LAQUON TREADWELL submitted by
Team: Ole Miss
Games reviewed: 8 Intro
A month or two ago, Laquon Treadwell appeared to be the consensus #1 rookie for Dynasty fantasy football players. Ezekiel Elliott was primarily thought of as the #2 guy to go off the board, with a steep drop-off in talent coming after him. In the present day, a lot has changed. Some still argue he’s their #1, and the majority still probably have him as their first receiver, but the field has certainly caught up to him. Zeke has become Dynasty’s 1.01, and Treadwell is rarely considered a tier above all receivers. I, personally, have Treadwell as my #4 (yes, 4) receiver, and I’d like to explain why. (Background)
To provide a little background in stuff people should know, something I’ve neglected to detail in the past, there’s a few things to cover. First off, Treadwell was the top receiver of this class all year, especially after the injury of Mike Williams. He was at #1 before this college football season started. In his last game of the previous season, however (the last time he’d been on the field), he suffered a pretty horrific leg injury. I think a lot of perception today is still placed around how he was prior to the injury. His athleticism has taken a noticeable hit since, and it’s really a shame that such an unfortunate event had to take place. Size: A
One of Treadwell’s top assets is his combination of height, thickness, and strength. I have pulled those size numbers from WalterFootball, whom I trust to be fairly accurate with that sort of thing (so if you have a gripe with those numbers, that’s where I got ‘em from). He appears to be closer to be 6’3” on his video, but even if he isn’t, he plays with that kind of size. Simply put, Treadwell has all the bodily assets one could ask for, and he uses them well. Hands: C+
Over a quite large sample (8 games, more than any other player), Treadwell registered a surprisingly below-average drop rate
. For that kind of rate in a vacuum, I’d hand out something like a C-, but his hands are strong (not large, surprisingly
), which I think should bump him up. And while a lot of those drops came from contested catches, his ability to make grabs (with decent hand size and exceptional strength) leads one to believe that his problem with drops comes from poor concentration, which I imagine is probably the case. As I’ve said previously with Corey Coleman, you just can’t rely on a guy to break those habits of concentration drops (although obviously they can be fixed, and Coleman's issues are worse). To sum it up, Treadwell’s hands enable him to make plays that some guys can’t, but that doesn’t make him reliable. Route Running: C
Amazingly enough, when you go through eight whole games of him, you’re bound to find good routes of many types. I gave him 16 routes “ran well” when going through these games, and at a glance that doesn’t sound bad. But to put that number into context, I gave Josh Doctson 16 in just his Texas Tech game. Sample size and competition were insanely beneficial to the number (it just kind of naturally confounds the measure a bit even though I don’t judge routes at all on how they fare against defenders), but that’s still an enormous disparity. I think below C would be a totally unfair grade to give Treadwell: he didn’t run routes “well” often, but he didn’t run them poorly very often either.
Anyway, to get into why his numbers look like they do in this category, he’s just not great at these routes. There are plenty of examples of his routes being slow
, and just generally unexciting. Treadwell’s post-injury athleticism just doesn’t allow him to be fast on his routes, which you obviously can’t blame him for, but it’s still the case. Part of the problem is, however, that the part he can control, the path and tightness of his routes, is not very good either. He rounds posts and corners
often, which forces him to cover more ground, and allows DBs to stay on top of him better. His out cuts, in the small samples available, were surprisingly good
, but he ruined (it’s a strong word, but a good descriptor) a lot of those routes by spending all of his time after cutting searching for the ball. Dig routes were pretty ugly
most of the time, where it looked like he was initially trying to run a post before making a second 45 degree cut. As for curls, he actually ran them better when Ole Miss ran the ball. He sprinted harder into his cuts on those, and turned tighter, too. Maybe he can just transfer those to the passing game? I don’t know, that was weird.
I couldn’t come up with a natural way to include this, but I wanted to give Treadwell credit for a good slant here
. Anyway, a quick note on that slant route of his: on video, they actually look really good a lot. The cause of that, however, is in how he runs them- his cut is made on the line
(or a step off
), not while running. I feel fairly confident that most receivers can make a route turning their foot and running in a straight line look really good.
