Before you say anything, no this is not a mistaken article about Maryland’s DJ Moore who is flying up everyone’s rankings at the moment. Instead, it’s about a guy who is barely cracking the top 3 rounds of any analysts’ rookie mock drafts.
Honestly, LSU’s DJ Chark wasn’t on my radar. Most LSU attention is obviously centered on Derrius Guice, and with such a run-heavy offense, it’s difficult for a Wide Receiver to steal the show. However, I realize that just because a guy didn’t produce, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have produced if given the opportunity. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah recently tweeted his love for Chark’s game and believes he will be an excellent WR2. I, therefore, decided to take a bit of a deeper look….
Finished studying LSU WR DJ Chark last night. Love his game. He’s going to be an excellent #2 WR with return value as well.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 19, 2018
The 6’4” 198-pound WR has been garnering more attention in the last few months after co-MVP honors at the Senior Bowl. Daniel Jeremiah has a solid set of eyes, having to evaluate 1,000 of prospects every season. So, I hold his opinion with a lot of weight. At the Senior Bowl, we were finally able to see what Chark could do with an accurate/competent QB. Furthermore, Bleacher Report’s Draft Analyst, Matt Miller, described Chark as his most underrated WR prospect.
Probably DJ Chark. https://t.co/L0jHf5WVWn
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 12, 2018
Chark’s college production won’t intrigue you as much as his length/speed. The lack of receptions and yardage over 4 years is why he’s flying under the radar. His LSU production can be seen below:
The 2014 and 2015 freshman and sophomore seasons of Chark were nonexistent as he barely saw any snaps. Despite these numbers looking quite pedestrian, he still managed 10 TDs on his 86 touches (6 receiving TDs + 4 rushing TDs). His size and speed made him an obvious big play threat. He certainly took advantage of LSU’s overwhelming run game and excelled in play action. 36% of his catches went for 25+ yards, and he ranked 5th in the nation over the last 2 years with 12 plays over 40 yards.
The glaring weakness is that he’s always relied on his breakaway ability, thus his route tree isn’t too complex. Having said that, routes can be learned, whereas natural athletic ability cannot. His size limits his ability to cut sharply, therefore he ends up running rounded routes that take time to develop. Furthermore, his ability to locate fly balls and track the deep throw isn’t great for a guy his size. It makes me feel as though his hand-eye coordination isn’t the best.
I believe teams/scouts will be split on his potential ability. Does he have the upside of someone like Martavis Bryant? Or, is he just another Malachi Dupre type? NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein sees him as a 2nd round prospect with similarities to Chris Conley. However, one NFC Personnel Director said, “He has his moments where you see it, but he just hasn’t been consistent, and he hasn’t really gotten a lot better. He’s tall and can run but I’m still torn on whether he is going to make the improvements he needs to to be an NFL factor.”
With this one, his draft position will tell us a lot. If he explodes at the combine and a team take him in the 2nd round, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll remain so low in dynasty rookie rankings. There’s every chance that he rises to the top of the 2nd round, after draft day hits.