Obviously, the Denver QB situation in Week 12 of 2020 season has thrust Kendall Hinton into the limelight for fantasy as the probable starting QB for Denver this week.
I scouted him as a WR prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he was a top 10-15 graded WR prospect for us...he's a real talent as a WR. This report (below) is mostly about his WR scouting, but it also touches on his QB time at Wake and what happened/why the convert to WR.
I'll talk about Hinton the QB more on my Sunday morning show, but here's what I wrote in April 2020:
NFL Draft 2020 Quick Hit Scouting Report: WR Kendall Hinton, Wake Forest
*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.
*WR-B stands for "Big-WR," a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy-red-zone-threat-type WRs. Our WR-S/"Small-WRs" are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession-type WRs who are typically less physical and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep...they are not used as weapons in the red zone as much.
Our Quick Hit (QH) scouting reports are a modified/shorter version of our full-scale reports. On these Quick Hits, I look at a lesser amount of tape and write a shorter amount of flowy words – these are usually designed more for sleeper prospects that I want to get more acquainted with and if something really jumps out, I’ll go deeper. It’s just me trying to get in and get out and deliver the pertinent notes to you for your consideration and for review later if they start to make waves in a year or two.
I’ll do a chunk of these pre-Draft and then more after the Draft, going through the players that caught my attention in the draft (because of how high they were taken) or that I stumble across in training camp or the preseason that catch my eye.
Most of my notes on these Quick Hits will be short and sweet bullet points versions of our full-scale reports. Enjoy…
As I input non-Combine prospect names and basic data into our database for our NFL Draft grading process, day by day all pre-Draft, if any player has even a hint of ‘interesting’, I try to take a 10-15 minute look to see if there is something deeper I want to explore before the draft.
When I saw the Kendall Hinton tape, I sat right up at attention. I thought I might be looking at the best non-Combine, maybe best not-even-drafted WR/offensive prospect of the 2020 class. That’s high praise. I definitely wanted to take a deeper look to see what we really had here. Hinton is one of the most interesting stories/talents from the non-Combine prospects at any position in 2020 to be sure.
-- 2015…recruited as a running QB, started at QB for a couple games as a true freshman for Wake.
-- 2016…took over as starting QB 2nd game of the season, injured his knee early in their 3rd game and was lost for the season/redshirted.
-- 2017…lost the starting QB job to a very talented John Wofford and played sparingly at QB.
-- 2018…was set to be the starting QB for Wake but he was arrested in the preseason for speeding/no registration and having unopened alcohol in the car (did not register any alcohol on breathalyzer), and was under 21 years old when it happened. He was suspended for the first three games of the year and lost his starting QB job again.
-- 2019…almost graduate transferred in the preseason, but stayed and switched positions to WR and had a shocking debut (73-1,001-4 on the season). Top five in the ACC in catches, top 10 in rec. yards.
GAME TAPE AND RANDOM NOTES…
-- If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I was watching young Diontae Johnson here. I can only imagine if Hinton started out as a WR and played/grew over 3-4 seasons.
5’10.4”/183, 9.00” hands, 30 ¾” arms = Diontae Johnson (2019)
5’10.3”/193, 9 7/8” hands, 30 ½” arms = Hinton (2020)
They have similar ‘magical’ feet. Can shuffle their feet so quickly so as to get open off the snap on any corner in college or the pros.
-- All I keep writing for notes during his game tape…’natural’. Some guys just have ‘it’, and Hinton does. To just switch positions after years of QB play and be a 1,000+ yard receiver at the D1 level in his WR debut is impressive.
Everything is natural…
Natural feet to quick get open off the snap.
Natural ability to track and catch the ball.
Natural ability to run after the catch (he has training as a running QB for a decade+)
Natural, sharp route runner.
-- Plays ‘tough’. Willing to take hits and climb ladders to go get catches. I think it was PFF that rated him 4th-best in D1 in contested catch rate in 2019.
-- As a quarterback, he had a decent arm. He ran pretty well and had a knack for finding holes and running to space. He has history/experience/instincts with the ball in his hands.
He should be able to be used on trick plays as a thrower at the next level.
-- Returned at least one punt for a TD but got called back for a cheap block in the back that didn’t matter to the run. Returned 12 punts and 7 kicks in 2019…the first times he ever did any returning.
-- I watch and I think I see early, poor man’s Diontae Johnson…it is all I can think of. Just shy of fully saying, ‘Next Diontae!’
Kendall Hinton, Through the Lens of Our WR Scouting Algorithm:
-- 53.0% Comp. Pct. as a career passer…8 TDs/7 INTs.
-- Rushed for 101 yards and 2 TDs in his 2nd game/true freshman vs. Army in 2015.
-- Emergency start 2017 at Clemson…203 yards passing, 2 TDs/0 INT, 92 yards rushing. The following season against Clemson…92 yards rushing again as a rotational QB.
-- Debut 2019 as a WR: 9 rec., 66 yards, 1 TD
-- 4th game as a WR, vs. Louisville/2019 – 13 catches, 134 yards…and a punt return TD called back.
-- Caught a TD pass in each of his final three college games.
2020 Pre-Draft Data:
5’10.3”/193, 9 7/8” hands, 30 ½” arms
No Pro Day data because it got cancelled.
The Historical WR Prospects to Whom Kendall Hinton Most Compares Within Our System:
This board makes sense – Hinton comps with the scrappier WR prospects from drafts gone by. Guys who grind, work the inside and out and just ‘will’ their way to the NFL. I’m just a bit hesitant to go all-in because I’m not 100% sure on Hinton’s character for sure.
*Comparables board exclusively on CFM*
*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Small-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of a Small-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Small-WR.
All of the WR ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.
Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced. Mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, rated historically in our database.
“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical-size profiling, bench press strength, etc. High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.
“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/create separation.
“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance, and overall this projects the combination of performance and physical data for the next level.
2020 NFL Draft Outlook:
I see some 7th-round grades, but mostly UDFA projections.
If I were an NFL GM, I’m lying in the weeds and pulling this trigger late 6th-round to scoop everyone.
If he is willing to grind, he could be one of the shocks of the 2020 WR class. He’s gifted, though still a bit raw but has experiences at running QB that many other WRs don’t have…they aren’t as tough, smart running the ball as Hinton.
We’ll know about his work ethic within a year or two in the pros – does he make a team and force his way into early rookie playing time, or does he get thrown into practice squad hell?
*The new season subscription for College Football Metrics will open up early January 2021 for another year of NFL Draft and Dynasty Rookie Draft -- prospect scouting, player analysis, computer model grading, NFL Draft live show/analysis, 20+ weekly Dynasty Rookie Draft top 250+ prospect rankings weekly post-NFL Draft. If you play Dynasty league -- I encourage you to check out College Football Metrics. You'll never look at the NFL Draft the same way again.
Our #1 WR prospect for 2020, #1 graded in the class: Chase Claypool. An example (conveniently a great one to share!) of why our draft grades and scouting are unlike anyone's in the industry. I've been scouting college prospects for a decade+ and running analytics/talent grades on them and then following them throughout their NFL journey -- I promise you, if you're into Dynasty league play or your keeper/redraft is high stakes/serious business...you would be shocked by our scouting work.
-- RC Fischer
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