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Receiver Production Spreadsheet

gogiants : 3/24/2023 8:43 pm
Statistics don’t tell the whole story of a player and can only be used to present a piece of the puzzle. However, I do feel they are an important piece and help identify potential targets or areas of positives or concerns with a player.

I created a spreadsheet of statistical/production data on the top receiver prospects in the draft. There are 57 receivers that include all the combine invites plus some others, I used thirteen categories and ranked the players based on their data for each category. There is a table that presents their rank in a color-coded format for each category.

There are the often-discussed prospects at the top such as Njigba, Addison and Hyatt. The table identifies their strong production areas and areas that could use work. Marvin Mims comes in high and him or Hyatt could be good choices in Round 2. The other area of interest are a list of potential late round or UDFAs that ranked high in this production statistical view.

Here are just a few blurbs on some players that ranked high in the spreadsheet. The first note is how they ranked in the spreadsheet.

The Front-Runners

Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Njigba-Smith ranked number one in four of the thirteen categories.
• In 2021, sixty percent of Jaxon’s targets made first down!
• Smith had an 84% catch rate. The next closest rate was 7% less and the holders had over 5 yards less in yards per catch.
• Jaxon was 1st in yards per target in 2021.
• Jaxon had 43 plays of 15+ yards in 2021. This field was ranked based on the players best season for 15+ yard plays.

Jordan Addison
Addison ranked second in touchdowns / game and in 15+ plays
• Addison is third among active career leaders in receiving touchdowns
• Jordan was first in the nation in 2021 in receiving touchdowns
• Addison was first in the nation in 2021 in receiving plays of 20+ yards

Jalin Hyatt
Hyatt ranked first in Touchdowns / Receptions & Targets
• Among the 57 draft prospects Hyatt ranked number one in each of touchdowns per targets and per receptions for both career and last year.
• Among active career receiving touchdown leaders Hyatt ranks eighth among wide receivers in touchdowns to receptions. 17.6% of his career receptions have been a touchdown.

Marvin Mims
Marvin ranked number one in yards per reception.
• Since 2000 only three receivers have had 2000 career yards with a 19-yard average, a 1,000-yard season and ran a sub 4.40 forty at the combine. They are Marvin Mims, Ja’Marr Chase and Lee Evans.
• Mims is the active career leader in yards per catch at 19.5 yards.

Nathaniel Dell
‘Tank’ Dell ranked number one in touchdowns per game and yards per game.
• Tank ranks number one among active career touchdown leaders in touchdowns per game. At 0.914 he is getting almost a touchdown per game.
• Tank ranked second in the nation in receiving yards per game in 2022.

Potential Day Three or UDFA High Production Candidates

Elijah Cooks
Cooks ranked eighth in Touchdowns / Receptions & Targets
• Cooks ranks fifth among active career leaders in receiving TDs. Eleven percent of his career targets resulted in a touchdown. That was third best among 57 leading draft prospects.
• Cooks was one of only three prospects in this sample that had no rankings in the bottom one third.

Jared Wayne
Wayne ranked second in first downs to receptions.
• 73% of Jared’s 2022 total receptions converted to 1st down.
• 73% of Jared’s career 3rd down receptions converted to 1st down.

CJ Johnson
Johnson ranked tenth in career yards and in vitals.
• Johnson ranks eighth among active career leaders in yards per catch. No one above him had more career yards.
• At 6’1” and 224 lbs Johnson provides sure hands and contested catch capability to compensate a lack of speed. He had 4 drops over the last two years on 156 targets.
• Johnson was one of only three prospects in this sample that had no rankings in the bottom one third.

Kris Thornton
Thornton was number one in career yards.
• Thornton, a sixth-year senior, has back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons 2021-2022 (1 of 4 draft prospects)
• Kris Thorton had a 41.5 inch vertical jump at his Pro day. That would be the top vertical by a wide receiver at the combine. His forty time was a 4.42. He may have only got ten reps, but these days when the trend is to skip combine events, you’ve got to love a 5’8” 181 lb prospect that does the bench press.
• Thornton ranks 4th in the nation in number of 20+ yard plays.

Shae Wyatt
Shae was third in yards per reception.
• Shae led the nation in 2022 in number of games (8) with receiving average of 20+ yards. He had 21 receptions over those eight games for 544 yards.
• In 2022 he was 12th in the nation in average receiving yards at 19.8 yards/catch. He ranked 3rd among the 57 sampled in yards per reception and 2nd in career yards.

Matt Landers
Matt was 2nd in first downs/receptions, Tds/receptions and Yards/receptions
• Among 57 top receiver draft prospects Matt Landers ranked first in career yards to receptions (19.6 yards) , third in career touchdowns to receptions (16.7%) and fifth in career first downs to receptions (69.2 %). Matt Landers does not show on the list of active career leaders for yards per catch because he only has 79 career receptions which is short of the required 100 to make the list.
• The 6’4 and 200 lb receiver had a 4.37 forty at the combine.

