Sammy Watkins had an unusual year last year. He caught only 39 passes, but over a fifth of them went for touchdowns. When that trade was made, most everyone expected he would have caught a lot more passes, but with fewer touchdowns.
That kind of season doesn’t happen often. In this century, 21 other wide receivers have scored at least 8 TDs with at least 20 percent of their catches going for touchdowns. I’ve got those guys listed below, and the third of them that came back and scored at least 7 TDs are tagged with black dots.
The idea of trying to latch onto a receiver who tends to be used around the goal line is hard to execute. Of these 21 previous wide receivers, for example, none of them came back and scored on 20-plus percent of their catches again the next year.
Instead, these receivers tend to come back and score on a more reasonable portion of their catches.
Of the 21 wide receivers pre-Watkins, they averaged 50 catches, 810 yards and 11.3 TDs in their big seasons. When they came back the next year, they averaged 51 catches and 760 yards (similar production) but with only 5.2 TDs – over a 50 percent drop.
Some blasts from the past on this list, including Marc Boerigter, Laurent Robinson and the late Chris Henry.
|TOUCHDOWN SPECIALIST RECEIVERS|
|2002||Marc Boerigter, K.C.||20||420||21.0||8||40.0%||11-158-0|
|2014||• Martavis Bryant, Pitt.||26||549||21.1||8||30.8%||50-765-7|
|2004||• Randy Moss, Minn.||49||767||15.7||13||26.5%||62-1136-8|
|2007||Reggie Williams, Jac.||38||629||16.6||10||26.3%||37-364-3|
|2006||Chris Henry, Cin.||36||605||16.8||9||25.0%||21-343-2|
|2007||• Randy Moss, N.E.||98||1493||15.2||23||23.5%||69-1008-11|
|2015||Ted Ginn, Car.||44||739||16.8||10||22.7%||54-752-4|
|2007||• Greg Jennings, G.B.||53||920||17.4||12||22.6%||80-1292-9|
|2014||Torrey Smith, Balt.||49||767||15.7||11||22.4%||33-663-4|
|2011||• Jordy Nelson, G.B.||68||1263||18.6||15||22.1%||49-745-7|
|2003||• Javon Walker, G.B.||41||716||17.5||9||22.0%||89-1382-12|
|2012||James Jones, G.B.||64||784||12.3||14||21.9%||59-817-3|
|2013||Jerricho Cotchery, Pitt.||46||602||13.1||10||21.7%||48-580-1|
|2014||Terrance Williams, Dall.||37||621||16.8||8||21.6%||52-840-3|
|2016||Kenny Stills, Mia.||42||726||17.3||9||21.4%||58-847-6|
|2010||Kenny Britt, Tenn.||42||775||18.5||9||21.4%||17-289-3|
|2010||Dwayne Bowe, K.C.||72||1162||16.1||15||20.8%||81-1159-5|
|2017||Sammy Watkins, LAR||39||593||15.2||8||20.5%||?-?-?|
|2011||• Eric Decker, Den.||44||612||13.9||9||20.5%||85-1064-13|
|2011||Laurent Robinson, Dall.||54||858||15.9||11||20.4%||24-252-0|
|2009||Robert Meachem, N.O.||45||722||16.0||9||20.0%||44-638-5|
|2007||Braylon Edwards, Clev.||80||1289||16.1||16||20.0%||55-873-3|
As for Watkins, he’s off to Kansas City, forming a nice tandem with Tyreek Hill. They’re both capable of getting open for deep balls, but Hill is definitely the more explosive of the two. He’s probably the fastest player in the league, while Watkins seems to possess only above-average speed. Hill will catch more long passes.
It’s around the end zone where I will be interested to see how they use Watkins. He’s bigger and more polished, with a far more extensive history playing the position. When it’s third-and-goal on the 6-yard line, I think they will be more comfortable trying to hit Watkins on a slant route. I think he’ll be better than Hill at making catches in traffic. Of Watkins’ 8 TDs last year, all but one came inside the red zone.
Durability is a factor with both players, of course. Watkins has been plagued by injuries. If they both stay healthy, I would think they’ll catch a similar number of balls and touchdowns. With more chunk plays, Hill likely will finish with more yards.