FanPost

Why Heyward-Bey is a good upgrade for the Eagles

Pick one: Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Riley Cooper?

I posed this question in the FA thread fresh off of his release from the Raiders, and got a couple quick responses. From what I recall, I got "no’s", mostly due to inconsistent hands. I have to preface the rest of this by saying, I’m a UF guy, so I got love for Riley but he just doesn’t cut it for me and looking ahead I think we need to upgrade. I think Darrius would be fairly affordable considering he was NOT worth the #7 pick, something that we all knew back in 2009. Coming back to the future, or the present how valuable is Bey to a team, specifically the Eagles?

I didn’t go too hard with this, just some simple stats and assumptions that can/could be made for the future and how it can work for the Chip Kelly Eagles. So here is the statistical info of Player A, Player B & Player C:

PLAYER A -

2011: (GP) 16 - (REC) 16 - (TGTS) 34 - (YDS) 315 - (TD) 1 - (1STDWN) 13

2012: (GP) 11 - (REC) 23 - (TGTS) 47 - (YDS) 248 - (TD) 3 - (1STDWN) 14

2 YR: (GP) 27 - (REC) 39 - (TGTS) 81 - (YDS) 563 - (TD) 4 - (1STDWN) 27

AVG: (GP) 13.5 - (REC) 19.5 - (TGTS) 40.5 - (YDS) 281.5 - (TD) 2 - (1STDWN) 13.5

Player A Advanced Stats:

  • Over 2 seasons (A) caught 48.1% of catchable balls.
  • Over 2 seasons (A) caught 69.2% of their receptions for first downs.
  • 33.3% of all catchable balls were caught for first downs.
  • 10.1% of all receptions went for touchdowns.

PLAYER B -

2011: (GP) 15 - (REC) 64 - (TGTS) 115 - (YDS) 975 - (TD) 4 - (1STDWN) 44

2012: (GP) 15 - (REC) 41 - (TGTS) 80 - (YDS) 606 - (TD) 5 - (1STDWN) 25

2 YR: (GP) 30 - (REC) 105 - (TGTS) 195 - (YDS) 1581 - (TD) 9 - (1STDWN) 69

AVG: (GP) 15 - (REC) 52.5 - (TGTS) 97.5 - (YDS) 790.5 - (TD) 4.5 - (1STDWN) 34.5

Player B Advanced Stats:

  • Over 2 seasons (B) caught 53.8% of catchable balls.
  • Over 2 seasons (B) caught 65.7% of their receptions for first downs.
  • 35.3% of all catchable balls were caught for first downs.
  • 8.5% of all receptions went for touchdowns.

PLAYER C -

2011: (GP) 16 - (REC) 52 - (TGTS) 76 - (YDS) 679 - (TD) 1 - (1STDWN) 33

2012: (GP) 14 - (REC) 53 - (TGTS) 81 - (YDS) 648 - (TD) 0 - (1STDWN) 32

2 YR: (GP) 30 - (REC) 105 - (TGTS) 157 - (YDS) 1327 - (TD) 1 - (1STDWN) 65

AVG: (GP) 15 - (REC) 52.5 - (TGTS) 78.5 - (YDS) 663.5 - (TD) .5 - (1STDWN) 32.5

Player C Advanced Stats:

  • Over 2 seasons (C) caught 66.8% of catchable balls.
  • Over 2 seasons (C) caught 61.9% of their receptions for first downs.
  • 41.4% of all catchable balls were caught for first downs.
  • >1% of all receptions went for touchdowns.

Player A, non other than Riley "Planking on a Saint" Cooper. Player B, Mr. Darrius "I wasn’t as bad a pick as Jamarcus" Heyward-Bey (A mouthful but it’s his christian name). And Player C, Jason "I catch every ball I shouldn’t and drop the easiest ones" Avant.

I added Avant as the "constant" he is a bit in between the both, has the catches & yards to match with Bey whereas he has played under the same system as Cooper. I guess that makes sense, it’s not science class. I also added him because sooner or later he has to go as he is getting older (29) and that’s just what the Eagles do so Riley (25), some other guy or if Darrius (26) were added would have to replace him.

Darrius and Riley both really began seeing the field on a consistent basis in 2011 so I started there. Off the bat, we see Riley has some injury issues, missing 5 games in 2012.

What I gathered is essentially Avant is a better receiver than the both, but speed kills and that’s what Darrius has and will be much needed in this new offense. Last year, Bey caught 8 passes of 20 yards or more and 4 passes of 40 yards or more. In comparison, Cooper had 3 receptions of 20 yards or more but none of 40+ yards, his biggest gain was 23 yards. Avant matched Bey with 8 receptions of 20 yards or more but he too had no 40+ yards receptions, his longest was 39 yards (so close).

To debunk the notion that Cooper has better hands than Heyward-Bey well it’s not quite the case, as Riley is sub .500 and Bey is at 53%. Granted, Darrius has gotten more opportunities and Cooper's touchdown rate is 1.5% greater. Taking a look at Avant’s TD rate, you’d have to consider an addition of Bey to the team. I even adjusted his rate of production to Avant’s (RoP; fancy for if Bey got the same amount of targets as Avant over the last two years), if Bey exactly matched Avant’s RoP/targets which were 157 from ‘11 to ‘12 Bey would catch 85 passes, gain 1273 yards, score 7 touchdowns and move the sticks 55 times. Overall that’s not too far off from Avant’s 105 REC/1327 YDS/1 TD/65 1stD, oh wait there is that 1 touchdown thingy, we could’ve used 6 more of those over the last 2 years. I could adjust Bey's numbers to Cooper’s but they’d still be better so no point. [Unless you want to do all the funny math yourself.]

Of course this is a hypothetical where everything is even, Darrius could have went to catch one of those 6 extra touchdowns for us, and got chopped in the knee and never played another down; knock on wood. Beyond statistical theory, it’s reasonable to suggest Darrius Heyward-Bey would be an upgrade to our receiver corps and at the very least compete for a 3rd or 4th wideout spot. He has a lot he needs to prove so he could (should) be affordable with an exploitable skill set.

One final nugget, DH-B ran for 314 yards on 25 carries for an average of 12.5 per carry for the Terps, he is 8 rushes for 83 yards at 10.4 yds per rush as a Pro. Could be the type of skill set Chip may be looking for.

I still got love for you Riley. GATORNATION. Go Eagles!

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