Keylon Stokes
Keylon ranked 7th in receiving plays of 15+ yards.
• In 2022 Keylon Stokes was second in receiving plays of 20+ yards (23) and in 2019 he was eighth in receiving plays of 50+ yards (5).
• Among the 57 receiver prospects sampled the 5’10 200 lbs Stokes is the second heaviest sub 6 foot receiver. When Jaylin White, a UC Davis slot corner, was asked who was the best player he ever played against he replied - Keylon Stokes … He runs very well after the catch, pretty much turning into a RB when he gets the ball. 

In the spreadsheet at the top of the table is a factor row that allows you to give a weight to each category. I have defaulted each to 1. You can download the spreadsheet and adjust the factors form 0 – 1 with fractional values or even use whole numbers. The color-coded table will not change for the factors as that is a display of their rank and that would not change. What does change is an assigned grade based on the factors chosen. This allows you to see how an overall ranking would be based on the factor. The grade is a sum of the ranks equated to a value from 0 to 100 with 100 being a top grade if ranked as all 1s. You can then sort the player rows on column B.

This presents a statistical comparison of how a player ranks to his peers based mostly on production statistics. It is simply one view that could be used as input in highlighting players and their production strength/weaknesses. Let me be clear that I am not stating that any player is a better receiver than another based solely on statistical data. So before the “lol this player graded better than that player” – this is only presenting what the data is. The evaluation of a player involves many pieces. A comparison of production data to their peers is only one piece. Just as I not say Trey Palmer is the best receiver because he ran the fastest forty, so too I am not saying player A is better than B based on the grades of this statistical comparison. Also keep in mind that these are mostly the top 57 players out of a couple of hundred. So a low ranked player among this peer group is probably still top 10% in the country.

Production data is only so good in evaluating a player. Many factors play into wide receiver production that cannot be captured in the data. Some extraneous factors that affect a receiver’s production include offensive scheme run, player usage, other teammates play (receivers, quarterback, offensive line), competition and snap counts. In addition, there is limited visibility at the college level into statistics (unless maybe you are not too cheap to pay). The common person does not have access to stats that are available at the NFL level such as drop rates on all players, separation data and yards after the catch. Even still with all its limitations the production data provides valuable information on a player evaluation.

I included Wan’dale Robinson and Hodgins at the bottom using their college data compared to this 2023 class. For Hodgins there was no target data available for other than his last college year.

The categories typically are a summation of the player’s career and last year data separately ranked and then summed and ranked. I wanted to give credit for players that performed well over multiple seasons as well as those that improved in their last year. There is an info tab that presents more info on the categories. For Smith-Njigba I used his 2021 season as his last season since he was injured and played so little in 2022. Andrei Iosivas has not been included as his first downs and target data was not available.

I realize receiver types are somewhat vague and players often lineup as various types. But receiver types do present a multi-dimensional view by skillset rather than just a flat list. I added a column called Pos which enters my take on types based on what I have ascertained from reports and combine data.

In analyzing the data you can filter the Table for category criteria such as all players with a yards per reception, yards per target and touchdowns per reception less than or equal to 19 (top 1/3rd). Another approach is to use the factors to highlight categories you deem important. The backup data can also be filtered on each individual worksheet. Hopefully the column headings are explicit. Often I include row at the bottom for averages. Keep that in mind if sorting based on a column.

I hope you find it useful or informative. I found the exercise either helped reinforce a view on a player, highlighted aspects of other players that I had not paid much attention or made me question my view on others.

Google Docs Spreadsheet - ( New Window )
Gogiants, wow that’s a lot of data!  
HopePhil and Optimistic : 3/24/2023 8:53 pm : link
Thanks for putting all that together!

What stats do you think are most important? Many seem to be dependent on how the player is used.

Does your spreadsheet include data about catch %, separation, yards after catch and broken tackles?
Well done...  
Brown_Hornet : 3/24/2023 9:11 pm : link
... and I haven't even looked at the spreadsheet yet.
Would Love to get Matt Landers  
Koffman : 3/24/2023 9:22 pm : link
In the mid rounds. Size, speed, and skill.
RE: Gogiants, wow that’s a lot of data!  
gogiants : 3/24/2023 9:54 pm : link
In comment 16074968 HopePhil and Optimistic said:
Thanks for putting all that together!

What stats do you think are most important? Many seem to be dependent on how the player is used.

Does your spreadsheet include data about catch %, separation, yards after catch and broken tackles?

