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How important is a #1 Target in today's NFL?

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Oct 2nd
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JayNM

In the Starting Line-Up
Hello there,

Now, before the pitchforks, my apologies: I know there is a Kendrick Bourne thread, but this is an entirely different subject. I know we can figure out amongst ourselves where we are battling.

I created this thread because I wanted to hear your football opinions on this very question:
How important is a #1 Target in today's NFL?

I know this has been talked about in pieces many times, but I just find myself at an Impasse.

For years, my beliefs is that air production can be easily replicated. For example 4000 yards being distributed between 7 good people is the same as having 2 great and 5 snubs, or whatever combination you can think of. I believed that for awhile, even defending with what I find and thought.

But as we are getting more and more Air production, on average, AND the natural distribution on offenses are, generally, way more inclined to passing...well... Receivers are quickly becoming the 2nd highest earners, after QBS, in the NFL. This is not a coincidence (Raise your hand if you predicted it. You know who you are, u geniuses).

So, enough beating around the bushes... How GOOD our WRs have to be to replace an #1 stud (à la Gronk or whatever)? I think our team is developing, so Im not talking about predictions of good we can become per se, this is general discussion, ok? Is a #1 target becoming less overrated and more essential?
 
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JayNM

In the Starting Line-Up
PS - if moderation feels this too similar to KB thread, move away, i wanted insights without getting lost in all the hubris a 20 thread page has
 

TheRazorsEdge

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
A #1 is critical In my opinion. There aren't many QBs who can operate without a true #1, because there will be games when the chips are down and you need studs to make plays.

Just take a look at last year's playoffs:

Rams = Kupp
Bengals = Chase
Packers = Adams
49ers = Deebo
Bills = Diggs

At different points of the playoffs, when their respective teams couldn't do much - these guys put their teams on their backs and made play after play, in critical moments.

Sure on an excel spreadsheet you can play around with numbers and show : "hey if your wrs are x,y,z you could get the same production over the course of 17 games than if you had just wr1!" That excel spread sheet will not capture when it's 3rd and long with the season in the balance - when you need a big boy play...the fact that the "alpha" wr gives you a distinct advantage.

I used to subscribe to the "power in numbers" when it came to receiving targets , mainly because I was exposed to Brady's early years (best wr is the open one). However ask yourself.....how successful is Brady without Gronk or Edelman his later years? Without his go to...gotta have it guy?

Good post.
 

farn

Pro Bowl Player
You can win w/o a top flight WR, but other major pieces must be in place. A stifling D, an excellent running attack + depth at WR can lead to winning. In the modern NFL, if your 3rd receiver in VG, he might be in for a good game, seeing as how defensive backs are hampered and good ones are hard to come by.
 

pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
It depends entirely on the team you are playing. Flip the question, how important is a lock down corner? It's why everyone screams match ups match ups match ups. If the defense you are playing has no number 1 corner but pretty good 2-5 corners you go to your stud #1 WR. If they have a lock down duo but thier Nickle guy is garbage cuz you can't pay everyone you hit your slot guy for 19 receptions (freaking second Buffalo game last year). In a vacuum how you attack is irrelevant its all about finding that spot where you have a 5% advantage cuz in the NFL even the bench players are really really good and the difference in skill is razor thin.
 

TheRazorsEdge

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
That's five out of 14, the definition of cherry picking.
Something specific about the the five I mentioned and "big plays" + "carrying teams on their backs" in comparison to the rest of the field though.

I'll let you do the research. Good morning!
 

Rob0729

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
It depends on the team and the situation. But it can help.

I was just watching the highlights of the Dolphins game. Both of Tua's TD passes to Hill were the high arching slow deep passes that people complain about with Mac Jones. In fact, in passes, Hill had to slow down to catch the passes because they were both underthrown (not a lot on the second one, but a decent amount on the first). The difference is that Hill was so far ahead of the defenders that he could afford to slow up.



But there are still QBs who can play like an elite QB with lesser WRs like Mahomes. But those guys are becoming rarer and rarer.

I don't things have changed much in terms of the value of an elite quality WR. I just think there are more of them now than in the past.
 

Froob

Independent Investigator & pliable af
PatsFans.com Supporter
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Important, it makes life significantly easier to have a star WR. Especially if you can get a great WR on a rookie contract. I'd have T and WR as two of our biggest needs in the draft barring Thornton being a stud.
 

Stu Pidassle

Practice Squad Player
It is important to have a WR that influences the defensive game plan to create mismatches that can be exploited by the offense. Without that the D can play 11 v 11 and force the offense to beat them.
 

Family

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
So, enough beating around the bushes... How GOOD our WRs have to be to replace an #1 stud (à la Gronk or whatever)? I think our team is developing, so Im not talking about predictions of good we can become per se, this is general discussion, ok? Is a #1 target becoming less overrated and more essential?

If your QB is Mahomes or prime-time Tom Brady, you can win without a stud #1, but present day Mac Jones needs someone who can consistently get open.

