In-depth stat comparisons: WR prospects

Examining each athlete in detailed pass-catching categories, based on average per game played or play average, reception consistency, scoring opportunities and big plays.

As a scouting service, it is The NFL Draft Report's responsibility to provide teams with very detailed reports on players they are analyzing for draft purposes. While potential and athleticism are considered in their evaluations, production is highly critical. Unlike the "common" statistics listed in box scores, below is a look at how my top six wide receivers compare, based on their performances during the 2013 season.  I examine each athlete in detailed pass catching categories, based on average per game played or play average.

PLAYERSCHOOL CLASSHEIGHT WEIGHT40-YD
BECKHAM, OdellLouisiana State Junior5:10.6 1934.38
COOKS, BrandinOregon State Junior5:09.6 1894.33
EVANS, Michael "Mike" Texas A&MJunior 6:04.6231 4.53
LEE, MarqiseSouthern California Junior5:11.6 1924.52
MATTHEWS, JordanVanderbilt Senior6:03.1 2124.46
WATKINS, Samuel "Sammy" ClemsonJunior 6:00.6211 4.43


STATISTICAL COMPARISON-PART ONE

PLAYERGP NOAVG RKYDS AVGRK
BECKHAM13 05904.54 61152 088.625
COOKS13 12809.85 11730 133.081
EVANS 13 069 05.31 4 1394 107.23 4
LEE11 05705.18 50791 071.916
MATTHEWS13 11208.62 21477 113.622
WATKINS13 10107.77 31464 112.623
PLAYERTD AVGRK SPAVG RKPTS TOT
BECKHAM08 0.624 221.69 306 5
COOKS16 1.231 352.69 219 1
EVANS12 0.922 221.69 311 3
LEE04 0.366 090.82 601 6
MATTHEWS07 0.545 363.00 114 2
WATKINS12 0.922 201.54 511 3

KEY: GP indicates games played…NO indicates amount of receptions…AVG indicates average receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…YDS indicates yards gained receiving…AVG indicates average yards gained  receiving per game…RK indicates rank in that category…TD indicates touchdown receptions…AVG indicates average touchdown receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…SP indicates amount of big plays via receptions that led to the receiver's team capping that possession with either a touchdown or field goal…AVG indicates average big plays via receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth, 0 for sixth…TOT indicates that receiver's final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.

ANALYZING THE RESULTS: Cooks was highly productive for Oregon State in 2013, setting the school season-records for receptions and receiving yardage, finishing third on the annual chart with his touchdown grabs. He proved to be an outstanding table-setter for the Beavers, as his big catches resulted in 29 touchdown drives and six possessions that ended with field goals…Matthews accomplished that feat despite having to deal with four different passers throwing him the ball. Actually, Vanderbilt recorded its best passing performance in 2013, averaging 227.5 aerial yards per game, 113.62 by the senior flanker. He had big receptions that led to 28 touchdown drives and eight field goals…Evans did not equal his 2012 receiving figures (69 compared to 82), but despite less catches, he gained 289 yards than he did as a sophomore (1,105 in 2012)…Beckham was limited late in the year when QB Zach Mettenberger blew out his knee, but he found other ways to contribute, generating 2,315 all-purpose yards (ranked second in the nation with an average of 178.08 yards per game)…Lee's season saw him sidelined for two games with an assortment of injuries, but even before he was hurt, he seemed to miss quarterback Matt Barkley (Philadelphia) immensely, as he averaged 9.08 receptions and 132.38 yards receiving while finding the end zone fourteen times in 2012 with the Eagles backup at the helm, but those numbers sharply dropped as Lee could not develop the chemistry needed with the new Trojans passers, due to missing a considerable amount of practice time while nursing his array of bumps and bruises.

STATISTICAL COMPARISON-PART TWO

PLAYERNO/TM PCTRK YDS/TMPCT RK
BECKHAM059/205 28.783 1152/326335.30 3
COOKS108/404 26.735 1730/484435.71 2
EVANS069/339 20.356 1394/459330.35 5
LEE057/209 27.274 0791/274428.83 6
MATTHEWS112/243 46.091 1477/295849.93 1
WATKINS 101/341 29.62 2 1464/4330 33.81 4
PLAYERTD/TM PCTRK SP/TMPCT RKPTS TOT
BECKHAM08/23 34.783 22/7330.14 312 3
COOKS16/38 42.112 35/6752.24 213 2
EVANS12/40 30.005 22/8326.51 404 5
LEE04/17 23.536 09/5715.79 602 6
MATTHEWS07/15 46.671 36/6460.95 120 1
WATKINS12/39 30.774 20/7925.32 509 4