I do have catch percentage. The football database site provides target data so I was able to compute that. But no I could not find data on separation or yards after the catch. I did add a separation column where I just make a note of 1 if I read reports that praise a players ability to separate. I look for at least two such reports from good sites.

Gee as far as what ones are important. I would think you could ask 10 people and get 10 different answers. I personally like first downs to targets and receptions. The first down is key and helps weed out getting big yards but not enough on third down.

I like the combination of catch % with yards per reception. The deep ball receivers will have lower catch % in general and should not be overly penalized for that.

I added a column YRR (Yards per route run) which is a good stat. But that was available on only a couple of players so not included in the grade.

... gogiants  
Eric from BBI : Admin : 3/24/2023 11:45 pm : link
You have Zay Flowers ranked in the 20s?!!?
RE: ... gogiants  
gogiants : 3/25/2023 12:09 am : link
In comment 16075017 Eric from BBI said:
You have Zay Flowers ranked in the 20s?!!?

So keep in mind that this is solely a ranking among peers based on production data and some others like RAS. It is not a receiver evaluation. But yes the production data used places Flowers in the 20s.

Things that hurt Flowers are
Last year catch rate below this group average
Career catch rate (57%) is 50th out of 57
Vitals - 5'9 and 182 lbs
Yds/catch last year of 13.8 below group average of 14.5
Yards/target both career and last year below this groups average.
First downs per target below average.

I personally hope they do not pick him. Stats and production are not a full player evaluation, But I would not ignore these concerns.
Another thought on Flowers  
gogiants : 3/25/2023 12:45 am : link
Taking his last year - he is making receptions for a below average yardage at a below average catch rate. His yards per route run ranked 20th out of the 32 players that had data available. He had a good forty time but there were eight receivers faster. To me Jalin Hyatt or Marvin Mims seem like a better bet.
Great Work - a Few Observations  
varco : 3/25/2023 6:46 am : link
This was a massive undertaking and you are to be commended. Will be interesting to follow to see how the draft turns out for these players. The first thoughts I had was about the schemes their respective schools played, the level of competition, their QB level, the OL ratings for their respective schools and the player's level of football intelligence /engagement. Did some WRs benefit from having great OL and QB play while some did not do as well since their QB was either run first or constantly being harassed out of the pocket? the list goes on from there.

Man, drafting is a complex and multifaceted endeavor. Kudos to those front offices (unfortunately Philly and Dallas among them) who always seem to draft well.

This was great work - thanks.
Will Shine : 3/25/2023 8:26 am : link
you should send it to Schoen 😊

Interestingly, your data suggest that Zay Flowers may be over-valued in most mocks. (I've seen him go to the Giants at 25.)
Now do the exact same for receivers drafter 3 years ago  
ZogZerg : 3/25/2023 8:37 am : link
what are the results?

How are they doing in the NFL?

These numbers don't mean anything to me unless there is a correlation to how they actually do in the NFL.
RE: Nice  
gogiants : 3/25/2023 9:49 am : link
In comment 16075048 Will Shine said:
you should send it to Schoen 😊

Interestingly, your data suggest that Zay Flowers may be over-valued in most mocks. (I've seen him go to the Giants at 25.)

My earlier comments on Flowers were a little overly bleak. If you look at the 57 in thirds he still ranked in the top of the middle third of top receivers. I agree with what you said. The data suggests he is overvalued as a first round pick but in round three he may be a good selection.
STUDY: Athleticism vs Production – What is Valued in the NFL  
gogiants : 3/25/2023 10:39 am : link
This does not answer the question on what evaluation criteria is successful but it did present an interesting note on where the Bills drafted on production vs combine scores - ( New Window )
RE: ... gogiants  
Spiciest Memelord : 3/25/2023 11:39 am : link
In comment 16075017 Eric from BBI said:
You have Zay Flowers ranked in the 20s?!!?

Cheech d : 3/25/2023 12:21 pm : link
Thanks for the great info!
Being you have Njigba rated highest I thought I’d share my thoughts on him.
I remember watching Ohio State in 2021 and I thought he was the best of the three receivers. Considering Garret Wilson was offensive ROY and Olave had a great rookie season, that’s saying something.
Njigba’s ability to get separation out of his breaks is stunning.
I don’t know what his 40 time will be but his 3 cone and shuttle bear out his quickness and agility. I imagine he could be similar Kadarius Toney in run after catch production, hopefully without the craziness.
Injury history is always a concern but I agree he’s the highest ceiling WR.
I like Hyatt as a second choice.
Njiba will be gone but Hyatt might be there at 25

Update on spreadsheet  
gogiants : 3/28/2023 7:49 pm : link
I have updated the spreadsheet on receiver production linked above in the post. I added a allData sheet that contains all the backup data on one sheet. This allows filtering on all the data. I updated the info tab to show one such filter I did to get my favorite fifteen based solely on production data. Here is that list with blurbs on players I added that were not detailed in the original post.

