The 2016 NFL Draft has its share of potential fantasy superstars along with solid pros and role players. One of the lesser known receivers is former Colorado State Ram, Rashard Higgins. He isn’t the fastest or strongest and the wide out won’t wow you with his athleticism, but he can play football. I reviewed several of his 2015 games against Utah State, Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado, and Air Force (2014) to get a better grip on what this young man brings to the next level. These are my observations:
WR-Rashard Higgins, Colorado State, 6’1″ 196 lbs.
Cons: He projects to be a WR2 in the NFL and probably just a WR3-4 in fantasy. The former Ram has issues getting off the line of scrimmage and may be forced to line up in the slot or sent in motion to be effective in the NFL. Higgins is more quick than fast which is evident with his 4.64 40-yard dash time. At the NFL Combine, the wide out also had sub par bench reps (13) and one of the worst vertical jumps (32″); these show his lack of upper body strength/lower power (this is a little surprising considering he is a black belt). When evaluating his game film, the receiver looked more explosive in 2014 with current Saints backup quarterback Garrett Grayson at the helm than he did in all of 2015.
Pros: Higgins is a strong route runner with quick feet that make starting/stopping on a dime possible. He has soft, sponge-like hands and usually catches the pigskin out in front of his body while in stride. The wide out uses head bobs, shoulder shakes, stiff-arms, hurdles, double moves, and spins to create space in the open field. The former Ram has a knack for finding the soft spot in a zone and excels at making defenders miss in tight quarters while following his blockers. His quickness can be exploited on screen passes and reverses. Higgins adjusts well to poorly thrown passes, contorting to make the difficult catch while using amazing concentration. While running deeper patterns, he tracks the pigskin well in the air, attacks the ball at its highest point, and comes down with more than his share of 50/50 passes, sometimes making the bucket catch. His grittiness comes out when he lays his body on the line on crossing patterns. The receiver is a good red zone threat, who can box out defenders and make tip-toe grabs near the sidelines or back of the end zone.
Overall impressions: Think former Charger receiver, Vincent Brown, before his many injuries if you want a comparison for Higgins. This receiver could be a fantasy producer in a pass-happy situation like San Diego or Atlanta, but his talents would be wasted in a more rushing oriented offense like Kansas City. He will never be a burner, but he has the quicks to be an effective complimentary/slot wide out.
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