In this series, I will take a look at several rookies with an average draft position (ADP) in the 4th round or later in rookie drafts based on the multiple real-life and mocks drafts I’ve been in this off-season. I’ll do my best to breakdown why I believe they’re a tremendous value at their current ADPs and why they’ll have an opportunity to outperform other players drafted ahead of them.
While everyone else is eyeballing the bigger-named Colts’ rookie Deon Cain, don’t overlook one of my favorite sleepers in this year’s class, Daurice Fountain. Cain went to the big name, high-profile school which gives him more name appeal, but the Colts selected Fountain earlier in the draft. The Colts nabbed Fountain with the 22nd pick of the fifth round while they selected Cain with the 11th pick of the sixth round. Fountain was produced by the same Northern Iowa program that gave us Kurt Warner and David Johnson, so the small school has a history of generating players who have succeeded in the NFL.
A quick look at Fountain’s measurables courtesy of playerprofiler will show you what a talented athlete he is. Fountain has a 99th-percentile burst score and a 95th-percentile catch radius. Looking at his SPARQ-x score and college dominator rating, you’ll find he is above the 70th-percentile in both of those categories as well.
Looking for a highlight reel to see him at his best? This will show you a bit of his potential upside.
Using his measurables courtesy of mockdraftable, you’ll find Fountain had a decent showing at his pro day. If you’re not familiar with it, Pat Kirwan’s explosion score is a tool that provides some insight into how explosive a player is. You combine their vertical jump, broad jump in feet, and bench press reps. Any total over 70 is considered the mark of an explosive player. Fountain’s totals came out to 67.7, which puts him just below the threshold, but you’d have to assume that an off-season with an NFL strength and conditioning staff can get him at least three more reps on the bench, bumping his score to 70.7 without any improvements in his leaping abilities. It’s not a perfect tool, but it is something to consider. By comparison, Deon Cain’s explosion score was only 54.
There is some cause for concern, as Fountain only had one year of upper-end production in college, at an FCS school. As a senior, he amassed 66 receptions for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns. Fountain was also named the 2018 East-West Shrine Game offensive MVP to close out the year. His showing in the Shrine game will hopefully alleviate some of the concerns regarding how he will fair facing tougher competition than he faced at UNI. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein gives a more significant breakdown of Fountain’s pluses and minuses in his NFL Draft and Combine Profile.
If highlight reels aren’t your thing, here is a clip from his senior year with a few interviews of his teammates and coaches plus Fountain himself to give you a feel for him as a player.
Aside from T.Y. Hilton, there isn’t anyone on the Colts’ depth chart that should be able to block his ascension if he plays up to his abilities. Ryan Grant? Chester Rodgers? If Andrew Luck is back- and healthy- you could do a lot worse in your rookie drafts than taking a late round flier on his potential #2 target in the passing game.