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On the Development of College Wide Receivers

In order to figure out how we should be viewing prospects of varying ages, I wanted to understand both the NFL side of the equation as well as the college side of the equation.  I addressed the NFL side of the issue in my earlier post.  This will just be a quick post to throw out a graph which shows the average development of college WRs in terms of yards/game growth.  I went through a few simple steps to get here:

  1. Find college wide receivers who had played in exactly four college seasons.
  2. Find each receiver’s max college production.
  3. Divide each year’s Yards/Game by their max year’s Yards/Game.
  4. Summarize the average of Percent of Max number based on year (1-4).
  5. Scale the number so that the largest Percent of Max average would be 1.
  6. That gave me the graph below.

Note that as college wide receivers progress through their careers, on average they get better, but they get better at slower rates.  The biggest jump is freshman to sophomore.  Then soph to junior is the next biggest.  The smallest improvement takes place from junior to senior year.  The next step may be to take a player like Terrance Williams and dial his production back so that we can translate it to players younger than him.  But it will be tough to say exactly what the next step is until I’ve looked at the issue further.


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