Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article, Rankings

News Flash: Big Receivers Score Touchdowns Inside The Red Zone


I have posted several times this offseason about the Pittsburgh Steelers need to find a receiver that can score inside the red zone and especially since the team has now lost wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders during the free agent signing period.

I don’t really care if that receiver is a wide out or tight end, or is only four foot tall, as long as that player can score inside the red zone. However, recent history shows us that the big players score the red zone touchdowns in the NFL.

Over the course of the last three seasons, there have been 48 players that have caught nine or more red zone touchdowns. Of those 48 players, 41 are 6 foot tall or better and 32 of them are 6 foot, 2 inches or taller.

Interesting enough, 21 of those players were tight ends.

So how did the big college receivers do in college in 2013 inside the red zone? In the second table below, you will see that there were 29 players that caught six or more red zone touchdowns last season. Of those 29 players, 20 of them are supposedly over six foot tall. Six of those players are tight ends.

None of this should be considered breaking news, but it’s one more thing to think about with the draft now less than one month away.

2010-2013 NFL Red Zone Touchdown Catches

PLAYER TARG REC REC % TD HGT WGT
Jimmy Graham 71 41 57.70% 27 6062 260
Eric Decker 60 36 60.00% 24 6031 217
Rob Gronkowski 51 33 64.70% 23 6062 258
Tony Gonzalez 63 41 65.10% 22 6041 244
Wes Welker 65 53 81.50% 21 5086 195
Brandon Marshall 66 31 47.00% 21 6044 229
Calvin Johnson 68 30 44.10% 19 6050 239
Dez Bryant 50 30 60.00% 19 6020 224
Marques Colston 52 35 67.30% 17 6045 224
Jordy Nelson 50 30 60.00% 17 6025 217
A.J. Green 63 28 44.40% 16 6035 211
James Jones 39 26 66.70% 16 6006 207
Vernon Davis 35 22 62.90% 16 6032 254
Demaryius Thomas 47 27 57.40% 15 6032 224
Antonio Gates 39 24 61.50% 15 6040 260
Vincent Jackson 51 25 49.00% 14 6046 241
Kyle Rudolph 28 22 78.60% 13 6061 259
Jermichael Finley 33 20 60.60% 13 6044 243
Darren Sproles 50 37 74.00% 12 5061 187
Larry Fitzgerald 62 34 54.80% 12 6027 225
Roddy White 62 27 43.50% 12 6012 207
Steve Johnson 48 21 43.80% 12 6017 210
Greg Olsen 43 21 48.80% 12 6057 257
Lance Moore 37 23 62.20% 12 5092 182
Jerricho Cotchery 33 17 51.50% 12 6004 212
Jason Witten 46 25 54.30% 12 6056 264
Jermaine Gresham 31 21 67.70% 12 6052 261
Torrey Smith 37 16 43.20% 11 6007 204
Greg Jennings 39 25 64.10% 11 5111 197
Scott Chandler 29 16 55.20% 11 6070 270
Anthony Fasano 33 20 60.60% 11 6041 259
Mike Williams 44 20 45.50% 11 6014 221
Heath Miller 39 23 59.00% 10 6050 256
Brandon Pettigrew 41 17 41.50% 10 6053 263
Julio Jones 38 20 52.60% 10 6026 220
Golden Tate 33 18 54.50% 10 5102 199
Aaron Hernandez 37 20 54.10% 10 6023 245
Marvin Jones 18 14 77.80% 10 6017 199
Joel Dreessen 25 16 64.00% 10 6042 260
Anquan Boldin 39 17 43.60% 9 6005 216
Brent Celek 40 23 57.50% 9 6037 255
Victor Cruz 41 21 51.20% 9 5115 206
Reggie Wayne 41 17 41.50% 9 6000 198
Martellus Bennett 36 17 47.20% 9 6061 259
Dennis Pitta 23 13 56.50% 9 6044 245
Dallas Clark 32 16 50.00% 9 6033 257
Owen Daniels 29 13 44.80% 9 6033 253
Denarius Moore 28 14 50.00% 9 5115 194

2013 College Red Zone Touchdown Catches

POS PLAYER TD HGT WGT
WR Davante Adams 13 6007 212
WR Willie Snead 11 5110 195
WR Quincy Enunwa 10 6020 225
WR Brandin Cooks 10 5096 189
WR Matt Miller 9 6022 222
TE Gator Hoskins 9 6015 253
WR Brandon Wimberly 8 6021 207
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins 8 6054 262
WR Josh Huff 8 5112 206
WR Josh Harper 8 6004 184
WR Devante Davis 8 6021 210
WR Shane Wynn 7 5064 170
WR Eric Thomas 7 6004 216
WR Tommy Shuler 7 5071 190
WR Deontay Greenberry 7 6021 198
WR Dorial Green-Beckham 7 6052 225
WR Kelvin Benjamin 7 6050 240
WR Jordan Williams 6 6012 216
WR Brandon Swindall 6 6031 198
WR DeVante Parker 6 6021 209
TE Nick O’Leary 6 6026 248
WR Alex Neutz 6 6024 214
WR Malcome Kennedy 6 5115 200
WR TJ Jones 6 5115 188
WR Justin Hardy 6 5111 186
WR Jeremy Gallon 6 5074 185
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz 6 6054 265
TE Ted Bolser 6 6054 257
TE Jace Amaro 6 6053 265

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • pittsburghjoe

    We clearly need to get Plaxico Burress more involved with the offense. I think we should take Pouncy’s money and lock Burress up until age 40 or so.

