Dynasty

Free: Daurice Fountain – Small School, Big Upside

Originally published on May 15, Daurice Fountain – Small School, Big Upside is part of our Memorial Day weekend look at the best of RotoViz.

With the 22nd pick in the fifth-round, No. 159 overall, the Indianapolis Colts selected wide receiver Daurice Fountain from the University of Northern Iowa. If you asked yourself, “Who is that?” after the pick, you’re not alone. Fountain has received little coverage on RotoViz, except for Anthony Amico’s preview of Football Championship Subdivision talent. Let’s fill in that gap and see what the Colts have in their new wide receiver.

BACKGROUND

Fountain attended James Madison Memorial High School in Madison, Wisconsin. He earned three letters in football, making his impact as a defensive back and a return specialist before a standout senior season in 2013. He caught 48 passes for 782 yards and ten touchdowns, helping his team to the state playoffs. He was voted to the All-Region, and Big 8 All-Conference teams, Big 8 Conference Player of the Year, and First-Team All-State. In 2012 he was an all-city defensive back and Big 8 All-Conference second team as a returner. His 99-yard kickoff return is the longest in Wisconsin State history.

Fountain also excelled in track and field, where he was again named First-Team All-State in 2013. He won the state championship in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump in 2012. In 2013, he again won the 110-meter hurdles and set a state record in the process, which still stands.

DAURICE FOUNTAIN, NORTHERN IOWA, 6-1, 206

Fountain played in all 14 games as a true freshman in 2014 but made little impact on the box score. On a run-first team with David Johnson dominating touches, that should be expected. Still, that Fountain was able to get on the field in every game is a positive and no doubt helped him ascend in 2015. With Johnson now in the NFL, the Panthers relied on the running back duo of Aaron Bailey and Tyvis Smith to carry the load, and Fountain took over as the top wide receiver. The raw numbers by themselves are uninspiring, due to a low-volume pass offense. However, Fountain posted a dominator rating over 30 percent to officially break out.

The 2016 season wasn’t as kind to Fountain and the Panthers, as they won just five games and his production also dipped. His overall dominator rating dipped by two points (29 percent) from 2015, but the biggest knock is that his market share of receiving yards fell to just 19 percent. Five touchdowns helped to buoy the drop in dominator rating any further. In 2017, Northern Iowa went to the air more than previous seasons and Fountain bounced back to finish his senior season on a high note. He doubled his receptions from 2016, amassing 943 yards (30 percent market share) and 12 touchdowns (43 percent market share). A final season dominator rating of 37 percent is strong, but not extraordinary, especially given the level of competition.

Year Class G Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Team Passing Team TDs MS Yards MS TD Dom
2014 Fr. 14 10 117 1 2,824 18 0.04 0.05 0.05
2015 So. 14 41 604 5 2,083 15 0.29 0.33 0.31
2016 Jr. 11 33 413 5 2,178 13 0.19 0.38 0.29
2017 Sr. 13 66 943 12 3,063 28 0.30 0.43 0.37

THE PROSPECT

Before the draft, Anthony used a regression tree analysis in his rookie wide receiver model and found once again that breakout age is king. Fountain eclipsed the 30 percent dominator rating needed to break out at age 19.9 as a true sophomore. It’s an important milestone for WRs drafted in the first 100 picks of the NFL Draft to “hit” (200 point PPR season) within their first three years in the league. However, Fountain was the 159th player selected. Is breakout age still applicable for WRs drafted outside the top 100? In Anthony’s earlier study, only four players “hit” that were drafted outside the top 100 but like Fountain, all broke out in college. Mike Williams, Jerricho Cotchery, and Brandon Marshall were all drafted just outside the top 100 while Steve Johnson was a seventh-round pick. At 159, Fountain is closer to pick 200 than the others but he also has the youngest breakout age in the group.1

Player Break Out Age Draft Age Draft Year Hit
Mike Williams 20.6 23 101 1
Jerricho Cotchery 20.6 22 108 3
Brandon Marshall 21.9 22 119 2
Daurice Fountain 19.9 22 159 ?
Steve Johnson 21.1 22 224 3

Draft age is another piece of the puzzle for WR prospect evaluation. Blair Andrews has put each position under the microscope in his great The Wrong Read series and found that 22-year-old WRs, like Fountain, have around a 20 percent chance of attaining at least one WR2 season in their careers. That’s significantly lower than the 21-year-old cohort, but easily outpaces age 23 and above.

Fountain was not invited to the NFL Combine and had to wait for his Pro Day to show off his athleticism to NFL scouts. He was measured at 6 feet 1 inch and 206 pounds, with 10 1/8″ hands and 34 inch long arms. A 4.51 40-yard dash is far from blazing, and gives him a Freak Score of 54, which is equal to Antonio Callaway and slightly better than Michael Gallup and James Washington. Fountain excelled with a 42.5 inch vertical and an 11-foot-2-inch broad jump; both of which would have been tops for the WR position at the combine. Between his long arms and explosiveness, it’s easy to see why Fountain had a knack for finding the end zone.

OPPORTUNITY

Indianapolis presents an interesting landing spot for Fountain as the Colts have the ninth-most available air yards and are sixth in receiving opportunity score.

 

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opp_chart

Outside of T.Y. Hilton, the receiving corps desperately needs another playmaker. Chester Rogers appears to be the early favorite to win the No. 2 role opposite of Hilton. The Colts also signed ex-Washington WR Ryan Grant to a one-year “prove it” deal after he “failed” his physical with Baltimore. He at the very least offers some depth at the position. They signed Krishawn Hogan off of Arizona’s practice squad in October, but Hogan played only ten snaps before tearing his ACL. K.J. Brent, Seantavius Jones, and Dres Anderson aren’t exactly household names either. Deon Cain was drafted a round later than Fountain, at pick No. 185. While Cain did declare early and is just 21 years old, he never broke out at Clemson. Steve Ishmael is an interesting undrafted free agent out of Syracuse but has no draft capital invested and will play his rookie season at age 23.

The Colts have an obvious need at WR, but focused on the offensive line and protecting Andrew Luck early in the draft. The WR group seems wide open, especially after Donte Moncrief left for Jacksonville in free agency. A late riser, Fountain was MVP of the East-West Shrine Game where he showed the ability to play outside and return punts. As a fifth-round pick, Fountain will have to make the most of every opportunity he has on the field from rookie mini-camp to the final pre-season game. He’s a low-cost acquisition in rookie drafts, and I would take him in the late third-round, though you can likely get him in the fourth. I think he’s being overlooked, likely due to where he played college football, but he offers a solid blend of overall production, breakout age, athleticism, and available opportunity.

 

  1. It’s possible Johnson’s was even better but I could not find his junior college statistics.  (back)
By Ryan Bobbitt | @DrummerINaBox | Archive