Physical traits, speed, agility, explosiveness attributes of Top WRs (What's the formula?) (1 Viewer)

harschman

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Wide Receivers are constantly a hot topic on here. While doing some research I stumbled on an article from 2012 detailing using some physical attributes to determine NFL success as it pertains to predict top 25 WR in points per reception fantasy leagues. He was attempting to find something that worked for both fantasy sports and real life after all, the fantasy sports are based on real life stats and production.


I decided to delve into these questions by looking at what seems to be one of the most difficult positions to predict for fantasy players and NFL teams – the wide receiver. My goal was to figure out what measurements mean the most and see if there were any trends that might help us increase our odds of getting that next big receiver and lessen the chances of drafting yet another wide receiver bust.
The author took the top 25 WRs for a PPR league and determined the following as physical attributes, then averaged them and awarded a point if the player was above the average, deducted a point for incoming rookies below the minimum and added a bonus point for a player drafted in the 1st round. Round drafted was the only non-physical attribute calculated.
  • Height
  • Relative Body Size (pounds per inch)
  • Hand size
  • 40 yard dash time
  • Vertical Leap
  • Broad Jump
  • 20 yard shuttle
  • 3 cone drill
  • Round Draft (non-physical stat)
According to his research the incoming 2012 class top rated WRs using this formula was Alshon Jeffrey and AJ Jenkins, both with a score of 7. Previous years had Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson with 10s, AJ Green and Larry Fitzgerald with 8s, Marques Colston was a 3. TY Hilton from the 2012 class was a -3 as he had quite a few deficiencies. The thought is you can overcome a deficiency if you are strong in another area whereas multiple deficiencies are more difficult to overcome.

I took this calculation add applied it to the top 25 reception leaders from the 2019 season while factoring in Tyreek Hill, so 26 players were averaged.

2019 Averages:
Height: 72.5 inches
Relative Body Size: 2.82 pounds
Hand Size: 9.53 inches
40 Yard Dash Time: 4.49 seconds
Vertical Leap: 36.27 inches
Broad Jump: 122.35 inches
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds
3 Cone Drill: 6.87 seconds
Round Drafted: 2.5


2019 Minimums:
Height: 68 inches
Relative Body Size: 2.56
Hand Size: 8.5
40 Yard Dash Time: 4.65 seconds
Vertical Leap: 28.5 inches
Broad Jump: 110 inches
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.5 seconds
3 Cone Drill: 7.17 seconds
Round Drafted: UDFA

Below is how each WR scored. 8/25 1st round selections, 9/25 2nd round selections, 5/25 3rd round and only 3/25 were 4th round or later selections with 1 being a UDFA.

2019 Receptions Leaders:
Michael Thomas: 7 (largest hands at 10.5 inches)
Keenan Allen: 2 (missing vertical, broad jump, 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone)
DeAndre Hopkins: 6 (missing 3 cone, was the minimum or slowest on 20 yard shuttle at 4.5 seconds)
Julian Edelman: 5 (fastest 20 yard shuttle time)
Julio Jones: 9 (slower than the average on the 20 yard shuttle)
Allen Robinson: 6
Cooper Kupp: 3
Tyler Boyd: 3
Robert Woods: 1
DJ Moore: 8
Chris Godwin: 6
Davante Adams: 6
Jarvis Landry: 3 (mins on 40, vert, broad and missing data for 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone drill)
Tyler Lockett: 3
Amari Cooper: 8
Jamison Crowder: 1 (mins on height and 3 cone drill)
Larry Fitzgerald: 6 (10.5 inch hands, missing vert, broad, 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone)
Odell Beckham: 8
DJ Chark: 5 (3rd fastest 40 and 2nd highest vertical, missing data on 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone drill)
John Brown: 3 (minimum on relative body size)
DeVante Parker: 5 (missing data on 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone drill)
Courtland Sutton: 7
Christian Kirk: 4
Cole Beasley: 3 (missing hand size, minimums on height and relative body size)
Mike Evans: 6
Tyreke Hill: 4 (min on height, fastest 40, highest vertical, quickest 3 cone and below min hand size)

