Darrius Heyward-Bey Made His Catches Count

It's true Darrius Heyward-Bey did not amass many receiving yards in college, and it's true his star has risen atop the odious plume of a superlative Combine performance, but then Eddie Royal did almost the exact same thing last season. Royal made his college receptions count. So did Heyward-Bey. Royal consistently faced top defenses. Ten of the 25 opponents Hayward-Bey faced were ranked in the top 30 in defensive FEI.

Targets: 49

Catches: 37

Yards per Target: 11.16

Over those ten games Bey was targeted on 16.7% of his quarterback pass attempts. Maclin was targeted on 21.9% of his quarterback pass attempts over his seven games. So, Maclin may be the better possession receiver. Heyward-Bey, by contrast, rakes fewer possessions and makes noise. He had eight receptions of 20 or more yards, five of 30 or more yards, and four touchdown receptions. Clemson managed to shut him down in back-to-back seasons, allowing just two targets and two incompletes. Maybe that would be an instructive tape to watch. Nevertheless, projecting future performance is about innate talent and previous production. Hayward-Bey didn't have the quarterbacks or offense to contend with Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin or Juaquin Iglesias, but what he had he worked with, and his production per target is exceptional.

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