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Washington Redskins 2019 UDFA profile - Steven Sims, Jr., WR, Kansas

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The next Tyreek Hill, or the next Brandon Banks?

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I get impressed when I read stuff like this from R.C. Fischer of College Football Metrics:

I am doing this scouting report early and I am releasing this scouting report for free instead of keeping it behind our subscriber paywall.

Why?

I hope that I can help draw attention to Sims’ NFL prospects/talents and introduce him to various scouting contacts and media types to help get him a deeper look and a better rating on their draft boards.

As I wrote this, I checked two scouting websites that do early rankings – Sims is ranked #90+ among all WRs in one ranking, and not even listed among the top 100 WRs, nor in the top 350+ overall prospects in another.

I rarely/never do a non-QB scouting report before the NFL Combine numbers are available to run our computer scouting model’s formulas. I’m making an exception here. Sims was brought to my attention by someone with a good eye for such things, and when I saw the 3+ minute highlight reel I was hooked...I wanted to know more.

I was then stunned to find out that Sims was not invited to the NFL Combine...which puts a serious dent in his ability to get drafted in the top 150...or drafted at all.

I’ve preview scouted all the East-West Shrine, Senior Bowl, and NFL Combine WR prospects...Sims more than deserves to be among them.


Click this link to access all 2018 and 2019 Undrafted Free Agent profiles on Hogs Haven

Why would a player who excites a professional scouting service in this way end up undrafted?

Well, like the recently profiled T.J. Rahming, Steven Sims, Jr. is an undersized athlete who played in an unheralded, and, in Sims’ case, losing program. Over the past three years, Kansas has gone 2-10, 1-11, 3-9.

In addition, the program just doesn’t have a ‘reputation’ for producing NFL quality offensive players.

Furthermore, Sims can’t boast any eye-popping raw stats from college, aside from some pretty impressive punt return stats.

In 2016, his sophomore season, Steven Sims had 72 catches, 859 yards, 7 TDs. That’s solid, but not the kind of production that really stands out.

But taken in context, Sims’ 7 TDs represented 44% of the TD passes for Kansas QBs in 2016. The passes in his best statistical season came from three bad quarterbacks who combined for 16 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions. Sims went on to catch 6 of the team’s 14 TDs in 2017 and 4 out of 17 in 2018.

So, we’ve got a good, though small-bodied player on a losing team, with production that fell over his final three seasons. These are not things that usually get a player noticed or drafted.

But maybe SIms is the wide receiver equivalent of Wes Martin, the Redskins’ under-the-radar 4th round offensive lineman from Indiana.

Maybe Sims has the skills to make the roster and do some damage in the NFL.

Let me give you a few more nuggets from College Football Metrics, who love Sims as a player:

When I watch Sims on tape... He’s fast...super-fast...like maybe 4.3+ 40-time fast.

Not just long distance fast, he also has great short-speed/acceleration as well as exquisite agility.

Watching his footwork off the snap and the routes he could break off...it’s excellent.

The problem is he’s working like a pro around a bunch of FCS-level talent on his own team...at a major conference school! There was no help from QBs or coaching staff to propel him to prominence. Had Sims played at Oklahoma, he might be a top 50-100 prospect today and getting ‘Tyreek Hill’ speculative comps. At Kansas...today...crickets

What’s impressive to me is not only Sims’ high-end speed-acceleration, but his route running ability (he’s an ankle breaker to try to cover) and his hands/concentration on catches. He made some pretty sweet grabs in-between all those speed plays on his highlight reel...and some stellar stop/change-of-direction-on-a-dime moves that left DBs stuck in the mud trying to do the same.

Sims has the whole package for the NFL, in my estimation...and not just ‘he belongs’ – more like ‘he’s dangerous, he’s a real weapon,he could be a star’ (and could be a UDFA open for any team at rock bottom prices).

I really believe Sims is a gem totally hidden by circumstances and surroundings that camouflaged how good/great he might be.

Not only is Sims an athletic talent, he’s also a smart, thoughtful young man. Watch him in interviews...he’s always humble, always about team. He was an All-Big-12 Academic Rookie Team and made the Honor Roll a few times in his academic career.

My estimates on his Pro Day:

  • 4.35 40-time (maybe a 4.30 that needs bumped to a 4.35 because of the Pro Day fudge factor)
  • 1.49 10-yard split
  • 6.7s for a three-cone
  • 5’9”/5’10” and 180 +/-pounds.
  • Hoping he has 9”+ hands.

Not going to the Senior Bowl or Combine is a draft status killer, especially for a physically smaller wide receiver.

I’ve been doing this for a long time and I know the NFL is usually asleep and/or fearful to make radical picks –we thought we had Kyle Sloter drafted in 2017 with more push – and then Denver chickened out last second and went with Chad Kelly in the 7th-round instead.Another Elway moment of brilliance.

I couldn’t get the NFL interested in drafting Western Oregon’s Tyrell Williams either.

If I were an NFL GM, I’m making this Steven Sims pick before someone else gets him. In this era of speed wide receivers becoming full-fledged weapons in the modern passing game and on jet sweeps, I want in on one of the best bargain WR prospects of 2019.