3 Rookies from 2019 class:
Deebo Samuel: 6 (10 inch hands)
AJ Brown: 5
DK Metcalf: 7 (fast 40 and min on 20 yard shuttle)

Current Saints:
Michael Thomas: 7
(largest hands at 10.5 inches)
TreQuan Smith: 6 (.03 off hand size from being average)
Keith Kirkwood: 2 (.01 off from 40 average, .03 off from hand size average, .02 off from relative body size average, 81 inch wing span)
Krishawn Hogan: 6 (.03 off from 20 yard shuttle average)
Lil’Jordan Humphrey: 1 (below minimum for 40 time)
Emmanuel Butler: 1 (10 inch hands, below min for 40 time, 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone) 20 yard shuttle is only .02 below the minimum.
Deonte Harris: 3 (below minimum for height)
Maurice Harris: 1 (below minimum for broad jump)
Tommylee Lewis: -2 (below minimum for hand size and height)
Alvin Kamara: 3 (calculated him just for reference to WRs)

I had planned to hold off and post after the combine and pro days, but there are some WRs who are already jumping out with limited data. The 40 times I have found are all estimated or from their recruiting numbers. A few WRs have had their hand size measured during recruiting. The numbers below are just based on height, weight, project 40 and if their hand size is available. No bonus points have been awarded for projected round drafted. These guys have a pretty good head start before being measured/timed.

Laviska Shenault Jr.: 3
Gabriel Davis: 3
Brandon Aiyuk: 3 (10 inch hands)
Chase Claypool: 4 (10 inch hands)
Antonio Gandy-Golden: 3
Donovan Peoples-Jones: 3
Tyrie Cleveland: 3
James Proche: 3
Austin Mack: 3 (10 inch hands)

Using this data and applying it to our current wide receivers and the roles they look to fill based on previous opportunities I project the following WRs making the 2020 roster leaving potentially 2 open positions to be filled through FA, trade, draft or UDFA.

Michael Thomas (Obvious lock, best in the game)
TreQuan Smith (Lock)
Keith Kirkwood
Krishawn Hogan
Deonte Harris

I took his thoughts from 2012 and applied them to current WRs to see how it would hold up. Overall, the top WRs based on receptions are above average in many of the attributes, have few if any deficiencies and are drafted in the top 3 rounds. However, as in the article this was just used to compare and project top WRs, the NFL is loaded with guys who are not at the top and perform for their respective team. This does not account for being able to catch, play football, run routes, learn a playbook, stay out of trouble, health, etc.
 
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bobad

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Hands: No 1, and nothing else is close. WR's have to catch the ball.

Physicality: WR's have to be strong, not easily knocked off their routes, and win most 50/50 battles. Small WR's can replace physicality with speed and elusiveness, but that's special and rare.

Smart: They have to know their QB, and show him where to put the ball.

All the rest is important, but down the list from the top 3 somewhat.
 

FootballLady

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In broadest terms--

Hands: Needs at least two. More would be better, though.
Legs: Also got to have two. In this case, more than that might be problematic.
Feet: See above.
Head: Oh yeah.
Heart: Both literal and figurative, please.
Prehensile tail: I could go either way on this one. While it might slow him down, his balance would be off the charts. Might lead to tripping penalties, though, which would make it a liability. Know what? I've decided. I'm off the tail train.
 
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harschman

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Hands: No 1, and nothing else is close. WR's have to catch the ball.

Physicality: WR's have to be strong, not easily knocked off their routes, and win most 50/50 battles. Small WR's can replace physicality with speed and elusiveness, but that's special and rare.

Smart: They have to know their QB, and show him where to put the ball.

All the rest is important, but down the list from the top 3 somewhat.
I agree. I think he chose the relative body size attribute to indicate physicality. It was interesting to see how that played out for current WRs as I plugged in the numbers.
 
