Jerry Jeudy vs Chase Claypool
Matt Nein / @mnein9
10 weeks into the 2020 NFL season, Chase Claypool is what everyone wanted Jerry Jeudy to be. Jerry Jeudy was a consensus top 3 rookie WR heading into the season and he isn’t quite living up to the hype he got. On the other hand, Claypool was labeled a bust by many before he even saw the field and now, he sits as the second-best rookie WR in terms of total points scored through 10 weeks. How the tables have turned…
However, they have each only played 10 total games into their very young NFL careers and both players should get better and better with each passing game.
Jerry Jeudy vs Chase Claypool
First, let’s take a look at their raw stats without any context.
Did you catch the QB rating when targeted stat? Good.
Now let’s take a look at how each WR ranks on their respective team.
Chase Claypool / Pittsburgh Steelers
- 3rd option in the pass game
- 3rd in target share, targets, and receptions
- 2nd in receiving yards
- Diontae Johnson missed, for the most part, 3 games otherwise he would more than likely be 3rd here too
- 1st in receiving TDs
- Claypool has played with 1 QB
Jerry Jeudy / Denver Broncos
- 1st option in the pass game
- 1st in targets, target share, and receiving yards
- 2nd in receptions and receiving TD
- 1 reception behind Fant and 1 receiving TD behind Patrick
- Jeudy has played with 3 different QBs
- Lock – 6 games, Driskel – 2 games, Rypien – 1 game
Based on these stats, we can determine that Chase Claypool has been the better player with much less opportunity than his counter part Jeudy.
Another thing to note is that Jeudy is only catching 75.6% of his catchable targets while Claypool is catching 81.4%. Even with the different QBs the Broncos have had this year and the struggles of Drew Lock, Jerry Jeudy has been bad himself.
Claypool’s slot snap % is 8.9% while Jeudy’s is 42.3%. Claypool is out producing Jeudy against outside corners while Jeudy is running against slot corners and linebackers. This is very impressive from Claypool.
Here in this graphic, we can see that Claypool is scoring 2.42 fantasy points per target and 0.62 points per route run while only running 224 routes. Jerry Jeudy on the other hand has run 301 routes and is scoring 1.47 points per target and 0.34 points per route run. Again, Claypool is doing a lot more with a lot less.
Ben Roethlisberger vs Drew Lock
Now let’s look at these WR numbers with context.
First let’s take a look at Ben Roethlisberger’s season through 10 weeks.
(Photo Credit: Player Profiler)
Now let’s look at Drew Lock’s season through 10 weeks.
(Photo Credit: Player Profiler)
As far as 2020 goes, Big Ben has been the better QB statistically so far. His supporting cast is better, and his defense is a lot better which has allowed him to produce better numbers. However, there is this notion that Drew Lock is an awful QB and the Broncos should look to replace him this offseason. To that I say, slow down. Let’s take a look at the underlying circumstances. From the pictures above, there are 4 different areas I want to focus on: Game Script, Supporting Cast Efficiency, Danger Plays, and Accuracy Rating.
“Positive values indicate teams are often playing with a lead. Negative values indicate teams are more often playing from behind.”
The Steelers have the 2nd best game script in the league through 10 weeks. They have had the lead in every game they have played for almost the entire game. This allows the Steelers to be a less adverse team. Big Ben has not had to play catch-up or ‘hero ball’ this year because the defense does such a great job of limiting their opponents from scoring. James Conner has been efficient on the ground this season allowing the Steelers to continue to move the chains.
The Broncos have the 29th best game script in the league through 10 weeks. Unlike the Steelers, the Broncos defense has not been able to prevent opponents from scoring resulting in the offense playing catch up the entire game. The Broncos are missing their top WR in Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant still doesn’t look right after his ankle injury, Lindsay, Patrick, and Hamler have missed multiple games due to injury, the offensive line has been one of the worst pass blocking and run blocking units in the league, and Drew Lock is playing with a bad rotator cuff and suffered a core muscle injury against the Raiders. The Broncos have not been able to run their offense because the offense right now is a revolving door due to injuries or the defense can’t make a stop.
Claypool is the beneficiary over Jeudy here because the offense doesn’t have to force-feed him the ball as to where the Broncos have to force-feed Jeudy. Defenses have to worry about several weapons on the Steelers offense, which frees up Claypool, as to where defenses can double cover Jeudy on every play because the Broncos have so few healthy offensive weapons.
