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New at FO: The Receiver Template

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

This week's Varsity Numbers is entitled "The Receiver Template."

I thought it would be a good time to tackle something I intended to do in the offseason: receiver profiling. Marty Couvillan of opened up his database last year and shares updated 2013 data on a weekly basis; part of that data is general height/weight/position/experience data that I've been meaning to play with for quite a while. So let's do that. [...]

Smaller receivers are often used in slotback roles or, in the case of somebody like Ace Sanders, frequently lined up wide and fed short passes. The result is that, on average, these receivers have a higher catch rate but lower yards per catch. A lot of them are used as extensions of the running game.

Meanwhile, taller receivers are more likely of the "get downfield and post up" variety; quarterbacks send them lower-percentage passes with higher potential. In terms of 2013 draftees, a good example of this type of player might be Tennessee's Justin Hunter; he's only 6-foot-4, so he technically falls into the middle range, but he caught just 55 percent of his passes in 2012 but averaged 14.8 yards per catch.

Most receivers, however, are in the middle range. This is an enormous range, encompassing 85 percent of all receivers, but it was difficult to distinguish between them. Receivers who stand 5-foot-10 averaged a 63 percent catch rate and 12.3 yards per catch, 6-foot-1 receivers averaged 62 percent and 12.6, and 6-foot-3 receivers averaged 61 percent and 11.8. They all fall pretty close to this "62 percent and 12.6 per catch" range.