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harschman

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RankNameRoundReceptionsYardsHeightWeightRelative Body SizeHand Size40 Yard Dash TimeVertical LeapBroad Jump20 Yard Shuttle3 Cone DrillScore
1​
Michael Thomas
2​
149​
1725​
75​
212​
2.83​
10.5​
4.57​
35​
126​
4.13​
6.8​
7​
2​
Keenan Allen
3​
104​
1199​
74​
208​
2.81​
10.08​
4.58​
2​
3​
DeAndre Hopkins
1​
104​
1165​
73​
214​
2.93​
10.08​
4.57​
36​
115​
4.5​
6​
4​
Julian Edelman
7​
100​
1117​
70​
198​
2.83​
9​
4.52​
36.5​
123​
3.92​
6.62​
5​
5​
Julio Jones
1​
99​
1394​
75​
220​
2.93​
9.75​
4.34​
38.5​
135​
4.25​
6.66​
9​
6​
Allen Robinson
2​
98​
1147​
74​
220​
2.97​
9.5​
4.6​
39​
127​
4​
7​
6​
7​
Cooper Kupp
3​
94​
1161​
74​
208​
2.81​
9.5​
4.62​
31​
116​
4.08​
6.75​
3​
8​
Tyler Boyd
2​
90​
1046​
74​
197​
2.66​
9.75​
4.58​
34​
119​
4.35​
6.9​
3​
9​
Robert Woods
2​
90​
1134​
72​
201​
2.79​
9.28​
4.51​
33.5​
117​
4.47​
7.15​
1​
10​
DJ Moore
1​
87​
1175​
72​
210​
2.92​
9.63​
4.42​
39.5​
132​
4.07​
6.95​
8​
11​
Chris Godwin
3​
86​
1333​
73​
209​
2.86​
9.12​
4.42​
36​
126​
4​
7.01​
6​
12​
Davante Adams
2​
83​
997​
73​
212​
2.90​
9​
4.56​
39.5​
123​
4.3​
6.82​
6​
13​
Jarvis Landry
2​
83​
1174​
71​
205​
2.89​
10.25​
4.65​
28.5​
110​
3​
14​
Tyler Lockett
3​
82​
1057​
70​
182​
2.60​
9.33​
4.4​
35.5​
121​
4.07​
6.89​
3​
15​
Amari Cooper
1​
79​
1189​
73​
211​
2.89​
10​
4.42​
33​
120​
3.98​
6.71​
8​
16​
Jamison Crowder
4​
78​
883​
68​
185​
2.72​
8.75​
4.56​
37​
115​
4.32​
7.17​
1​
17​
Larry Fitzgerald
1​
75​
804​
75​
225​
3.00​
10.5​
4.48​
6​
18​
Odell Beckham
1​
74​
1035​
71​
198​
2.79​
10​
4.38​
38.5​
122​
3.94​
6.69​
8​
19​
DJ Chark
2​
73​
1008​
75​
199​
2.65​
9.25​
4.34​
40​
129​
5​
20​
John Brown
3​
72​
1060​
70​
179​
2.56​
8.5​
4.34​
36.5​
119​
4.12​
6.91​
3​
21​
DeVante Parker
1​
72​
1202​
75​
209​
2.79​
9.25​
4.45​
36.5​
125​
5​
22​
Courtland Sutton
2​
72​
1112​
75​
218​
2.91​
9.75​
4.54​
35.5​
124​
4.11​
6.57​
7​
23​
Christian Kirk
2​
68​
709​
70​
201​
2.87​
9.88​
4.47​
35.5​
115​
4.45​
7.09​
4​
24​
Cole Beasley
UDFA​
67​
778​
68​
174​
2.56​
4.49​
38​
126​
4.4​
7.16​
3​
25​
Mike Evans
1​
67​
1157​
77​
231​
3.00​
9.63​
4.53​
37​
4.26​
7.08​
6​
Tyreke Hill
5​
58​
860​
68​
185​
2.72​
8​
4.29​
40.5​
129​
4.06​
6.53​
4​
2019 Averages
2.50​
84.77​
1100.81​
72.50​
204.27​
2.82​
9.53​
4.49​
36.27​
122.35​
4.18​
6.87​
2019 Minimums
UDFA​
68​
174​
2.56​
8​
4.65​
28.5​
110​
4.5​
7.17​
 
