The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. It’s important for daily fantasy players to 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 Oklahoma State wide receiver Marcell Ateman.
For more on all the other receivers in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft wide receiver rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 8.
Redshirt Senior | 6’4″ and 216 Pounds | Born September 16, 1994 (Age: 23) | Projection: Rounds 5-7
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.62 sec | bench reps: 13 | 3-cone: 7.07 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.25 sec | vertical: 34 in | broad: 121 in
During the 2017 season and even into the early stages of the pre-draft process, some analysts preferred Ateman as an NFL prospect to his teammate and Biletnikoff winner James Washington, which was ridiculous. The Ateman-over-Washington talk has subsided, especially since Ateman underachieved at the combine: Bigger isn’t always better, and raw statistics can be deceiving.
A four-star recruit who received interest from from several Southeastern Conference schools, Ateman chose Oklahoma State and was granted immediate playing time with the Cowboys as a freshman, catching 22 passes for 276 yards. After a similar sophomore campaign (20 receptions for 268 yards), Ateman emerged opposite Washington as a junior, finishing third on the team with 45 receptions and 766 yards and second with five touchdowns. Poised to progress as a senior, Ateman suffered a season-ending foot injury before the campaign even started, and he was forced to redshirt for all of 2016 as Washington dominated the offense with his second consecutive 1,000-10 performance.
In 2017 Ateman returned to action with a decent season, finishing second with 59 receptions, 1,156 yards, and eight touchdowns. While Ateman had top-10 marks with 3.5 yards per route and 455 deep receiving yards (Pro Football Focus), he had disappointing market share numbers — especially for his age — with just 22.9 and 21.6 percent of the team’s receiving yards and touchdowns. Never before in his career has Ateman crossed the 25-percent threshold in either category, and wide receivers who don’t contribute as runners or returners and who have low market share values tend not to have NFL success. The best-case outcome for Ateman is probably something akin to early-career Marques Colston, but in all probability he will be more like Vince Mayle.
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