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Can Chad Hansen break out this year? - Breaking down Hansen’s 2017

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NFL: New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After checking out the top sources of offense from Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby Anderson over the past few days, today I move on to a fan favorite and pre-training camp darling - Chad Hansen. Did he show anything tangible in his tiny sample size in 2017 that could tell us about his future? Let’s take a look at Hansen’s production broken down by route type!

Check out the previous editions:

Jermaine Kearse

Terrelle Pryor

Quincy Enunwa

Robby Anderson

Firstly, a synopsis of the route types I broke down. I went with a relatively simple group of categories, and I know some routes have a variety of different names. For the purpose of this study, here are the labels I went with:

Hansen only saw 17 official targets over the course of 2017, I removed one throwaway target to bring that down to 16. The sample size here is extremely tiny, so make of this what you will and remember not to take too much out of it. Here is how I broke down his targets:

Hansen was doing a variety of different things, and for the most part was decent with his route running. Again, remember the small sample size, but I thought his best tools were his ability to find the soft spots in zones (found two clutch first downs against Kansas City this way) and making sharp horizontal cuts (2 first downs from outs/digs and should’ve had at least one more with a good throw). He certainly didn’t show much creation ability, averaging -1.5 yards on his two screens and an overall average of only 2.1 YAC per reception.

Hansen saw 10 of his 16 targets lined up on the left side, making him the only Jets receiver I’ve charted to this point to favor the left side. Could this be an advantage in helping him win a starting spot outside opposite the right-favoring Robby Anderson?

I also didn’t chart Hansen for any drops, which is still good considering multiple drops in such a small target volume could potentially be a warning sign.

Hansen suffered from the quarterback change like the rest of the team. Catching from Josh McCown, Hansen caught 8 of 11 targets for 78 yards (7.1 per target) and 5 first downs (45%). From Petty, Hansen caught 1 of 5 targets for 15 yards (3.0 per target) and 1 first down (20%).

Let’s look at a few clips of Hansen.

Below is probably his best play of the season. Hansen’s initial double move doesn’t exactly get the corner to bite, but Hansen accelerates out of it well to gain just enough separation. The defending corner doesn’t give him an inch here, but Hansen makes a well-timed athletic leap to jab at his small window with perfect timing and haul in the catch. Great display of hands, a potential strong asset for Hansen.

I liked the potential Hansen showed with his cutting ability on horizontal routes. Really sharp dig route down the field here for the 17-yard first down. Hansen is lined up outside left (bottom of clip).

Hansen caught for two first downs in the Kansas City game, one of them shown below and the other in an almost identical fashion. Hansen, slot right, simply sits down in the vacated middle of the field and patiently waits for McCown to hit him, quickly turning upfield for the first down once he makes the catch. Nothing special but a productive play nonetheless.

I noticed a couple of instances where Hansen and McCown were not on the same page. I noticed few of these with Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. Perhaps Hansen struggled to pick up the playbook a bit? (Hansen is slot left near the 20 in the first clip, and outside right in the second)

This is of course nothing at all major, but just a tiny detail I noticed. It could be nothing. It could also be something. Who knows?

Hansen really was not featured enough by the Jets to take a whole lot out of his performance. He saw a target once every 20.1 offensive snaps on average, to demonstrate how infrequent that is, converted fullback Lawrence Thomas saw a target at a similar rate of once every 21.6 offensive snaps.

Many both inside and outside of the Jets world applauded the value of the Hansen pick in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, and the rumblings on him have been very positive throughout the offseason, standing out even among the usual unbridled offseason positivity. Trumaine Johnson, Todd Bowles, wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell, and Terrence Brooks among others have all spoken highly of Hansen throughout this offseason. Here is Brooks showing no hesitation to choose Hansen as his breakout pick from practice (via Good Morning Football / NFL Network):

What do you think? What kind of impact will Chad Hansen have this year?


Where will Chad Hansen rank among Jets WRs in receptions this season?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    (14 votes)
  • 7%
    (44 votes)
  • 39%
    (220 votes)
  • 34%
    (192 votes)
  • 12%
    (71 votes)
  • 1%
    6th or lower
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    He won’t catch a pass
    (3 votes)
552 votes total Vote Now