The Tennessee Titans saw enough of Dez Fitzpatrick that they traded up 17 spots in the draft to make sure they selected him.
Others viewed the wide receiver out of Louisville a bit differently.
According to a pre-draft breakdown by The 33rd Team, a website that features analysis from former NFL staffers and scouts, Fitzpatrick was one of the draft’s top five “potential busts” based on its Athletic Success Indicator (ASI), which uses combine and pro day test results to forecast a player’s chances for success in the NFL.
The site reported that ASI, which also determines which measurables are most important for each position, was found to be “over 56 percent accurate for every position and could correctly predict if a player would be successful in the NFL at up to 79 percent accuracy for some positions.”
In the case of wide receivers, the 40-yard dash, the 10-yard split, hand size, the shuttle run and body mass index (BMI) are the most significant traits that determines success. Fitzpatrick’s BMI (he is 6-foot-2, 210) ranked in the second percentile at his position while his 40-yard dash time put him in the 47th percentile. He was not better than the 75th percentile in any of the five critical areas for his position.
The bottom line is that Fitzpatrick had the lowest score among all 2021 prospects at wide receiver. His numbers were comparable to those of Laquon Treadwell, a first-round pick by Minnesota in 2016. Treadwell has just 71 receptions and four touchdown catches in five seasons, and 35 of those receptions came in one season (2018).
Here is what The 33rd Team said about Fitzpatrick:
While his ASI may be similar to Treadwell’s, Fitzpatrick does not have the same buzz going into the draft and will likely be a day 3 pick. Due to his tiny stature and lack of elite speed to compensate, teams may want to shy away.
“We watched a lot on him, and we like his size. We like his speed. We like his length,” general manager Jon Robinson said. “He's got good route running skills. He's got some things he's got to clean up. I love his toughness. I love his tenacity as a blocker. He's good in traffic catching the football.”
Their move from the No. 126 overall selection to No. 109 overall in a deal with Carolina allowed the Titans to make Fitzpatrick the first wide receiver chosen on Day Three and the 16th overall. He was consistently productive throughout four years at Louisville, where he caught between 31 and 45 passes and at least three touchdowns each season.
“They told me that they had to trade up for me when they saw that I was still on the board and they feel like I fit into what they're trying to do in Nashville,” Fitzpatrick said. “… They said that they're really impressed that I can play inside, outside at my size.”
Now, he just has to play bigger than his measurables.