NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Patriots fans were disappointed with the debut performances of Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. Their drops and inconsistencies were evident, however Patriots supporters should be much more optimistic about their future when taken into more context. What can the Patriots expect from these players entering their second full season in the NFL? Let’s take a look.
Wide Receiver is notoriously one of the most difficult positions to step into as a rookie and make an immediate impact. The position is so much more complex in the NFL than it is in college, that the majority of the season is spent learning new route concepts, making adjustments, and reading coverages. Even the most talented receivers start off slow as they become adjusted to the pro game. It’s not until their second full season in the NFL that things begin to “click” and their impact on their field becomes more consistent.
The phrase “Second year jump” is thrown around by coaches and media members often. When it comes to the Wide Receiver position the perceived “second year jump” is very real and the data in this chart backs it up.
In an effort to project the contributions of Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins in year two, I analyzed the performance of 29 top Wide Receivers and compared their rookie season to that of their second full season in the NFL.
Based on this chart:
- Top Tier Wide Receivers on average 86.38% increase in their receptions from year one to year two
- Top tier Wide Receivers on average 87.83% increase in their yard totals from year one to year two
- It takes some WR more than two seasons to become impact players (Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson)
- Even if the jump in numbers aren’t dramatic a slight increase should be perceived as a positive result
- There is no linear curve to project the future impact of a player in the NFL, these numbers are meant to show the leap the majority of top tier receivers make in their second full season and aren’t necessarily a predictor of future success.
- Aaron Dobson’s rookie season was slightly better than the average and the median (only 12 games).
- Kenbrell Thompkins’ numbers are eerily similar to the median for a rookie WR in both receptions and yards.
It’s unreasonable to assume that both Thompkins and Dobson can make the significant leap to reach the second year averages. After all, Dobson is coming off a foot injury and both players will be competing for targets not only with each other, but other talented weapons on the Patriots offense. The Patriots don’t need both players to become 1,000 yard receivers.
Based on this data I think it is reasonable to expect one of these players will take the next step forward in their development and reach the 2nd year median numbers of 62 receptions and 979 yards. If that happens the Patriots offense will be much more dynamic on the outside than people expect and the perception that they don’t have any wide receivers will quickly fade away.
Tags: Aaron Dobson