Player Team G Rec Yds Avg 1st YAC Trgt Avg. YAC Catch %
Vernon Davis SF 16 31 358 11.5 14 254 49 8.19 63%
Bo Scaife TEN 16 58 561 9.7 29 378 84 6.52 69%
Owen Daniels HOU 16 70 862 12.3 46 430 101 6.14 69%
Chris Cooley WAS 16 83 849 10.2 43 475 111 5.72 75%
Dallas Clark IND 15 77 848 11 41 377 107 4.90 72%
Jason Witten DAL 16 81 952 11.8 50 358 121 4.42 67%
Antonio Gates SD 16 60 704 11.7 39 238 92 3.97 65%
Tony Gonzalez KC 16 96 1058 11 67 276 155 2.88 62%
Vernon Davis lead all non-running backs with a YAC of 8.2 in 2008. The closest receiver was Bernard Berrian at 6.83 YAC. This translates into 71% of VD's 11.5 receiving average comes with the ball in his hands. That is impressive. Based on this he is just as explosive as a RB with the ball in his hands. The closest receiver is Bernard Berrian who ranked 20th overall in average YAC.
Vernon Davis' issue seems to be his ability to convert targeted passes into 1st downs. He only converted 1st downs on 29% of all passes he was the targeted, compared to an average of 41% for all other tight ends listed.
He did catch 62% of passes he was targeted on which is comparable to Tony Gonzalez (targeted 3X as much as Vernon), but well short of the 75% converted by Chris Cooley.
What this tells me is Vernon should never get the ball on 3rd down as he is not reliable. However, on 1st and 2nd down close to the line of scrimmage their might not be a better TE. His explosiveness is just as evident as his lack of deep receiving skills. If we use him close to the line he has the ability to take a small gain and make it a big one (look at the WR screen play in his 1st season against the packers for reference).
The following represents the top TE's highest average YAC in their career.
Vernon Davis - 8.2 in 2008 and 6.4 in 2006 (2007 was excluded because Hos just sucked as an OC).
Tony Gonzalez - 4.93
Antonio Gates - 5.63
Cris Cooley - 7.35
Jason Whitten - 4.4
Dallas Clark - 8.52 (this is the year Indy had three 1,000 yard receivers and Payton had 49 TD's, it is fair to say Dallas Clark was the person opposing teams were least afraid of). Excluding that season his best year was 6.66.
Football is about mismatches. VD is the ultimate Mismatch. He suffered from MM who doesnt use TE's and Hos who sucked. VD Drops ball = dont throw it deep.
VD isnt a good route runner = dont give him deep routes.
Jimmy Raye gets this (I hope), we are dangerous as hell. If he pulls a dumb ass and makes us take shots down field with VD we will be screwed by Mr. Lead Hands. Oh yeah and dont let him have the ball on crucial 3rd downs he just doesnt convert. We need Bear on 3rd down as a possession TE and VD to scare the s**t of OC's on 1st and 2nd.