DJ Chark – LSU
WR 6’3″ 199
The program at LSU presents a fairly unique set of challenges for wide receiver evaluations; DJ Chark had just 66 career catches in the run-centric Tigers’ offense. In order to reach a conclusion on Chark, there has to be a fair amount of imagination, extrapolation, and projection involved.
Even in a limited sample size, Chark’s downfield speed is evident. In spite of a bias toward running the ball and his quarterback’s limitations, Chark showed off his ability to stretch defenses vertically. While his primary function will be as a deep threat, several things point to Chark’s potential for growth in the NFL. Chark was able to read the cushion he was given and create separation on comebacks. He showed signs of being able to adjust to poorly thrown balls, especially when in traffic. Chark was prone to lapse into body catching, but when concentrating on a high-point play among defenders, he displayed some of the strongest hands in this class. He also has very good awareness of the boundaries and routinely dragged his back foot to establish two points in bounds (even though NCAA rules only require one.) Chark also showed a willingness to block, even if his technique was lacking.
For a receiver with potentially elite top-end speed, Chark is not a tremendous weapon after the catch. (This is partially due to his inability to cleanly catch the ball, his quarterback’s inaccuracy, and oddly, an occasional inability to separate.) Chark often fights the ball on comeback routes, letting the ball get in on his body or double-catching. He can be pushed off a route by a physical corner. Chark also has a bad habit of looking to break a big play and forgetting his surroundings; this led to several fumbles.
Overall, Chark was a surprise. Because of the sporadic use in LSU’s passing game, Chark may be under the radar in fantasy circles, but his upside is there. Initially he looks to be a field stretcher with a boom-or-bust label attached to him, but Chark has potential to round out into one of this class’s better producers.