There was a rather intense debate over at BBV about which receiver was better, Nicks or Maclin. Clearly the Giants fans chose Nicks and the Eagles fan chose Maclin, so I wanted to get in depth and see which receiver is really better. Besides, it's a shitty day outside, so there's nothing better to do. I'll try my best not to be a homer when comparing the two. And I know people have been complaining about the abundance of stupid fanposts lately, but I really think this one is worth it. Plethora of stats after the jump.
Hakeem Nicks- 6'1", 212 lbs. 40 yd dash- 4.63 10 yd split- 1.52. Vertical jump- 36 inches
Jeremy Maclin- 6'0", 198 lbs. 40 yd dash- 4.48 10 yd split- 1.54. Vertical jump- 35.5 inches
Honestly, I thought Nicks was a lot bigger than that. Granted, these numbers are from the combine (except Maclin's vertical jump because he injured his knee at the combine) so maybe he's bulked up since then. It's confusing though, because ESPN has Nicks at 6'0", NFL has him at 6'1", and Football Outsiders has him at 6'3" Maclin and Nicks are pretty similar in size, but you have to give the edge to Nicks. Speed I don't think is debatable. Maclin is clearly the faster of the two, and Maclin ran a slow 40 at the combine. Maclin has run as fast as 4.29 per NFLDraftScout, while's Nicks' fastest was in the high 4.4s. Surprisingly, Nicks was faster at the 10 yd split and the 20 yd split, but only by a slight margin. I figured Maclin would've had the faster splits out of the two. Vertical jump is pretty much indistinguisable. Size they're pretty even, vertical jump they're pretty even, splits they're pretty even. The only significant difference in physical stats is the 40 time, so I'm going to give the edge to Maclin in the physical department. However, if Nicks is actually 6'3", I'm going to call it a tie.
Hakeem Nicks- 2009 season- 14 games, 47 receptions, 790 yards, 6 TD, 16.8 YPC, 32 first downs
- 2010 season- 13 games, 79 receptions, 1052 yards, 11 TD, 13.3 YPC, 55 first downs
Jeremy Maclin- 2009 season- 15 games, 56 receptions, 773 yards, 4 TD, 13.8 YPC, 34 first downs
-2010 season- 16 games, 70 receptions, 964 yards, 10 TD, 13.8 YPC, 45 first downs
Their rookie seasons were pretty even. They had similar TDs, first downs, and yards, although Nicks had a significantly higher YPC. Last year, both had great seasons, but I'm giving the edge to Nicks. Nicks played 3 less games than Maclin and still put up more yards, TDs, receptions, and first downs. Maclin did have a higher YPC than Nicks. This brings up the argument that Maclin wasn't the number one receiver for his team, while Nicks was, so of course Nicks is going to have more yards. Since Steve Smith was injured last year, Nicks became Eli's main target, while Vick's main target was Desean Jackson. If Nicks had played all 16 games on the pace that he was playing on, he would've had roughly 97 receptions, 1,293 yards, and 12 TDs. While an argument can be made for Maclin, I'm giving it to Nicks.
Hakeem Nicks- DYAR- 276 yards DVOA- 14.6% Effective yards- 1233 yards
Jeremy Maclin- DYAR- 251 yards DVOA- 15.5% Effective yards- 1097 yards
Before comparing receivers, I'll explain the stats. All of the stats come from Football Outsiders, which is a great site which has a ton of advanced statistics for just about every position. If you haven't checked it out give it a visit. Anyways, DYAR stands for Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement. Which, per Football Outsiders, is "the value of performance on plays where the WR caught the ball, compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage." I know this stuff is confusing, but stick with me here. DVOA is Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. It represents "value, per play, over an average WR in the same game situations." Effective yards is just DVOA translated into a yardage, which makes it easier to compare. If a player has more effective yards and actual yards, it means he played better than his statistics show. If the player has less effective yards than actual yards, it means they played worse than their statistics show. Both Nicks and Maclin have more effective yards than actual yards, so they played better than what their statistics present. Nicks was ranked 5th in DYAR and 11th in DVOA, while Maclin was ranked 10th in DYAR and 8th in DVOA. Once again, Nicks and Maclin are pretty much even. A really interesting feature that Football Outsiders has is when you click on a player, there's a comparison at the bottom that compares the player you're looking at to other seasons of players to see which player they're most similar to. For instance, Jeremy Maclin is most similar to Nate Burleson in 2004. Who was Hakeem Nicks' closest match for the 2009-10 seasons? Jeremy Maclin. So as you can tell, fans aren't the only ones who have trouble deciding which receiver is better.
I didn't realize how similar these two players actually were until I started looking at all the stats. I was hoping that looking at the stats would give me a clear opinion on who was better, but if anything it just clouded my mind up more. After some thinking, I've come to this decision. In the roles in which they play now, I think Nicks is the better receiver. HOWEVER, if Maclin was a number one receiver for his team, I would give Maclin the edge. Feel free to comment, critique, and voice your own opinions on who you think is better.