After bringing you pieces for pass rushers (Pass Rushing Productivity) and running backs (Elusive Rating), we’re now turning our attention to wide receivers. Having shared our Drop Rate stat earlier in the year, we’re now looking at which receivers pick up the most yards per route they run.
The formula for this one is pretty simple and it goes a little something like this: Receiving Yards / Number of Routes Run
Told you it was simple. Now on to the findings, where we looked at 108 receivers who ran at least 200 pass routes.
Cruz-ing to the Top
From that headline it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Victor Cruz led all receivers when it came to Yards Per Route Run. He averaged a staggering 3.08 yards in this regard as good things tended to happen when New York got him on the field. It’s the kind of statistic that highlights how important Cruz was to the Giants, and how important it is that they are able to lock him down in the future. He finished just ahead of Jordy Nelson (2.99 YPRR) as both men took full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them to average a significant amount more than any other receiver in the league.
Steel-ing the Limelight
When you look at the Pittsburgh Steelers you can become enamored with the plays Ben Roethlisberger makes, the constant pressure the defense gets, or the vertical threat that Mike Wallace offers. If this year is anything to go by, a new weapon could be about to rival all of them, with Antonio Brown developing into one of the NFL’s most devastating receivers. He finished third overall after turning his 427 pass routes run into 1,108 yards and with more opportunities likely next year, it will be interesting to see just how high his yardage figures can go.
The Free Agent Class
What of the wide receivers who just got paid in free agency? They were in demand, but how did they fare in this study? Well, leading this group was arguably the most consistent of them, Marques Colston, who made a mockery of the Saints’ spread-the-ball-around style to average 2.42 YPRR. Up next, it may surprise some to see the name of Laurent Robinson who was 16th overall, showing just what he can do when he’s healthy and on the field. There’s a huge element of risk for the Jaguars in bringing in a player with one year’s worth of production, but if he can last a whole season and maintain a 2.15 YPRR average, they’ll be very happy.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hoping for more production than Vincent Jackson (28th) managed, with the former Charger finishing three spots behind the new Patriots receiver Brandon Lloyd. Jackson’s replacement in San Diego, Robert Meachem, was all the way down in 56th, so it will be interesting to see what he can do when he isn’t the fifth favorite target of Drew Brees. As for the Washington Redskins, they’ll likely be somewhat encouraged that Pierre Garcon was 38th, given the quality of passer throwing him the ball, but that he averaged the exact same number as Reggie Wayne highlights that Garcon is more potential and projection, than production so far. In a year’s time it will be extremely interesting to see how these high profile free agent signings’ numbers are impacted by a change of scenery, and with increased expectations.
And the Rookies?
If you had to guess which rookie led the league in Yards Per Route Run, the obvious choices would be A.J. Green and Julio Jones, with Green averaging just 0.01 more yard per route than the Falcon receiver. They finished inside the Top 20, but both found themselves behind undrafted free agent Doug Baldwin who managed to take 354 pass routes and turn it into 792 yards, good for 14th in the league. Rounding out the Top 5 rookie receivers were Denarius Moore (30th) and Torrey Smith (41st).
Snaps in Route
|10||Steve L. Smith||CAR||1394||590||2.36|
Meanwhile, down at the bottom, it’s safe to say Eddie Royal wasn’t the type of player to benefit from Tebowmania. He finished last among the qualifiers after averaging just 0.64 yards per route, which was almost a third of a yard less per route than any other receiver. BT (Before Tebow) Royal was up at the 1.5 YPRR in 2010, so he could be something of a find now that he’s with a quarterback who is more than capable of taking advantage of him. Elsewhere in the Bottom 10, it won’t surprise any Jaguar fans to see that they had two players featured. Jarett Dillard was fourth from the bottom while Mike Thomas was 10th as they highlighted a problem the Jaguars’ receivers had in picking up yards given the horrendous state of play from the QB position.
Snaps in Route
One’s to Watch
If that study looks at guys already established, what players should we perhaps be expecting more out of? Looking at players who ran between 100 and 199 pass routes, it won’t surprise many to see Andre Johnson leading the way despite an injury hit 2011. Of more interest, especially to Raiders, Packers and Bengals fans, will be the performances of some of their players. Jacoby Ford (2.46 YPRR), Randall Cobb (2.16) and Andrew Hawkins (1.99) all displayed incredible promise when they got on the field and could be headed for bigger things in 2012.
Snaps in Route
Our Yards Per Route Run Signature Stat does exactly what it says: tells you which receivers are picking up the most yardage relative to how much they are on the field and running routes. It’s why teams should be wary when Jordy Nelson is on the field, why they should pay extra attention to Victor Cruz wherever he lines up, and why Antonio Brown may be ready to take an even bigger step forward in 2012.