Tennessee Titans Advanced Stat of the Week: Where Wright Can Improve

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

Wright still has room to grow.
Wright still has room to grow.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kendall Wright saw plenty of action in his rookie season. His 64 catches outpaced all other first-year players.

Whether or not that means Wright was effective is another story.

This week, Advanced Stat of the Week looks at catch rate.

Catch rate is a deceptively simple stat that can lead to very wrong conclusions about wide receivers if misused.

I first encountered catch rate on the Football Outsiders wide receiver pages. Catch rate is easy to calculate. Take the number of times a wide receiver catches the football and divide it by the number of times he is "targeted" by the quarterback. The ratio of catches to targets is his catch rate.

Catch Rate = Receptions / Targets

Catch rate divorced from the overall context of a receiver's profile is meaningless. You can't simply say, "Wes Welker has a catch rate of 71 percent and Calvin Johnson has a catch rate of 61 percent." Without more information, you cannot judge players with this stat.

However, if in addition to catch rate you add yards per reception, targets and quarterback overall completion percentage, you can get a more complete view of the skill set and effectiveness of the pass catcher.

Wright picked up a lot of receptions last season, but averaged fewer than 10 yards a catch, and his catch rate was only 62 percent.

Normally, 62 percent is a perfect acceptable catch rate for a wideout, but it's important to keep the yards per reception total in view.

Last year, there were 12 other wideouts with at least 30 receptions and a yards per reception under 11.

This list comprises many of the least valuable wideotus in the NFL last season. Including Wright, 10 of the 13 players ranked in the bottom 25 of receivers with at least 50 targets.

Even so, Wright ranked 10th on this list in catch rate and was below the average for the group.

So, grouped with other receivers who posted similar kinds of production, Wright was among the worst.

Drops were part of the problem. Wright tied with Kenny Britt and Nate Washington with seven drops on the season, which clearly hurt the completion percentages of Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck. The big difference between Washington and Britt's drops and Wrights is that Wright wasn't running deep routes.

Wright has tremendous potential and can develop into an effective slot receiver. If he's going to be a difference maker on third downs, however, he's going to have start hanging onto the ball and do a better job getting open.

Wright's high volume receptions were nice, but considering the number of targets he had and the short routes he ran, that total needs to be even higher for him to be effective in the future.