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Set higher expectations for Redskins second-year receiver Terry McLaurin

Terry McLaurin set a high bar for himself entering his second NFL season. The 2019 third-round pick more than exceeded expectations in his rookie campaign, quickly developing into the Washington Redskins’ primary receiver and finishing the season ranked first among rookies at his position in PFF receiving grade (86.5) with 58 receptions, 919 yards, 36 first downs and seven touchdowns across 91 targets and 449 routes run.

And still, the bar might not be high enough.

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Among the 93 NFL receivers with at least 300 routes run in 2019, McLaurin ranked seventh in PFF receiving grade (86.5), 14th in yards per route run (2.05) and 10th in passer rating when targeted (118.3). He also finished above the 80th percentile in all but yards after the catch per reception among PFF’s stable metrics for the wide receiver position (e.g. receiving grade, separation percentage, yards per route run, etc.).

McLaurin’s yard per route run (YPRR) average in 2019 is one of the best ever recorded by a rookie wideout in the PFF era (2006-19). Only 11 other rookie receivers have recorded a higher YPRR average across 300-plus routes than McLaurin (2.05) in the 14-year span. And that figure gets only more impressive when considering his 20.3% target rate.

The correlation between single-season target rate (targets/route run) and YPRR for rookie wide receivers with 300-plus routes run since 2006 is .719 (R^2 = .517).

Tennessee Titans rookie AJ Brown outperformed McLaurin from a YPRR perspective due in large part to his after-the-catch ability, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Mecole Hardman thrived despite his low target rate (12.6%) by virtue of the big play. McLaurin won with profound ability and consistency before the catch across an expansive route tree regardless of coverage concept and matchup.

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