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WR efficiency by personnel groupings: What might it mean for Garrett Wilson and the 2023 New York Jets?

How will the Jets take advantage of Garrett Wilson’s skills?

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After bringing in Hall of Fame Quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers, the New York Jets are expected to be more pass-heavy than they have been in recent seasons. In line with that, the Jets have invested a lot of money into the wide receiver group, and that’s with expected #1 wide receiver Garrett Wilson playing on a cost-controlled rookie contract.

While the Jets wide receiver group is obviously stocked with sufficient depth, the question of how these resources will be deployed is a bit more up in the air. While the Jets have five wideouts who could compete for significant snaps (Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb), most teams simply do not operate out of four or five wide receiver sets regularly. This begs the question of what will the Jets do?

To answer this question, we should probably start with identifying the trends within Nathaniel Hackett’s previous offenses. Given he has previously worked with Aaron Rodgers, I opted to rely on data from those seasons to inform expectations. Thankfully, this data is readily available and was covered in depth by Dr. Emmett Smith of Mile High Huddle just a year ago prior to Hackett’s time with the Denver Broncos:

Coach Hackett ran 11 personnel (1 TE, 1 RB) nearly 60% of the time over the past three seasons [with the Green Bay Packers], and 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) 24% of the time. While he hasn’t let slip his full intentions for Denver, the team can expect a similar distribution of those offensive alignments.

As shown, Hackett relies heavily on 11 and 12 personnel, which operate with 3 and 2 wide receivers on the field, respectively. Of note, the two personnel groupings have very different efficiency numbers at the wide receiver level.

Importantly, having a lower yards per route run at the individual wide receiver level does not mean the offense isn’t as effective. It may simply be a case of the ball being spread out among various targets, which lowers everyone’s individual yards per route run. Additionally, these statistics will inherently be biased because we should expect a team’s best wideouts to have a higher yards per route run and that a team’s most effective receivers will get the reps within packages that only feature 1 or 2 wideouts.

While these statistics may not tell us much about the overall effectiveness of the offense, they can inform on individual player expectations. For the Jets, one player who may particularly benefit from Hackett’s use of 12 personnel and its high efficiency at the wide receiver level is Garrett Wilson, who is almost certainly going to be one of the two starting wideouts for the 2023 New York Jets. Given Wilson is coming off a season where he exceeded 1000 yards receiving as a rookie despite playing in one of the league’s worst passing offenses, the opportunity to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers and to play a significant number of snaps within a generally effective personnel grouping could see him meaningfully eclipse his 2022 outputs.