It feels hard to even recall the times that Jaron Brown’s name has been called this season other than when he’s scoring a touchdown, and that’s probably because he sore rarely is making any type of play when he’s not. Brown scored for the fourth and fifth time this season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers despite only receiving 16 targets thus far in 2018.
He also had a 45-yard grab against the Niners.
Consider that the only other player in the NFL this year to have at least five touchdowns with fewer than 20 catches is Cincinnati Bengals wideout John Ross, who has five touchdowns on 16 catches but also on 39 targets. That’s well more than double the number of targets to Ross, the ninth overall pick in 2017 and so far another “whoopsie” for the Bengals. It’s not good for Cincy that Brown can produce at such a better level considering that he was signed by the Seahawks this past offseason for two years and $5.5 million, money decently well spent by Seattle.
Brown may not have a high volume of targets or receptions, but he’s averaging 9.38 yards per target, 13.6 yards per catch, and one touchdown for every three times Russell Wilson throws his way. That’s resulted in an unbelievable DVOA of 66.1%, the highest for any player with less than 50 targets; consider that Tyler Lockett leads the NFL’s qualified players in that category at 54.3%, almost 22 percentage points higher than second-place Michael Thomas.
He doesn’t get a lot of targets, but Brown has played in 264 snaps on offense, good for 33% of Seattle’s plays. He’s also gotten in on 109 special teams snaps, which accounts for 32.3% of those plays. The only players on the team with at least 200 snaps on offense or defense and 100 snaps on special teams are Brown, Barkevious Mingo, Justin Coleman, Tedric Thompson, and Austin Calitro.
At a cap hit of just $1.775 million, Brown’s been a good bargain for the Seahawks in year one. He’s got a hit of $3.725 million in 2019, which is certainly a more considerable figure, but if he keeps producing when opportunities are given then Seattle will likely want to keep him in the competition for next season. The franchise, or for the most part the NFL, hasn’t seen a receiver produce touchdowns at this rate-per-target since former Seahawks wide receiver Daryl Turner.
The last wideout to score at least five times on 20 or fewer catches was Marc Boerigter with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2002. Then Michael Irvin had 20 caches and five touchdowns in 12 games in 1990. And Curtis Duncan had five touchdowns on 13 receptions as a rookie in 1987. But the king of this category is Daryl Turner, a second round pick by Seattle in 1984.
Turner had 10 touchdowns on 35 receptions in ‘84 and 13 scores on 34 receptions in ‘85. He then shows up on this list twice, scoring seven times on 18 catches in 1986 and six times on 14 catches in 1987. All told, Turner had 36 touchdowns on only 101 catches and over 59 games, including 40 starts. Unbelievable, really.
And that was the end for Turner’s boom-or-bust career.
Brown seemingly isn’t going anywhere and he’s had much more reliable hands than Turner, it’s just a matter of seeing if he’s got any more potential for volume beyond this. Not that Seattle or Russell Wilson needs it right now given the presence and production of Lockett, Doug Baldwin, and David Moore, who also has five touchdowns.