KEY: GP indicates games played…NO indicates amount of receptions by each athlete/TM indicates amount of receptions for the entire team…PCT indicates percentage of catches by each athlete vs. total amount of catches for the entire team…RK indicates rank in that category…YDS indicates yards gained receiving by each athlete/TM indicates amount of receiving yards gained by  the entire team…PCT indicates percentage of receiving yards gained by each athlete vs. total amount of receiving yards by the entire team……RK indicates rank in that category…TD indicates touchdown receptions by each athlete/TM indicates amount of touchdown catches for the entire team…PCT indicates percentage of touchdown catches by each athlete vs. total amount of touchdown receptions by the entire team…RK indicates rank in that category…SP indicates amount of key receptions by the  athlete that led to scoring drives (either a touchdown or field goal)/TM indicates amount of scoring drives generated by the offensive unit (either a touchdown or field goal)…PCT indicates percentage of scoring drives each athlete was responsible for vs. the  total amount of scoring drives generated by the offensive unit…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth, 0 for sixth…TOT indicates that receiver's final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.

ANALYZING THE RESULTS: While Part One showed each players' statistics that appeared on the normal stats charts, this section shows the percentage of this numbers compared to the rest of the team…No matter who was throwing the ball for Vanderbilt, they were certain to locate Matthews' number, and for good reason. With Chris Boyd being dismissed from the team for an off-field issue, Jonathan Krause would start at split end opposite Matthews, but during that changeover, he only came up with 42 tosses, second-best on the team. That led to Matthews having to work overtime, as he would line up at every receiver position to create mismatches. Even with the unfamiliarity with the new passers, Matthews would surpass his 2012 numbers of 94 grabs for 1,323 yards while playing with Aaron Rodgers' brother, Jordan, at quarterback…Cooks and quarterback Sean Mannion were probably the most in sync QB/WR tandem in the country, but the passer also showed the ability to distribute the ball, as sixteen other players accounted for close to 75% of the quarterback's other pass completions. Still, when it came "crunch time," Cooks was the recip[ient of 42.11% of Mannion's touchdown tosses. Cooks more than tripled his previous touchdown catch output (five in 2012) and close to doubled his receptions (67 as a sophomore)…Beckham's worst performance for the 2013 schedule happened with QB Zach Mettenberger sidelined, as he was targeted six times, but caught just two balls for 35 yards vs. Iowa in the Outback Bowl. When he QB was hurt in the season finale vs. Arkansas, Beckham went home after posting just one catch for 16 yards…Defenses could not double-team Watkins as much as they did in the past. When they did it left either Martavis Bryant (42 for 828 yards and seven scores) and Adam Humphries (41 for 483 yards) the beneficiary of other passes from QB Tahj Boyd…Evans reception numbers were down, as QB Johnny Manziel also connected often with Malcome Kennedy (60 for 658 yards and seven touchdowns), Derel Walker (51 for 818 and five scores) and Travis Labhart (51 for 626 and eight touchdowns). Evans' numbers are a bit "jaded," as they include some very erratic performances. On the good side was 279 yards on five grabs vs. Alabama and 287 yards with four scores via eleven receptions vs. Auburn. However, there were some clunkers, catching just two balls vs. Southern Methodist and gaining only eight yards on four snatches vs. Missouri. He also failed to reach the end zone in each of his last four contests.

BIG PLAY BREAKDOWN

PLAYER1st AVGRK 3/4PCT RKRZ PCTRK
BECKHAM048 3.695 1322.03 106 10.174
COOKS077 5.921 1914.84 421 16.413
EVANS049 3.774 0913.04 512 17.392
LEE032 2.916 1221.05 203 05.266
MATTHEWS065 5.002 1715.18 323 20.541
WATKINS056 4.313 1312.87 608 07.925
PLAYER10+ PCTRK 20+PCT RKPTS TOT
BECKHAM045 76.271 02542.37 118 1
COOKS059 46.095 03124.22 314 3
EVANS046 66.672 02739.13 215 2
LEE030 52.633 00915.79 607 6
MATTHEWS050 44.646 02118.75 513 4
WATKINS 047 46.53 4 019 18.81 4 08 5

KEY: 1st indicates receptions resulting in first downs…AVG indicates average first-down receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…3/4 indicates conversions of third- and fourth-down receptions…PCT indicates percentage of third- and fourth-down receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…RZ indicates receptions caught inside the red zone/goal-line plays…PCT indicates percentage of red zone receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…10+ indicates amount of  receptions that gained at least 10 yards…PCT indicates percentage of 10-plus yard receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…20+ indicates amount of  receptions that gained at least 20 yards…PCT indicates average of 20-plus yard receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth, 0 for sixth…TOT indicates that receiver's final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.

