Sunday, December 28, 2014

A closer look at DeSean's '09 performance

DeSean Jackson's performance in 2009 was very rare. Here's a closer look at how his numbers compared to some other receivers around the league.

A closer look at DeSean's '09 performance

Earlier this offseason, we took a look at 2009 performances by Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek.

Next up is DeSean Jackson.

Jackson was one of the best big-play threats in the league a year ago, catching 62 balls for 1,156 yards, while averaging 18.6 yards per reception.

Four players last year caught at least 60 balls for at least 1,000 yards, while averaging 16.0 yards or more per catch: Jackson, Miles Austin, Vincent Jackson and Greg Jennings.

Over the past five seasons, 15 receivers have reached those marks. Here's the list:

Year Player Rec. Yds. YPC YAC
2009 DeSean Jackson 62 1,156 18.6 6.3
2009 Miles Austin 81 1,320 16.3 6.9
2009 Vincent Jackson 68 1,167 17.2 3.4
2009 Greg Jennings 68 1,113 16.4 7.0
2008 Steve Smith 78 1,421 18.2 5.6
2008 Greg Jennings 80 1,292 16.2 4.8
2008 Lee Evans 63 1,017 16.1 4.0
2007 Terrell Owens 81 1,355 16.7 4.4
2007 Braylon Edwards 80 1,289 16.1 3.9
2006 Roy Williams 82 1,310 16.0 3.9
2006 Joey Galloway 62 1,057 17.0 4.8
2005 Santana Moss 84 1,483 17.7 7.3
2005 Plaxico Burress 76 1,214 16.0 4.2
2005 Terry Glenn 62 1,136 18.3 3.6
2005 Eddie Kennison 68 1,102 16.2 5.5
2005 Randy Moss 60 1,005 16.8 2.9

The number that really set Jackson's season apart was yards per catch (18.6). In the past five seasons, only two other receivers have had 60+ catches for 1,000+ yards and averaged at least 18 yards per catch: Steve Smith in 2008 and Terry Glenn in 2005.

Two other things that stand out that are related. Here's a height comparison for the players mentioned above:

DeSean Jackson 5-10
Miles Austin 6-3
Vincent Jackson 6-5
Steve Smith 5-9
Greg Jennings 5-11
Lee Evans 5-10
Terrell Owens 6-3
Braylon Edwards 6-3
Roy Williams 6-3
Joey Galloway 5-11
Santana Moss 5-10
Plaxico Burress 6-5
Terry Glenn 5-11
Eddie Kennison 6-1
Randy Moss 6-4

You'll notice that there's a group of big receivers: Austin, V. Jackson, Owens, Edwards, Williams, Burress and R. Moss. Other than Austin, those tall receivers did not pick up a lot of yards after the catch, and understandably so. Austin averaged 6.9 YAC last season. None of the other guys averaged more than 4.4.

The big YAC guys were the receivers under 6 feet. D. Jackson, Jennings, Smith, S. Moss. Those are the types of receivers to compare Jackson and his style of play to.

The bottom line here is that Jackson's performance in 2009 was very rare. It's quite possible (and probably even likely) that he'll never top that 18.6 number for yards per catch again in his career.

But he will continue to be a big-play receiver and one of the league's biggest downfield threats. The obvious focus on Jackson in 2010 will be whether he and Kevin Kolb are able to connect as effectively as he and Donovan McNabb did in 2009.

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Sheil Kapadia
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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