In a recent article for Dynasty Happy Hour, The Anatomy of Non-Breakout Wide Receivers, I analyzed the college profiles of non-breakout wide receivers. I found non-breakout receivers share common traits. Certain attributes are unique to successful non-breakout receivers. In this piece, I will compare these shared traits to Henry Ruggs’ college profile. It's time to put an end to the debate on whether he is a one of a kind prospect or compares to typical non-breakout receivers.
Typical Non-Breakout Receivers
First and foremost, non-breakout college receivers failed to produce 20 percent or more of their team’s offensive receiving yards and touchdowns in a season. From 2003-2017, non-breakout receivers shared several common characteristics.
17.6 percent of receivers to enter the NFL have been non-breakout wide receivers.
92 percent went undrafted or on Day 3 of the NFL Draft
96 percent were 22 years of age or older.
96 percent played through their senior year.
84 percent first produced during their age 18 or 19 college season.
Non-breakout receivers have a wide range of career games played in college.
The majority of non-breakout receivers never came close to breaking out across a wide range of production metrics.
Non-breakout receivers have varied 40-yard dash times and height-adjusted speed scores (HaSS).
Tables illustrating each bullet point can be found in the article mentioned above.
Successful Non-Breakout Receivers
Only three (2.9%) non-breakout receivers from 2003-2017 have produced a top-24 NFL season. Those players are Wes Welker (7), Tyreek Hill (2), and Adam Humphries (1). Seven (6.8%) non-breakout receivers have produced a top-36 NFL season. Top-36 non-breakout receivers include Wes Welker (7), Tyreek Hill (4), Steve Breaston (2), Adam Humphries (1), Marquise Goodwin (1), Danny Amendola (1), and Travis Benjamin (1). While acknowledging this is a small sample size, here are the similarities successful non-breakout receivers share:
Successful non-breakout receivers first produced between the ages of 18-20. This mirrors the trend of successful breakout receivers who have a higher hit rate with an 18-20 breakout age.
Successful non-breakout receivers usually played 40 or more games in college.
Generally, across several different production metrics, successful non-breakout receivers produced more than unsuccessful, non-breakout receivers. Only 6.8 percent of successful non-breakout receivers finished just below non-breakout thresholds in career average single-season dominator rating, yards per team pass attempt, and scrimmage yards per play.
Successful non-breakout receivers generally had fast or slow 40-times paired with below-average HaSS.
Is Henry Ruggs Unique?
Henry Ruggs remains one of the more controversial wide receiver prospects in recent memory. He was the first wide receiver drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft but failed to reach the 20 percent single-season receiving dominator threshold at Alabama. How does he compare to typical non-breakout receivers?
Ruggs was drafted 12th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft whereas only two non-breakout receivers were also first-round draft picks.
He has an age 21 Draft Age and is an early declare unlike 96 percent of non-breakout receivers.
Only three non-breakout receivers have over a ten percent single-season dominator rating from ages 18-20 years old. In Ruggs’ three seasons, he had single-season dominator ratings of 14.9, 18.2, and 15.5 percent.
Ruggs has a 99th percentile 4.27-second 40-yard dash.
Ruggs doesn’t compare well to typical non-breakout receivers.
Ruggs Compared to Successful Non-Breakout Receivers
Ruggs does compare favorably to successful non-breakout receivers.
Ruggs first produced for Alabama at 18 years old which aligns with successful non-breakout receivers. Production at an early age is a shared trait for successful breakout receivers as well.
He played 40 games in college as did most successful non-breakout receivers.
Ruggs produced more than typical non-breakout receivers as did most successful non-breakout receivers. His career average single-season dominator rating of 16.2 percent, 1.41 receiving yards per team pass attempt, and 0.65 scrimmage yards per play all narrowly missed important benchmarks for age-adjusted production.
Ruggs’ 99th percentile 4.27-second 40-yard dash and 90th percentile HaSS is similar to other successful non-breakout receivers who have an elite 40-time.
Follow me to the moon and back, @ff_spaceman on Twitter, in my quest into unexplored spreadsheets and dynasty football analysis. Find other advanced metrics similar to the ones discussed in this article in my college prospect database. Also, tune into my podcast @ATaleofTwoRivals for more insightful dynasty analysis and the best banter in fantasy football. Until next time, be well and be safe.
Information found in this article was gathered from @ff_spaceman’s College Prospect Database, PlayerProfiler.com, Sports-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, and different prospect’s college team websites.