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 Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk, 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 | 5’10″ and 201 Pounds | Born November 18, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 2-3
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.47 sec | bench reps: 20 | 3-cone: 7.09 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.45 sec | vertical: 35.5 in | broad: 115 in
It’s dangerous to compare any player to Stefon Diggs, but if there’s a Diggs in the 2018 draft he might be Kirk. A five-star recruit in high school, Kirk was an all-around playmaker with 1,692 yards rushing, 1,187 yards receiving, and 42 scrimmage touchdowns as a senior. He enrolled early at A&M and broke out as a true freshman in 2015, leading the team with 80 receptions, 1,009 yards, and seven touchdowns receiving. The next year he progressed, finishing first on the team with 83 receptions and second with 928 yards and nine touchdowns receiving. As a junior, Kirk didn’t have quite as strong of a campaign, but he was still the team’s dominant receiver with 66 receptions for 859 yards and 10 touchdowns. Due to turmoil at the quarterback position, the Aggies offense as a whole had a tough season.
In fact, there were a number of factors that soften the blow of Kirk’s non-elite (but still good) production. Each year at A&M he had a different starting quarterback, making it hard for him to develop chemistry with his passers. Additionally, he was extraordinarily effective as a return man, scoring seven touchdowns in that capacity, and he also added 121 yards as a runner. All told, in his first two seasons he averaged 1,013 scrimmage yards and 10.5 all-purpose touchdowns per year: That’s pretty good for an underclassman in the Southeastern Conference. Kirk’s 2017 campaign was sabotaged in part by drama with departed head coach Kevin Sumlin. Kirk didn’t have a great combine — his 40 and vertical were decent; his agility drills were horrid — but NFL executives still might see him as versatile all-around playmaker who can be schemed to exploit mismatches in the slot, where he played 93.5 percent of his snaps last year.
Photo Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports