Donovan Peoples-Jones to Cleveland Browns: NFL Draft 2020

The Cleveland Browns selected Donovan Peoples-Jones, Wide Receiver, out of the University of Michigan. He was the eighth pick of the sixth round and was the 28th wide receiver drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Biography

Donovan Peoples-Jones is 6’2” and 212 pounds. He played three years at Michigan and will be 21 years old at the beginning of the 2020 NFL season. Peoples-Jones was a former number one recruit coming out of high school but failed to live up to this promise. He was limited by the quarterback play at Michigan throughout his time there.

College Production

Donovan Peoples-Jones broke out at the age of 19 (age during their first season with a 20% receiving dominator rating) in his second season at Michigan. DPJ’s best season was his sophomore season at 19 years old. Peoples-Jones had 50 receptions, for 649 receiving yards, and eight scrimmage touchdowns for a receiving dominator rating (average percentage of their team’s receiving yards and receiving touchdowns) of 27.6% (35th percentile). Peoples-Jones had disappointing age-adjusted production for such a highly ranked high-school recruit. He averaged 471.3 scrimmage yards (28th percentile) and 4.7 scrimmage touchdowns (46th percentile) per season for an average scrimmage dominator rating (average percentage of their team’s scrimmage yards and scrimmage touchdowns) per season of 9.2% (33rd percentile). Peoples-Jones wasn’t efficient within the Wolverines offense either averaging 0.53 scrimmage yards per team play (26th percentile). However, on special teams, Peoples-Jones did provide a glimpse of the talent that made him such a high recruit. He had 89 returns, for 743 return yards, and two return touchdowns. For Peoples-Jones’ truthers, this small flash of dynamism might keep their hope alive that he becomes a star in the NFL.


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Athleticism

DonovanPeoples-Jones

Donovan Peoples-Jones has an outstanding height-adjusted speed score of 106.7 (87th percentile) after running a 4.48-second 40-time at the NFL Combine. He has an elite burst score of 145.2 (99th percentile). Peoples-Jones is built like an ideal wide receiver and he will rely on his quickness and speed to separate, go up over defenders, and generate yards after the catch in the NFL.

NFL Landing Spot

Cleveland Browns: What a mess. The year that was supposed to be never was, as Freddie Kitchens’ team underwhelmed. Baker Mayfield regressed in several major categories. He was either at or below league average when targeting several areas of the field. The once heralded Super Bowl contending offense finished as the 22nd ranked. They ran the seventh least amount of plays, passing on 59.6 of their snaps. Despite the underwhelming finish, this WR corps is talented, boasting both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Landry remains an excellent wide receiver, accounting for 26% of the team’s targets and finishing as the WR13. Beckham’s fall from grace continues, as the once elite receiver finished as the WR26. But he still accounted for 25% of the team’s targets. Nevertheless, he continues to be fodder for trade speculation. The team did have talented Antonio Callaway on it’s roster, but he continually violated the league’s substance abuse policy and left for the hilariously defunct XFL. Outside of that, there isn’t much else on this roster. Next-man-up Damion Ratley only had 12 catches last season. The Browns made Austin Hooper the league’s highest paid tight end, effectively murdering every ounce of Njoku hype. He carried a 16% target share for the Falcons last season, and is being paid to do at least that in Ohio. Had he played a full season last year, Kareem Hunt would have totaled roughly 88 receptions, good for the third highest on the team and will likely draw a similar load in 2020. This is a difficult situation to suss out, Landry is in Cleveland for the next few years, Beckham might be gone opening up a huge opportunity for a potential WR2, but this is also a team that paid big money for a premier pass catching tight end, and targeted running backs with the 11th most frequency last season. There’s an opportunity here, but there is opportunity for a lot of others as well. Plus, it’s the Browns

Rivals’ Rapid Analysis

Donovan Peoples-Jones is a gifted wide receiver athletically, but his lack of production in college is concerning. Peoples-Jones will need to count on his quickness and speed to separate, out-jump defenders, and generate yards after the catch to be successful in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns invested very little draft capital into Peoples-Jones. He doesn’t have much of an immediate opportunity for the Browns. He will compete for targets with Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Kareem Hunt from Baker Mayfield.

Donovan Peoples-Jones is in Shawn’s fourth wide receiver tier, Shane’s WR22, and outside of the top 50 rookies. Shawn would target Peoples-Jones in the late fourth round in superflex rookie drafts (Late 4th round in single QB). DPJ topped a lot of pre draft lists as a potential sleeper in this class who don’t have the appropriate pedigree because of the horrendous QB play at Michigan. But that coach turned into a pumpkin and DPJ tumbled all the way to the sixth round. But as far as opportunity is concerned, the Browns have a weak depth chart behind OBJ and Landry. They do run a lot of two tight end sets, and they do have a phenomenal pass catching back in Hunt, but there is an avenue for DPJ to see the field and prove that his draft slide was a mistake. 

Donovan Peoples-Jones is outside of Dave’s top 25 rookie wide receivers. His lack of age-adjusted production is unappealing even with his phenomenal athletic ability. Cleveland is a solid landing spot as far as depth wide receivers are concerned. However, Cleveland appears to be moving to a more two-tight-end type offense and this combined with the playcalling fails to present a lot of upside. DPJ will be tempting for fantasy managers that value athleticism but there are other wide receivers to target in this range that actually produced in college.


This article was written in collaboration with Dave Wright. For more analysis check out Dave and Shawn’s previous articles at Dynasty Football Factory. Additionally, you can also find Dave’s dynasty superflex rankings at Dynasty Football Factory. Stay tuned for more rookie wide receiver rapid reaction articles from us throughout the entire NFL Draft. We will also give you instant reactions for priority UDFA wide receivers to help you try and find the next Adam Thielen. Interact with Dave and Shawn on Twitter @ff_spaceman and @ff_walrus. You can listen to our rivalry on our podcast @ATaleofTwoRivals with @ff_banterman.

Information found in this article was gathered from @ff_spaceman’s College Prospect Database, PlayerProfiler.com, Sports-Reference.com, AirYards.com, and a prospect’s college team website.

skennedy

Everything from Fantasy Football hot takes, to Fantasy Football Stats-Really, is there even anything else? Staff Writer for @DFF_Dynasty. #DynastyFootball

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