Supporting Cast Efficiency
“Efficiency of surrounding skill position players measured by aggregating the weighted production premiums of all running back, wide receiver, and tight ends.”
The Steelers have the 23rd best supporting cast. Diontae Johnson has missed a decent amount of time this season and running backs not named James Conner have been awful. The Steelers offense has been, for all practical purposes, Smith-Schuster, Claypool, and Conner.
The Broncos have the 30th best supporting cast. The starting lineup was supposed to be, Sutton, Jeudy, Patrick, Hamler, Fant, Gordon, and Lindsay. The current starting lineup is Jeudy, Patrick who is playing with an injury, Fant who is playing with an injury, Hamler who is playing with a less than 100% hamstring, Gordon, and Lindsay who just returned from injury. Jeudy and Gordon are the only 2 players how have not missed multiple games due to injury.
In addition to this, the available skilled position players the Broncos have had available haven’t been good either. Of the ‘catchable’ balls Drew Lock has thrown, Jeudy is only catching 75.6%, Hamler 70%, Gordon 69%, and Lindsay 25%. Patrick and Fant are the only 2 players catching 80%+. Drew Lock has not been as good so far as I expected him to be, but these guys he has been throwing to haven’t exactly been good themselves. The entire Broncos offense has been bad.
“A play in which the QB lacked awareness or took an unnecessary risk that could have or did result in a turnover.”
Big Ben has made 10 dangerous plays while Drew Lock has made 26. Yes, he ranks top 5 in the league and he needs to make smarter choices at times but he’s also just trying to make a play for his team. This number is high because the Broncos are in a negative game script so often, he is forced to throw more which results in errant throws. The Broncos are passing 7% of the time more than the Steelers. Lock has 10INTs to Big Ben’s 4INTs.
“Grades the accuracy each of throw on a 1-10 scale. 1-3 representing the most errand throw, 4-7 representing throws in some range of catchable but sub-optimal, and 8-10 representing the most pinpoint passes allowing receivers to convert receptions and gain yards after the catch. Quarterbacks with Accuracy Ratings above 6.0 are considered highly accurate, and those below 4.0 are considered highly inaccurate.”
Big Ben has an accuracy rating of 7.3. Drew Lock has an accuracy rating of 6.7. Both of these players, according to player profiler, are considered ‘highly accurate’.
Drew Lock has had 22 dropped passes while Big Ben has had 20.
Jerry Jeudy is having an okay rookie season while Claypool is having an unexpectedly superb rookie season but both players have significant room to grow. Jeudy has been taking in all the attention from the defenses thus far this season because of the lack of playmakers around him while Claypool has been the beneficiary of having playmakers around him allowing him to be open more often.
The Broncos and Steelers are moving in two very different directions right now. Both of these offenses are playing under very different circumstances which have resulted in the significant disparity between Claypool and Jeudy.
What should we expect for the remainder of the 2020 season?
More of the same. Claypool right now is looking like a lock to finish as a top 24 WR while Jeudy should finish as a top 36 WR. Drew Lock might miss week 11 with a core injury which could potentially hurt Jeudy finishing as a top 36 WR, but with the number of targets, he is receiving he should be okay.
Moving into the offseason and the 2021 season, who would you rather have?
I would rather have Chase Claypool 10 out of 10 times. I will preface by saying though, the development of both of these young WRs depends on what their teams do at the QB position over the next 2 years. That being said, the Steelers are a very well-run franchise and I believe they will find a successor to Big Ben. I think Big Ben returns for the 2021 season with Claypool as the 1B while Diontae is the 1A. It is also very encouraging to see the Steelers so adamant about using Claypool in the run game. Claypool could easily score 3-5 rushing TDs every year to go along with double-digit scoring TDs. JuJu Smith Schuster is all but assured to move on in free agency as well.
I expect Drew Lock to improve. We saw a significant increase in Josh Allen’s play after 2 seasons when he finally got a legit WR1. As of right now, I am not convinced that Jeudy is a legit WR1. Lock was only able to play 5 games with Sutton and that was his rookie year. He has also only started in 12 career games which is not even a full NFL season and has yet to have a normal offseason to work as the QB1 with his offensive weapons. He has dealt with 2 significant injuries this year and has lost almost all of his offensive weapons to injuries. Going into 2021, the Broncos should again have a healthy offense with the return of Sutton and a fully healthy Fant. Jeudy then should have more opportunities with a more efficient offense but even with more opportunities that doesn’t mean he will succeed. After all, you still have to catch the ball.