Cowboys: Is Bryant elite?

| 3 years ago

Cowboys: Is Bryant elite?

PFF-headlinesIt’s been Dez Bryant’s future with the Cowboys dominating much of their bye week news. Bryant has made it clear that he expects to be paid like one of the league’s very best and fortunately for him, he appears to be peaking at the right time.

Yards Per Route Run is a great way to benchmark ‘elite’ wide receiver status when it comes to pure production. In basic terms, it’s what an offense gains by simply having a guy on the field.

Elite YPRR is above 2.54; 97.5% of all WR YPRRs fall below this figure. Elite route running duty is 600 in a season; 95.0% of WRs fall below this figure.

Through his first four seasons Bryant had a 1.97 YPRR and his best season was 2.13 YPRR on 615 routes in 2012. Not what we’d consider elite, but 10 games into his fifth season, he’s now taken a big step forward generating 2.52 on 315 routes.

Calvin Johnson also had 1.97 YPRR through his first four seasons. In his fifth he jumped up to 2.59 on 731 routes. Johnson will likely be the benchmark for Bryant’s contract negotiations and as such, his current trajectory compares favorably. Whether he can continue that pace after a big payday will be the rub.

  • Dohkay

    Pay the man.


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  • LightsOut85

    One question we could ask is – is top 3% what we consider elite? (Seems a little restrictive to me. If we take 3 WR x 32 teams, that’s 96 WR. 3% of that is 2.9 WR…i’d say the top-tier is more than 2.9 WR). How much would the numbers change if we make it 5%? I think creating a minimum # of routes-run (say, the 50% cut-off from the premium section?), then looking at Bryant’s rankings.

    Also – one area in which not all WRs contribute equally is getting TDs. YPRR doesn’t incorporate TDs. If we count TDs as 20 yards (per PFR), how would Bryant’s standing change? He’s tied (with Megatron) for the most receiving TD from 2010-present, and 2nd in TD/rec (min 100 rec). Giving a TD bonus raises Dez from 14th to 9th in YPG, so I’d imagine it’d noticeably boost his ranking in YPRR.

    Bryant seems to be like Larry Fitzgerald, someone who is universally recognized as talented, yet statistics (of many varieties) rarely show them to be as elite as their reputation — and that isn’t a dig, as QB play often plays a huge part in receiver stats. (Neither has had very high QB comp% when targeted…can’t do much if the ball’s not catchable).

    • Mick Porter

      Full-season YPRR for 2007-2013 is a normally distributed population with a mean of 1.27. The top 2.5% of YPRR can be considered elite because only 2.5% can expected to be greater than 2.54, which is two standard deviations above the mean. Super elite YPRR (3.08) is three standard deviations above the mean.

      These figures represent the 1,466 instances of a wide receiver running at least 1 route during the 2007-2013 seasons; 343 ran less than 100 routes, 165 ran more than 500, 67 ran more than 600, 16 ran more than 700. Routes run has a mean of 249 per year but is not normally distributed.

      I agree that YPRR needs to be expressed along with the quantity of routes run and that TD receptions need heavy consideration when discussing ‘elite’. I also agree that Larry Fitzgerald is an excellent comparable player but I don’t think Dez Bryant’s representatives agree that Larry Fitzgerald type money will keep Dez in Dallas.

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  • DrAWNiloc

    Of course Bryant is an elite WR.

    Oh, wait, you mean Dez Bryant.

    Carry on, please.

  • TrevorMessenger Dez Bryant is absolutely elite. There is no question. Here are my reasons why he is a beast!