Inside the Numbers: Corey Davis' Understated Excellence in 2020

Jets' New Wideout Reached Some Levels No Jets WR Has Reached in Previous 23 Years


Similar, perhaps, to DL Carl Lawson, whose numbers we broke down last week, WR Corey Davis comes to the Jets off of a very good but not seemingly great 2020 season.

Davis' receiving line with the Titans : 92 targets, 65 receptions, 984 yards, 5 touchdowns. That's very good, but not 100 catches/1,500 yards/10 TDs good.

Yet he told Jets reporters this week about being a No. 1 wideout: "Just my ability to get open, my speed, separation — I feel like I can do it all."

A couple of metrics from Davis' career-best fourth NFL season last year suggest that may well be true.

Let's take a look at his "reception accuracy," the rate at which he caught balls targeted for him. His 65 catches on 92 targets gave him a 70.7% reception rate on passes thrown his way, virtually all of them from Ryan Tannehill.

When is the last time a Jets wideout caught even 67% of the passes thrown to him in a season? The answer is that since 1998, of the 50 times WRs were targeted 80-plus times, never. Here are the Jets' top three in receiver accuracy in the past 23 seasons:

Table inside Article
Jets WRYearTgtsRecsRec%
Eric Decker20141127466.1
Laveranues Coles20021479766.0
Jamison Crowder2020905965.6

Now let's consider that last year, none of the balls targeted for Davis was intercepted. With all that information, we can determine his "receiver rating," which is calculated the same as the NFL's passer rating. Davis' rating last year was a robust 123.6.

The last time a Jets WR with 80-plus targets had even a 110.0 receiver rating since 1998? Again, never. Again, the top three:

Table inside Article
Jets WRYearRecsYdsTD-IntRating
Eric Decker201580102712-2109.8
Wayne Chrebet2002547429-2109.3
Santana Moss200374110510-5107.5

Intriguing. But can Davis, teamed up with, say, Crowder, Denzel Mims and Keelan Cole, elevate Sam Darnold's game, assuming that Darnold remains with the Jets? There's no way to know yet, but it is at least interesting to consider that unquestionably the best two seasons of Tannehill's eight NFL seasons were his last two, when he left Miami for Nashville and teamed up with Davis and A.J. Brown as his WRs.

In these last two seasons, Tannehill had career highs in accuracy (70.3% in '19), TD passes (33 in '20), rating (117.5 in '19, 106.5 in '20) and sack rate (4.8% in '20).

To sum up what Davis envisions for the Jets QB position in the season ahead: "I've seen Sam do great things. I have every belief in him. And whatever direction they decide to go, it's on me to make sure that I'm ready and control what I can control. So come in and get ready to catch from whoever."

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