Hey y'all, I wanted to come by here and post a study I did on the two top TEs in this draft. Since I know everyone and their mother has a tendency to mock TEs to you, I thought you might get some good info out of this. I'm actually a Dolphins fan (posted these type of things exclusively on Dolphins forums last year), but I've posted some of my breakdowns on the SBNation sites they're relevant to (QBs on Chief's blog, etc). I hope y'all enjoy and it gives you a better perspective on some draft choices.
For this study, I only dealt with receptions and passes, no blocking. As was true with the wide receivers, I charted a variety of factors including yards after the catch and where they were lined up. For this study, I have added yards after first contact to get a feel for the strength of these TEs. I try to keep these posts down to 1000 words or people start to tune out, so you can see some extra charts/ summary on the site I put all my data on:
Where Did They Catch the Ball?
This is only where they caught the ball, excluding YAC. Last year I worked up some of Coby Fleener’s stats, so I’ll be comparing them.
- Despite Ertz and Fleener playing in the same offense, we actually see different distributions of completions. Ertz's are weighted more heavily towards shorter passes, with 68% of his passes coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
- Eifert's distribution resembles Fleener's much more closely. They both have a large amount of receptions within the 1-5 yard range then a large amount of receptions within the 11-20 range. I believe this shows an aptitude for catch both dump off passes and big gaining intermediate receptions.
- Neither is the deep threat that Fleener was. Almost 17% of Fleener's receptions were past 20 yards. Eifert had nearly half of that and Ertz only reached 12%.
Where Did Their Yardage Come From?
- Eifert in general caught the ball slightly further down the field, 10.4 yards to 9.64 yards for Ertz.
- Both Ertz and Eifert had similar total yards after the catch (before contact + after first contact) at 3.94 yards and 3.6 respectively. They came in different manners though.
- The majority of Ertz' yards after the catch came before contact, with only 1.24 yards after first contact on average. Eifert's was much more divided with 1.96 yards coming after contact.
- Now this doesn't seem like a big difference, but I believe this is a larger indicator for projection into the NFL. We see Eifert with more effort and strength after the catch compared to Ertz. The players won't get smaller in the NFL, so the stronger the better.
How Do They Compare in Other Aspects?
- We have to examine drops. This is probably the most glaring difference. Ertz had almost double the drops of Eifert at a drop rate of 10.68% to only 5.26% for Eifert. That drop rate would give him the second best hands out of this wide receiver class behind only Keenan Allen. Impressive for a TE, especially if a TE is going to make his bones pulling down tough catches in the red zone.
- Both of their catches came from very similar pre-snap alignments. Neither one has more experience or an advantage in a particular alignment. Anyone who tells you one has more experience from the outside or slot is misinformed.
- Both of them converted a similar amount of third downs. From my sample, 64% of both of their passes were caught for 1st downs. I also calculated whether they picked up their first downs through the air or after the catch and the numbers were nearly identical. No distinguishing factors.
Hope y'all enjoyed and it helped you figure out who you like a little more. I'm sure for most people it'll just reinforce what they thought already, but it can never hurt to have a little bit more data for when you watch film or discuss prospects. I'll be doing a 2nd tier with Kelce, Escobar, Reed and Otten a little bit closer to draft time, so be on the lookout for that if you're interested.
If you've found this interesting, you can follow on Twitter @NU_Gap where I'll be posting future articles on pretty much every position/ statistics as I chart them.