During Packers’ training camp, Rodgers said that his most targeted receiver last season, Davante Adams, isn’t just the top receiver for the Packers, but a top 3 receiver in the NFL. Adams made an incredible jump last season with the departure of Jordy Nelson and showed that he can carry a team. He proved to be a reliable target for Rodgers who threw to him 169 times, but has he done enough to cement himself as a top receiver in the league? To answer that question, let’s look at how his numbers compare to other top receivers in the league: Antonio Brown, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and DeAndre Hopkins.
Before we look at his stats over the years, we need to look at his physical attributes. I know that does not always translate to becoming a star receiver, (Kevin White, David Terrell, Justin Blackmon) but they absolutely play a part.
One attribute that Adams has never been known for is speed. He is never the fastest receiver on the field. Looking at his 40 yard dash time and comparing them to other star receivers in the NFL, he surprisingly holds his own. Adams ran a 4.56 which happens to be the exact time as Antonio Brown. He also has faster times than DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas who both ran a 4.57. Only two of the top receivers, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham had faster times with 4.39 and 4.43 respectively.
Looking at their body frame, Adams fall right in the middle of the six we are comparing right now. Julio Jones and Michael Thomas are the tallest of the group coming in at 6’3” while Antonio Brown is the shortest measuring 5’10”. Davante Adams measures 6’1” and weighs in at 212 pounds. Adams’ height and build gives him a big target for Aaron Rodgers and allows him to get past pressing corners as well as catch jump balls.
The last thing I want to look at before we look at the numbers is Adams’ footwork. Davante Adams has arguably the best footwork for a receiver in the NFL. He might now be the fastest receiver, but combine his footwork with his release off the line of scrimmage, and you have a dangerous receiver. Playerprofile.com puts Davante Adams burst off the line in the 85th percentile only trailing Julio Jones ranked in the 95th percentile. Adams had an average of three yards of separation on his defender which tied for first among this group with Odell Beckham. Adams’ release off the line of scrimmage allows him to beat any corner in the league.
I can go on about Adams’ footwork, but you can see for yourself in the clip below just how devastating his footwork is to any defender. In an interview with Charles Woodson, Adams talked about how his unconventional “hopstep” that he learned in basketball helps him get past corners. Keep your eyes out while watching the video.
I can bring up footwork, body measurements, and 40-yard dashes all I want, but the true makings of a superstar receiver is in production. Here are the yards and touchdowns of the six receivers in random order. A: 1,677 yards and 8 touchdowns, B: 1,405 yards and 9 touchdowns, C: 1,052 yards and 6 touchdowns, D: 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns, E: 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns, F: 1,297 yard and 15 touchdowns. As you look at the list of receivers, one thing for sure is that any team would be drooling at the mouth for a chance to have any of these players on their team. Any time a list is made of top position players it always depends on what the list maker finds most valuable. I could look at this list and say that receiver A is the best because he has the most yards or receivers F is the best because he has the most touchdowns, but when you are truly a top receiver you need to combine yard with touchdowns. Looking at those receivers, who do you have at number 1?
Davante Adams is receiver D on that list. He hauled in the 4th most yards and 2nd most touchdowns out of any receiver last season. If we look at receiver A, Julio Jones, he led the league in receiving yards but only had 8 touchdowns. At the end of the day, receiving yards are extremely valuable, but touchdowns win games. Looking at the past 3 seasons, Davante Adams has hauled in 35 touchdowns. He is second on that list only behind Antonio Brown with 36 touchdowns.
Adams was targeted 169 times last season. He was the clear number one without a real supporting wide receiver. Out of 169 targets, only 127 were considered catchable by playerprofile.com. Adams caught 111 out of those 127 catchable targets. That gives him a catch percentage of 87.4% which would have led the NFL. Adams’ true catch rating was 65.7% which ranked fourth in this group of receivers.
The biggest argument against Davante Adams is that he has a future Hall of Fame quarterback throwing him the ball, so of course he should be putting up these numbers. That argument is fair considering Greg Jennings went from a Pro-Bowl wide receiver on the Packers to a guest on talk shows brought on to make headlines about his former quarterback after he left the team. Let’s look at the 2017-2018 season. During this time Adams played nine games with Brett Hundley where he brought in 543 yards and 5 touchdowns. Expanding that over 16 games would’ve given him 965 yards and 9 touchdowns. Are those top 3 receiver numbers? No. However, Brett Hundley is the worst quarterback any of those six receivers have had to play with. Does Rodgers make Adams better? Absolutely, but you can say the same for Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, Big Ben and Antonio Brown, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, and Drew Brees and Michael Thomas.
You cannot take credit away from Adams for having a HoF quarterback. Simply look at the numbers and watch the tape to see that Adams belongs at the top of the NFL receivers list. Every list is different depending on the person, but I believe Adams has done enough to put himself in the top 3. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me because Xavier Rhodes, NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings’ cornerback, does and considers Adams one of the hardest receivers to cover along with Julio Jones and Antonio Brown.