Rookie Profile: WR Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

Never Wake a Sleeping Lion

Golladay presents a curious case for the dynasty community. He embodies that prototypical height, weight, speed prospect that we all covet and landing in Detroit does nothing to hurt his dynasty stock.

Golladay was a late-bloomer who received little fanfare out of high school which led him to the University of North Dakota, where he found moderate success as a freshman and sophomore. Then he transferred to Northern Illinois (NIU) for his final two seasons of eligibility, which presented a step-up in competition as well.

During his time at NIU, Golladay was a second-team All-MAC pick in 2015 turning 73 catches into 1,129 yards and 10 touchdowns. He followed that up with a first-team selection in 2016, recording his second consecutive 1,100-yard season (1,156) to go along with eight scores on 87 receptions.

These totals coupled with a strong showing at the combine led Detroit to draft Golladay with the 32nd pick of the 3rd round (96th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.

I like to begin my research by looking at previous NFL drafts to identify players possessing similar physical make-ups. Let’s see how Golladay matched up with those who are athletically similar.

Name Year Height Weight Age* 40-yd Dash Speed Score Dominator Rating Breakout Age SPARQ-x
Kenny Golladay 2017 6’4″ 218 23.6 4.50 110.7 41.8% 19.8 118.2
Michael Thomas 2016 6’3″ 212 23.3 4.57 99.9 39.6% 21.5 114.5
Devante Parker 2015 6’3″ 209 22.4 4.45 109.5 46.3% 19.6 N/A

*Age during Draft Year. Dominator Rating: >45% is extraordinary. Breakout Age: >19 is considered extraordinary. SPARQ-x: an approximation of Nike’s SPARQ rating.

Oddly enough, Golladay compares quite well with two of the buzziest wide receivers this offseason. Michael Thomas finds himself as the WR1 in a Drew Brees-led offense following the departure of Brandin Cooks to New England.  Let’s not even get started on Devante Parker who, after two extremely disappointing seasons in Miami, is by far the OTA hype-machine winner of the 2017 offseason. Now, I neither see Golladay as the WR1 that Thomas has so quickly become in New Orleans nor the vertical field-stretcher that Parker has been pegged as in Miami; however, athleticism at that size usually translates to the NFL nonetheless. Golladay is a high-effort player that possesses the ability to find holes in zones and high-point the ball very well.

Since I couldn’t find a recent NFL draft pick to adequately compare him against, I decided to dig down in the NFL Draft crates a bit. After watching Golladay’s game tape and considering his measurables, I landed on another big-bodied wide receiver that to my eyes also possessed some striking similarities on the football field. That player is Marques Colston.

Name Year Height Weight Age 40-yd Dash Speed Score Dominator Rating Breakout Age Catch Radius SPARQ-x
Kenny Golladay 2017 6’4″ 218 23.6 4.50 110.7 41.8% 19.8 10.17 118.2
Marques Colston 2006 6’5″ 225 23.0 4.54 115.8 34.6% 19.3 10.21 108.8

As you can see Golladay and Colston both bring impressive size to the position, Colston at 6’5” and 225lbs, while Golladay stands 6’-4”and weighs 218lbs. They also provide eerily similar 40-yard dash, breakout age and catch-radius results. Colston, a relative unknown coming out of Hofstra, was selected by New Orleans with the 252nd overall pick in the 2006 draft. The Saints struck gold with Colston (70 rec, 1038 yds, 8 TD in his rookie season) who turned a 10 year NFL career into 711 catches, 9,759 yards, and 72 touchdowns. And while I don’t see a 700/10,000/70 career arc for Golladay, I do see a maximum effort player who presents as a mismatch for opposing DBs – especially in the red zone.

Rank Player (Team) Pos Bye Best Worst Avg Std Dev
35 Kenny Golladay DET WR14 7 22 64 35.5 10.2

Fantasy Pros Rookie Rankings have Golladay as the consensus WR14 (35th Rookie overall) behind the likes of Dede Westbrook and Josh Reynolds. To me, that’s a bit low.

His primary competition for immediate WR3 reps in a pass-happy Detroit offense comes from the likes of Keshawn Martin, Jace Billingsley, and Jared Abbrederis. Let’s not forget that Anquan Boldin turned that role into a team-leading 8-touchdowns in 2016. I could see Golladay as that big slot receiver who finds holes in zone coverage and gets red zone targets over the smaller-bodied options in Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Kenny Golladay is the WR10 in my rookie rankings and I would gladly draft him in the 3rd round of all dynasty rookie drafts.

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mwalker

Diehard Eagles fan, World's Okayest Dad and Dynasty / IDP Writer for the Dynasty Football Factory.

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