Yards per route run? Yeah, it’s another one of those signature stats things that Pro Football Focus continues to push out. What’s that? You’ve been hearing a lot about PFF on B&T lately? Yes, it’s because for once we have a player who is featured in these things.
That player is Cecil Shorts III.
No Jacksonville Jaguars player played quite like Shorts this season. The guy had the highest receiving yards since 2005 and provided a big play threat that the Jags have been unable to cultivate for years. While he had some issues – like having the sixth highest drop rate in the NFL – he was still highly effective.
This is evidenced by Shorts’ eighth highest yards per route run.
YPRR tries to more accurately show the effect of a receiver by measuring the effect of the player per route rather than by measuring his total receiving yards and catches. In this way players like Calvin Johnson are brought down from their pedestal (not that his gargantuan effort should be slighted!) based on passing more than any other team ever.
YPRR provides a bit of efficiency measurement for receivers, which is something that is generally lacking when measuring the overall efficiency of a passing game. Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick were efficient quarterbacks, but Michael Crabtree helped by being a very efficient wide receiver (2.55 YPRR). In measuring the YPRR, Calvin Johnson drops out of the top spot and is replaced by Andre Johnson as the only receiver with above 3.0 (3.01 YPRR).
Below Andre Johnson the list get tighter. The next highest YPRR belongs to Brandon Marshall and is a full .25 below Johnson. But between Marshall and Shorts (seven players) there is a difference of just .46. This puts Shorts in some pretty good company.
Shorts’ YPRR of 2.30 is nowhere near 3.01, but it puts him close to top receivers like A.J. Green (2.31) and Vincent Jackson (2.34) and puts him ahead of top receivers like Wes Welker (2.19), Dez Bryant (2.12), and Roddy White (2.08). Shorts has found himself in good company after a major breakout campaign.
As PFF notes in their conclusion, “it will be nearly impossible to be high on this list without at least an adequate quarterback.” Is that an endorsement of Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne? Shorts is also the only receiver in the top 15 who was targeted less in less than 20% of throws by his quarterback(s). Now imagine if he had caught more of those passes…
Behind Shorts, things are looking up for Jags receivers.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims