Rising senior wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones declared for the NFL Draft on Friday afternoon.
Peoples-Jones is listed at 6’2″ and 208 lbs. on the 2019 roster. He reportedly ran a 40 time in the 4.4s coming out of high school. He was a 5-star, the #1 wide receiver, and #12 overall in the 2017 class, ranking as Michigan’s sixth-highest ranked recruit in the modern recruiting era (LINK).
Hit the jump for more on Peoples-Jones.
I gave Peoples-Jones a TTB Rating of 89, citing the belief that Michigan would not develop him up to his considerable potential. You can look back in the comments for a nice, lengthy discussion of why that rating was given (LINK). Here are Peoples-Jones’s stats over his first three years:
2017: 22 catches, 277 yards, 0 TD
2018: 47 catches, 612 yards, 8 TD
2019: 34 catches, 438 yards, 6 TD
TOTAL: 103 catches, 1327 yards, 14 TD
Add in 87 rushing yards, 743 punt return yards, and 2 punt return touchdowns.
An 89 TTB Rating suggested that Peoples-Jones would be a very good starter in the Big Ten, a likely All-Big Ten player, and a likely NFL draftee. Now that we’ve seen his career develop, I would say even that rating was a little bit generous. He maxed out as a 3rd Team All-Big Ten player in 2018.
If we’re being honest, Peoples-Jones had a very forgettable 2019 season. He started off with an injury that caused him to miss a couple games, and perhaps that affected him for the rest of the year. He never seemed to regain that separation and this was the first year in which he did not return a punt for a touchdown. For his sake you hope an off-season of physical development helps him get back to 100% if he wasn’t already there.
Maybe it’s not his fault, but when you get the #1 receiver in the country, you expect more than 438 yards and 6 touchdowns in his final season.
Peoples-Jones hasn’t had great production – much like #1 defensive tackle Rashan Gary in the 2016 class – but should get drafted based on his superb athleticism. If he can post a 40 time in the 4.4 range with a 40-inch vertical and some decent shuttle times, he might be able to work himself into the second day of the draft.
Rising sophomore Cornelius Johnson would presumably be the biggest beneficiary, as he was the primary backup in 2019. Johnson caught 4 passes for 61 yards and 1 touchdown.
Peoples-Jones is the fourth player to leave with a year of eligibility remaining, joining redshirt junior tight end Sean McKeon, redshirt junior outside linebacker Joshua Uche, and junior center Cesar Ruiz.
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