The numbers on Moncrief as decision looms

Greetings from Nashville. The Rebels will practice this afternoon, and I’ll have notes and video here.

Donte Moncrief talked about the draft and his future with us before the Christmas break. He will have a decision to make soon.

So many folks get caught up in statistics when this time comes around, but the draft isn’t about statistics. It’s about potential and what next-level coaches and personnel types believe they can coach you to become.

The AP went with Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) and Mike Evans (Texas A&M) on its first team, Jarvis Landry (LSU) and Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri) on its second.

Odell Beckham Jr., of LSU, made the first team as an all-purpose player.

By that count Moncrief didn’t finish among the SEC’s top five wide receivers.

The coaches also went with Matthews and Evans on the first team. LSU’s Beckham and Landry were on the second team.

The coaches did not pick an honorable mention squad. The AP did, but placed only quarterbacks Nick Marshall, A.J. McCarron and Zach Mettenberger on its offense.

Moncrief was completely shut out of the primary All-SEC teams.

Moncrief goes into the bowl game second on the team in receptions with 53, tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with five.

He’s had three touchdown catches in SEC play, two of them against Auburn. He’s had just one touchdown catch over the last seven games.

This year he’s had 13 fewer catches for 154 fewer yards and five fewer touchdowns. He drew more attention this season as happens with the top receivers in the league.

A year ago he had six touchdown catches in SEC games, five of those coming in the last two regular season games against LSU and Mississippi State.

In 16 SEC games over the last two seasons, Moncrief has been held without a touchdown 11 times. That will keep you off All-SEC teams. In the other five games he’s had multiple touchdowns three times.

There’s clearly more receiving talent on the team this year, but of the Rebels’ top five pass-catchers only Laquon Treadwell was not on the team last year.

That stat would have changed if Evan Engram had remained healthy.

With 14 fewer catches than Treadwell, who wasn’t often targeted with a deep ball, Moncrief still had 258 more yards.

You can see the ability with Moncrief, and he’s a much different player physically than he was upon entering the program. He had more drops this season. I don’t know if that’s a big concern for scouts or if that’s something that they will believe he will easily work through.

The question Moncrief will have to answer is can he help himself by coming back? He could have a better season statistically, but can he improve himself in the eyes of NFL scouts? What will be the lay of the land for next year’s draft?

CBS currently projects Moncrief as a third-round pick, the No. 14 available receiver if he chooses to come out. Of the 13 ahead of him, 11 are underclassmen who are facing the same decision.

If he chooses to come back I think you’ll see an extremely motivated and more productive player.


Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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