Rookie Scouting Report: Wide Receiver David Sills
David Sills, West Virginia
Weight: 211 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.57 seconds
Vertical Jump: 37.5 inches
Broad Jump: 117 inches
3-Cone Drill: 6.97 seconds
Sills is a former highly-recruited quarterback prospect who is still learning the wide receiver position. When first sitting down to watch Sills’ film back in February, I thought to myself, “Why isn’t he higher in the rankings?” He is a very technically sound wide receiver who seemingly does most things very well. I’ll admit that when watching a prospects tape for the first time at a quick glance, there’ll be things I miss, so this was a profile I’ve been looking forward to. In between then and now, Dez Bryant posted a tweet saying, “Don’t sleep on David Sills in the draft,” which didn’t help curb my enthusiasm.
While there is some inconsistency among some of the wide receiver prospects when it comes to production, Sills didn’t have that issue at West Virginia. Over his last two seasons, he posted 60/980/18 in 2017 and then 65/986/15 in 2018. That amounts to 35 touchdowns in just 24 games, highlighting his ability in the red zone. Was it due to a lack of competition or can he produce on the next level?
Size/Versatility: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He played a bit thin at West Virginia, though it’s worth noting he did put on some weight before the Senior Bowl and Combine. He’s not going to be someone who’s going to be able to add much weight onto his thin frame, which could limit his ceiling with physical cornerbacks. He did move into the slot at times with West Virginia, highlighting his versatility to be used all over the field. While I don’t think he has the speed to stretch the field in the NFL, he did do that quite a bit in college (see: route running). There’s potential for him to play all three positions at wide receiver. Knowing he used to play quarterback, he also offers some trickery with an offense to throw a few passes.
Route Running/Ability to Separate: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a very technical receiver who does everything by the book, which gives him a certain amount of predictability for his quarterback, which is likely why Will Grier fell in love with him. For a guy who doesn’t have top-tier speed, you saw him gain separation down the field, likely due to the defensive backs respecting his underneath route running. He varies the speed in his routes very well, which allows him to create separation when the defender believes they’re moving at his full speed. If there’s a coach who pays attention to how his players run their routes, Sills is going to be a favorite of theirs. His jab-step on his slants is nasty (in a good way). He also seems to have the ability to run a full route tree – even if West Virginia didn’t have him do so – which is something that’s not too common among receivers in this class. He sells his routes extremely well, running with animation and a purpose. Route running is the best part of his game and what makes him a solid prospect.
Speed: 2.5 out of 5 stars
He may not have great speed when you look at his Combine numbers, but his play-speed is certainly not bad. When watching most receivers who run in the 4.6-second range (he was at 4.57), they often appear to be running in mud, but that’s not the case with Sills. You don’t see defenders closing in on him very often, but I did see him pull away from defenders at times. His play speed should not limit his potential in the NFL, as I see him as average for someone his size. The varying speeds he plays with could give him an even better grade, but the gaps will shrink in the NFL.
Hands: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a natural hands catcher who makes plucking the ball out of the air look effortless at times, but then drops some easy balls that should have been caught other times. It’s one of the inconsistent parts of his game, though he did seem to bring them in when it mattered most – the end zone. When catching the ball away from his body in jump ball situations, it highlights the strength in his hands, as his thin-framed body can only do so much. If there’s one thing that could help his hands be a bit more consistent, it’s squaring up to the ball as it’s coming in, as he often tries to keep his body moving downfield rather than adjusting back to the ball.
Awareness: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a very smart receiver who knows when to come back to the ball to help his quarterback, which makes sense considering it’s a position he used to play. He can get better when it comes to ball-tracking over his shoulder, as he will often wait to long to adjust. While this has benefits to ensure the defender isn’t aware of the ball coming in, Sills hasn’t perfected the balance between the two. Reading a zone defense is another plus to his game, as he seemingly knows where to sit down in coverage while avoiding massive hits over the middle of the field.
After the Catch: 2.0 out of 5 stars
For a guy with the thin frame he has, you’d think he’d be a catch-and-fall-down type of player, but he’s not. He’s not going to outmuscle a strong safety or even a bigger cornerback, but he’s not going to fall down to avoid contact. He becomes a runner as soon as he catches the ball and gets yardage if it’s there. He’s not someone who presents great balance through contact, but rather one who tries to counter the tackle attempt by rolling off it. He’s not someone who’ll be known for what he does after the catch.
Potential Landing Spot
Whoever drafts Sills is going to get a high-effort receiver who does a lot of the little things well. He’s going to do everything you ask him to do when on the field, which strikes me as a Patriots wide receiver. He can play all over the field and gives the quarterback a big option in the red zone who can continually win jump balls. They need wide receivers and that’s not a secret. They also need some red zone options with Rob Gronkowski retiring. The Patriots did speak with Sills at West Virginia’s Pro Day as well, so the connection could very well happen.
It’s fair to compare Sills to someone like Eric Decker, who was a bit underrated himself coming out of college being drafted at the end of the third round. He was 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, did everything technically well and was extremely good in the red zone, scoring 11 or more touchdowns three times. Oddly enough, Sills is probably better in jump ball situations. Because of his athletic limitations, Decker wasn’t always handed a massive role in an offense, but he made the most of it whatever he got. If Sills can get the opportunity that Decker got, you could see a similar career.