Dynasty Draft Profile: Leonte Carroo
April 12, 2016 | Rich Hribar
|21.9||72||211||31 3/8||9 5/8|
*MSYD = % of Team Receiving Yardage
Starting with on field production, Leonte Carroo sports one of the most unique production profiles of this draft class. After failing to catch a pass as a true freshman in 2012, Carroo started a three year run of touchdown production that was unrivaled in Rutgers history as he set a school record with 29 career touchdown receptions. For his career, Carroo turned 23.8 percent of receptions into touchdowns, the highest rate of any available receiver in this class.
Outside of his impressive touchdown totals, Carroo’s raw counting stats aren’t that glistening, but when you factor in the low level of quality output produced by the offense he was a part of, his production takes on a different light as he was a one man band. His 1,895 receiving yards over the past two seasons accounted for 39.4 percent of all of the Scarlet Knight’s passing yardage and his 29 scores make up 46 percent of the touchdown tosses Rutgers had over the past three seasons.
Rutgers ranked 94th in the passing this season, and that was largely in part to Carroo himself. He missed two games earlier in the season after being suspended indefinitely for a domestic dispute (he returned when charges were dropped) and then missed the final two games of the season with an ankle injury. In the four games he missed, Rutgers passers threw for just 157.8 yards per week compared to 231.8 yards per game with him active. In terms of scoring production, Rutgers was outscored on average 34.5 to 14 in those four games as opposed to 36.4 to 31 when Carroo played.
No player had a worse environment compared to the production Carroo provided per target for his offense. Compared to his teammates, a target to Carroo was worth 7.74 more yards than going anywhere else in his offense. Of all receivers across the nation to have 50 or more targets on the season that mark easily led the entire country and was far superior compared the environment compared totals that the other receivers available this season posted.
While it’s definitely a plus that he was productive under dire circumstances, we’ve also seen high market share numbers in low leverage offenses lead us astray before. Of the 21 players drafted since 2005 to post a season with 40 percent of his team receiving yardage while in an offense that passed for under 3,000 yards during their career, only seven have gone on to post multiple top-30 scoring PPR seasons in the NFL.
|2006||Georgia Tech||Calvin Johnson||2375||50.6%||1||8|
|2008||Georgia Tech||Demaryius Thomas||1290||48.6%||22||4|
|2009||Georgia Tech||Demaryius Thomas||1774||65.1%||22||4|
|2008||North Carolina||Hakeem Nicks||2584||47.3%||29||2|
|2007||Michigan State||Devin Thomas||2842||44.3%||34||0|
|2011||Georgia Tech||Stephen Hill||1850||44.3%||43||0|
|2005||South Carolina||Sidney Rice||2649||43.2%||44||1|
|2005||Western Michigan||Greg Jennings||2712||46.4%||52||5|
|2013||Kansas State||Tyler Lockett||2921||43.2%||69||0|
|2006||Central Florida||Mike Sims-Walker||2805||42.0%||79||1|
|2015||South Carolina||Pharoh Cooper||2437||40.1%||TBD||TBD|
The above list is a veritable who’s who in terms of bust city, including A.J. Jenkins, Jon Baldwin, Earl Bennett, and Devin Thomas, while a good portion of us have chased our tails in hopes of Rueben Randle or Stephen Hill could become something of significant relevance.
Carroo isn’t in the same tier of an all-around prospect as Megatron or Demaryius Thomas, but there are some gems in here as well when noticing Eric Decker and Greg Jennings (who do have production ties to Hall of Fame quarterbacks) and the promising starts to the career of Jordan Matthews and Tyler Lockett. Hakeem Nicks and Sidney Rice also had solid beginnings of their careers that inevitably were sapped away by other circumstances.
The other thing noticeable from above is that the NFL largely accounts for draftable receivers carrying their offenses as nearly the entire group was selected within the top-100 picks of their respective drafts. In the end, I’m still very impressed with Carroo’s production profile, but I’ll use restraint on inflating him strictly because he grew from concrete in a sense.