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harschman

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NameRoundReceptionsYardsHeightWeightRelative Body SizeHand Size40 Yard Dash TimeVertical LeapBroad Jump20 Yard Shuttle3 Cone DrillScore
Deebo Samuel
2​
57​
802​
71​
214​
3.01​
10​
4.48​
39​
122​
4.14​
7.03​
6​
AJ Brown
2​
52​
1051​
72​
226​
3.14​
9.75​
4.49​
36.5​
120​
4.25​
7​
5​
DK Metcalf
2​
58​
900​
75​
228​
3.04​
9.88​
4.33​
40.5​
134​
4.5​
7.38​
7​
 
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harschman

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NameRoundReceptionsYardsHeightWeightRelative Body SizeHand Size40 Yard Dash TimeVertical LeapBroad Jump20 Yard Shuttle3 Cone DrillScore
Michael Thomas
2​
149​
1725​
75​
212​
2.83​
10.5​
4.57​
35​
126​
4.13​
6.8​
7​
TreQuan Smith
3​
18​
234​
74​
210​
2.84​
9.5​
4.49​
37.5​
130​
4.5​
6.97​
5​
Keith Kirkwood
UDFA​
0​
0​
75​
210​
2.80​
9.5​
4.5​
35​
125​
4.43​
6.94​
2​
Krishawn Hogan
UDFA​
1​
4​
75​
217​
2.89​
9.88​
4.56​
36.5​
123​
4.21​
6.74​
6​
Lil'Jordan Humphrey
UDFA​
0​
0​
76​
225​
2.96​
9.5​
4.75​
33.5​
119​
4.29​
7.09​
1​
Emmanuel Butler
UDFA​
0​
0​
76​
220​
2.89​
10​
4.75​
34​
119​
4.52​
7.41​
1​
Deonte Harris
UDFA​
36​
338​
66​
171​
2.59​
8.75​
4.48​
33​
114​
4.16​
6.82​
3​
Maurice Harris
UDFA​
0​
0​
74​
199​
2.69​
9.63​
4.56​
32​
109​
4.35​
6.95​
1​
Tommylee Lewis
UDFA​
0​
0​
66​
170​
2.58​
8.13​
4.52​
34​
120​
4.22​
7.13​
-2​
Alvin Kamara
3​
81​
533​
70​
214​
3.06​
9.25​
4.56​
39.5​
131​
4.35​
7.1​
3​
 

Outbackjack

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In all of this talk about a number 2......

The one thing that folks KEEP MISSING is how unimportant a WR (1 or 2) is to the big picture of winning football.

Case in point, again, and proven over and over....the top WRs rarely ever make the Super Bowl.

This year proves it again.....in your charts above.....you have to go to #26 to reach the first Chief (Hill) and 56 for SF (Samuel).

Last year, (NE/LA) number 21 in receptions made the SB (Cooks).....and 28 (Edelman)


The year before that (Phi/NE) .....try number 29 (Cooks) and number 37 (Algahor).

So we’ll continue to obsess over this #2, but honestly, it doesn’t matter to winning football in the playoffs.
 
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harschman

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In all of this talk about a number 2......

The one thing that folks KEEP MISSING is how unimportant a WR (1 or 2) is to the big picture of winning football.

Case in point, again, and proven over and over....the top WRs rarely ever make the Super Bowl.

This year proves it again.....in your charts above.....you have to go to #26 to reach the first Chief (Hill) and 56 for SF (Samuel).

Last year, (NE/LA) number 21 in receptions made the SB (Cooks).....and 28 (Edelman)


The year before that (Phi/NE) .....try number 29 (Cooks) and number 37 (Algahor).

So we’ll continue to obsess over this #2, but honestly, it doesn’t matter to winning football in the playoffs.
I agree 100%. I did not start this as a discussion for a #2 WR, in fact I believe too many are getting hung up on that # as we don't employ an offense that utilizing #1, 2, 3 etc. This discussion was more about the physical attributes that could indicate success as a WR in the NFL. We currently have 3 WR who have 6 better than average attributes when compared to the top 25 WRs in receptions last season. Given Hogan's across the board above average physical attributes and his production in college, it is possible had he gone to a bigger school he would've have been drafted quite high.