The Pats can still be a playoff team without, but to really compete, he needs a security blanket better than Meyers or Hunter Henry (no knock to either).
 

Wozzy

In the Starting Line-Up
What is a #1 WR?

Popularity lists are silly.

The Raiders are 0-2… I thought “weapons” were going to make everything great for them?
 

JayNM

In the Starting Line-Up
You can win w/o a top flight WR, but other major pieces must be in place. A stifling D, an excellent running attack + depth at WR can lead to winning. In the modern NFL, if your 3rd receiver in VG, he might be in for a good game, seeing as how defensive backs are hampered and good ones are hard to come by.
Then let me reconstruct my phrasing, because you are right, but i feel like this is avoiding the question, which is not something you have done alone, imo (Its more on me, it was a very broad question)

Isnt it cost-effective, more now than ever, to have a stud receiver, than another option (or combination of)?

You see, maybe paying 30M for a QB plus another 20M might be ""better"" than paying 40m on a defense you aren't sure it can defend big hitters. If you have a rookie QB (e.g. the Patriots), maybe IT IS worth it having a 30M wr for said QBs rookie contract - if an option appears in the market of course.

Just food for thought, of course Im not saying that HAVING #1 target is MANDATORY, just to be clear
 

JayNM

In the Starting Line-Up
What is a #1 WR?

Popularity lists are silly.

The Raiders are 0-2… I thought “weapons” were going to make everything great for them?
I think Razor Edge definetily put in better words that I could

"At different points of the playoffs, when their respective teams couldn't do much - these guys put their teams on their backs and made play after play, in critical moments."

OTOH, Im thinking Tua is going to have a CAREER year bc he has the weapons that he has
 

JayNM

In the Starting Line-Up
It depends on the team and the situation. But it can help.

I was just watching the highlights of the Dolphins game. Both of Tua's TD passes to Hill were the high arching slow deep passes that people complain about with Mac Jones. In fact, in passes, Hill had to slow down to catch the passes because they were both underthrown (not a lot on the second one, but a decent amount on the first). The difference is that Hill was so far ahead of the defenders that he could afford to slow up.



But there are still QBs who can play like an elite QB with lesser WRs like Mahomes. But those guys are becoming rarer and rarer.

I don't things have changed much in terms of the value of an elite quality WR. I just think there are more of them now than in the past.
I know for sure I will have trouble defining "Elite QBs" once TB retires lol

I see these young-cannon guys and think "How much coaching does it make a difference"? Like, What would BB do with Herbert or even Lamar to make it more realistical? Im not knocking on Mac in any way, but there is an athletiscim difference. We don't know if his mental accumen can compensate for it, yet, obviously

But yeah, Im gonna be watching the dolphins closely this season: I think their approach for this year could be a serious case-study in a way
 

signbabybrady

Pro Bowl Player
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
I know for sure I will have trouble defining "Elite QBs" once TB retires lol

I see these young-cannon guys and think "How much coaching does it make a difference"? Like, What would BB do with Herbert or even Lamar to make it more realistical? Im not knocking on Mac in any way, but there is an athletiscim difference. We don't know if his mental accumen can compensate for it, yet, obviously

But yeah, Im gonna be watching the dolphins closely this season: I think their approach for this year could be a serious case-study in a way
Make sure you pay attention to the teams who lost those stud receivers too
 

Wozzy

In the Starting Line-Up
I think Razor Edge definetily put in better words that I could

"At different points of the playoffs, when their respective teams couldn't do much - these guys put their teams on their backs and made play after play, in critical moments."

OTOH, Im thinking Tua is going to have a CAREER year bc he has the weapons that he has
Against the Pats the Dolphins passed for 240 yards and only scored a TD on a fluke broken coverage.

Last year the Ravens ranked 32nd in passing yards allowed, remind me again how many teams are in the NFL?
 

Wozzy

In the Starting Line-Up
Make sure you pay attention to the teams who lost those stud receivers too
Good point. The Chiefs through two games have scored the 4th most points in the NFL. Who is their “#1 WR?” Juju? The guy is a glorified slot receiver at best, he ran a 4.5 forty coming out of college.

The Raiders are 0-2 right now… does anyone have better receiving weapons than the Raiders?

It’s a team game. For every #1 WR there’s a #1 CB who can contain them. Football is about matchups, it’s about being better from 1-53 than having the singular best weapon.

Agholor moss’d a guy yesterday… and we’re told how much he sucks on the regular.
 

Chevy

Huh?
PatsFans.com Supporter
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
The Next-Man-Up approach has been BB's cornerstone for his entire tenure here. IT works - pay a little less for Tier I, and apply those savings to the Tier II guys. Make it less of a drop-off of talent when they have to step in. Production in the aggregate is there - and that's what matters.

When you have three or four receivers that compliment each other, but none is that prototypical #1, then your QB's favorite target becomes the best one - the guy that is open.

2001/03/05 ... No superstar #1 receivers. TB's favorite receiver? "The one that's open".
 

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