FCS All-American First teamer. Jerry Rice Award runner-up. Two of the top three single-season receiving yardage totals in program history. Interested yet? You should be, as Jake Wieneke has done all of these things and more.
Jake Wieneke out of Maple Grove, MN has spent the last 3 years plying his trade at South Dakota State. Within those three years, he has set the Missouri Valley conference on fire. Checking in at 6’4, 215lbs he certainly has the size to go with his talent. Throughout high school, Wieneke was a highly touted track star running 100m and 200m. As a Minnesota native, his dream was to play for the Golden Gophers in college and was receiving light interest from them while in high school. During his junior high school year, he suffered multiple injuries which ended the Minnesota Golden Gophers interest in him and brought an end to his track career.
Wieneke’s size is definitely a huge factor in the way that he plays. He is brilliant at avoiding tackles which helps creates a lot of yards after the catch. While he is not quite Odell Beckham, he has great hands and is more than capable of the odd circus catch. In his first 3 years at South Dakota State, he has reeled in 223 catches going for 4192 yards averaging 18.8 yards per catch, while also having an eye for the end zone taking it to the house 43 times in the first three years. His production really is unbelievable. In the 2016 season, South Dakota State had 3803 total passing yards and Wieneke’s totaled 1,316 of that, so he was responsible for 34.6% of their total receiving yardage. As we know, when NFL scouts are looking at college players, production is key.
While his size is definitely a huge selling point, unfortunately, his speed doesn’t match up, which could put some NFL teams off him. I personally don’t think this should be an issue, he is extremely strong and is more than capable of fighting off any defensive backs that may get in his way. Now I know what you are thinking, “this guy was a future 100/200m track star, how can his speed be an issue?” Because of his injuries, he seems to have lost a step.
While watching his film, one thing that stood out is his inconsistency getting open. When stepping up to a higher level, the DB’s are taller, faster and stronger. You can’t rely on your size and strength every time; look at Leonard Hankerson for example. Big guy, really strong, never really set the world alight playing in the NFL.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Don’t be put off by the fact that he is coming out of a smaller FCS school. Many players from out of the FCS have made it in the NFL and have had good, solid careers.
In conclusion, do I think Wieneke is a future hall of famer? Probably not. Do I think that when he declares for the draft next year, he will be a solid fantasy option? Absolutely. If Wieneke is not on your radar, he should be. A good receiver with a keen eye for the end zone is always someone to monitor.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.