Keyarris Garrett needs fine-tuning for fantasy impact

Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, each day NFL Fantasy will profile a prospect who could make a splash in fantasy next season. Today's subject is former Tulsa wide receiver Keyarris Garrett.

Keyarris Garrett certainly passes the eye test of looking like an NFL wide receiver. The former Tulsa wideout is 6-foot-3, weighs 220 pounds and has massive 34-1/2 inch arms. However, even with that frame Garrett only managed one truly difference-making season at Tulsa, as injuries cost him most of two separate campaigns. With NFL bloodlines (his uncle was David Mims, a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons), ideal size, and a stellar senior campaign 96-1,588-8, is Garrett ready to fight for fantasy relevance in the NFL? I dove into the tape to find out.


» Ideal size/length for the position
» Good body control along boundary and in the air
» Hands catcher whose drop problems are overstated
» Strong ability to track the deep ball

Despite his big frame, Garrett moves pretty well when trying to get downfield, as evidenced by his 28 catches of 20-plus yards last year. He shows a knack for understanding where he is in relation to the boundary and solid body control to keep himself in the playing field.

In the games I studied, Garrett relied on his hands and not his body to make catches, and I personally thought his drop problems were overstated. While he might get bested in a contested situation (more on that in a second), he otherwise showed good concentration and strong hands. Look at his Hail Mary touchdown against Oklahoma or his wild touchdown at the end of the first half against Memphis for examples. Garrett also boasts a strong ability to track the deep ball, whether working back to an underthrow or catching a pass over his shoulder. Case in point, every one of his touchdowns in 2015 was over 32 yards.


» Limited ability after the catch
» Needs to learn to use his size more effectively
» Rounds too many intermediate and underneath routes
» Often waits for the ball to reach him instead of attacking it (esp. in contested situations)

Garrett has good natural explosion (36.5 inch vertical jump, 128 inch broad jump) and decent long-speed for a guy his size (4.53 40-yard dash), but none of this translates into any sort of wiggle or escapability after the catch. When Matt Harmon charted Garrett for Reception Perception, he found the Tulsa wideout was brought down on first contact on 69 percent of the receptions where he was out in space.

While his size is ideal for the position, there is certainly room for Garrett to grow in terms of using that size more to his advantage. With his long arms and big vertical, I wanted to see him beast more cornerbacks than he did in the AAC in 2015. In addition, he could stand to be more aggressive attacking the ball in general and using his size to box out defenders, especially in contested situations. There were too many times where Garrett watched a ball get batted away at the last second while waiting for it to reach him, instead of being the aggressor.

Finally, Garrett isn't a deficient route runner, but he needs to improve the crispness of his routes if he wants to a) get on the NFL field early and b) consistently get open. He was able to beat corners off the line with his physicality and speed when working deep, but his intermediate routes were way too round and lackadaisical.

Ideal NFL fantasy fits

Buffalo has a great No. 1 wideout in Sammy Watkins, but Garrett could bring some additional size to their pass-catching corps. Washington could be moving on from Pierre Garcon soon, and DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder aren't exactly what one would call "big" targets. Garrett could help move the chains and still provide some explosion deep opposite Jackson. Cleveland needs wide receivers, period, and Garrett could be a nice middle-round project to scoop up for Hue Jackson and co. to mold. Detroit signed Marvin Jones, but losing Calvin Johnson takes away an intimidating force in the red zone. Garrett could help fill that void in a rotational role as he developed more as an all-around wide receiver.

Early fantasy draft projection

While the size is there, the other parts of Garrett's game that need refining will push him down to a late Day 2 or more likely Day 3 selection. That won't preclude him from making an early impact though, especially if his coaches don't throw him into the fire from the outset. There's no guarantee he refines his route-running, as that's an artform that can take years to master, but if Garrett does his real life and fantasy stock will be on the rise. As it stands right now, Garrett makes for an excellent upside pick at the backend of dynasty rookie drafts, but will most likely be a waiver wire option in standards leagues.

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-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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