I’ll let NFL teams waste money and time taking D.K. Metcalf and his one-route (fake right, jump to the left and sprint down the sidelines) in the 1st-round. Why don’t you sign Laquon Treadwell in free agency and draft Metcalf and make them your #1-2 punch wide receivers?

The media and analysts love/loved both these guys, but they don’t know who Sims is unless they’re from the state of Kansas.

The Report goes on to compare Steven Sims to these players:

  • Emmanuel Sanders
  • Aldrick Robinson
  • Phillip Dorsett
  • Tyreek Hill
  • Brandin Cooks
  • Corey Coleman

YouTube Highlight reel


Of course, for any UDFA trying to make the Redskins team, the ability to contribute on special teams is critical. Steven Sims is a really small dude who wasn’t drafted. Chances are, the only way he makes it onto the Redskins roster is as a punt returner specialist.

Fortunately for him, he has some credentials.

It’s true that Sims had limited work as a punt returner, with only 26 returns in his 4-year career, but he averaged a whopping 21.7 yards per return, and in his Junior year had 14 returns for 355 yards - an incredible 25.4 yards per return. In other words, this guy was giving his team a quarter of the field back — probably half the punt distance — on his average returns in 2017.

Sims was a part-time returner for the team, putting up his best numbers as a junior. Like his other stats, they aren’t eye-popping, but he does at least have some experience as a return man.

One might be led by the glowing scouting report above to think that Steven Sims, Jr. may be another hidden diamond uncovered by Doug Williams, Kyle Smith, Tim Gribble and the rest of the scouting department.

Personally, I’m excited to see this young man on the field in burgundy and gold during the pre-season!

But my opinion is being shaped by a guy I don’t know and I’m not convinced I can trust. I’m very interested in the opinion of Jason FitzGerald, who regularly gives us his take on the Redskins UDFAs. I wonder if he’ll be as gushingly positive about this undrafted free agent as R.C. Fischer is.

James FitzGerald (@GMDfitz7765) is a former college player, high school coach, and an avid college football fan who has spent hours in the film room watching opponents and his own teams. His analytical skill adds depth to these profiles that I can’t supply on my own.

Let’s see what he has to say.


Fitz’s film review

Film Watched: Kansas vs. WVU, Kansas vs. Oklahoma State

Steven Sims Jr. is strong for his for his size.

With the ball in his hands against Oklahoma State he was able to stiff-arm a defender to gain a few extra yards; he also broke a few tackles to turn a stop on third down into a first down.

Sims is also a strong blocker. Kansas’s offense was based around the running back, and Steven Sims played his role well. If he wants to make the Redskins team, he is going to have to show off his blocking ability in camp.

He has a very high motor. Sims is always going the extra mile to make a block down field or to salvage a few positive yards on a sniffed out screen.

This former Jayhawk is an explosive player with a high acceleration level. He is not particularly fast, but he builds up speed quickly to gain yards after the catch. Sims also finds space to run. He takes good angles that make the defense miss.

Sims’ downside is mostly related to his diminutive stature.

Sims is a bit under 5’9. He is not tall for an NFL wide receiver, although there have been players his size that have had success.

Because of his size, he, at times, got lost in coverage on the field; when the QB threw it his way, he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.

Also, his route tree is limited and he was used mostly on screen plays. That may not be his fault, however. The Kansas offense was mostly based on the running back (look out for Pooka Williams BTW). Sims also had three different QBs throwing to him throughout the season, so put asterisk on this weakness.

How would he fit with the Redskins?

Steven Sims Jr. has to be a part of special teams to make the regular season roster. He was not the main punt or kick returner on film at Kansas, but he did return a few.

Sims has the ability to make the 53-man roster, but the Redskins have a few people that already have his skill set. To avoid getting cut or ending up on the practice squad, he will have to beat out our current return men for that spot, and he has a shot at doing that if he can shine in preseason.

In comparing him to T.J. Rahming, the Redskins’ other UFDA wide receiver, who is roughtly the same size, with a similar skill set, Sims, in my opinion, has a better chance to make the team.


So, James FitzGerald’s view of Steven Sims, while generally positive, is not the gushing praise given by College Football Metrics, who may have had an interest in pumping up the prospect.

Looking at the Washington draft, and, now, two small, speedy UDFA receivers, I get the distinct feeling that the mission this off-season was to get faster as a team. I doubt whether Sims can win a roster spot on his receiving skills alone, but he may have the opportunity to secure a roster spot primarily as the specialist return man, and slot in as the 6th receiver on the depth chart. To do that, he will have to show incredible explosiveness as a returner in preseason but it will be interesting to see how well the skills of this largely unheralded player translate to the NFL field.

Poll

As UDFAs go, rate Steven Sims, Jr.

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    A
    (210 votes)
  • 49%
    B
    (387 votes)
  • 21%
    C
    (171 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (4 votes)
789 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How good are the chances that Steven Sims, Jr. is on the Redskins roster in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Pretty strong
    (64 votes)
  • 24%
    Above Average
    (187 votes)
  • 41%
    50/50
    (318 votes)
  • 25%
    Unlikely
    (196 votes)
765 votes total Vote Now

A taste of Steven Sims’ Twitter feed: