Tag Archives: rookies

Statistical curiosities of 2014 (Part 2)

The Broncos might have bombed out in the first round of the playoffs again, but — sorry if this sounds like a Holiday Inn Express commercial — they did have two 1,400-yard receivers. Demaryius Thomas finished with 1,619 and free-agent addition Emmanuel Sanders with 1,404, making them the fourth such tandem in NFL history. Here’s what the group looks like:


Year  Team (W-L) Receivers, Yards Result
1995  Lions (10-6) Herman Moore 1,686, Brett Perriman 1,488 Wild card
2000  Rams (10-6) Torry Holt 1,635, Isaac Bruce 1,471 Wild card
2005  Cardinals (5-11) Larry Fitzgerald 1,409, Anquan Boldin 1,402 Missed playoffs
2014  Broncos (12-4) Demaryius Thomas 1,619, Emmanuel Sanders 1,404 Won division

Also, for the first time this year, the NFL had three 1,000-yard rookie receivers. That makes eight rookie receivers with 1,000-plus yards since 2003. Why is this notable? Because there were only 12 in all the seasons before that (AFL included).

            1,000-YARD ROOKIE RECEIVERS SINCE 2003

Year   Receiver, Team Rec Yds Avg TD
2014  Odell Beckham, Giants 91 1,305 14.3 12
2014  Mike Evans, Bucs 68 1,051 15.5 12
2014  Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers 73 1,008 13.8 9
2013  Keenan Allen, Chargers 71 1,046 14.7 8
2011  A.J. Green, Bengals 65 1,057 16.3 7
2006  Marques Colston, Saints 70 1,038 14.8 8
2004  Michael Clayton, Bucs 80 1,193 14.9 7
2003  Anquan Boldin, Cardinals 101 1,377 13.7 8

What this suggests is that quarterbacks aren’t the only players coming out of college these days who are more advanced in the passing game. Their receivers are, too — and like the QBs, are capable of making a more immediate impact in the pros.

Consider: Since 2003, there have been eight 1,000-yard rookie receivers and 15 1,000-yard rookie rushers. From 1932 to 2002 — which is as far back as statistics go — there were 12 1,000-yard rookie receivers and 46 1,000-yard rookie rushers.

In other words, where before it was much more common for a rookie to rush for 1,000 yards (an almost 4-to-1 ratio), now it’s only somewhat more common (slightly less than 2-to-1). And as time goes on, given the devaluation of the running game, the gap may continue to shrink.

Source: pro-football-reference.com

How long before the 1,000-yard rookie receiver is more common than the 1,000-yard rookie rusher?

How long before the 1,000-yard rookie receiver is more common than the 1,000-yard rookie rusher?

Sound Bites III

As we’re seeing with the Browns’ Johnny Manziel, NFL teams sometimes break in rookie quarterbacks ver-ry slowly, putting in packages for them every week until they’re ready to run the whole offense. It’s been that way since Y.A. Tittle had hair.

If Manziel ever gets discouraged, he should read this quote from one of the top quarterbacks in the 1964 draft, Jack Concannon — who, like Johnny Football, was a dangerous runner. (Later that year, he threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 99 yards to help the Eagles beat the Cowboys.) Moral: Things can always be worse.

“I was at halfback for three weeks because of injuries to three of our running backs, and I didn’t care for it too much. As a matter of fact, in my first game I was at left halfback. It was against the Giants, and the Eagles had started me with three plays — a halfback pass, an end run and a fake end run with a reverse.

“That’s the way [Packers Hall of Famer] Paul Hornung started, with three plays. The only trouble was the Giants knew the three plays, and you can imagine how I felt when they started calling them [out to one another]. The first play was a reverse, and we lost about 20 yards. The next one was the end run, and I gained maybe two yards. The third was the halfback pass, and I was smeared.

“That was my introduction to pro football. I thought the league would be rough. It was even rougher than I expected.”