With the Super Bowl behind us, it's time to turn our attention to the NFL Draft and the incoming 2023 rookie class. Chris Allen discusses the pros and cons of Luke Musgrave as a dynasty prospect and what kind of fantasy impact he can make at the NFL level.
- Rookie Draft Ranking: 30 (TE5)
- Underdog ADP: 213.5
- Rookie TE Super Model: 63rd percentile
- Landing Spot: Green Bay Packers (42nd overall)
“[Musgrave's] best fit would probably be a passing offense in need of help along the line but short on receiving depth. ” - Me, April 2023
Nailed it. But I'm still not ecstatic about Musgrave's fantasy prospects.
Green Bay's offense has been top 12 in early-down passing rate, but Jordan Love has only 91 dropbacks to his name. The Packers could use someone to work alongside Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, but Musgrave's utility as a lineman lessens his chances to run meaningful routes in a re-vamped, Rodgers-less, passing game.
Way-too-early 2023 redraft rank: Mid-range TE3
I need help evaluating Luke Musgrave. Usually, I can assimilate some social media clips and a few charts to give a positive outlook for any prospect. Like Captain America, I can do this all day.
But Musgrave’s metrics kept bringing me to the same conclusion: he needs time to develop to be fantasy-relevant at the pro level.
However, Musgrave's potential to be a Day 2 draft pick in a loaded TE class has me rethinking my stance. Maybe I’m missing something. Regardless, let’s break down Musgrave as a prospect to reveal what NFL teams might see in the Oregon State alum.
Potential for spike weeks
Musgrave saw 76 targets total in his four years as a Beaver. No, that’s not a typo. He amassed the same amount of looks in about half a decade as some of his classmates did in just the 2022 season.
OK, so Musgrave probably isn't going to be Travis Kelce, nor should we project him to be. However, a Dawson Knox comp is palatable given Musgrave’s on-field production and average depth of target (aDOT).
Musgrave operated in-line for 57.7% of his snaps per Pro Football Focus (PFF). So while Oregon State didn’t deploy him as an obvious receiving threat, Musgrave's size-speed combination made him one. He’s one of five TEs in this rookie class with above-average yards per team attempt (0.88) and aDOT (13.2).
After showing out at the NFL Combine, Musgrave proved what scouts already saw on film. He can slide right by defenders after a smooth release from the line. Given the right situation, Musgrave’s athletic traits and receiving skills have spike-week potential even if he doesn't project to play an every-down role in the passing game.
Improved as a receiver
Musgrave’s metrics in his final season at Oregon State are like a ray of hope in a cloud of mid. He opened the season with a career-high 30% targets per route run (TPRR) and ran a route on 89% of Chance Nolan’s dropbacks over the first two weeks.
Unfortunately, a knee injury ended Musgrave’s senior campaign after that, so it's hard to read too much into his alpha-like numbers from those two games. That said, Musgrave's progression in yards per route run (YPRR) heading into 2022 lends credence to the idea that he was improving.
Musgrave ascended as an efficient pass-catcher at Oregon State while maintaining a 16.0% TPRR average across all three seasons. In short, he's shown the ability to develop into a more reliable talent but needs more time to get there.
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Can’t handle competition
Musgrave may comp athletically to Dawson Knox, as mentioned above, but that comp falls flat when considering Knox’s teammates and target competition in college.
The 2018 Ole Miss squad featured A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Elijah Moore. And let’s just say that I had to google notable NFL WRs from Oregon State, as none of Musgrave’s teammates made the cut (shoutout to Isaiah Hodgins, though).
So Musgrave’s scant role in the Beavers’ aerial attack already has my eyebrow raised, and not in a good way. A comparison to the rest of the 2023 rookie TE class over the span of their collegiate careers doesn’t do Musgrave any favors either.
Musgrave may have been able to generate yards, but that’s about it. His team contribution lagged behind his peers with only 44 receptions and two TDs, and his career-best 8.0% dominator rating in 2021 sits in the lowly 22nd percentile.
Without much confidence that Musgrave will be able to consistently earn targets in the NFL, it's difficult to project much fantasy upside for him as a rookie in 2023.
Musgrave’s coming off an injury, wasn’t his offense’s focal point, and primarily worked on the line of scrimmage. None of these factors make him very enticing to fantasy GMs, but Musgrave does have a couple of things working in his favor.
For one, he had a top-12 pass-blocking grade in his most active season. Add in his strong athletic testing, and Musgrave has a decent shot to be selected in the second or third round of the NFL Draft.
His best fit would probably be a passing offense in need of help along the line but short on receiving depth (e.g., Carolina or Miami). However, even with a prime landing spot, Musgrave's inability to demand targets would make him just a dart throw TE3 in best ball and redraft formats.
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