With all that said, let’s sum up where he is with where his route tree is right now. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on his curls and outs. His posts and corners are satisfactory. Treadwell’s aforementioned lack of speed makes him not much of a threat on deep fades, but with his ball skills, he’s a great threat on back-shoulder
type fades. That makes 2 routes that he’s good at, 3 that he’s okay at, and 3 (counting the comeback which I haven’t really seen him run) that need work. Ball Skills: A
Treadwell’s ability to go up for balls is the reason why people love him. His strength, size, and hands allow him to dominate defensive backs on 50-50 balls. This elite skill reserves Treadwell at least a decent role on the field, where he can be a red-zone threat at the very least, and also can somewhat make up for other deficiencies (though not all). There’s not a lot else to discuss here; he’s awesome at this stuff, but he’s not Calvin Johnson, so no A+. Let’s look at a bit of a highlight reel, since I’m too lazy to embed these into my writing: Vs Alabama (‘14) ‘Bama again vs Florida (‘15) vs Vandy (‘15)- nice body control too vs Oklahoma State (‘15)- you’d like to see him reach out for it, but he really couldn’t in that instance vs Auburn (not sure which year) After the Catch: B
Treadwell won’t be pulling away from defensive backs with speed, and won’t be juking guys with agility, but he’s still pretty good with the ball in his hands. Again, his strength enables him to generate yards that he shouldn’t be getting- he breaks tackles at an exceptional rate
and can occasionally throw stiff arms
(he didn’t shake guys with agility like that very much) to keep tacklers off of him. Some of his ability to break tackles will be hindered when he goes up against NFL tacklers, but the same case can be made for guys who beat tacklers in other ways. Release: B+
I’m not the best with judging how guys get off the line, but I’m certain that Laquon is above average here. My basic way of judging players’ aptitudes in this area is seeing (a) how fast they run off the line when untouched, (b) how well they address pressing corners, and (c) what/how many tools they use to beat those pressing corners. I assumed that he’d be good using strength to get past weaker guys trying to flatten him at the line, and that assumption was largely true. The surprise came to me when seeing that at many times he could beat his man with agility and acceleration
. I’m careful to use “acceleration” here instead of speed, because the rate at which he gets off is what sheds him from his man, not just his speed. He isn’t spectacular
at getting by DBs and speeding off the line, but I’m not worried about it at all. It should be noted that his releases in 2014
(with his full athleticism) looked a fair amount better than those in 2015. Athleticism: D+
Let the record show I had a really hard time choosing between C- and D+. His lack of speed has been very widely discussed, and argued on both sides (“40 times essentially don’t matter” vs “they don’t not measure your speed”). My opinion on the importance of this issue resides somewhere in the middle of these two sides: a 40 time isn’t everything, but if you’re not a spectacular cutter, you’re in a damn better position when getting open if you’re Corey Coleman. More simply put, bad routes + being slow = not open. Treadwell just didn’t hit the threshold you'd like to see a receiver hit in the 40 (especially given that was timed at his pro day.) The 4.63 was about what I expected, however, so it was more of a confirmation than a damning, perception-changing result.
An additional concern comes when looking at the rest of his actual combine numbers
. That lack of explosiveness is very not-good.
His acceleration looks pretty good, which enables him to get off the line well, but that’s really the only attribute I see being above average. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any shuttles or cone drills from his workouts in my less-than-thorough search for combine results, so I didn't find anything to verify that feeling quantitatively.
His athleticism is just pretty bad. He is strong football-wise (he looks stronger than his 23rd percentile bench suggests) and agile, but that’s about it in the “pro” category. This is easily my biggest problem, or at least source, as it plays a big part in route running. Special category- My hot-take on production and competition
A big supporting point of his is that he’s been producing in the SEC. I think that this is an overrated factor. These are the only “elite” SEC defenses in my eyes from the last two years: LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss (I’m actually not sure, but they don’t matter here anyway since Robert Nkemdiche and Treadwell obviously never played against each other), and Florida (more so in ‘15 than ‘14). You can tell me Auburn belongs on that list, and I can tell you that they gave up 35 to South Carolina in 2014 and 34 to Idaho in 2015. They are not a great defense (though not bad necessarily). Arkansas was also pretty good this year, so I'll include them too. Anyway, let’s look at his production these last two years against these teams:
|Year-vs ||Rec ||Yards ||TD |
|14- Alabama ||5 ||55 ||1 |
|14- LSU ||4 ||71 ||0 |
|15- Alabama ||5 ||80 ||1 |
|15- Florida ||5 ||52 ||0 |
|15- Arkansas ||7 ||132 ||1 |
|15- LSU ||4 ||58 ||1 |
As you can see, his only real standout game came against Arkansas. In those other games, his highest totals were 80 yards and 5 catches. I understand giving a definite edge to someone playing tougher defenses (mostly when putting up similar numbers), but that edge can be all but thrown out the window when Josh Doctson is out here putting up 18 catches and 267 yards on fools. We’re obviously comparing apples to oranges here, but the differences in production between Treadwell and other top-level receivers are so large that I don't think you can give Treadwell a major bump at all for his competition. Run Blocking: whoopty do
He won't be taken off the field because of a lack of ability in this department, so that is all that actually matters from our perspective. The big hits are aesthetically pleasing, but you (probably) don't score fantasy points with pancakes. Strengths:
- Size and ball skill combination allows him to win lots of battles in air
- Extreme strength enables him to get many more yards after the catch
- Tons of fire in his ass. I don’t buy into “leadership” and stuff like that much at all, but I bet he’ll fight like hell in games.