ANALYZING THE RESULTS: One of the vastly unrecognized statistical categories is what the receivers do in regards to moving the chains. The big touchdown catch excites the fans, but quality receivers know that it is just as important to move the team, one first down at a time…Beckham made the most of the 59 passes that he secured, registering an amazing 81.35% of his grabs that were good for first downs. He converted 12-of-22 third-down tosses and 1-of-2 fourth-down snaps, but he rarely heard his number called inside the red zone, as seven of his eight scoring grabs came from longer distances. His first-down success is evident in his high percentage of catches that gained at least ten yards…71% of Evans' catches were good for first downs, but he managed to convert just 9-of-19 third-down throws. A third of his catches went for at least a 10-yard clip…Cooks was also effective, as 60.16% of his catches were good for first downs, converting all three fourth-down snaps and 16-of-31 balls on third-down plays. Close to 50% of his grabs gained at least ten yards…Most of Matthews' yardage came after the catch (907 of 1,334 yards), so most of his grabs came in tight quarters or contested areas…Watkins might have been a big-play receiver, but it is a bit of a concern that during his entire career, his highest amount of catches inside the red zone came during his junior campaign…Lee remains an elite talent, but that "E" word could easily be "enigma" instead. He was not the healthiest in 2013, that was a given, but look at his numbers here, compared to the same in 2012, when he had 85 first downs on 118 catches,  converted 23-of-33 third-down throws and had 59 of those 118 grabs for at least ten yards, including twenty that went for 20 yards or longer.

SCORING OPPORTUNITY BREAKDOWN

PLAYERTDR AVGRK PTSTM PCTRK
BECKHAM19 1.464 054459 11.764
COOKS29 2.231 108404 26.731
EVANS22 1.693 072536 13.433
LEE08 0.736 026332 07.836
MATTHEWS28 2.152 042387 08.915
WATKINS17 1.315 072494 14.572
PLAYERPRF TMPCT RKPTS TOT
BECKHAM142 45930.94 307 4
COOKS221 40454.70 214 1
EVANS154 53628.73 408 3
LEE059 33217.77 600 6
MATTHEWS220 38756.85 110 2
WATKINS128 49425.91 506 5

KEY: TDR indicates receptions that resulted in touchdowns (total caught by the receiver and big plays that set up touchdown drives only)…AVG indicates average touchdown drives responsible for per game…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points scored by the receiver during the season…TM indicates total points scored by the receiver's offense during the season…PCT indicates the percentage of points scored by the receiver compared to the total points scored by the offense…RK indicates rank in that category…PRF indicates total points responsible by the receiver via receptions only during the season (based on touchdowns scored, big plays on touchdown drives and big plays that set up team field goals)…TM indicates total points scored by the receiver's offense during the season…PCT indicates the percentage of points responsible for by the receiver compared to the total points scored by the offense…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth, 0 for sixth…TOT indicates that receiver's final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.

ANALYZING THE RESULTS: Reaching the end zone brings big smiles to a receiver's face, but when I look for the "complete" receiver, I want someone that can not only reach the end zone, but make the big plays that table-set for others to score. The two big "money" players here were also the most consistent – Cooks and Matthews…Cooks and his quarterback had tremendous chemistry, and it showed. He scored sixteen times, as he was responsible for 29 touchdown drives and on six other possessions that produced field goals, as that figure accounted for 54.7% of the Beavers' point total for 2013…Matthews was not accorded the same chemistry, as four different players would take snaps under center at Vanderbilt last season. With most of those tosses errant and in the short-to-intermediate area, Matthews did not match his 2012 touchdown total (eight as a junior), making his big grabs that led to 28 touchdowns and eight field goals highly impressive. That was just a shade better than his junior season, as he set up 27 touchdowns and eight field goals in 2012, proving that he was a model of consistency…Evans was part of one of the more explosive offenses in college football (one can only imagine what Matthews' numbers would be if he was an Aggie). With his size and reach, he constantly created mismatches in man coverage, leading to most of his success…The LSU Tigers rely more on their ground game and last season was more of an anomaly, as only two other times in school history did they have a quarterback throw for 3,000 yards in a season. Beckham accomplished his numbers without actually being the team's go-to receiver. That honor fell to Jarvis Landry, who made 77 catches for 1,193 yards and ten touchdowns last season…I truly like Watkins, but with a caveat. He is a big-play receiver, but old timers might remember Miami's Randall Hill – a player that gained yardage, but you could find Carmen San Diego quicker than you can find Hill or Watkins when it came to working inside the red zone…Maybe the reason Lee felt it important to come out this year was, with the same passers on the roster, he could ill afford to produce another "pedestrian-like" season like he did in 2013 and hope to hold on to his draft ranking.

