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Examining how Jets wide receivers fare using a new pass catcher efficiency metric

Success rate on targets divided by total routes run

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Jets Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite parts about analytics in general is how different statistics can tell different stories about the same thing. Additionally, what I find really cool is how the larger picture of what is going on can begin to emerge through compiling a ton of different measures and examining them for their similar and dissimilar takeaways. Thankfully, football analytics is much the same way.

As it pertains to wide receiver play, I’ve already covered a bunch of statistics that paint wide receiver Garrett Wilson in a very favorable light. Some examples of such articles can be found here and here, and I’d like people to keep that in mind as they read this article. Let me be really clear: I think really highly of Garrett Wilson and think he is very, very, very good. However, Garrett Wilson was not a perfect wideout last season, nor should we have expected him to be as a rookie. I also don’t think that’s a bad thing from a fan perspective as I find identifying areas of growth or improvement is a far more interesting topic of conversation than simply saying “woo, guy was great!” as the former allows for diverging lines of thought and ideas that can allow for discussion whereas the latter tends to end right where it started. Indeed, if we all agree the guy was great (and he was) then what more is there to say? By comparison, we could poll 10 Jets fans on ways that Garrett could improve and receive 10 different answers, which can allow for some really fun debates.

Recently, Nate Tice from The Athletic released the results of a recent analysis he did on NFL pass catchers in 2022. Specifically, he calculated success rate on targets divided by total routes run. As explained by Tice in the below tweet, this is intended to identify “who makes the most of the opportunities they get out of all the opportunities they could have received.” This can also be thought of as dividing a success rate (i.e., catches over targets) by a success rate (targets over routes run), yielding data that tells us how likely a given pass catcher is to succeed and end up with the ball if he is running a route. Of note, within this statistic, Garrett Wilson does not fare as well, clocking in at 11.1% which ties him with Allen Lazard and others (at least when rounded) for 44th overall; in other words, this means that Garrett Wilson was successful on 11.1% of the routes the ran.

Much like any statistic, this one does not tell the full story. Just because Garrett ranked 44th here does not mean he was necessarily the 44th best pass catcher in 2022. However, the statistic does appear to be pretty valid given the top performers on this statistic basically becomes a “who’s who” of the guys that we typically think of as being really good pass catchers when the time frame for the data is expanded from 2020 and on.

Overall, for Garrett, this implies that there is room for improvement. Specifically, he can be more efficient on a per route run basis; importantly, this may come naturally via the notable upgrade the Jets made at quarterback. Additionally, given the rankings of other Jets wideouts (e.g., Allen Lazard), the Jets pass catchers as a whole may need to be more efficient than they were last year if they are to lead up to the lofty expectations that follow the acquisition of Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.


Do you think this statistic is useful in evaluating the performance of pass catchers?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    (61 votes)
  • 42%
    (75 votes)
  • 22%
    Nay, but I’d say yay if Garrett Wilson had scored better
    (40 votes)
176 votes total Vote Now