Despite the team’s recent struggles, Purdue has a surprisingly long draft history. For the past 19 drafts at least one player has been drafted from Purdue. Last year we had to wait until the 6th round, but Anthony Brown was selected by the Dallas Cowboys to keep that streak alive. In fact, Dallas is the team responsible for keeping the streak alive the last two years, as they drafted Ryan Russell in 2015 as well.
This year will be harder. I don’t think there is a sure-fire draftee on the board from Purdue. No one was officially invited to the NFL combine, but there are a few players that at least have a chance, starting with today’s guy:
DeAngelo Yancey – WR
6’2”, 201 pounds
Career stats: 141 receptions, 2,344 yards, 20 TDs
Given that Purdue has long been a pass-first school it has been a very long time since we have actually had a wide receiver get drafted. You have to go back to Vinny Sutherland in 2001 for the last time a Purdue wideout was picked, although Keith Smith was robbed his senior season due to a knee injury.
Yancey has a chance though. He offers good size and he is coming off of a career year where he had 49 receptions for 951 yards and 10 TDs. He was Purdue’s big play threat all season long. He finished the year with four touchdowns of 60 yards are more and his best game was at Nebraska, where he had 4 receptions for 100 yards and two scores. One of those was a second quarter 88 yard TD.
Here is his highlight video:
And his full career highlight video:
Now, please ignore the score on most of those games because, well, Darrell Hazell. If anything, he deserves more credit for being a potential draft pick despite the obvious handicaps of playing for Darrell Hazell and John Shoop. He also had to play under different quarterbacks in every year at Purdue. He started with Rob Henry, finished his freshman year with Danny Etling, then had to go to Austin Appleby and David Blough.
Throughout his career he really enjoyed playing against Nebraska, too. Here is what he did against the Cornhuskers each year:
2013: 5 catches, 146 yards, TD
2014: No stats
2015: 5 catches, 111 yards, 2 TDs
2016: 4 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs
Yancey finished his career at Purdue with 9 games of at least 100 yards receiving. He is the 6th Purdue player to have at least 9 100-yard games. His 2,344 career yards have him 7th in school history just behind Greg Orton. In fact, had he played in even one bowl game he probably passes Oreton and Sutherland for 5th. He is one of just 7 Purdue players with at least 20 receiving touchdowns in his career and one of nine with 10 in a single season. His 141 career receptions is 16th in school history, one ahead of Bart Burrell and one behind Jim Beirne and former first round pick Dustin Keller.
Yancey was definitely a big play threat this past season. He was often the “go deep and we’ll throw it to you” guy that was trusted to beat single coverage. In his career he struggled with drops and inconsistent play until his senior season. In fact, in his second year on campus he barely played, grabbing only 12 receptions for 147 yards and 3 scores.
Of course, part of his problems were playing in an absolute shitshow of an offense for three years. The John Shoop effect is real and limited not only Yancey, but many other players. After a breakout freshman season of 32 catches for 546 yards and 2 TDs (where he was basically the lone highlight of an absolutely atrocious offense) Hazell and Shoop pushed him to the backburner as a sophomore. His last two years were solid though, and with at least a semi-competent play caller in Terry Malone he excelled.
Yancey likely projects as a late round selection, if at all. He has good size for an outside receiver, but he will have to get over the drops that sometimes plagued him. With actual good coaching, however, he can be an NFL contributor.