In the first of many Arizona Cardinals NFL draft profiles, we look at wide receiver David Sills V, a productive quarterback-turned-receiver at the University of West Virginia.
You aren’t crazy if the name David Sills V sounds familiar. Sills V was once a national phenom as an 8th-grade quarterback prodigy and even received a scholarship offer to play quarterback at USC from Lane Kiffin. But, that’s not how his football career played out as he transitioned to play wide receiver at West Virginia after a stint as a quarterback in the JUCO ranks.
Sills V could be a good fit on the Arizona Cardinals. Outside of 35-year-old Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals do not have a go-to guy in the red zone nor do they have one that can win on 50/50 balls on a consistent basis.
Although Sills V has only played receiver for just two seasons, you would be hard-pressed to tell that he always hasn’t been one. While at West Virginia, Sills V was one of the most productive receivers in the country. In the last two seasons combined, he tallied 125 receptions for 1,980 yards and 33 touchdowns.
As his stats indicate, Sills V does his best work in the endzone. Not only does Sills V have a 6-3 frame, but he also has the vertical (37.5-inches) to climb the ladder. In turn, making him a particularly effective boundary receiver.
He’s a master of the fade route and knows how to position his body favorably in tight spaces. While he’s not much of a body catcher, Sills V has the length, ball tracking, and body control to boast an large catch radius.
Despite being new to the receiver position, Sills V is surprisingly polished when it comes to route running. One of his best traits is that he does have an ability to beat press coverage, likely due to having creative footwork, an understanding of leverage, and the length to overpower smaller cornerbacks.
However, Sills V has a limited route tree, after all, he’s still learning the position. He hasn’t shown consistency on shorter, horizontal routes. Despite showing growth in the short route-running category at the Senior Bowl, Sills V will likely not be featured as a pure slot receiver. But, his ability to get himself open on vertical routes could make him useful in a ‘big slot’ role similar to JuJu Smith-Schuster for the Steelers.
Sills V quarterback background does have its advantages. His understanding of timing, leverage, coverage, and spacing are outstanding for a wide receiver. Because of that high football IQ, he often found himself wide open for a touchdown while at West Virginia simply because he can quickly spot the soft spots in zone coverage.
However, there are some obvious flaws to Sills V game as it currently stands. Scouts have wanted him to add some muscle to his 6-3, 211-lb frame, And he’s not going to be a guy that shreds defense apart after the catch. I said before, he is not a body catcher and has some concentration drops on tape. Per Pro Football Focus, he had seven drops in 2018.
His average burst and nine-inch hands could also hurt his stock in a deep wide receiver class, and his combine results didn’t show us anything he didn’t know. He ran a 4.57 40-yard-dash, which is slightly above what I expected. His 37.5-inch vertical leap wasn’t surprising if you know how he plays. However, his 6.97 three-cone-drill did surprise those questioning his agility, as he was eighth amongst wide receivers with that time.
Ultimately, Sills V has the potential to be an X receiver in the NFL; he’s big, fast enough, and is a red zone ace. But, as it stands now, Sills V can start as a Z receiver and even see times out of the slot on outward breaking and vertical routes.
Final verdict: His ability to find the endzone and game that has room to grow should help him get drafted as high as the late third round, and as low as the middle of the fifth round — good value for the Arizona Cardinals.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe
to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.