2023 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Jordan Addison (Fantasy Football)
With the 2022 season officially coming to an end, we can now shift our focus to the dynasty off-season! If you are an avid dynasty player, you are likely already aware of the highly touted 2023 draft class. While some of the enthusiasm surrounding this incoming rookie class may have quieted over the last month, there are still plenty of prospects to be excited about.
One of my favorite wide receivers in this class is Jordan Addison, who is projected to be one of the first receivers selected this spring. And with a very accomplished production profile at both Pittsburgh and USC, Addison has the potential to be an immediate difference-maker in the NFL.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2023 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2023.
College Production Profile
Jordan Addison entered his collegiate career as a four-star recruit in 2020, receiving offers from schools such as Maryland, Virginia, and Wake Forest. He would eventually commit to Pittsburgh where he played alongside former first-round pick Kenny Pickett, operating as the WR1 for the Panthers. In his true freshman season, Addison was an immediate contributor to this team, totaling over 700 scrimmage yards and 60 receptions in his first campaign. As you can see below, his production equated to a 27.2% Receiving Yards Market Share – which is extremely impressive for a freshman. And depending on the threshold, Addison’s first season could qualify as a breakout campaign – giving him one of the earliest breakout ages in this class.
While his 2020 season was already impressive, Addison would elevate his game even further in 2021 as he set career highs in multiple metrics. As a sophomore, he would average 117.8 scrimmage yards per game and an outstanding 2.93 Receiving Yards per Team Pass Attempt (RYTPA). To put that into perspective, the only Power 5 wide receivers in this class with a more productive true sophomore campaign (using RYTPA as the threshold) were Jaxon Smith-Njigba (3.25) and Josh Downs (3.49). Addison would also receive the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2021, an award given to the most accomplished receiver in the country.
Despite his success at Pittsburgh, Addison surprisingly entered the transfer portal prior to the 2022 season, teaming up with Caleb Williams at USC. While his season started off strong, recording either a receiving touchdown or 100 receiving yards in six of his first seven games, an ankle injury would slow down his junior campaign. Addison would miss two games, eventually returning in a limited role against Colorado where he recorded a single-game career-low in receptions (one) and yards (two). Therefore, while his production declined in his third campaign, it is important to remember that his ankle injury partially impacted the final games of his career.
Regardless, Addison still enters the NFL draft as an early-declare prospect after posting three productive seasons at Pittsburgh and USC. Assuming he receives first-round capital, dynasty managers should have no hesitations in selecting him early in their dynasty rookie drafts.
*High School Athletic Testing
Athletically, Addison profiles as a smaller wide receiver, coming in at around 6’0” but at only 174 pounds. However, while some might view this as a cause for concern, data has shown that bucketing wide receivers based on their height and weight does not necessarily lead to higher hit rates in fantasy football. As researched by Tim Alb on the Campus 2 Canton website, athletic measurables provide very little correlation to wide receiver success in the NFL. What matters far more for wide receivers is draft capital, declare status, and college production, as evidenced by the success of “lighter” players like Jaylen Waddle, Marquise Brown, and DeVonta Smith. Similar to those players, Addison will likely check all three boxes mentioned above.
Therefore, while there will be plenty of noise surrounding his lighter frame and lack of elite speed, do not let that distract you from Addison’s impressive production profile, versatility, and polished route running, which should lead to an immediate role at the next level.
What’s on Tape
As part of my prospect evaluation, I watch anywhere between four to six games of film to gain a better understanding of each player’s strengths and weaknesses. Below are my observations on Jordan Addison’s film.
- 2022 vs Arizona State
- 2022 vs Utah
- 2022 vs UCLA
- 2022 vs Rice
- 2021 vs Virginia
1. Success on a Variety of Routes
One of the most impressive aspects of Addison’s profile is the diversity of his route tree. In the games that I reviewed, he was utilized all over the field while being tasked to run a variety of routes – ranging from deep double moves to quick slants and curls. Addison also possesses deceptive footwork and plenty of quickness to create separation coming in and out of his breaks. He does an outstanding job of sinking his hips and violently changing direction to leave defenders behind, often creating easy opportunities for his quarterback.
