Ladd McConkey - WR - Georgia

Ladd McConkey worked his way up from a scout team wide receiver for Georgia to their leading wide receiver in 2022. He was well on his way to a breakout season but nagging injuries got in the way of that in 2023. Despite that, he had a productive combine and is regarded by many analysts as one of the best route runners in this class and potentially a top 60 NFL Draft pick.

Measurables

Height: 5′ 11″

Weight: 186 lbs

Age: 22

40-yard dash: 4.39s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 36″

Broad Jump: 10’4″

Bench Press: 13

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceivingRushingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2020GeorgiaSECFRWR000
*2021GeorgiaSECFRWR153144714.4544411.013549114.06
*2022GeorgiaSECSO155876213.17713419.126589613.89
*2023GeorgiaSECSRWR93047815.9223819.013251616.13
CareerGeorgia119168714.2141321616.64132190314.418
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/15/2024.

Notable Headlines

McConkey joined the Georgia Bulldogs out of high school as a mid-three-star recruit per 247Sports. He grew up a Tennessee Vols fan but had a better opportunity offered to him by UGA as an in-state athlete and decided to take the full scholarship offered to him by Kirby Smart. He would go on to work with the scout team during his freshman year, not seeing the field at all.

As a sophomore, he got involved as there were three wide receivers outside the tight end position to be within 71 receiving yards of each other (between 426 and 497 yards). Those three receivers will all be in the 2024 NFL Draft: Jermaine Burton, Adonai Mitchell, and Ladd McConkey. As a sophomore, Ladd broke out as he and Brock Bowers led the team with 762 and 942 receiving yards respectively and each with 7 receiving touchdowns. They both added over 100 yards on the ground and multiple touchdowns as well. 

Ladd’s redshirt senior season was plagued with minor nagging injuries that limited him to only 9 games. He was a go-to target for Carson Beck when he was on the field, but it feels like he could have had a true breakout season if he had stayed healthy. Despite that, Ladd declared for the NFL Draft and had a productive NFL Combine, producing an 8.84/10 Relative Athletic Score.

Scouting Report

Positives

First and foremost, McConkey is a skilled and nuanced route runner at a very early stage in his development. He separates with ease with quick hips and an understanding of how to manipulate defenders within the stem of his route. He applies pressure with leverage consistently to allow him to gain large amounts of separation at the breaking point as well. Additionally, he has impressive acceleration that makes his breaks even that much more effective.

On top of all of that, he possesses reliable hands with the ability to extend outside of his frame and catch with natural hands. In the open field, he showed a solid ability to create after the catch by making defenders miss or displaying effective contact balance. He has good enough speed to create explosive plays. He’s a willing blocker and also provides a versatility to play all over the formation whether that is inside or outside alignment.

Negatives

As a route runner, a few nitpicky things can be pointed out for improvement. At times, he does too much at the break point and that can at times throw off the timing of throws. He tends to get tied up with physical corners when and if they can get their hands on him. That can also lend to a larger success rate on inside releases and inside leverage routes.

There wasn’t a lot of tape in terms of his contested catch ability, but there’s also not anything there that creates cause for worry either – more of an incomplete grade. That could also be said about his blocking. While he demonstrated a willingness to block, there weren’t a lot of reps on tape. Overall, it would have been a more complete picture if his entire 2023 was healthier so everyone would have had a better idea of what his potential true breakout would’ve looked like.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 2

Landing Spots

The top of the second round is littered with teams that are in dire need of wide receiver help if they don’t address that need in the first round. Those teams are the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and Arizona Cardinals. While the Panthers just signed Diontae Johnson, all three of these teams still are in dire need of just offensive weapons to help support their likely young quarterback starters. The Cardinals and Patriots specifically don’t even have a real top target on their team and McConkey could instantly be one of the most talented receivers on the team.

Post Draft Analysis

Los Angeles Chargers – Round 2, Pick 2

Landing Spot

The Chargers had an exodus of their top receivers over the offseason with the trade of Keenan Allen to the Bears and letting Mike Williams walk in Free Agency to sign with the New York Jets. Not to mention Austin Ekeler, a big contributor in the receiving game as a running back, departed to join the Washington Commanders. That left Josh Palmer as their leading receiver along with Quentin Johnston, the first-round rookie in 2023 who had a very disappointing rookie season.

Receiver was a glaring need on draft night as they didn’t address the issue in Free Agency. They passed on a receiver in the first round as they bolstered their offensive line, but that worked out in a deep wide receiver class as they were able to snag Ladd McConkey early in the 2nd round by trading with the New England Patriots. Ladd looks to make an instant impact on this team and can quickly work his way into becoming Justin Herbert’s favorite target.

Fantasy Impact

For Ladd, it doesn’t look like there is a lot of legitimate target competition in the wide receiver room, plus he gets the benefit of joining a young franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. Quentin Johnston might take a step forward this year, but he plays a different role than Ladd anyway. Josh Palmer showed flashes due to injuries in front of him on the depth chart in previous years, but he looks to be a role player realistically. Ladd has an opportunity to make an impact right away with Herbert and quickly become his favorite target. He should be pushing over 100 targets and potentially emerge as the WR1 in this offense as a rookie barring injury.

For Redraft, Ladd is a very interesting upside play as Herbert is a top quarterback in this league and there is minimal target competition in year one. Ladd is an excellent talent and can provide a nice ceiling for an offense desperate for difference-makers. While the team might lean more run-heavy with John Harbaugh and Greg Roman, Ladd still has fantasy upside here. For Dynasty, Ladd is a great value at the end of the first round of rookie drafts. He has a great floor and an upside a lot of managers don’t recognize yet. He has the upside to be a dynasty WR1 in the future and should easily be a consistent WR2 in a great landing spot.

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