Question: What do you about an NFL draft prospect who has ideal size and elite athleticism, but the production just isn’t there?
That’s the quandary evaluators have with Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who’s coming off a spectacular Combine performance.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior ran a respectable 4.48 at the 40, but his vertical jump of 44.5 and his broad jump of 11 feet, 7 inches was in the 99th percentile for his position, according to MockDraftable. And his adjusted SPARQ score, which measures a players’ athleticism, puts Peoples-Jones in the 97th percentile, second only to Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, who had an adjusted SPARQ score in the 99th percentile, according to Hayden Winks of RotoWorld.
Michigan’s Donovan Peoples-Jones just jumped out of the building.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 28, 2020
So, surely Peoples-Jones put up otherworldly numbers at Michigan, right?
And therein lies the problem for evaluators. Although Peoples-Jones dealt with a shaky QB situation, you’d still like to see better numbers than this: 34 receptions, 438 yards, and 6 touchdowns. For his career, he had 103 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 TDs.
To put that into perspective, top receiving prospect Ceedee Lamb of Oklahoma had 1,327 yards receiving this year alone, along with 14 TDs, while Day 2/Day 3 prospects Devin Duvernay of Texas, Antonio Gandy-Golden of Liberty and Day 1/Day 2 prospect Justin Jefferson of LSU all had 1,380 yards receiving or more this past season.
And that’s where things stand now. Evaluators already knew Peoples-Jones was incredibly athletic; the Combine just confirmed that.
"This guy is an athlete, but is an enigma in terms of production. He's already blowing things up here," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said of Peoples-Jones tonight at the combine.
— TheWolverine.com (@TheWolverineMag) February 28, 2020
“He has shown flashes of being a guy that has tremendous big-play potential,” said NFL Network draft analyst Bucky Brooks, via Rainer Sabin of the Detroit Free Press. “You have seen the punt return touchdowns. You have seen some of the wild, acrobatic catches he’s made during his time at Michigan. And there are people that believe when you have an athlete that is that big, that strong, that is explosive that sometimes as a developmental prospect he may pop at the next level regardless of what he looked like in college. …
“I think right now he is a borderline Day 2, Day 3 guy,” Brooks told the Detroit Free Press. “On the high side, maybe you’re talking about the third round unless someone actually falls in love with the talent and potential.
“Conservatively, I would put him on that borderline between third and fourth round, knowing that it could fluctuate up or down based on how the draft plays out.”
Peoples-Jones is currently the No. 127 overall prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Steve big board.