SP is an offensive pioneer in the NFL and he finds players with skills and has a vision for them. This data mining has revealed a couple things to me.

1. TreQuan Smith has the physical attributes to be a productive WR in the NFL and he will have a role if not a significant role going forward. He's made strides and although injuries this season may have slowed his development, he did develop.

2. SP sees something in Hogan. Like Hill in 2017, SP signed Hogan and then quickly promoted him from the PS to the active roster where he carved out an initial role. I believe that was just to get Hogan into the game, similar to getting Hill on the field in 2017 on ST. Hogan compares almost identical to MT in all the physical attributes. He also compares very favorably to Laviska Shenault although Shenault might be slightly faster, it looks like while at Marion, Hogan was used in a similar manner that Colorado used Shenault. Hogan could be what Shenault is expected to be.

SP's offense is all about skillsets, matchups and mismatches. He needs about 4 WRs who have their own strengths, but can also be interchangeable. With that said, I don't think we are going into FA and the draft looking for a #2 like is mentioned so much on here. We are going in looking for skillsets that we don't currently have or that we need more of. I believe the days of Cooks are gone, we can't have a one trick speed WR to fill that role. It will need to be a speed WR who has the ability to break tackles and gain YAC. So although 50-60% catch rate and speed were okay in the past, my gut tells me that SP wants someone with more reliable hands, is physical, quick and fast to fill that Ginn role.

When SP can assemble the assets he needs for his offense, I believe we will see it become more balanced and MT won't have to catch 149 passes. If some of that volume from MT and AK can shift towards other WR options, the offense will be better and more in line with the winning offenses you referenced and what we were used to in the late 2000's and early 2010's.
 

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I agree 100%. I did not start this as a discussion for a #2 WR, in fact I believe too many are getting hung up on that # as we don't employ an offense that utilizing #1, 2, 3 etc. This discussion was more about the physical attributes that could indicate success as a WR in the NFL. We currently have 3 WR who have 6 better than average attributes when compared to the top 25 WRs in receptions last season. Given Hogan's across the board above average physical attributes and his production in college, it is possible had he gone to a bigger school he would've have been drafted quite high.

SP is an offensive pioneer in the NFL and he finds players with skills and has a vision for them. This data mining has revealed a couple things to me.

1. TreQuan Smith has the physical attributes to be a productive WR in the NFL and he will have a role if not a significant role going forward. He's made strides and although injuries this season may have slowed his development, he did develop.

2. SP sees something in Hogan. Like Hill in 2017, SP signed Hogan and then quickly promoted him from the PS to the active roster where he carved out an initial role. I believe that was just to get Hogan into the game, similar to getting Hill on the field in 2017 on ST. Hogan compares almost identical to MT in all the physical attributes. He also compares very favorably to Laviska Shenault although Shenault might be slightly faster, it looks like while at Marion, Hogan was used in a similar manner that Colorado used Shenault. Hogan could be what Shenault is expected to be.

SP's offense is all about skillsets, matchups and mismatches. He needs about 4 WRs who have their own strengths, but can also be interchangeable. With that said, I don't think we are going into FA and the draft looking for a #2 like is mentioned so much on here. We are going in looking for skillsets that we don't currently have or that we need more of. I believe the days of Cooks are gone, we can't have a one trick speed WR to fill that role. It will need to be a speed WR who has the ability to break tackles and gain YAC. So although 50-60% catch rate and speed were okay in the past, my gut tells me that SP wants someone with more reliable hands, is physical, quick and fast to fill that Ginn role.

When SP can assemble the assets he needs for his offense, I believe we will see it become more balanced and MT won't have to catch 149 passes. If some of that volume from MT and AK can shift towards other WR options, the offense will be better and more in line with the winning offenses you referenced and what we were used to in the late 2000's and early 2010's.
Good stuff and you are correct, and also very interesting.

And looking back, I didn’t mean to hijack the thread, I just always get annoyed with the never ending “We gotta have a #2 WR” like we are playing Madden 2020.

You put out an interesting thread.
 

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