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The quietly historic season by Tyler Lockett

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Lockett officially held bragging rights over his dad Kevin Lockett by the end of last season. Through three years in the NFL, Lockett had recorded nine touchdowns, one more than the career total of the elder Lockett, a former second round pick who played with the Chiefs, Washington, Jaguars, and Jets from 1997-2003. While it was apparent from the start that Tyler was going to be better than Kevin, totaling 1,819 yards in three years compared to 1,738 by his dad in seven, there was also a significant disconnect between the potential and the results.

The 2018 season has bridged the gap between those two things.

Through 10 games, Lockett has 554 yards, which is one less than what he had in 16 games last season, and he is only 110 yards shy of the career-high he set as a rookie in 2015. Now, at 55.4 yards per game Lockett is not even all that close to being on pace for 1,000 yards, the arbitrary benchmark of greatness as ruled by round numbers, his efficiency is off the charts.

Because those 554 yards and seven touchdowns — nearly as many as his father’s career total in just these 10 games alone — have come on only 49 targets. That’s 11.3 yards per target and one touchdown every seven targets. This was posted by Alistair on the day before the game:

On Thursday, Lockett did not catch a touchdown, but he did catch five of five targets for 71 yards. That’s 14.2 yards per catch and per target. In fact, over the last two games, Lockett has caught 10 of 11 targets, and over the last five games he’s caught 18 of 21. Overall, Lockett has caught 38 of 49 throws his way, which accounts for a catch rate of 77.3%. If not for Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints, that would put Lockett alone on a race to a new NFL record for catch rate by a receiver, but that doesn’t mean his efficiency is any less impressive than it would have been otherwise.

Though of course, we can’t put him on the same level as Thomas.

Lockett is still on pace for 78 targets, which is how many catches Thomas has right now. On 87 targets. Michael Thomas and Drew Brees are having a season that doesn’t even make sense. His 89.7% catch rate is going to break the NFL record by a Mississippi river for receivers and he could break it for all players, including dumpoffs to running backs. Any team would want a player like Thomas, who you can work into the game plan for 10 targets per game, double that of Lockett, but I can’t fault Lockett for taking care of business on each throw that does come his way.

Nor should we ignore that per ProFootballFocus, Lockett is leading the NFL in deep ball touchdowns, with six.

Overall, Lockett is on pace for 68 catches, 886 yards, and 11 touchdowns. The touchdowns are impressive, though the catches and yards would not be on a “traditional” level or on a volume level, but that’s now what Lockett’s being asked to do right now. If he were to have left, like Golden Tate did, I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see Lockett become a 1,200-yard type of receiver. The Seahawks took care of that issue in August though, signing him to a three-year, $31.8 million extension, and giving Seattle a 1-2 pair with Doug Baldwin that makes things feel easy for Russell Wilson when they have games like they did on Thursday.

He also does this while contributing, albeit quietly, on kickoff and punt returns, and carrying the ball seven times for 50 yards. At one point on Thursday it even looked like he was going to pass it or toss it back to Wilson, though that play was snuffed out before it could begin. In those facets of the game, Lockett’s value seems pretty limited this season. As a receiver, it’s hard to find many players who are more dangerous when the ball is headed their way.

It’s the type of year that any fan, or dad, should be extremely proud of.