Rashee Rice was a prolific record-setting wide receiver in his four years at SMU. This school has produced NFL talents such as Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, and Courtland Sutton. He has the frame and athleticism to be a producer at the next level, but his game could use some work. What areas must he improve, and where should he go in your rookie drafts? Let’s take a look at his profile and find out!
- College: SMU
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 204 lbs.
- Hand Size: 9 ½ “
- Age: 22
- Year: Senior
- Draft Projection: Day Two
High School & Personal Life
Rice grew up in North Richlands, Texas, and played for Richland High School. He accumulated over 2,000 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns during his final two high school seasons. Rice was graded a three-star prospect by 247Sports and received offers from 23 schools. He eventually chose SMU to play out his college career.
As a freshman, Rice only started in two games at SMU. However, his career quickly ramped up from there. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he commanded 70 targets each before having an enormous senior year. In his final season at SMU, Rice commanded an astonishing 156 targets, which he converted into 96 receptions and 1,344 yards. That yardage mark was good enough to break Emmanuel Sanders’s record for yards in a season.
Rice finished his SMU career ranking fifth in all-time receiving yards and receptions. He also finished tied for fifth in receiving touchdowns. Rice was a prolific producer and will one day become a member of the SMU Ring of Honor as one of the school’s all-time greats. He had ten games with over 100 receiving yards throughout his four-year career. Rashee also broke ten receptions in a single game three times his senior year.
After Combine testing, Rice comes in with an impressive Relative Athletic Score of 9.6, which is good enough for fifth amongst wide receivers in this draft class. While his 40-yard dash was not elite, the 10-yard split on that run was. That means Rice may lack top-end speed but has plenty of juice to get off the line quickly. For receivers, that first burst may be just as important.
As we can see in this clip, Rice has an extreme talent for contorting his body in the way it needs. In this play against Maryland, Rice can get both his head and body around to make a play on the ball. This is all in spite of the fact that the corner is draped all over him. Elite body control will be a valuable tool at the next level.
Deep Ball Tracking
Despite a lack of deep speed, Rice is very good at tracking the deep ball. This is not a skill to be taken for granted because not every receiver is capable. In this clip, the ball is underthrown, and Rice can track it down and adjust his route to get under it. The play results in a touchdown solely because of his ability to track and adapt to the flight of the deep ball.
Areas To Improve
Lack of Hustle On Plays Not Coming His Way
The one unfortunate thing that is all over Rice’s tape is his lack of hustle. On run plays or screens to the other side of the field, he does very little to “sell” his routes. You would like to see a player give every rep their all and keep the opposing corner committed to his coverage. Smarter NFL corners will pick up on this and quickly disengage to attack the ball.
Despite having above-average athleticism according to RAS numbers, Rice severely lacks in the speed game. You could even go as far as to call him slow. There has been a long history of slower receivers producing at the next level, but the tape is concerning when his slow routes are easily mistaken for his lack of hustle.
Projected Draft Capital & Role
The mock draft community has Rice pegged as a Day Two player going anywhere from the middle of the second round to the end of the third round. He was a prolific college producer but still came out as a senior. Many in the NFL and fantasy community love seeing players as early declares, something that Rice is not.
He has all the skills to justify this draft capital, and if he can land on the right NFL team, he can be a PPR monster. Rice won’t beat you with long speed but has enough body and ball control to be an excellent low-ADOT receiver that will be invaluable for moving the sticks of an NFL offense. Rice will never take over as an alpha receiver in his offense, but he could easily have a 100-plus target season a few times throughout his NFL career.
Dynasty Rookie Value
The 2023 wide receiver class falls on the weaker end of the spectrum, while the running back class is one of the deepest we have seen. Rice is currently the WR10 in my rookie rankings and a player I would love to target with a late-second-round rookie pick in Superflex drafts. If I have multiple second-round picks, I want to take as many shots on running back as possible, which means Rice is a player I will only have a little.
The ceiling for Rice is a volume-based PPR wide receiver who will give you consistent WR2 and WR3 seasons while never hitting the WR1 ceiling we would like to see for our players. Rice makes a great depth piece for a contending roster who will help you get through bye weeks and injuries. However, I would like a player with more ceiling when making a title push and winning playoff matchups. If any of your league mates are fine overpaying for Rice, that is a move you should take advantage of.
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I hope you enjoyed this rookie profile. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!