Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin wants to be NFL’s most efficient receiver
The title of the NFL’s best wide receiver is usually reserved for one who consistently finishes at or near the top in the major statistical categories: catches, yards and touchdowns. As productive as Doug Baldwin was during his career year in 2015, the numbers it takes to do so are hard to come by in a run-first offense like that of the Seahawks.
So Baldwin has his sights set on another title.
“I think I can be the most efficient receiver in the league – hands down, without any question,” Baldwin told “Brock and Salk” on Tuesday. “The ball’s thrown my way, I’ll catch it, and when it’s on third down, I’m going to convert it.”
Baldwin was, by some metrics, one of the most efficient receivers in the league last year while catching 78 passes (24th in the NFL) for 1,069 yards (21st) and 14 touchdowns (tied for first).
The most basic of those metrics is catch rate, which is the percentage of a player’s targets that he hauled in. Baldwin’s catch rate of 75.7 percent was best among receivers last season, according to STATS. The accuracy of those passes plays into that stat along with the receiver’s ability to catch them, of course. Baldwin caught just about everything that was considered catchable as he was credited with only two drops last season, according to STATS.
As Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com has noted, Football Outsiders rated Baldwin’s 2015 season favorably in two of the more advanced metrics that measure a receiver’s efficiency.
One of them is Receiving Plus-Minus, which “examines how many catches a receiver caught compared to what an average receiver would have caught, given the location of those targets.” Baldwin ranked third there. Another is YAC+, which estimates how many yards after the catch a receiver gained “compared to what we would have expected from an average receiver catching passes of similar length in similar down-and-distance situations.” Baldwin was tied for ninth in that metric.
As for his production on third down, Baldwin had 16 catches that converted first downs last season. That was tied for 16th among wide receivers, according to STATS.
“I’m not the prototypical receiver. I had to get over that,” Baldwin said. “I’m never going to be 6-3, 6-4, 6-5. I’m not going to run a 4.1 40. But what I can do is get open on time, catch the ball when it’s thrown to me and convert on third down. In that regard, I have to prove to myself that I can be the most efficient receiver in the league.”