Ryan Switzer. The market share numbers between the two are similar, but Switzer averaged a lot more receptions per game. He was also well involved in special teams, which makes a big difference in theses types of players.

Final Result 

Malachi Dupre advances pretty handily on the strength of his market share numbers and his physical advantages that will allow him to play on the outside at the next level. Dupre’s ceiling is still unrecognized due to the putrid offense that held him back in college. While Dupre may not be on the level of Michael Thomas as a prospect, there is upside there as a late round flier. Switzer will have to prove his detractors wrong as Dupre moves on to the next round.

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  1. Crowder did post a 0.28 career msYD.  (back)
By Scott Smith | @ScottSmith610 | Archive

Comments   Add comment

  1. Probably reading too much into it but I'm pretty shocked that Mike Williams is the #1 seed over Corey Davis at Rotoviz of all places.

  2. I have to imagine they used the rotoviz scouting index for seeding but I could be mistaken.

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