The one other part of Carroo’s production that I’m really intrigued by is that he has panache for the big play and dropping big game haymakers. He averaged 20.2 yards per reception over the past two seasons, the highest mark in all of college football for players that tallied 75 or more receptions over that span. Carroo also scored multiple touchdowns in 10 games over his career. While his 10 touchdowns on the season in only eight games are impressive, he scored nine of those touchdowns in three of those games.
His hyper volatile production can be attributed to his surrounding talent or lend itself to the fact that he’s not a consistently true lead component to a passing game, but if you’ve read my writeup on Will Fuller or my stance on attacking receivers in roster construction, you already know I care a lot more about ceiling weeks than floor ones when rosters are constructed properly.
The reason I believe Carroo could fit more into the Decker and Jennings bucket of receiver production under the Calvin and Demaryius tier from above market share dynamos is that he’s just not the objectively measured athlete that fits the archetype of alpha receivers.
Carroo hits all of the requisite marks of size, but is right around the middle of the road in receiver percentiles in every field measurable he tested in at the combine. He’s not objectively bad in any of those areas, either, just not in the mold of a potential unicorn material. Pulling up his closest objective comparisons in terms of athletic profile and final year production, we do get a couple of lead capital receivers, however.
We’re doubling down on the Nicks table appearance from above when layering in production to physical profile. Nicks was well on his way to a strong career through three seasons with two top-12 scoring PPR seasons before leg injuries sapped everything from him, but there would be some irony in the Giants finally replacing him with a player that has so much objective overlap.
David Boston was 215 at the combine, but we know that wasn’t a playing weight he maintained in the NFL. Still, before his off the field transgressions got in the way, he posted three top-20 scoring seasons in his first four NFL seasons. I can see turning your nose up at Cotchery, but he also has had two top-20 scoring seasons and another two top-36 scoring ones during his career.
Even if Carroo isn’t a true lead receiver for his team, that doesn’t mean he can’t consistently be a productive pro receiver for fantasy purposes.
Moving into the more subjective area, Carroo also brings a wealth of translatable traits to party to go along with hitting the requisite marks in athleticism and production. Carroo runs into the most trouble with longer defenders that can get on his body due to his uniquely stocky frame, but when defenders don’t get their hands on him at the line of scrimmage he has the footwork in avoiding initial contact while getting into his stem quickly and in route uses subtle body movement to create necessary separation.
Carroo is also bringing outstanding hands to the table. Per Pro Football Focus, he was credited with just two dropped passes over the past two seasons. Pairing his hands with his thicker frame really aids him in contested catch situations and securing receptions in tight quarters through contact.
Short area burst is a major area of strength for Carroo and when he catches the football he gets upfield immediately. He’s not going to do anything aesthetically exciting in the open field, but he gets extra yardage consistently by not wasting any movements or leaving yards available.
I don’t view Carroo as having the lead receiver NFL potential of the trio of Josh Doctson, Corey Coleman or Laquon Treadwell, which is why I have him slotted in as the fourth ranked receiver in this class. While I don’t have him among the top tier, Carroo is still arguably my main target in this rookie class that isn’t named Ezekiel Elliott over those players because he checks the most objective boxes in terms of age, requisite size, athleticism and production that point to future success in the NFL more so over all three members of that triumvirate and everyone else in this class.
I didn’t really touch on any off the field concerns there may be for Carroo because I truly don’t have any pulse on if that will truly harm his draft stock at all. For the sake of keeping things even here, I’m just not going to touch getting into any of the minutia that may or may not surround that because I’m simply not educated enough from all angles and it’s something that will be answered for us on draft weekend.
If I have a rookie pick that is 2-4, I ideally want to move down for multiple picks and players and target Carroo, but I don’t want to have to move aggressively up to acquire him (or anyone else) at a premium draft position. If you’re holding one of those rookie picks in that area, I’d recommend finding the owner willing do that because of the buzz Carroo is carrying, leaving you multiple ways to upgrade your team in this draft that evens out quickly after the first half of dozen players or additional pieces from their roster to help you immediately.