Below is one of my favorite plays from his film. In the red zone, Addison executes a whip route to perfection, leading to an easy touchdown for USC.
2. Change in Usage after Transfer to USC
After transferring to USC, there was a significant change in his usage. In my sample size of games, he operated out of the slot 54.8% of the time while playing for Pittsburgh. In his games at USC, this number declined to 20%. In other words, he was used far more frequently as an outside wide receiver in his final season, allowing him to run a more complete route tree at USC. In hindsight, this was probably beneficial for his draft outlook, proving to the NFL that he was far more than just a slot wide receiver. While Addison certainly excels in the short routes and wide receiver screens, his time at USC confirmed that he has the athletic ability to win against all types of coverages and in all areas of the field.
3. Outstanding Blocking
One of the most underrated skills for a wide receiver is the willingness and toughness to be an effective blocker. And despite his smaller frame, Addison impressed me heavily with his relentless pursuit and success in this facet of the game. Surprisingly, he was rarely beaten as a blocker, often using his quickness to stay in front of his defender. In fact, there were multiple plays in which his blocking directly led to a first down as he paved the way for his teammates in the screen game. Even more impressive, Addison also displayed the awareness to block on quarterback scrambles, at times chasing his defender and allowing Caleb Williams to gain a few extra yards. While this does not impact fantasy scoring, it could lead to an every-down role at the next level.
What’s Not on Tape
1. Consistent Use of Physicality to Win
Heavily driven by his lack of size, you rarely see Addison overwhelming a defense with his physicality and strength. That is just not a part of his game. As a result, Addison recorded very few contested catches in my sample size of games as he struggled to use his frame to fight through contact. In addition, cornerbacks who played physically in coverage were at times more successful against Addison, preventing him from gaining leverage early in his routes.
Is this going to prevent him from succeeding at the next level? Likely not, especially if he operates primarily out of the slot. And with a repertoire of savvy moves that allow him to gain separation all over the field, he should find enough open space to produce in the NFL.
2. Elite Level Speed
Do not be surprised if Addison is not among the fastest receivers at the NFL combine. While he does have impressive acceleration and burst, he does not have the long speed to consistently outrun defenders on deeper routes. Instead, Addison excels with his speed manipulation and change of direction, often giving him enough leverage to stack his defenders and create separation.
This clip against Utah perfectly displays some of the skills I outlined above. Addison is initially selling the go route as he runs at full speed. As soon as the defender turns his hips, Addison stutters and seamlessly changes direction for a big play in the middle of the field.
2023 Fantasy and Dynasty Outlook
As with any wide receiver, draft capital will be key to Addison’s success at the next level. Naturally, the Year 1-3 hit rate for fantasy wide receivers is the highest in the first round at roughly 45.1%. However, that number improves to 76.9% if we further isolate the sample size to wide receivers that declared early and were highly productive in college. In short, Addison checks both those boxes. And based on recent mock drafts, he is all but guaranteed to be selected in the first round of this year’s NFL draft.
Lastly, to provide additional perspective, here are all the wide receivers drafted since 2010 that meet the following thresholds:
- Declared Early (three years after high school)
- +2.00 Receiving Yards per Team Pass Attempt (Career Average)
- 1st Round Capital
- Less than 190 lbs
Only seven wide receivers make this list:
- Brandin Cooks
- Will Fuller
- Calvin Ridley
- Marquise Brown
- Rashod Bateman
- Garrett Wilson
- Jameson Williams
Jordan Addison is very likely the next wide receiver to join this impressive group. Therefore, despite his size, he has the profile to be an impactful fantasy wide receiver as soon as this season.