D.J. Chark


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By: Mark Leipold


The Pros:

  • Speed
  • Basket Catch
  • Underthrown Passes
  • Back Shoulder Throws
  • Stops on a Dime
  • Special Teams

Speed – Chark’s greatest asset is his speed, evidenced by his 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. This time puts him in the 98th-percentile among WRs. Chark can get deep and burn defenses.

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Basket Catch – A good talent to have when combined with deep-threat speed is the ability to make basket catches over the shoulder. Chark has that ability. He positions himself well under the ball and is good at securing the catch in this position, which is a high degree of difficulty.

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Underthrown Passes – Chark does a nice job of working back to underthrown passes and coming up with the catch. A lot of WRs don’t adjust as well and those balls fall incomplete as a result. This helps insulate him a bit if he doesn’t get paired with a good deep-ball quarterback.

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Back Shoulder Throws – Similar to his basket catching, Chark is good at adjusting and positioning himself to make timing catches (think: Jordy Nelson). This opens up more possibilities for him than for most speed receivers, especially in the red zone, which we like.

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Stops on a Dime – No commentary needed, just watch him make people look silly.

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Special Teams – It never hurts to have another way to make the roster, get on the field, and score fantasy points. Chark won’t need special teams for any of the above, but he’ll have that ability.

 

The Cons:

  • Body-Catcher
  • Ball Security
  • Drops

Body Catcher – When not deep down the field, Chark has the dirty habit of catching against his body rather than away from his body with his hands alone. This often translates into drops, which are another concern of mine for Chark. If he can’t work out the kinks with drops, it will be bad news.

Ball Security – Chark is a bit loose with the ball, not just while running, but after securing the reception. He needs to both improve his technique for ball-carrying to protect it better and add strength to prevent defenders from stripping the ball away. Here is a look at him losing the ball both as a runner and a receiver.

Drops – Plain and simple, Chark is not a natural hands catcher and drops some easy passes as a result. If he can’t fix his drops at the NFL level as I mentioned earlier, it turns him into a truly one-dimensional deep threat, which is not great for real football or for fantasy football. Chark has several strengths that will allow him to be more than a one-dimensional deep threat, but his hands need to catch up to the rest of his talent profile.

 

Summary:

Chark surely boosted his stock significantly at the NFL Combine, a la John Ross 2017. His speed is tantalizing (not 4.22, but still excellent), and he has a lot more to his game than burning defenses deep. Chark has more upside that I was expecting, and I wouldn’t be critical of a team using a Day 2 pick on him. His hands are a concern, so I’m not willing to place a first-round grade on him, but he is a very exciting player that was hampered by an anemic LSU passing game.

Fantasy Impact:

Chark’s upside is definitely there. He has excellent speed and burst, especially for his 6’3” frame. He has exciting potential in the NFL as both a deep threat and a red zone asset, which is the optimal combination for fantasy point scoring. I was ready to bash on Chark before digging into his profile, but I’m really excited about his potential now. I have no objection to using a mid-late 2nd round pick on him in rookie drafts, which is about where he is going in ADP in early mock drafts.