Laquon Treadwell Fantasy 2016
Without an elite possession receiver opposite of sophomore Stefon Diggs, the Minnesota Vikings selected former Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft.
Though Treadwell had previously been considered the No. 1 receiver in this year’s class, a poor showing at his Pro Day in late March had a significantly negative impact on his draft stock, and in turn, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was able to pull the trigger on Treadwell at No. 23 overall.[the_ad id=”62257″]“We spent a lot of time with him through the process,” Spielman said, according to Vikings.com. “We spent time with him at the combine, we brought him up here on a top 30 visit. We feel that what he’s going to bring to our offense is that large catching radius, a guy that’s very physical, maybe the best run blocker I’ve seen. But also can make catches with his large hand and catching radius.”
Treadwell’s ability to catch the ball in traffic and remain physical both in his routes and the run game was ultimately kept him in the first round, but his lack of top-speed is still a concern. After forgoing his opportunity to run the 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine due to a lack of preparation, Treadwell put up an underwhelming 4.65-second time running the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Without elite speed and quickness, Treadwell will find it difficult to get behind NFL defenses and create separation out of his cuts, but Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze urged NFL scouts to base their judgments on the tape.
“If you put on the tape and you watch how he performs against some of the best players in the nation in this league that we play in, I think that speaks volumes over what the clock says just on a 40 time,” Freeze said, via Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.[the_ad id=”58837″]Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer mirrored Freeze’s opinion of Treadwell, as the two both emphasized the positives in Treadwell’s tape.
“This kid is a lot like how I’m trying to build this football team,” Zimmer said. He’s a tough, physical player that’s a heck of a competitor. He is the best blocking receiver that I have ever seen…I know there’s a lot about his 40 time, but some guys just play fast on the tape and that’s what he does. He was the #1 rated receiver coming out of high school, he was the #1 rated receiver in 2014, and then he got hurt. He was a little slow coming on this year, but I think he’s going to help us in a lot of ways…he was the one [out of the receivers in the draft] with all the intangibles that stood out to us.”
Treadwell, a three-year starter with the Rebels, allowed his elite size and physicality to carry him to new heights with Ole Miss, as he finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (202) and third in both receiving yards (2,393) and touchdowns (21) in just 35 games, per OleMissSports.com.
Treadwell missed the final four games of his sophomore season after suffering a broken fibula and dislocated ankle in their Week 9 contest against Auburn.
With that being said, the Vikings reportedly believe that Treadwell will increase his speed as he continues to work past the gruesome injury.
At 6’2”, 221 pounds, Treadwell best projects as a possession receiver at the next level, and in Minnesota, he should benefit from having a quicker receiver opposite him in Diggs and third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center. Though the Vikings had just the 31st ranked passing offense in 2015, Treadwell should immediately have a positive impact on their passing attack, and as a result, he should pull an overwhelming amount of targets.
(Early) Fantasy Forecast
With Mike Wallace now in Baltimore, Treadwell should compete with Diggs for targets at the top of the depth chart as Minnesota’s No. 1 receiver. Also, Bridgewater has previously relied on tight end Kyle Rudolph in the red zone, but with Treadwell now on the roster, look for Bridgewater to allocate a significant percent of his red zone targets to Treadwell on the outside. Given his ability to attack the ball in the air and come down with receptions through contact, Treadwell is highlight waiting to happen in jump ball situations in the end zone.
Treadwell will enter the 2016 season with a relatively high floor in terms of fantasy production because of the significant role he will play in Minnesota’s offense, but if he can continue to develop as a possession receiver and carry his physical demeanor to the next level, Treadwell could rapidly reach his very, very high ceiling.
Austin Gayle is currently pursuing both his Liberal Studies and Journalism degree at San Diego State University. He began his writing career as the lead editor/writer for the website he created thedraftpulse.com. He is an Oakland, California native who has a strong passion for football at both the collegiate and professional level. He has been studying the NFL draft for over four years now and has started publishing his analysis of college level prospects since the year 2014.
He is now a featured writer for theunitedgrind.com, an NFL draft columnist for football.com, a featured writer for justblogbaby.com, and a featured columnist for Gridiron Experts. He is also a member of the Football Writers of America Association.
Due to his Bay Area roots, Austin is an avid fan of the Oakland Raiders.