Jonathan Mingo’s draft stock steadily rose to the point of first round hype throughout the pre-draft cycle. He became one of the bigger risers throughout the process, and all that hype blossomed into the Carolina Panthers taking him with the 39th overall pick.
In dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts, if you were to draft solely based on who was drafted highest in the NFL Draft, you’d have a really solid hit rate. This is not only because higher draft capital makes a team more inclined to give said player volume no matter what, but believe it or not, NFL franchises are better at evaluating these prospects than us. Of course, there are times where you or I may be correct about a player the NFL is wrong about, but given all the brains and time behind their operation, and access to certain tools we don’t know about, they generally walk away with a better hit rate.
With Mingo, we’ve got a big receiver with crazy athletic testing from Ole Miss, and he’s walking into a wide open Panthers receiving room. That combination in a weaker wide receiver class (particularly in the size department) really left scouts infatuated by his upside. I just talked about how following draft capital leads to good results, and NFL franchises are better at scouting prospects than the media is. With that being said, I think the Carolina Panthers and others around the league got this one wrong.
Below the surface of Mingo’s enticing size/athleticism/draft capital/landing spot combination, there’s a ton of red flags to be weary of. First off, the production is incredibly suspect. After a quiet first two seasons with the Rebels, Mingo tallied a 19% target share and 1.5 yards per route run. These marks aren’t even all that great for a junior, but it was enough for this campaign to qualify as his breakout season.
Mingo returned for his senior season last year, tallying a 23.8% target share and 2.4 yards per route run. Definite improvement, but not even stellar given context of the situation. We’re talking about a senior that wasn’t playing alongside any other NFL Draft worthy receivers. He didn’t even lead Ole Miss in receptions, receiving yards, or yards per route run; UDFA Malik Heath did. We can cut Mingo a little slack given his high aDOT & downfield usage, but it’s not enough to excuse such a poor production profile for a senior declare.
Jonathan Mingo got a boost with Round 2 capital, but Ole Miss comps feel rich. Closest is Metcalf, who had to compete w/ A.J. Brown.
30th percentile career rec yards per team pass
39th% best yards per team pass
16th% career yards per route
28th% career dominator
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) May 2, 2023
Do I respect the size/athleticism combination, draft capital, and landing spot? Absolutely. Mingo has progressively moved up my rankings as his projected draft stock rose, and once he got locked in at pick #39, he jumped up as a locked-in top-24 (and arguably top-20) rookie in my superflex rankings.
I’ll respect the t-40 DC in an empty receiving room in regards to Jonathan Mingo…
But in terms of tape + profile, I don’t understand all the hype. Not getting over my head on him in rookie drafts
— Aidan Maher (@Aidan_Maher17) April 28, 2023
With that being said, we have to look past the flashy exterior and into all the red flags of his profile. Despite better draft capital, I still can’t take him over other receivers such as Marvin Mims & Josh Downs with a similar ADP. I’ll always hear out the “follow draft capital” argument, but do understand that Mingo’s bust odds are pretty high, and he is probably a player I won’t be drafting much of this offseason for that reason.