RECEPTION CONSISTENCY BREAKDOWN

PLAYERTG CTPCT RKPB DPPN FM
BECKHAM090 05965.56 514 0001 02
COOKS168 12876.19 219 0201 05
EVANS099 06969.70 406 0405 00
LEE096 05760.00 609 0002 02
MATTHEWS135 11282.96 114 0000 02
WATKINS134 10175.37 308 0301 02
PLAYERTFL NGTOT PCTRK PTSTOT
BECKHAM00 00017 18.895 025
COOKS06 05038 22.626 044
EVANS01 00016 16.163 053
LEE02 02017 17.714 025
MATTHEWS02 01019 14.071 101
WATKINS02 03019 14.182 072

KEY: TG indicates total passes targeted to the receiver…CT indicates amount of those targeted passes the receiver caught…PCT indicates the percentage of targeted passes caught by the receiver…RK indicates rank in that category…PB indicates passes the opposition deflected that were targeted to the receiver…DP indicates amount of passes thrown to that the receiver dropped…PN indicates amount of times the receiver was penalized…FM indicates amount of times the receiver fumbled the ball…TFL indicates amount of times the receiver was tackled for a loss…NG indicates amount of times the receiver was tackled for no gain at the line of scrimmage…TOT indicates total amount of negative plays (pass deflections/dropped passes/penalties/fumbles/ tackles for loss/tackled for no gain)…PCT indicates percentage of passes targeted to the receiver that resulted in negative plays…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth, 0 for sixth…TOT indicates that receiver's final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.

ANALYZING THE RESULTS: Lots of receptions earn a receiver postseason honors, but what if he leaves a lot of balls thrown to him sitting on the ground? This category shows the success of each receiver compared to the passes targeted. It also looks at the mistakes made on the field, as negative plays sometimes has even bigger impact that positive ones…Imagine you are a receiver and in four seasons, you had to introduce yourself to eighteen different starting quarterbacks. Imagine being a senior and operating with four different starters lining up under center. Such is the fate that Matthews experienced, yet he would go on to set the Southeastern Conference career-records for most receptions (262) and receiving yards (3,759) that made his cousin, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice proud. You would think that there would be a certain lack of chemistry playing with so many quarterbacks, but Matthews is a "Receiving Scientist," especially when you match his incredible success in securing the pass compared to others. The only area that concerns me a bit here, is that a 6:03 receiver should not have fourteen targeted throws batted away from him… Watkins was also highly effective pulling down three-quarters of the balls intended for him, but has had some concentration issues, resulting in a few dropped balls (three last year, but a total of sixteen in three seasons…Evans uses his size to outmuscle the smaller cornerbacks for the sphere and consistently wins jump-ball situations, but like Watkins, he is prone to drop a few when he tries to run before securing the ball and he has had more than a fair share of offensive pass interference calls (needs to stop using his hands pushing off on his coverage assignment)…Cooks has great game-breaking speed, but oh-boy, does he cough it up quite a bit and lacks the strength to break tackles, especially on tosses in the backfield, where six of his catches resulted in lost yardage and five others stalled for no yards…Beckham is obviously "height challenged" compared to the other receivers here, but with a 38 ½-inch vertical jump, how can defenders bat away so many passes from him?...Lee just looked too lethargic this season. Yes, the injury factor, but come on folks, have you seen any receiver in this draft live off his previous press clippings more than this Trojan did this season?
 

FINAL REPORT CARD

PLAYERGP REC1RK REC2RK BPRK
BECKHAM, Odell13 065 123 181
COOKS, Brandin13 191 132 143
EVANS, Michael "Mike" 1311 304 515 2
LEE, Marqise11 016 026 076
MATTHEWS, Jordan13 142 201 134
WATKINS, Samuel "Sammy" 1311 309 408 5
AVERAGE 12.7 10.3 10.0 12.5
PLAYERSO RKRC RKPTS RK
BECKHAM, Odell07 402 5045 3
COOKS, Brandin14 104 4064 2
EVANS, Michael "Mike" 083 053 0434
LEE, Marqise00 602 5012 5
MATTHEWS, Jordan10 210 1067 1
WATKINS, Samuel "Sammy" 065 072 0415
AVERAGE7.5  5.0  272

Viking Update Top Stories