When he joined Clemson, Peake was one of the most highly regarded players coming out of high school. Unfortunately for Peake, a torn ACL and a storm of other talented wide receivers landing at Clemson (DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant) limited his production until his senior season, when he posted a respectable stat line of 50-716-5. So, will his athletic pedigree and late-career success put him on the path of becoming the next stud Clemson wide receiver? I went to the tape to find out.
» Long frame/arms
» Natural deep threat with an additional gear
» Able to accelerate quickly with his long strides
Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 209 pounds, Peake looks the part of an NFL receiver. His long speed is apparent on tape, though as his Reception Perception numbers bear out, he wasn't overly successful on the high number of go routes he ran. Peake's speed also shows up when he gets in space, too, as it doesn't take him long to accelerate and reach his top gear off of screens and other short passes. He's adept at using his speed as a tool in his route-running, setting up corners with varying speeds, and always having a second gear in his back pocket when he needs it.
Later in Matt Harmon's study of the incoming rookie wideouts, he wonders if Peake wasn't under utilized at Clemson, as he showed a knack for getting open on short and intermediate routes even though he was primarily asked to run go routes. It was evident on tape that Peake's speed and footwork allowed him to gain consistent separation on out routes, but he wasn't deployed on those as often. It's possible an NFL team could see more from Peake's game than as purely a deep threat.
» Small hands, drops could be problematic
» Multiple knee surgeries in his past
» Production never matched talent
Peake was measured with 8-1/2 inch hands at the Senior Bowl in January, but managed to get them measured at 9-1/4 inches at the combine in February. Someone's been getting some hand massages, it seems. All kidding aside, while Peake's hands weren't a massive issue on tape, he did post a rather high drop percentage (9.1) on a low volume of targets. According to NFL Media's Gil Brandt, Peake also dropped a few passes during his positional workout at the Clemson pro day, which likely didn't assuage any scouts' concerns.
Despite his pedigree coming out of high school (considered one of the top 15 players in the nation), Peake never reached his full potential at Clemson. Whether from his torn ACL, the presence of two first-round wideouts ahead of him, or a combination of the two, NFL teams will undoubtedly factor this into their evaluation of Peake.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
The Bengals signed Brandon Lafell to help fill the void left from Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, but there's no way they're counting on him alone as a No. 2 option. They'll likely add a few bodies in the draft, and Peake could be a solid fit. The Houston Texans need speed opposite DeAndre Hopkins, and Peake would fit the bill as a field stretcher who can also work as a possession receiver to move the chains. Likewise, the Giants are in need of talent opposite Odell Beckham Jr. and the Falcons could still use more speed after signing Mohamed Sanu.
Early fantasy draft projection
Peake is an intriguing prospect, as he appears to have the tools necessary to be a contributor from the get go. Will he put them all together at the next level? That remains to be seen. With his height, speed and route-running ability, Peake figures to be a Day 2 or Day 3 selection in the NFL draft, and he's currently going in the early third round of dynasty rookie drafts (per Dynasty League Football). As for redraft leagues, well, unless Peake lands in a perfect situation and starts setting offseason workouts on fire, he probably shouldn't pique your interest on draft day (sorry, I had to get one in before closing this piece).