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Calculating Perception

Separating Skill Players 2.0

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: Air Yards, 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.


QB 3rd down conv. % Yards per Attempt 20+ yd plays (% of comp) Drops Air yards% (# games)
Paxton Lynch 49.21% 9.5 19.50% 21 52.8% (8)
Everett Golson 46.30% 8 16.54% 17 51.3% (7)
Trevone Boykin 45.76% 9.9 23.74% 19 66.1% (8)
Connor Cook 44.30% 8.1 24.66% 17 73.9% (8)
Jared Goff 42.86% 8.2 18.54% 17 60.9% (8)
Deshaun Watson 41.51% 8.8 20.13% 12 45.5% (8)
Jacoby Brissett 40.90% 7.1 15.10% 11 39.7% (8)
Christian Hackenberg 29.85% 7.6 21.88% 22 52.4% (9)

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 continues to gain steam. The one column that stands out here is third down conversion percentage, especially compared to the other big names (Goff, Cook and Hackenberg). I’m not sold on using the No. 1 pick on a quarterback this season, or perhaps even a first-round pick (at this moment)... Everett Golson might return from a head injury  which kept him out of the game against Syracuse. However, some beat writers believe Sean Maguire deserves the start… Trevone Boykin’s big play ability is one of the most intriguing parts of his game. Boykin will be an interesting case study during the draft process. Boykin loves the middle of the field in short and intermediate areas, but is willing to test outside the hashes on deeper throws… Connor Cook is receiving very little help after the catch. This could be chalked up to a variety of factors. One, Michigan State’s receivers might not have after catch ability. Two, Michigan State runs a traditional offense, which does not maximize spacing and numbers like other collegiate offenses might… I was surprised to see Jacoby Brissett’s low “air yards” percentage, but after analyzing his play it makes sense. Brissett is at his best with timing and hitting receivers in stride to create YAC. He is efficient. This isn’t a screen based offense, it is a timing and decision based offense… Christian Hackenberg’s third down percentage is improving, but still abysmal.

Running Backs

RB Market Share rush yds Avg YAC % of 20+ runs Current Age
Dalvin Cook 71.96% 4.4 10.24% 20
Derrick Henry 69.23% 3.2 5% 21
Devontae Booker 67.74% 3.2 3.50% 23
Leonard Fournette 62.48% 4.4 7.39% 20
Christian McCaffrey 59.75% 2.7 5.14% 19
Paul Perkins 58.21% 3.9 5.11% 20
Ezekiel Elliott 57.19% 4 4.79% 20
C.J. Prosise 52.32% 2.9 6.99% 21
Kenneth Dixon 50.72% 3.6 5.51% 21
Royce Freeman 48.90% 4.1 5.45% 19
Jalen Hurd 42.32% 2.9 3.10% 19
Shock Linwood 41.13% 4.2 7.44% 22
Matt Breida 37.54% 4.1 13.11% 20

Dalvin Cook’s market share still leads this group despite missing an entire game and while running on a bum hammy. Cook also leads in average yards after contact and percentage of carries resulting in big plays. He is ridiculous… I’m still not as crazy about Devontae Booker as others. He seems to be a high volume runner who is just average after contact and rarely produces a big play, while being three years older than many of his opponents. Leonard Fournette versus Derrick Henry (and the linebackers they go against) will be so much fun… Ezekiel Elliott’s 2015 season is nowhere close to where he finished the 2014 National Championship run… Matt Breida is a great example why market share is a great way to display season long statistics. His rushing yards total would be the second most on this list, but Georgia Southern runs a ground oriented offense. With that said, Breida is a big play waiting to happen.

Wide Receivers

WR Market Share rec yds YAC avg % of 20+ catches Drop rate Targets Caught % Current Age
Daniel Braverman 43.22% 6 16.25% 4.94% 83.70% 22
Josh Doctson 40.13% 4.2 28.17% 5.71% 75.50% 22
Aaron Burbridge 40.10% 3.6 30.77% 7.14% 58.40% 21
Tajae Sharpe 39.77% 4.1 12.50% 2.53% 66.70% 20
Corey Coleman 39.51% 7.6 38.30% 10% 66.20% 21
Tyler Boyd 36.96% 3.3 7.93% 2.99% 80.20% 21
William Fuller 34.81% 5.3 35.14% 13.95% 58.70% 21
Michael Thomas 30.79% 6.1 31.43% 2.78% 72.90%  
Laquon Treadwell 27.88% 5.9 24.60% 10.14% 68.10% 20
Sterling Shepard 27.76% 5.7 30.23% 2.38% 76.40%  
Taywan Taylor 26.67% 9.8 21.67% 1.96% 78.60% 20
Jakeem Grant 25.58% 9.4 17.39% 8.33% 75.80% 23

Daniel Braverman was called out by Urban Meyer as a future NFL player, but these totals really are impressive, especially considering he has another NFL receiver playing opposite him (Corey Davis). Braverman, Tajae Sharpe, Tyler Boyd, Taywan Taylor and Jakeem Grant all do their best work from the slot. For many, the yards after catch display that… As explained earlier, Aaron Burbridge’s after catch ability will not be brought up as a “positive” by evaluators… The drop rate for Corey Coleman is slightly concerning, since it is hovering just above average. However, he is credited with just five drops, so the percentage might be inflated due to his lower number of targets. We will see how it plays out moving forward…  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.

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 .