by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know the names of the top wide receiver prospects heading into the NFL Draft like Laquan Treadwell or Will Fuller. That said, could a once promising prospect ultimately prove to be a draft day steal? Clemson’s Charone Peake, who was considered a top prospect coming out of high school, has flown relatively under-the-radar but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him emerge as a solid NFL receiver.
Armed with size (6’2”) and speed (his 4.45 40-second dash tied him for the fifth fastest among wide receivers at the Combine), there obviously is a lot to like. There are two significant issues, which could be helping to suppress his draft day value:
- Size of his hands – As per NFL.com, “Hands are extremely small for his size and position”
- Injuries – Has already undergone two knee surgeries
You could probably throw in production as well, with just 50 receptions for 716 yards and 5 TD this past season (all career highs). His size and speed have been catching the eye of NFL Draft analysts, including NFL Media’s Bucky Books who described Peake as a “clone” to suspended WR Martavis Bryant in this quote (click here for the article):
“I think Charone Peake from Clemson could be a nice replacement, a nice fit, and I see him as kind of a clone,” Brooks said. “Big, tall, fast, physical, can make plays down the field. When you think about the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have all the other stuff in place. … They need a guy who can just stretch the field, I believe he is one that can do so. They do a great job of developing younger guys on the practice field.”
That’s a pretty lofty comparison, but one that can’t be overlooked. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein added to the hype recently, saying (click here for the full article):
“Peake was a highly rated receiver as he arrived at Clemson, but knee problems short-circuited two of his seasons. If his tape from 2015 is any indication of what he’s capable of, I think an NFL team has an opportunity to add a big, fast wideout with starter’s ability and a skill set that allows him to work all three levels of the field.”
It makes sense that his name isn’t being bandied about with the top options in the draft, though that doesn’t mean that the upside isn’t there. He certainly has the size, speed and athleticism, it’s a matter of him finding the right home and overcoming the questions that hang over him. There’s a chance that he can land in a spot where he could start right away (the Steelers or New York Giants come to mind) and could quickly entrench himself as a draft day steal.
As the draft moves along keep a close eye on where he’s selected. In the right situation he could find himself producing immediately in a top NFL offense.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our MLB Preason Team Top 10 Prospect Lists: