Metric ranks Stefon Diggs as third best pass-catcher in NFL

May 18, 2020 - 7:46 pm
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When the Buffalo Bills traded a haul of draft picks, including a 2020 first round selection for Stefon Diggs back in March, they immediately upgraded the offense with one of the best wide receivers in the game.

Over the last four seasons, Diggs has the eleventh most receptions in the NFL (313), fourteenth most yards (3,903), and tenth most receiving touchdowns (26).  He’s also regarded as one of the best route runners in the league.

Now, another metric places him as the third best overall pass-catcher in the league in 2019.  Nick Shook of NFL.com used Next Gen Stats to come up with “The 10 Best Pass Catchers of 2019,” ranking them based on how well they caught passes they shouldn’t have been expected to, based on a number of factors, including QB pressure, separation from the defender, distance of the throw, double-team percentage, and many more. 

Diggs wound up No. 3 overall on the last, behind only the Saints’ Michael Thomas and the Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett.  

Here’s what Shook wrote about Diggs:

We've entered the home-run hitters portion of this list. In what turned out to be his final season with the Minnesota Vikings, Diggs caught just 63 passes but outgained Lockett in receiving yards, riding a yards-per-reception rate of 17.9 to 1,130 total yards (compared to Lockett's 1,057). His catch percentage wasn't nearly as high as Thomas' or Lockett's, but he made the most of his opportunities, posting a +10.7 percent catch-rate difference -- and he did so by winning press challenges. Diggs was pressed on 42 percent of routes run, enjoying just 2.5 yards of separation on average, yet his targets came with an air-yards average of 14.9. Most of his success was earned in single coverage, a testament to Adam Thielen's presence (despite Thielen's injuries) and a multi-level Vikings offense that didn't focus too heavily on Diggs.

Originally a fifth round pick out of Maryland in 2015, Diggs has played five years for the Vikings, tallying 365 catches for 4,623 yards and 30 touchdowns. Diggs caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards last season, averaging 17.9 yards a reception, fourth-most in the NFL.


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