By: Alfredo Flores (Twitter: @ChxckenAlfredo)
First things first, shout out to my editor Nic (@nicosaurus31 – here’s a link to his latest article: Cooper Kupp) along with my publisher (@FFD260) for giving me a viewing place.
Player Analysis: Malachi Dupre
Let’s take it back to before being drafted in the 7th round pick 29 (247th overall), back before playing 3 seasons of LSU football, back to John Curtis Christian High School where Malachi Dupre started making a name for himself. During his Junior and Senior seasons in high school (27 games), Malachi was able to nab 70 passes for 1,423 yards and 21 touchdowns. Over that two-year span, that’s an average of 20.3 yards per reception for Dupre. He left HS on top, as a Division II State Champ and a 5 star prospect. He was ranked the number 1 overall WR by ESPN.com and the 17th best player in the 2014 class. Dupre received 35 offers, visited 5 schools (LSU, Alabama, Florida St., Ole Miss, & UCLA), but ultimately chose to stay close to home and committed to LSU.
Coming in as one of seventeen true freshmen to play for the Tigers, Malachi played in 8 games. Over these 8 games, Dupre was able to post the second most receiving yards on the team with 318 yards – on only 14 catches – with a target share of 18.2%. Five of his 14 catches were touchdowns. Dupre had multiple receptions in each of the first 3 games of the season, scoring touchdowns in those games as well. He then hit a cold streak, making 5 catches over his next 5 games and only one touchdown. Malachi posted a college career low in catch % at 47% but a college career high of 22.7 yards per reception. Dupre’s best game of his freshman season came against Mississippi State where he made 4 grabs (on 9 targets) for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns, all season highs. A positive note to the season, Malachi did not commit a turnover or a penalty. Dupre played well enough to be selected to the SEC All-Freshman team.
Receiving Line: 14-318-5
Following up his freshman season, Dupre played in all 12 games as a sophomore. Malachi lead the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. On a 26.98% target share, Dupre saw 75 passes come his way, catching 43 of them for a 57% catch rate. Malachi turned those 43 catches into 698 yards (16.2 YPR), and 6 touchdowns. Dupre made a catch in every game and only had two games with a single catch. In a game against then #8 Florida, Dupre caught 4 passes (on 5 targets) for a season high 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against Arkansas, Dupre caught a career high 8 passes (on 12 targets) which turned into 109 yards, and another touchdown. Malachi didn’t commit a turnover during the course of the season, but did commit an offensive pass interference penalty for 15 yards.
Receiving Line: 43-698-6 (16.2YPR)
Penalties: 1-15 (OPI)
In Dupre’s Junior (and final) season, some of his numbers took a dip in production. Malachi played in 11 games, making 41 catches (down from 43), posting 593 yards (down from 698) and 3 touchdowns (a drop from 6) which led the team again. His yards per reception rate was also down, coming in at a career low 14.5 YPR. Dupre also saw a career low target share at 17.93%, but did not let that stop him from posting a career high catch rate at 69%. Malachi ended his college career with 0 turnovers, but committed a second penalty, of unsportsmanlike conduct for 15 yards. Dupre’s best all-around game during the 2016 season came against Southern Mississippi, where he caught 3 passes (3 targets) for 100 yards, and 2 touchdowns. In his final game of the year, Malachi went out on a high note, catching 7 passes (9 targets) for a career high 139 yards, but 0 touchdowns against then #13 Louisville. Dupre earned second team All-SEC honors from both the league coaches and the Associated Press.
Receiving line: 41-593-3
Penalties: 1-15 yards (unsportsmanlike conduct)
Ironically enough, there is a comparable player: his new teammate, Davante Adams.
Whenever a new wide receiver lands in Green Bay, you should learn the name and what you might get from him. With the age of Jordy, the inconsistency of Cobb, and the rise of Adams, Malachi will need to build some rapport with one of the best quarterbacks currently playing the game in Aaron Rodgers. If he can do that, Dupre could be a nice sleeper pick. The current WR3 numbers posted last year were 87-937-8, that’s 10.77 YPR amongst 5 different players.
The Packers have a plethora of wide outs, but here’s the breakdown of the contract situations ahead of him: Adams, Jeff Janis, and Geronimo Allison expire after seasons end, Nelson and Cobb expire after 2018, and Trevor Davis after 2019. With the status of these contracts you’d think Dupre wouldn’t be playing right away, but there’s a chance the Packers only resign Adams out of those expiring contracts after the season. The Packers could also cut Cobb, depending on how he does this year and if he’s worthy of his salary.
Dupre has already jumped ahead of this year’s 5th round draft pick DeAngelo Yancey in minicamp. Head coach Mike McCarthy has praised Dupre, saying “He’s definitely an accomplished receiver coming out of college”, “He’s done a lot of good things” and “He’s picked it up probably the quickest of the perimeter group. He’s having a good offseason”. Dupre was the product of playing wide receiver at LSU in a time where they had inconsistent quarterback play and guys named Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice pounding the ball on the ground. Malachi has some strengths still working with him coming into the NFL, having experience at multiple receiver positions, can track deep throws and adjust without taking his eye off the ball, and looks to turn it up field quickly.
There are some areas for improvement for Dupre, such as aggression in his run blocking, route disguising, and developing into more of a vertical threat. Dupre was a projected 3rd-4th round NFL draft pick that fell into the 7th round, and is currently going undrafted in 12-team 4 round rookie drafts as the 61st pick. If you have the space to roster Dupre and give him a year or two to develop with Rodgers and let the contract situation play out in Green Bay, he could possibly be the next diamond in the rough on your team.