After messing around for a bit, looking at individual players here and there – I’ve picked out a position group to start looking at for the upcoming draft, Tight Ends. The thing with tight ends is that they inherently have few catches, so they create a small sample size to work with when looking at their receptions. This early in the season, I picked out three TEs who have had significant production thus far in order to give me a decent sample size. Those TEs are Jace Amaro from Texas Tech, Eric Ebron from UNC and Alex Bayer from Bowling Green. You’ll notice an absence of high-profile TEs like Colt Lyerla, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and CJ Fiedorowicz – they all didn’t have enough receptions to bother looking at.
These stats are hand charted from every game they’ve played in so far with some of the metrics that I find more important when looking at receptions. Some of the conclusions may be obvious (Jace Amaro is good at running after the catch!), but it’s good to put numbers and facts to our own personal observations. Let’s get to it.
Let’s start with what Amaro is really productive at, yards after the catch. Depending on a TE’s style and offense, average yards after the catch can range from 2.5 (Eifert and Ertz this past year) to 8+ (Travis Kelce). Amaro thus far has averaged 7.67 yards after the catch, an extremely impressive number. For reference, dynamo Tavon Austin averaged just over 8 yards after the catch his senior season at West Virginia. Amaro’s ability to run with the ball helps the TTU offense and certainly shows he merits discussion among top TEs.
When you break down his running, around 2.7 yards comes after initial contact with defenders. That’s higher than both Eifert and Ertz who gained around 2.2 yards after contact. Not only does Amaro have the straight line athleticism, but the strength to keep going. In addition, I’ve counted 6 broken tackles thus far.
One final positive is that Amaro is seeing a wide diversity of catches within the offense. He has caught 50% of his passes within 5 yards of the LOS, but has also caught 28% of his passes past 10 yards, showing an ability to run down the seam, but also maintain a high YAC while catching short passes.
Ebron comes as a bit more of a deep threat than Amaro in his current offense. 54% of his receptions were in the 11-20 yard range, showcasing his ability to get open and make catches in the intermediate-deep zone.
That’s fine, but does he have the same YAC ability as Amaro? Incredibly, he has kept up with Amaro’s ridiculous run after catch numbers. Ebron has averaged 7.23 yards after the catch on his receptions thus far. What makes this number even more interesting is that around half or 3.5 of those yards came after contact. Ebron may not have the same build as Amaro, but makes up for it with a great ability to keep going after getting hit by defenders.
I do have a bit of problem with drops on Ebron so far. I’ve counted 3 blatant drops on 23 attempts, which gives him a drop rate of 13%. That number would need to be under 10% for me to feel comfortable about his hands. A good WR/TE should have a drop rate below 8%.
I wanted to include a sleeper in here, someone who had good production thus far but doesn’t draw much name recognition. Alex Bayer fit the bill. While he may not have the same athleticism that Ebron and Amaro do, there’s some interesting metrics with him
Bayer has 13 receptions for 154 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per catch throughout this season. On that, he’s averaged a solid 5.6 yards after the catch. What makes him interesting is his ability to fight for yards after the contact. After initial contact he’s gained 3.5 yards or 63% of his YAC.
What makes this more interesting is that of his 13 receptions, 10 have been in the 1-5 yard range. Most of the time he’s running 5 yard routes that don’t leave him much opportunity to run up the field. Thus the fact that he’s able to get hit quickly so often and gain yards after the catch is interesting. I’d be interested to see him get more opportunities to catch balls down the seam and see how his YAC ability transfers, because he’s just not getting that opportunity now.
Anyway, that’s my opening salvo for this year’s draft metrics/ statistics. I’ll keep plugging away at different positions throughout the season and trying out different types of metrics to delve even deeper into the mostly unpredictable. Hope you enjoyed. If you have any suggestions for players/positions that you’d like to see, leave them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter @NU_Gap. Thanks.