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Steve Mariucci, Todd McShay, others chimed in on Aaron Burbridge before the NFL Combine

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The San Francisco 49ers invested a sixth round pick in wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, a player coming off a senior season in which he had 85 receptions for 1,258 yards and seven touchdowns. Burbridge entered his senior season having caught a total of 80 passes for 916 yards and three touchdowns. It took him a while, but he finally took things to an entirely separate level with Connor Cook.

Prior to the 2016 NFL Combine, the Michigan State athletic department compiled quotations from a variety of draft analysts and football personalities. You can watch the video above, featuring Todd McShay, Charles Davis, Bill Polian, Jim Miller, and Steve Mariucci. Given they were speaking to the Michigan State athletic department, it is no surprise they had a lot of positives to say about Burbridge. Davis even went so far as to say he could potentially work his way into a second or third round pick. Not quite, but I like the enthusiasm.

Earlier this week, our own David Neumann put together a look at the 49ers three 6th round picks, and discussed why each player dropped in the draft, and why they might surprise. The team selected three offensive skill position players in the 2016 NFL Draft, and all three came in that sixth round. Here is what David had to say about Burbridge:

Key stat(s): Like Taylor, analytical projections aren't kind to Burbridge. Playmaker Score—Football Outsiders's college wideout projection system, which, like BackCAST, combines production and select combine numbers to predict NFL success—ranks Burbridge in the 24th percentile of drafted wide receivers since 1996, and actually places him below new teammate, and undrafted free agent, Devon Cajuste.

Burbridge's poor projection stems from several factors: his one-year-wonder status (his senior-year totals for receptions, yards, and touchdowns were all more than his previous three seasons combined); a poor combine showing (namely, an awful 30.5-inch vertical jump); and a penalty for entering the draft as a senior rather than an underclassmen (due to the former historically experiencing less NFL success).

Why he dropped: As touched on above, Burbridge lacks a consistent track record of success at the college level; he only produced at a high level during his final college season, and even that was filled with inconsistency, mixing dominant stretches (like the four-game run in the middle of the season that was bookended by a 10-156-1 performance against Rutgers on the front end and a 10-164-1 effort versus Nebraska on the back end) with poor ones (like the five-game conclusion to his season in which he put up a 4.6-52.8-0.2 average line).

Some receivers can overcome that sort of production with elite physical traits, giving the player that vaunted "upside" tag, but Burbridge is lacking there as well. With a pSPARQ score in the eighth percentile among NFL wideouts, he's a subpar athlete without the large frame to compensate (6-foot-0, 206). Put all of that together and you have a receiver who lacks the requisite athleticism to consistently separate from coverage and the size to consistently out-muscle defenders at the catch point to win the contested catches he will frequently have to make because he can't separate.

It's not just the testing that paints this picture, it's on the tape as well. In the games I viewed, it was rare to see Burbridge make a reception without a defender in close proximity. Matt Harmon, of NFL.com and Footballguys, put together his now-annualReception Perception and found similar results. Harmon charted the All-22 tape for 21 college wideouts, recording how often players got open by route and versus different coverage types, among other things. Burbridge's success rate getting open was below average in every split Harmon measured with the exception of slant routes, which came in right at average.

Adding insult to injury, Burbridge struggled with drops throughout his college career as well. In 2015, his 10.5 percent drop rate was 85th among FBS wideouts, per Pro Football Focus.

Why he could surprise: Considering the above section, you would be right to assume I'm a bit skeptical about Burbridge's chances of surprising, but we'll give it a shot anyway.

As has been the theme with these selections, opportunity and fit are the biggest reasons to feel optimistic about Burbridge's chances of contributing. On San Francisco's wide receiver depth chart, it's Torrey Smith and everyone else. There's not a single wideout after Smith who's guaranteed of a roster spot or playing time.

Early indications point to Burbridge getting an opportunity to compete for time in the slot, a spot where Kelly prefers bigger, physical receivers who can win contested catches on vertical routes rather than the quick, shifty slot receivers many would typically think of. Burbridge didn't spend much time in the slot at Michigan State, but if you had to pick a strength in his game, it would be his ability to make contested catches.

Due to his drop issues, he didn't bring these passes in at the rate you would hope, but this is all about projection, and Burbridge did show an aptitude for going up and making catches above his head with a defender on top of him at times. This showed in his deep-pass production, where Burbridge ranked eighth in deep pass yards (475) and fourth in deep pass catch rate (64.0 percent) among FBS wideouts, per Pro Football Focus. If he can limit the drops and learn to more consistently use his body to shield defenders, he could wind up being a solid option in the middle of the field in Kelly's offense.