The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate, who has declared early for the draft. For the total list of all players leaving school early, see our underclassmen tracker.
For more on all the other receivers in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft wide receiver rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 6.
Junior | 6’5″ and 228 Pounds | Born February 3, 1997 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 2-3
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.68 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 31 in | broad: 112 in
Tate is the type of player my method of analysis tends not to like: In his three-year career, not once did he have even 550 yards receiving or 25 percent of his team’s receiving yardage. He is, however, an enticing prospect in that he’s massive and young and perhaps his relative lack of production last year (40 receptions for 548 yards and 10 touchdowns) can be excused due to the season-ending injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois (patella) in the first game of the season. Backup quarterback James Blackman played well for a true freshman, but the Seminoles managed only 21 passing touchdowns on the year. Everything considered, Tate did well to capture 50 percent of the receiving touchdowns in the 12 games he played, and he was downright unstoppable in the Independence Bowl, catching five receptions for 84 yards and three touchdowns in his final college performance.
Even though he’s done little in his career — zero receptions as a freshman and 25 receptions for 409 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore — Tate decided to declare for the draft following the departure of long-time FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher. A four-star recruit in high school, Tate has been dubbed a combine loser because of his disappointing drills, but his 4.68-second 40 time is better than the 4.7 Devin Funchess ran three years ago, and I expect Tate to do better at FSU’s pro day. With his youth, physical profile, and touchdown-skewed production history, Tate is very much a Funchess-esque developmental project with long-term potential and red-zone jump-ball skills. The NFL graveyard is littered with the bodies of second- and third-round receiving projects who never developed — but that probably won’t stop a franchise from selecting Tate on Day 2.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports