2020 WR Prospects: Targets, Catch Rates, and Target Market Shares
Image Credit: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Justin Jefferson.

Scouting reports are a quick way to get a sense of a player’s characteristics, what he does well, where he struggles, and the things that NFL teams are likely to assume he needs to work on. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything we read in a scouting report is accurate. There are certain traits, such as route running ability, that are hard to quantify and therefore confirm. However, we can get a sense of a player’s ability to catch the ball by reviewing his reception percentage. If a player successfully converts more than 75% of targets into receptions it would be hard to rule that he does, in fact, have poor hands.

Denzel Mims was known for making circus catches while at Baylor but his hands have been called into question based on seven drops in 2019. While a prospect’s propensity for drops could be a problem, we can’t look at them in isolation. They need to be compared to targets. If a player draws 100-plus targets in a season, seven drops might not be a massive problem. Given the collegiate play-by-play data that I have, I’m not able to extract drops, but I can pinpoint target and reception totals.1 With this information, we can evaluate the accuracy of scouting notes surrounding the catch abilities of the 2020 WR class.

In addition to calculating catch rates, I also tallied total collegiate targets and target market shares by season and career.2 Here’s how the 2020 WR class stacks up.

PlayerSchoolTargetsRecsPercentage2016 TGT MS2017 TGT MS2018 TGT MS2019 TGT MSCareer
KJ HillOhio State Buckeyes23618880516161714
Laviska ShenaultColorado Buffaloes1921487702251912
Devin DuvernayTexas Longhorns2251707674122713
Justin JeffersonLSU Tigers1791357500222113
Quintez CephusWisconsin Badgers10680752110229
Dezmon PatmonWashington State Cougars206153740711128
Michael PittmanUSC Trojans2261647327182413
CeeDee LambOklahoma Sooners22416172015222215
Lynn BowdenKentucky Wildcats1571137206282314
Brandon AiyukArizona State Sun Devils14098700010289
Jerry JeudyAlabama Crimson Tide2221536908222614
Henry RuggsAlabama Crimson Tide13996690616139
Antonio GibsonMemphis Tigers493469002123
James ProcheSMU Mustangs422286681912303323
Van JeffersonFlorida Gators248169681617181416
Isaiah HodginsOregon State Beavers26417667013213017
Jeff ThomasMiami Hurricanes12483670714118
Tyler JohnsonMinnesota Golden Gophers30320166628353426
Collin JohnsonTexas Longhorns279183661018201216
Jauan JenningsTennessee Volunteers21013866162152615
Omar BaylessArkansas State Red Wolves25016566610132914
Juwan JohnsonOregon Ducks16310866125101011
Austin MackOhio State Buckeyes109726618796
Bryan EdwardsSouth Carolina Gamecocks357231651924192321
Chase ClaypoolNotre Dame Fighting Irish22314465212172615
Quez WatkinsSouthern Mississippi Golden Eagles23215065010272114
Kalija LipscombVanderbilt Commodores303194641516291719
Gabriel DavisUCF Knights2371516409212714
Cody WhiteMichigan State Spartans21013464012142112
Tee HigginsClemson Tigers182117640618159
Tyrie ClevelandFlorida Gators1177564611878
Trishton JacksonSyracuse Orange1368563241257
Donovan Peoples-JonesMichigan Wolverines16410262012201412
Marquez CallawayTennessee Volunteers1519261112221412
KJ HamlerPenn State Nittany Lions158976100192510
Kendrick RogersTexas A&M Aggies11268610411116
Denzel MimsBaylor Bears30418160125182717
Darrell StewartMichigan State Spartans24714860118181915
Quartney DavisTexas A&M Aggies15492600016199
Binjimen VictorOhio State Buckeyes12877602106138
Jalen ReagorTCU Horned Frogs24914759012292015
KJ OsbornMiami Hurricanes23813958313291815
Antonio Gandy-GoldenLiberty Flames27915957137283128
Darnell MooneyTulane Green Wave261150572022282524
Stephen GuidryMississippi State Bulldogs7743560011146

 

  • Unfortunately for Mims, his catch rate may signal a lack of consistency as a receiver. To be fair, we can’t derive the context of his incompletions. Perhaps his athletic ability allowed him to put himself into situations in which Baylor’s passers could throw the ball his way, albeit into difficult situations for Mims to make a catch. Also, Baylor quarterbacks only completed 60% of passes while Mims was in Waco.
  • K.J. Hill caught a supremely impressive 80% of targets as a Buckeye. During his collegiate tenure, Ohio State passers completed 66% of passing attempts.
  • Antonio Gandy-Golden was able to post impressive market share numbers — as he played college ball at Liberty, this should be expected — but he caught less than 60% of his targets. Given that he was playing against inferior competition, this can fairly be viewed as a red flag.
  • Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III both converted 69% of targets at Alabama. However, Jeudy drew 83 more targets while playing in only one more game than Ruggs III.
  • While he doesn’t fall beneath any hard cutoff, Tee Higgins enthusiasts surely would like to see him sitting higher up the listing.
  • Jalen Reagor, who is currently ranked fourth by Curtis Patrick in our rookie rankings, converted fewer than 60% of targets and owns the weakest reception percentage of all players in the RotoViz top 10.

 

  1. College data, in particular target data, is hard to come by and often needs to be scraped and compiled from a number of sources. As a result, the numbers presented may be slightly different than those you see elsewhere.  (back)
  2. Career market share is calculated by dividing the total targets directed at a player by the total team targets in the seasons in which he played. It is not an average.  (back)

Dave Caban

Senior Fantasy Analyst, app developer, hosts the RotoViz Radio Flagship, auction draft enthusiast.
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