After the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Tee Higgins No. 33 overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the former Clemson wide receiver has seen a significant boost in his dynasty value.
In the current three-day NFL Draft format, the first pick of the second-round is one of the greatest assets to hold. The long break after pick No. 32 allows teams to stop and reevaluate their boards, leading to some potential blockbuster trade offers for the team holding the first pick.
The fact that the Bengals turned those offers down to draft Higgins shows a team with a plan and commitment to turn Higgins into a star in the National Football League. With Tee Higgins potentially starting on the outside from day one, here’s a look at the wide receiver’s dynasty value heading into 2020 rookie drafts.
Tee Higgins dynasty value heading into 2020
Higgins showed excellent ball skills and play-making ability at Clemson, but his athletic profile led to him being one of the most polarizing wide receiver prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Even though Higgins very much looked the part on film, a lot of dynasty and draft analysts just couldn’t overlook his underwhelming Pro Day results.
After skipping drills at the 2020 NFL Combine, Higgins was one of the rare prospects to get their Pro Day in before everything was shut down. Before the draft, that was looking like an unfortunate situation after Higgins posted a sub-par 31-inch vertical jump and 4.54-second 40-yard dash.
Higgins’ RAS score of 4.2 is significantly lower than fellow second-round wide receivers Chase Claypool (9.98), Denzel Mims (9.76), Michael Pittman Jr. (8.29), and Laviska Shenault (6.98). Where Higgins lacks in athleticism, the wide receiver makes up for it with tremendous body-control in jump-ball situations and surprising run-after-catch ability.
New dynamic duo in Cincinnati?
After selecting quarterback Joe Burrow at pick No. 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, Cincinnati looked to surround their new franchise signal-caller with as much talent as possible. While some rumors had Cincinnati drafting an offensive tackle to protect Burrow, the Bengals instead gave their franchise quarterback an offensive weapon to sprinkle with targets.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on SportsCenter that Burrow and Higgins had tremendous chemistry in pre-draft workouts, likely swaying Bengals decision-makers towards the Higgins selection. And if you look at the tape of both prospects, it’s a tremendous fit on the field.
Burrow doesn’t have many flaws in his game, but the biggest critique on his scouting report might be his ball placement on deep throws. Burrow’s lack of elite arm strength sometimes led to Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase having to make tough adjustments in coverage.
Luckily for Burrow, Higgins’ greatest asset at Clemson was his ability to contort his body to make contested catches. An overused but fair comparison for Higgins might be current Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams.
I try not to compare prospects based on the helmets they wore in college, but it’s hard to ignore their nearly identical vertical-jump and 40-yard dash times. Higgins needs some work on refining his route-running, but I do think he showed a little more wiggle after the catch than Williams ever showed in college football. Burrow’s willingness to let it fly in man-to-man situations could lead to Tee Higgins’ dynasty value skyrocketing in 2020 and beyond.
Year one starter?
With off-season NFL activities shut down until further notice, it’s very likely we see fewer Week One rookie starters than usual. Burrow seems destined to start from the get-go, but there’s some thought that the current situation leads to Andy Dalton staying on board in case of an emergency.
Wide receivers can sometimes be slow starters in the NFL, but the opportunity is there for Higgins to start immediately. Franchise-tagged veteran receiver A.J. Green is guaranteed a starting spot on the outside when healthy, while Tyler Boyd is locked-in as the Bengals starting slot wide receiver.
The second starting WR spot in Cincinnati is wide-open and I fully expect Higgins’ dynasty value to rise as the 2020 season progresses. Higgins will compete with speedster John Ross and Auden Tate for playing time, but it’s hard to imagine anyone but the 2020 second-rounder winning out over a 16-game season.
Oak Ridge’s finest
Long before the 2020 NFL Draft or even his days at Clemson, Higgins was a lanky five-star high school recruit from Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After originally signing with Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers, Higgins would eventually re-open his recruitment.
That re-opening was enough for head coach Dabo Swinney to jump in and secure Higgins’s commitment to the Clemson Tigers. With fellow Volunteer State natives quarterback Hunter Johnson and wide receiver Amari Rodgers already committed to Clemson, it was an easy decision for Higgins to join forces on the reigning National Champions.
Higgins began his collegiate career buried behind Deon Cain, Hunter Renfrow, and Ray-Ray McCloud, among others, but it didn’t take long for Higgins to show his potential impact. Towards the end of his freshman season, Higgins started to make his mark as Clemson’s best deep-ball weapon.
Higgins had eye-opening performances against the Citadel (6-178-2 TD) and South Carolina (3-84-0 TD) to close out his freshman campaign. In the weeks leading up to Clemson’s CFB Playoff matchup with Alabama, Higgins suffered an ankle injury during a Clemson football practice. Higgins tried to fight through it before re-injuring the ankle in the defeat to the Crimson Tide.
Higgins finished his three-year college career with 135 receptions, 2,448 receiving yards, and 27 career touchdown receptions. Higgins’ 27 touchdown receptions is tied for the most in school history along with DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
Jordan Woodson is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Devy and Dynasty Fantasy Football. You can follow him @Jordan_Woodson on Twitter.