The third day of the NFL Draft is where scouts truly earn their keep, because unearthing diamonds-in-the-rough isn’t easy, but it is possible. You just have to know where to look. For example, some late-rounders are simply late bloomers who pop onto the scene as upperclassmen after paying their dues on the bench. While others put up big numbers, but still manage to fly under the radar.
And then there’s guys like Javon Wims, the Georgia receiver taken by the Bears with the 224th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft – a late riser, who led his team in catches, yards, and receiving touchdowns last season.
The Chicago Bears selected Wims after going on the clock in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but by Pro Football Focus’ standards, he should have been long gone by then.
Consider that PFF’s draft guide listed Wims as its 99th overall prospect and its 15th-highest-ranking receiver. Dante Pettis, D.J. Chark, J’Mon Moore, and Jordan Lasley were among the wideouts who were drafted before Wims, despite existing below him on the rankings. So was that just a straight-up steal?
Well, Wims (83.4. rating) was PFF’s second-highest-graded receiver in the SEC at the end of last season, with just Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown’s (85.2) ranked higher. Yes, that means Wims earned a higher grade from PFF than Alabama’s Calvin Ridley (83.1), whom the Bears were rumored to have eyes on near the back end of the first round.
And to be even more sure, Wims is a legit deep-ball magnet. The 6-3, 215-pound pass-catcher hauled in 10 deep targets (passes that traveled 20+ yards in the air), racked up 288 deep pass yards, and caught the 16th highest percentage of deep targets among FBS receivers (which also ranked as the eighth best in this draft class). He also earned a spot on PFF’s All-SEC first-team offense alongside Ridley and Brown after a season in which he led Georgia in all the most important receiving categories.
But perhaps most importantly, Wims seems to be a fit for a particular aspect of the Bears’ offense. This is what PFF had to say about the Georgia product:
“Another big target in this draft class, Wims has good straight-line speed and some nuance to his route running, though he doesn’t always get in and out of his breaks cleanly. He has a number of highlight-reel catches on tape, as he uses his long frame and body control to routinely make off-target catches. If paired with an aggressive quarterback, Wims can be productive in contested situations and perhaps a bit more if he can clean up some of his route running.”
Matt Nagy has already pushed Mitch Trubisky to let it rip during the team’s recent three-day minicamp. So if the second-year quarterback heeds his new head coach’s advice, Wims is the type of player who could benefit from a quarterback’s newfound confidence in throwing it downfield.