Jordy Nelson didn’t get to touch the ball as often in 2014 as we would have like to, but, when he did get his hands on the ball, he made it count. His break-neck speed was frequently underestimated by opposing defensive backs.
Randall Cobb is a different animal altogether. His elusive craftiness, and relatively small size, allows him to dodge in and out of traffic, always staying just out of reach until he can find the open field and turn on the jets.
Both rank in the top 20 of receivers in YAC. But, there’s another Packer player that joined them in the top 20 and his name might surprise you…
Cobb had some outstanding percentages in 2014. He ranked 4th in the league in first downs per reception (78%) and 2nd in the league in 1st downs per target (55.9%).
Let that sink in for a bit…
Eight out of every ten passes that Cobb caught was for a first down and half of all the passes thrown his way resulted in first downs.
Cobb also ranked sixth in the league in Yards After Catch with his dodge and weave tactics.
Nelson was in the top three in touchdowns in 2014. He was top four in receiving yards and top five in yards per game. But, Jordy was at number seven in receptions (a full 30 receptions fewer than the league leader).
He turned those fewer receptions into more touchdowns by generating tons of yards after catching the ball. He ranked 9th in the league in that category.
But there’s another Packer who chewed up a ton of ground after getting his paws on the rock. That player…
At #20 on the list of top 20 receivers in YAC is, none other than, Eddie Lacy.
Really, this doesn’t come as a big surprise. When the Packers had difficulty handing off the ball and blowing a hole for the running back, we would frequently be shouting for a short pass out of the backfield. Once a running back gets the ball in his hands, he turns back into a running back and (unfortunately for the defense) is into the second level where the bodies are much smaller.
Combine that with Eddie Lacy’s ability to truck right over people and you have the makings of a running back that resides on the top 20 list for Yards After Catch.
As McCarthy continues to use Lacy in passing plays in an effort to minimize the beatings that can wear a running back down in just a few short years, we can expect to see Lacy on this list year after year.