1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba - Ohio St.
2. Jordan Addison - Southern California
3. Jalin Hyatt - Tennessee
4. Marvin Mims - Oklahoma
5. Nathaniel Dell - Houston
6. CJ Johnson - East Carolina
7. Michael Jefferson - Louisianna
8. Matt Landers - Arkansas
9. Keylon Stokes - Tulsa
10. Kris Thornton - James Madison
11. Shae Wyatt - Tulane
12. Jared Wayne - Pittsburgh
13. Antoine Green - North Carolina
14. Elijah Cooks - San Jose St.
15. Daewood Davis - Western Kentucky

Michael Jefferson
• Michael was ranked 7th in Career Yards per receptions and targets, as well as touchdowns per receptions
• Michael is one of only six active players that have 1200 receiving yards with an 18.5 yard average over the last two seasons.

Antoine Green
• Antoine ranked 4th in yards/receptions, yards/targets and touchdowns/receptions and targets.
• Antoine joined Marvin Mims and Trea Shropshire as only three players that over the last two seasons had back to back seasons of 600 receiving yards, an 18.5 yard average and 5 receiving touchdowns.
• Though playing in only 9 games in 2022 due to injury Antoine still had 43-of-65 passes for 798 yards, 18.6 YPC and seven touchdowns with a 28% broken tackle rate and 18.1 ADOT that ranks second highest in the 2023 draft class.

Daewood Davis
• Davis ranked 18th of 58 in catch percentage. Of those top 18 in catch %, Davis ranked in the top half for first downs to receptions (last year and career), and first downs to targets (career).
• Davis ranked 16th of 58 in touchdowns to receptions and targets. Over the last two seasons Davis joined Jordan Addison and A.T. Perry as the only three prospects that had 750 receiving yards, a 13.5 yard average and 7 receiving touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.
• Davis is reported to be a coach-able, unselfish player with speed. He has played both defensive back and receiver as his team needed.
I just made another update  
gogiants : 3/29/2023 9:22 pm : link
I added data on drop rates, YAC and Contested Catch rate from the article in the link below. The data is on the 1st downs sheet and the AllData sheet.

To test it out I did a filter on
YAC > 7 AND drop rate < 7 and Contested Catch > 0.5

The result was Marvin Mims and Jalin Hyatt. - ( New Window )
Made an update to add the new extras into the Table Rank sheet  
gogiants : 4/1/2023 11:53 am : link
Extras are the YAC, Drop Rates and Contested Cach rates. The big change from that was that Parker Washington moved from the middle third into the top third. He had the best ranked extras.
Added Yards per route run to extras  
gogiants : 4/1/2023 2:56 pm : link
Puka Nacua is now number one in extras.
Quenton Johnson  
AG5686 : 4/2/2023 12:37 pm : link
Is nowhere to be found anywhere near the top of your list.
While I agree that Flowers is not the guy for us...If QJ slips to us at 25 we should grab him quickly
Zay Flowers passes the eye test for me  
gidiefor : Mod : 4/2/2023 12:49 pm : link
The guy is explosive. It leaps off the tapes I have watched.

Notwithstanding all the work you put into it, I would be pretending if I said I even slightly comprehended the chart you made.
RE: Zay Flowers passes the eye test for me  
gogiants : 4/2/2023 4:07 pm : link
In comment 16080179 gidiefor said:
The guy is explosive. It leaps off the tapes I have watched.

Notwithstanding all the work you put into it, I would be pretending if I said I even slightly comprehended the chart you made.

The Table sheet is the one that summarizes everything. The columns are the fourteen categories such as the first being 1st downs per receptions. When you look at the players each row contains that player's rank out of 58 for that category with one being the best or top ranked. The cells are color coded with green being top one third, yellow middle and red bottom. On the left by the player is the sum of all their ranks which is then translated to a grade of 0-100 with 100 being the best. By default, the players are sorted by descending grades. I hope that helps.
RE: Quenton Johnson  
gogiants : 4/2/2023 4:36 pm : link
In comment 16080173 AG5686 said:
Is nowhere to be found anywhere near the top of your list.
While I agree that Flowers is not the guy for us...If QJ slips to us at 25 we should grab him quickly

QJ still ranked in the top 1/3rd and above Flowers which is not bad. I made a copy and played with the factors and was able to move QJ up to the 7th ranked receiver. But still below Njigba, Mims, Hyatt and Addison. QJ's stats on catch rate and first downs are concerning. Also, for his best season he had only 23 plays of 15+ yards. In this group 26 players had more in their best season.
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