CFF Sig Stats: Tight Ends
As we wade into our massive pool of College Football Focus data, we’ll be sharing with you some of the highlights from our Signature Stats in position-by-position looks. So, for a couple weeks you can expect daily dives into the best and worst that the full FBS schedule produced in all of the same categories you’ve come to know from our NFL coverage. It’s important to note that our stats are different from our grades, as the stats are black and white, result-based numbers while the grades add the context to a player’s contribution in each situation.
After wrapping things up yesterday with a look at the off-ball linebackers, we’re going back to the offensive side to see how this year’s crop of draft-eligible tight ends fared.
Yards Per Route Run
2014 NFL Leader: Rob Gronkowski 2.53
– Topping the list are two players considered by many to be the best prospects at the position: Miami’s Clive Walford and Minnesota’s Maxx Williams.
– With 20 receptions of at least 15 yards, and eight forced missed tackles, Walford finished comfortably ahead of the pack with a 3.26 YPRR.
Yards Per Route Run vs Power 5 Teams
Here we filter the data to look at production against teams from the Power 5 conferences, letting us see how the prospects fared against a (generally) elevated level of competition.
– Walford was even more productive against Power 5 opponents with a 3.38 YPRR.
– One of four SEC players in the Top 10, A.J. Derby was similarly more productive against Power 5 opponents, surpassing the 3.0 YPRR mark.
– There is a sizeable drop off after the Top 5 players, with Nick O’Leary (Florida State) making an appearance on the list at 1.55 YPRR. He led all tight ends in targets and total yards against Power teams.
2014 NFL Leader: Jermaine Gresham 1.59
Four players managed to make it through the season without dropping a pass, though none of them was targeted more than 43 times (Justin Sinz).
– Several of the YPRR standouts were equally impressive catching the ball, including Dudchock, Walford, Derby, and Backman.
– O’Leary was perhaps the most impressive of the group, with just one drop in 49 catchable targets.
– The worst Drop Rate belonged to Virginia’s Zachary Swanson, who dropped six of 20 catchable targets on the season.
– No tight end was more productive on deep shots than Maxx Williams, who gained 166 yards on passes traveling more than 20 yards in the air. Four of his five receptions came against Big 10 opponents.
– Just outside of the top 10 was Navy TE Geoffrey Whiteside, who was the most frequently targeted TE on deep passes, with 46.2% of all his targets coming that way.
With more tight ends in the NFL frequently playing both inline and in the slot, it’s interesting to look at which players excelled when lined up split from the formation.
– Once again Walford bested his peers in per-snap production. He lined up in the slot for 22.6% of his total snaps (67% lined up inline), gaining almost a yard more per route than second-ranked Jean Sifrin (UMass).
– Several familiar names just missed the cut. Either because they didn’t log enough snaps in the slot (Nick O’Leary); or they simply weren’t as productive from the slot despite lining up for more than 50% of their snaps there (Blake Bell, Jeff Heuerman).
Pass Blocking Efficiency
– It’s no surprise that Sam Arneson also finished at the top of our pass block grades after ending the season with a clean sheet from 72 pass block snaps.
– Among the top prospects near the bottom of our rankings was Penn State’s Jesse James, who gave up eight pressures (2 sacks, 1 hit, 5 hurries) for a PBE of 94.1.
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