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Calculating Perception

Separating Skill Players

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

I picked up the concept of market share from Jon Moore a few years ago. With the variance of collegiate offenses, it makes much more sense than citing simple box score figures for skill position players, namely running backs and receivers. Thanks to NBC Sports’ recent relationship with Pro Football Focus, a few pieces of important data (at least I think so) can now be accessed. That includes: WR drops, WR yards after catch, Percent of targets caught, yards after contact, and dropped QB passes. The PFF college crew puts in a lot of work, so I thank them for these figures.

Quarterbacks

QBs 3rd Down Conv Yards per attempt 20+ yd plays (% of comp) Drops
Everett Golson 51.11% 8.2 19 (15.97%) 15 (6 games)
Trevone Boykin 50% 10.2 41 (24.70%) 14 (6 games)
Paxton Lynch 50% 9.6 28 (19.72%) 13 (6 games)
Jared Goff 48.89% 8.8 32 (21.33%) 14 (6 games)
Seth Russell 46.42% 11.7 34 (33%) 14 (6 games)
Jacoby Brissett 42.22% 7.5 16 (15.69%) 7 (6 games)
Deshaun Watson 39.53% 8.3 22 (18.97%) 10 (6 games)
Connor Cook 42.19% 8.3 29 (25%) 15 (7 games)
Christian Hackenberg 29.41% 6.8 17 (18.09%) 17 (7 games)

Why did I choose these categories? After listening to coaches speak this offseason, they seemed to prioritize 1. Turnovers, 2. Big Plays, 3. 3rd down conversions. Fumble numbers are not available at this time, so a turnovers column could not be included... Paxton Lynch burst onto the national scene this weekend with his performance against Ole Miss. His play has improved this season, namely in taking care of the football. His interception total last season (9) was not high, but interceptable passes were there. Lynch reminds me of Ryan Nassib, style wise… Everett Golson has not turned the ball over this season, and part of the reason could be fewer shots downfield. He is taking what is there and creating plays with mobility in the pocket… Seth Russell’s downfield numbers are ridiculous. A third of his completions result in 20-plus yards… Jacoby Brissett is a short to intermediate passer. He will need to dominate in the “efficiency” category… Statistically, Christian Hackenberg continues to look abysmal… I included Deshaun Watson since many look at him as the “wait until next year” option.

Running Backs

RBs (# of games) Market Share rushing yds Yards after contact Percent of runs of 20+ yards Current Age
Dalvin Cook 83.04% 4.7 (6) 11.82% 20
Devontae Booker 67.91% 3.4 (6) 3.72% 23
Derrick Henry 64.77% 3.3 (7) 5.26% 21
Christian McCaffrey 62.10% 2.6 (6) 6.15% 19
Leonard Fournette 61.55% 4.4 (6) 8.67% 20
Ezekiel Elliott 58.29% 4.1 (7) 4.05% 20
Paul Perkins 57.37% 4 (6) 5.26% 20
C.J. Prosise 56.15% 3 (7) 7.75% 21
Kenneth Dixon 50.52% 3.7 (5) 6.32% 21
Royce Freeman 47.89% 4.8 (7) 5.33% 19
Jalen Hurd 42.94% 2.9 (6) 3.17% 19

Dalvin Cook’s 2015 season is ridiculous. For one, he is FSU’s only rushing threat. Two, 11.8 percent of his carries result in big gains (20-plus yards). Three, he is only 20 years old. And four, all while running with a bum hamstring. Speaking of the 11.8 percent, in Ezekiel Elliott’s ridiculous three game stretch last season, produced a 20-plus run on 9.2% of his carries… Devontae Booker’s totals might look great, but a few notes to factor in: An average of 3.4 yards after contact is right around average for NFL prospects and he is not producing big runs. Booker is also 23 years old. I’m still figuring out how to factor in age, but some might conclude this older age is helping him produce against 19 and 20 year olds… Christian McCaffrey is easily the worst after contact in this group… Leonard Fournette has been used sparingly in a few second halves, so his market share had the potential to be much higher… Ezekiel Elliott’s 20-plus yard runs are way down from how he ended last season. The Buckeyes’ struggling passing offense could be one reason… Kenneth Dixon missed the last two games, which impacts his market share… I was surprised to see Jalen Hurd’s numbers. The eye test shows a big back with balance, but his yards after contact average is low and he struggles to reel off big runs.

Wide Receivers


WRs (# of games) Market Share (rec yds) 20+ yard catches (%) YAC avg Drop rate % Targets Caught Current Age
Dezmon Epps 43.54% 11 (21.15%) 8.2 (4) 10.87% (4) 67.70% 23
Aaron Burbridge 41.99% 14 (31.82%) 4.0 (7) 4.35% (7) 60.30% 21
Corey Coleman 39.39% 17 (41.46%) 8.1 (6) 7.14% (6) 70.70% 21
Josh Doctson 39.12% 18 (30%) 4.0 (6) 8.16% (6) 73.50% 22
William Fuller 37.95% 13 (40.63%) 5.9 (7) 15.79% (7) 59.30% 21
Tajae Sharpe 37.56% 8 (12.31%) 4.4 (5) 1.69% (5) 69.40% 20
Tyler Boyd 37.25% 4 (9.76%) 1.8 (4) 5.71% (4) 80.50% 21
Taywan Taylor 28.95% 13 (28.89%) 9.9 (7) 0.0% (7) 78.90% 20
Laquon Treadwell 26.40% 10 (20.4%) 5.6 (7) 12.28% (7) 64.90% 20

 

Dezmon Epps’ and Tyler Boyd’s market shares are impressive, since both missed one game apiece. Like Booker above, Epps’ age might be worth considering … I spoke to someone in the football community recently who was hesitant about Aaron Burbridge’s NFL future. He might have limited speed, but Burbridge has clearly done well on contested catches this year, resulting in 20-plus yard receptions and a low drop rate… Corey Coleman is amazing. He recently ranked as my No. 1 receiver in this class. Big plays, yards after the catch, average drop rate. It is all there, both in the box score and on the field… William Fuller is a high variance player. That is obvious when watching him. Teams will need to live with his drops in order to see the vertical receptions. Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor are catching everything. The WKU offense is putting up huge passing numbers, and Taylor is doing his part. His ability after the catch stands out… Tyler Boyd is not on the receiving end of many 20-plus yard catches, nor is he picking up yards after the catch (on the games available). So what is he doing well? He’s catching a huge number of the passes thrown his way… Laquon Treadwell’s drop rate is quite high for someone who should be a physically dominant player at the catch point.

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .