Laquon Treadwell early leader among rookie wideouts

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 Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell appears to be the consensus favorite as the top wide receiver in the draft, but will concerns about his long speed push him down real (and fantasy) draft boards? I dove into the tape to find out.


» Big body and long arms
» Fantastic run-after-catch ability
» Displays some nuance in his routes
» Constantly wins contested catches

Treadwell is widely regarded as one of, if not the, top wide receiver prospects in this class, and for good reason. There is so much to like about his game, from his physicality and shiftiness after the catch, his ability to snare contested catches, and his ability as a route runner. His 2015 tape pops more as the season wears on, as he was gaining more strength and confidence after a 2014 broken fibula.

While some have reservations about Treadwell's speed and how that will impact his ability to beat some NFL corners, he demonstrated enough savvy at this point that I'm not worried about that. He is adept at using subtle contact and his big frame to create separation at the catch point, where it's very evident he is an absolute beast. He also isn't a one-speed player, and can create separation in his routes by fooling the cornerbacks into a bad guess.


» Lacks elite deep speed
» Relies on size more than athleticism to climb the ladder
» Struggled a bit vs. press coverage

The main thing working against Treadwell is his speed, something teams (and fantasy pundits) often become too obsessed with. While I would have liked to see Treadwell be able to turn on the jets or have a more impressive vertical, that's really not the type of player he is and that's fine. Treadwell wins in so many ways on the field that his lack of one elite characteristic shouldn't be seen as a fantasy death sentence. Lastly, his struggles against press coverage were minimal, and he should improve in that area with some reps against NFL-level competition.

Ideal NFL fantasy fits

Teams with talented field stretchers or slot receivers would be wise to add Treadwell as a chain-moving possession receiver and red zone monster. He'd make a great target for Teddy Bridgewater, whose coaches want him to sling the rock more, and he'd be a dynamite No. 2 option alonside Sammy Watkins in Buffalo. The Saints have two talented young receivers in Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, but lost some size when they released the aging Marques Colston. Treadwell would add some physicality in the passing game to an offense piloted by one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks -- a dangerous combination.

Early fantasy draft projection

Treadwell is a candidate to go 1.01 in dynasty formats, but his lack of top-end speed might cause others to lean toward Ezekiel Elliott. In the right situation, Treadwell could put up solid fantasy totals as a rookie, but he might need a year under his belt before truly making a massive statistical impact. We've been spoiled lately with the 2013 and even 2014 wide receiver classes, and while Treadwell is an exciting prospect, re-draft players might want to wait until the later rounds before calling his name on draft day.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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