I mentioned in my post about evaluating WRs 6’3 and over that I would take a look deeper into the TD puzzle we encountered.
In the last post we found that the big WR who were successful in the NFL had a much higher msTD score than the misses, but a lower RZTDR. I suggested that maybe the trick to finding the right big WRs was keying in on guys who could not only score in the RZ, but also create big plays outside of the 20. To test this hypothesis I looked at the TD rates of the hits and misses on passes from outside of the RZ.
In short, this test didn’t show much, but there was a difference between hits and misses. For every 100 targets misses saw from outside of the RZ they averaged 4.7 TDs. For every 100 targets the hits saw from outside of the RZ they averaged 5.9 TDs. One touchdown reception for the average college team is probably worth somewhere around 5 points or 5% towards a players msTD score, which is a solid difference. So while this isn’t a game changing finding, it is something of significance. Below I’ll list the TD rates of the 2014 big WR class outside of the RZ. Anything above .06 is a great score and means that player has some serious big play ability. No misses in our sample scored above a .08.
Mike Evans – .09
Jordan Matthews – .03
Brandon Coleman – 0.0
Cody Hoffman – .03
Chris Boyd – .03
Kelvin Benjamin – .11
Martavis Bryant – .05
Devin Street – .05
These numbers look pretty good for Evans and Benjamin, which is interesting because Benjamin was one of the guys we suspected of having his mediocre msTD score greatly aided by his big RZ TD rate. The rest of this list is pretty disappointing though. Jordan Matthews wasn’t a big surprise because a lot the complaints people have against him center around the fact that he doesn’t make the splash plays you’d like to see. I thought we’d see a higher score out of Bryant because he proved he’s very fast and explosive at the combine. Brandon Coleman didn’t catch a single TD outside of the RZ, which is concerning considering he saw 61 targets in that area. Coleman ran a 4.46 at the combine which was impressive, but was lacking in the explosion department.
It’s probably best to take these findings lightly for now since not only is the sample size on the small end, but TD rate isn’t the most consistent stat from year to year and QB play can also alter the numbers. A player with a QB who can throw the deep ball more effectively than a player with a poor QB is going to have a much easier time improving their TD rate score.