- Bad athleticism and route running means he just won’t get open often, a severe hindrance to his production
- Concentration drops always concern me
- His leg injury just makes me sad :(
Full disclosure: I began writing this in February and my lazy ass has made it so that I’m doing this again in April. My point in saying this is that I’ve thought about this for a very long time.
During the season, I had him as my #1 receiver because, frankly, I hadn’t watched him hardly at all, and thought the hype (I don’t mean “hype” in a negative way here, just can’t think of a better word)-that originated from the previous season, before his injury- must’ve meant that he should easily be the #1. However, I was pretty unexcited with what I saw with him then while I had developed googoo eyes over Leonte Carroo and Josh Doctson. Then around December and January I got to watch him a lot more, and started thinking more for myself. I was pretty certain that he was not even a top three receiver for me. Coming back to this now, I’ve read through and edited, watch his videos again, and have come back with a slightly different perspective. He’s still my number four receiver (I’ll elaborate there in a bit), but I appreciate what he does more. That is to say that I think putting him that low is based more on actual reason than a little bit of contrarian tendency (I know I'm like this at times) at this point. Now let me talk about why I think this.
In my eyes, Treadwell has a relatively low fantasy ceiling. Not being able to get open consistently is very bad for a receiver’s production, and it is very likely that he will have trouble separating. He can make excellent plays when thrown to covered, but he’s not gonna get thrown to all that much when not open, and of those throws, he’s still not going to catch 100% of them. It just seems very hard for him to rack up yardage with his defender draped on him. With that said, he should certainly be a red zone threat regardless, and an above average threat after-the-catch. I’ll further this by saying that I fully expect him to be a better NFL receiver than fantasy receiver.
I don’t really like making player comps, but a profile feels incomplete without one. He’s been compared most to Dez Bryant, Alshon Jeffery, and Kenny Britt. Honestly, the Bryant one is mostly crap to me. I think the most accurate placement for him is somewhere between Britt (who was not a bad player) and Jeffery. Remember that this is strictly in terms of play style, and not production.
To reiterate what I feel I’ve said a couple times, Treadwell has a very high floor and a relatively (when compared to players at the draft slot of 1.02 and 1.03) low ceiling. I’ve explained my reasoning there already. I think that, even put in a great system, he’s not gonna set the world on fire. On the other hand, he’s a damn good player, and I really can’t see him failing, unless his leg pulls some bullshit again. And for all this reason, in that I want guys with great upside, I have him below Josh Doctson, Leonte Carroo, and Michael Thomas (by the way, I need to revisit Thomas, so he might end up being lower than Treadwell after all). There’s also the potential that Shepard jumps him, but I hiiiiiiighly doubt that; I just can’t count it out because I haven’t seen enough of Shepard yet. Keep in mind that Carroo and Doctson are my lovechildren also.
Anyway, this puts Treadwell at #4 among my receivers and #5 overall. When I write this stuff I feel like it’s being anti-him or being a “hater” by the sort of norms (for lack of a better word) that the community has set. In reality though, I think he’s really good, and I’m rooting for him! I want to keep reiterating that. But I won’t be owning him anywhere, I’m afraid.
So, if nothing else please read this the whole way through. I've spent way too much time, collectively, on this already, and I’m not going to put up with being shit on by people who didn’t read my full reasoning behind all this. Also, if you have any questions or want to see any more of something please let me know! edit:
a very good point that koz has brought up below is his age. I addressed that to him in the comments, and for here on out I think I'll integrate an age discussion in these.
The Texas A&M vs. Arkansas betting line had the Aggies as a -13 to -14.5 favorite depending on the book. The Aggies were the second most wagered on side for this weekend’s College Football action. College Basketball Odds - Live College Basketball Betting Lines. July 25, 2020 - Compare and find the best College Basketball spreads and lines anywhere on the internet! NCAA college basketball odds, point spreads, and betting lines (ATS, over under, money lines) updated multiple times daily. Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I don’t think this is a good match-up for Texas A&M as the Razorbacks can chew up the clock and wear down this Texas A&M defense. The Aggies have plenty of firepower to put up a big number but I think Arkansas’s ability to control the clock will give them a chance at the victory. Take Arkansas +8.5 12/27/2014 Arkansas vs. Texas betting lines and pick – Razorbacks favored in AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. Written By Michael Robinson. Share.
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