CFF Sig Stats: Wide Receivers, Part 2
This time focused on deep passes and play from the slot, Gordon McGuinness offers more wide reciver Signature Stats.
CFF Sig Stats: Wide Receivers, Part 2
After a year of digging into the college game for the first time, we’re now beginning to unveil our findings. As you’ll have seen we’ve started to bring you some content including player profiles, rankings, and some interesting Signature Stats from each position.
Matt Claassen had a look at the running backs yesterday (run game and pass game), and today we’ve already started on the receivers with Yards Per Route Run and Drop Rate. Now we turn attention to those receivers who stood out in the deep game and from the slot.
As always, it’s important to note that stats don’t always tell the whole story, but these go a little deeper than regular stats, and make for some interesting reading.
There is one player in this draft class who excites me more than any other as a deep threat, and that’s Ohio State’s Devin Smith. His speed is enough to blow the top off of any defense and in the very least who looks like a very good deep threat.
Some of the best players in this draft class feature here too, with White and Cooper both producing over 500 yards and seven touchdowns on passes traveling 20 yards or more downfield. Parker wasn’t much further behind, with 421 yards of his own.
East Carolina’s Cam Worthy, Texas’ John Harris and Kansas State’s Curry Sexton all impressed here too, despite none of them being overly heralded in this class, could one of them be the surprise package late in the draft?
Deep Passing vs. Power 5 Teams
It didn’t matter if it came against Power Five opponents or not, Smith was still the premier deep threat in the FBS last season. It’s interesting that White pushes himself up to second here, with his best work downfield coming against the best competition he faced all year.
Cooper stays in the Top 5, but Tyler Lockett of Kansas State stays ahead of him. PFF’s Sam Monson likes him a lot, and thinks he’d be the type of player that would go high in the draft if he was a little bit bigger. He produced big plays galore, though, playing bigger than his size, and size never hurt Antonio Brown once he got to the NFL.
We’ve seen the role of the slot receiver grow in recent years, to the point that it’s an important role that some teams want a star player to fill. Randall Cobb just signed a new deal in Green Bay for that very reason, so it seems likely that several teams will be looking to the draft to find someone for the slot this year.
Rice’s Jordan Taylor was the only player to average a YPRR of higher 3.00 from the slot, while East Carolina’s Justin Hardy backs up the feeling I have that his best role is as a slot receiver with the second most yards from the slot, with only Marshall’s Tommy Shuler managing more.
Slot Performance vs. Power 5 Teams
Hardy still looked impressive from the slot against teams from the Power 5, but it’s very interesting to note that Jaelen Strong tops this list. The Arizona State receiver isn’t going to wow you with quick cuts like many slot receivers do, but he’s big and strong and can go up and win the ball from the slot the way Anquan Boldin does.
USC’s Nelson Agholor is another player who had a surprising amount of success from the slot, though he is definitely a little more shifty than Strong, but the play of both from the slot backs up why they’re likely to hear their names called before Round 2 of the draft wraps up.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon
Gordon McGuinness | Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst
Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.