Take the Leap with Troy Franklin—Rookie WRs Tier 5

Take the Leap with Troy Franklin—Rookie WRs Tier 5

My first rookie WR article covered four WRs, each in his own tier. This article covers five WRs... all in one tier. Getting these bets right could be the key to this class.

Tier 5 - Boom/Bust

Troy Franklin

At a Glance

Troy Franklin operated as an outside vertical threat for three years at Oregon, delivering impressive production and efficiency. As a vertical threat, Frankin flashed separation skills and downfield yards after catch ability—a delightful combination for fantasy scoring. However, with a slender frame and a lack of elite speed, it's not entirely clear he can bring that same playmaking to the NFL level.

Positive Indicators

Troy Franklin emerged in his second season at Oregon, posting a 61/891/9 receiving line on 83 targets. It wasn't quite an elite season, but with a 27% dominator rating and 2.34 YPRR, Franklin delivered an impressive season for a 19-year-old.

Then as a true junior, Franklin went off for an 81/1,383/14 receiving line on 114 targets. Franklin broke out with a 31% yardage share, a 32% TD share, and a 31% dominator rating. He also posted excellent efficiency with 2.93 yards per team attempt and 3.32 YPRR.

Franklin's career YPRR of 2.63 is very impressive and, as I noted earlier in the offseason, barely trails the top two early declare WRs in the class.

Franklin was also terrific after the catch, especially last season when his 537 YAC ranked WR10 in the Power-5.

Encouragingly, Franklin was adding to the catch on downfield targets. 50% of his career YAC came on 10+ yard targets, with only 17% on behind the line of scrimmage targets.

That's a similar split to Justin Jefferson (48%; 22%), CeeDee Lamb (45%; 22%), and A.J. Brown (36%, 21%). And it's also similar to Skyy Moore (47%; 18%). Clearly, not every downfield YAC producer is destined for stardom, but it's generally a good sign for WRs to produce YAC after they've already gained yards through good route running and ball skills.

Franklin's overall yardage tells a similar downfield story. Franklin produced 39% of his career yards on deep targets and another 32% on intermediate targets.
Franklin is not a product of manufactured touches. He is a downfield threat.

Franklin also flashed serious separation ability with only a 19% contested deep target rate. Yet when called upon in those situations, he delivered, with a 56% contested catch rate.

And Franklin has the athleticism to tranlate to his downfield skillset and YAC ability to the NFL.

As I'll get to, Troy Franklin's Combine was disappointing. But let's not lose sight of the fact that he has 4.41 speed with excellent leaping ability and plus agility.


Red Flags

Troy Franklin is skinny. At 6-foot-2, 176, he has a concerningly thin frame that generates film-based comps to Jalin Hyatt. As you'll see below, Hyatt also pops up as a statistical comp. It's a fair comparison.

However, it is encouraging to see that Franklin played outside on the vast majority of his snaps at Oregon. Franklin split out wide on 81% of his snaps last year, with an 18% slot route; he has a career out-wide rate of 79%. By comparison, Jalin Hyatt had a carer rate of 89%... in the slot, with just 11% of his snaps on the outside.

It's not that Franklin's frame isn't a concern. It's 100% a concern—he simply may not be suited to play outside at the NFL level. But Franklin did at least show an outside skill set in college. In some ways, Franklin's profile is more similar to Jordan Addison's than Hyatt's. At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Addison played 76% of his snaps out-wide in his final season. To be clear, Addison was a better prospect. But both look to be undersized downfield threats.

Let me put it this way: Franklin is more Jahan Dotson (84% outside) than KJ Hamler (7% outside).

Everyone we're talking about weighs similarly to Franklin... but is shorter. That's not ideal because we don't see a ton of ultra-skinny WRs succeeding in the NFL. For what it's worth, Franklin weighed in at 183 at his Pro Day, but since he opted not to test again at that weight... it's not worth much.

So we're talking about a guy with a similar build to Jameson Williams, except Franklin isn't as fast and could be drafted over a full round later. And although Franklin delivered similar production to Williams in his breakout season, he was less efficient. Clearly, Williams was the better prospect.

Stylistically, though, Williams is another decent comp. He played 78% of his career college snaps out wide. And Williams has continued to operate primarily outside in the NFL—although his inefficient sophomore campaign is hardly a bullish indicator for Franklin's transition to the NFL level.

And while Franklin looks like a safe bet for Round 2, I'm reasonably confident he won't be drafted in Round 1.

Statistical Comps

  • Jalin Hyatt
  • Paul Richardson
  • Marvin Mims
  • Elijah Moore

Best Ball / Dynasty Outlook

Troy Franklin has been one of my favorite rookies since I started researching the 2024 class. He was productive and highly efficient at a young age, and his skillset clearly fits an NFL archetype.

But is he built to play in the NFL?

As we'll soon get to, some players in this class require us to take a leap of faith that they'll be better football players as pros than they were in college. That's not the case with Troy Franklin. He balled out at Oregon. Instead, because of his build and sub-elite athleticism, the worry is that his impressive production and efficiency in a traditional outside role won't survive the jump to the NFL level.

But man, it's hard for me not to bet on this type of profile—efficient production, downfield separation, and YAC ability from a 20-year-old. I know I might be signing up for Marvin Mims' rookie season again, but I'm still signing up.

Best Ball Recommendation


Superflex Rookie Draft Grade

Early 2nd Round.

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