  • Johnny Loose

    This all seems obvious. Something to think about, the guys that are 6’2″ and over probably got considerably more opportunities to score in the red zone by default.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Fascinating. The Lions have Calvin plus Pettigrew and that 6’8″ other TE. It seems they never have much problems scoring. Forget about turnovers and defence for them. They certainly score.

    Now think about the Steelers. TE that are 6’7″ and 6’5″. Plus moye and one more big boy that they draft. Who will the opponents double. Ben throws it high where only these big boys have a chance. Hmmmmm.

  • cencalsteeler

    DaVante Adams in round 2.

  • Callentown

    It feels like the emphasis on attaining ‘big’ WR’s is causing some temporary vision problems when considering what makes a good WR in the first place.

    There are some WR’s that have better overall skill sets than some of the taller WR’s and are rated lower. A guy like Benjamin has a bit of a boom or bust feel to him. Sweed with his bad hands or Jimmy Graham? Probably somewhere in between.

    Prefer to take a WR/TE in rd two where there is still great value and players like AS-J, Robinson and Adams who have a better chance of being around and contributing regularly three years from now.

  • Callentown

    Or maybe a Troy Niklas.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    If they chose to go WR in the 2nd, I would prefer they take Jorday Matthews as I think he’s going to be a stud in the NFL>

  • Lewis

    Of course the best TD% comes from one of the shorter guys in the league, Wes Welker.

  • Weiss Chad

    Moncrief

  • Weiss Chad

    I can’t help but feel bi polar when it comes to some of these guys.i think you could find a really good wr in second but do u go dt if tuitts there and this is if they go w dennard providing he is there.Im losing a lot of sleep over this and I can’t wait til it’s over. Bpa that’s how I go .imo unless they move to top five lol dennards bpa

  • moderatelysane

    Your bromance is taking over the site, Dave. I don’t disagree that Benjamin has potential. I don’t disagree that he will have significant red zone production. I do disagree that we should spend a first round pick on a guy who is most likely going to be 3rd on the depth chart this year, next year,….Wheaton is locked up for another four years if he’s any good. AB will be locked up for a long time. Just not worth it unless he looks so dominant that he can be a number 1 (Mike Evans).

  • moderatelysane

    Okay. There’s my receiver bromance. Definitely worth a 2nd round pick. Definitely think he’s going to be a stud. Clone of Boldin.

  • moderatelysane

    If we got Dennard at 1.15 and Tuitt is available at 2.15, Tomlin should sprain a nut getting to the podium. Get the receiver when you can. Those two could improve our d very quickly.

  • falconsaftey43

    I personally see Matthews and Moncrief struggling a lot as pros. I know that’s not going to be a popular opinion on here haha. I’d prefer Adams or Robinson in the 2nd (Beckham or Cooks would be awesome, but doubt they are there)

  • steelster

    The clone of boldin is Jarvis landry.

  • Brendon Glad

    It’s a great article. Playing big is way easier to do if you ARE big. Hines Ward was a rarity…a small guy playing huge in the red-zone. Often we see “big guys playing small” in the red-zone….it’s truly a special treasured gift. Personally, I’d like to see us give Plaxico one more chance to see if his body can hold up….we will know before the end of camp whether it will most likely. I think moye is a guy I like…and I hope he progresses this offseason. If moye progresses as I hope, then Buressess is unneeded. But the young tall “attacker of the ball” is needed in the draft…whether moye and Burress both look like Brandon marshall in pre-season. It just needs to be done. We’ve been running out little guys who have not capitalized on Ben’s improved 9 and fade-route throwing for awhile now. And that needs to change.

  • shawn

    Plax nor Moye is the answer for our RZ woes …. we need to draft em and quick !

  • shawn

    not a bad pick at all !

  • shawn

    They are both very good … i slightly favor Matthews as well

  • shawn

    Moncrief maybe … but no way will Matthews struggle … but I have to say I’m almost certain Robinson will struggle i see him as a smaller poorer version of Evans who I’m also pessimistic about !

  • shawn

    if we picked him up …. he would be displayed prominently in the offense from the get go … prob double digit TDs or close from the 1st season on … so i have to disagree with you and state that he would probably be the most impactful player taken by us in the draft … a lot more than say a Gilbert or Dennard who would likely spend the 1st yr learning the system and playing in packages only !

  • falconsaftey43

    That’s what makes this fun, just have to wait and see which of these kids turn into starts and which flame out.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    In that case i would go dennard first tuitt second and wr third rd because of the depth at that position in the draft

  • shawn

    very true !

  • RW

    Problem with three years from now is you have a QB that might be past his prime.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    What we really need is to be able to run the damn ball inside the red zone. Any defense that constantly shuts down the run in the red zone and short yardage situations can also cover the pass better in the same area.

  • stellarsfan

    Cody Latimer from Indiana is an interesting prospect. 6’3, great ball skills and apparently ran 4.38 at his pro day. If we don’t go Allen Robinson/Jordan Matthews/Beckham in round 2, I think Latimer would be a good option for our 3rd round comp pick

  • steelster

    I agree.

  • Weiss Chad

    I couldn’t agree more

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I have been thinking this way all along, as it is usually the way the Steelers behave. The only problem is that they usually wait until about the 2nd to 4th round to start drafting CB as well. Bloody confusing and fascinating.

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