Eli Rogers’ 2016 Targets And Route-Types Analysis

I recently took a look at Martavis Bryant’s career targets and charted his catch rates by route-type and target area, as well as the routes he ran from various pre-snap alignments.  Given the overall competitiveness of the Pittsburgh Steelers receiving corps this year, I have decided to conduct a similar analysis of all the receivers vying for a spot on the roster, in hopes of providing a more nuanced understanding of their production and usage in Todd Haley’s offensive system. Eli Rogers is the subject of today’s study:

Targeted Routes

Below is a chart depicting the percentage of each targeted route-type that Rogers has run, in relation to his overall total targets. As you can see, he ran a fairly diverse route-tree but also had a strong tendency toward running in-breaking patterns:

  • 83 Total Targets: Speed Out (14 Targets), Seam (13), Slant (13), Crosser (10), Hitch (8), Corner (6), Dig (5), WR Screen (5), Curl (4), Post (3), Wheel (2)

Catch Rate by Route-Type

Although it is not entirely fair to assess a receiver based on the percentage of passes he catches out of his total targets (given that many different factors that are out of his control can cause an incompletion), it still is helpful in understanding how often a player generally “wins” when the ball is thrown his way. For reference, over Antonio Brown’s career, he records a reception on about 67% of his targets, whereas Martavis Bryant does so about 54% of the time, and Sammie Coates about 43%. Eli Rogers’ catch rate in 2016 was 72.7%; however, it’s important to keep in mind that the vast majority of his targets came on high percentage routes.

The charts below focuses on the individual route-types that Rogers has run, as well as his catch rate in different parts of the field, in order to give a more detailed perspective of his overall catch rate:

  • Hitch (8/8), WR Screen (5/5), Slant (11/13), Corner (5/6), Speed Out (11/14), Post (2/3), Dig (3/5), Crosser (6/10), Seam (7/13), Wheel (1/2), Curl (2/4)

Pre-Snap Alignments

Lastly, I charted all of Rogers’ pre-snap positions on plays which he was targeted. A “Wide” alignment means that he started the play as the normal outside receiver; a “Near” alignment means that he was the most outside receiver but he was positioned much closer to the end man on the LOS (think outside receiver in a Bunch formation); and a “Slot” alignment obviously means that he was lined up in the slot with another receiver on his outside. I found this data interesting because it shows how Todd Haley used Rogers in various formations, as well as the frequency that he ran each route-type from a particular pre-snap location.

  • Slot Right: 35 Total Plays – Speed Out (8), Seam (7), Crosser (5), Slant (5), Hitch (3), WR Screen (3), Post (2), Corner (2)

  • Slot Left: 33 Total Targets – Seam (6), Slant (6), Hitch (5), Dig (4), Speed Out (4), Crosser (3), Curl (3), Wheel (1), Post (1)

  • Near Right: 9 Total Targets – Corner (2), Crosser (2), Dig (2), Slant (2), Wheel (1)

  • Near Left: 3 Total Targets – Curl (1), Corner (1), Speed Out (1)
  • Wide Left: 2 Total Targets – WR Screen (1), Speed Out (1)
  • Wide Right: 2 Total Targets – WR Screen (1), Crosser (1)

About the Author

Sean McKaveney

Sean McKaveney is currently a student at the UCLA School of Law and was formerly the starting Quarterback and Team Captain for Claremont McKenna College, a Top 10 Liberal Arts school in Los Angeles. Although he grew up in Southern California, Sean was raised as a diehard Steelers fan by his father, a Pittsburgh native. The Steelers are undefeated in games that Sean has attended.

  • falconsaftey43

    Great stuff Sean. What brackets are you using for short, intermediate, long passes?

  • Charles Mullins

    Any idea of the catch rate on Julian Edelman?

  • falconsaftey43

    61.6% last year. Career best is 69.5%.

  • Ed Smith

    Excellent analysis! Thanks for posting. Hope the opposing D Coord’s don’t find SD site! 😅

  • Charles Mullins

    Gives validity to Haley’s comments about best slot guy. Exciting stuff. Hope he has a breakout year.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Good stuff. One thing is for certain…..he can make the routine play…..and that will keep you employed in the NFL for quite a while

  • Michael Conrad

    Looks like you included the playoff games. 13 games in the regular season 48 catches in 66 targets. Playoffs 13 catches in 18 targets. He had 10 catches in the NE disaster for about a 9 yard average. He had 5 catches in the KC game for a five yard average. While he is serviceable . I’m not convinced he is that good. Time will tell. I’m not sure JJSS can beat him out but either way we will have a good slot receiver. I would like to see how many of his targets and catches were because the O line was so good and Ben had time and he finally came open. I would like to know if he is getting open or is he a second or third option giving him more time to get open. Those are the stats that are important. Does he get down field on time.

  • falconsaftey43

    Interesting idea, though I’m not sure how to put a stat to that. Maybe time to throw? Not sure how much it would tell, but could be interesting.

    To me the high catch % indicates Ben didn’t go to Rogers very much if he wasn’t clearly open. He’ll throw to AB under any circumstances, and he’ll just heave it deep to Bryant/Coates. Could just be cuz he’s smaller and Ben doesn’t have that kind of trust with him yet, being his first season.

  • Luis Grove

    Great info Sean, would be interesting to see Ben’s chart overlayed, I mean, I found the difference in intermediate left/right percentage very noticeable. Made me wonder if Ben is also better to his left…thanks for the work

  • Uncle Rico.

    The failed 3rd down before halftime in the AFCC down near the goalline was a route combo they’ve used far too often. Particularly in the redzone. Bunch formation where the inner most receiver runs a flat route, and the other two run a corner and post. But no matter who runs it or lines up where, they run it poorly. If it’s man, they’re poor with the pick element. If it’s something like box or route matching, it doesn’t work for that either.

    If you go back to that play, it fails because Rogers (that inner-most bunch flat router) is too quick into his route. Bunch coverage has to stagger/layer whether it’s man or match. Rogers is breaking to the flat before the ball is even in gunned Roethlisberger’s hands. This tips the whole route combo everyone has seen a hundred times in film and allows his man to get over the top and not picked/rubbed. If he slow plays it, he has a chance.

    There are a couple of adjustments they could make to this as tendency-busters. First thing they could do is have Rogers (or that inside bunch receiver) chip the DE first. This will make the D think it’s a screen and his man will be trap/rub as he tries to get over/inside. Or he can start his flat route before breaking an angle/slant route inside. Again, his man will be trap/rubbed, as he walks in. This was a bread n butter redzone play for them that has long gone stale. Everyone sees it coming. Steelers tried to motion into the bunch a a tweak. Pats were in Man, adjusted to pattern man, no problem. Rogers sure didn’t help matters with his zeal.

  • falconsaftey43

    Awesome breakdown and insight. Hopefully, as this WR group matures, details like this will improve.

  • Gautama Om

    ” Antonio Brown’s career, he records a reception on about 67% of his targets ”

    On top of that he’s covered by their #1 CB and sometimes bracket coverage. It would be way higher if he was single covered by their #2 or #3 CB.

  • Petherson Silveira

    love this!

  • Zarbor

    That’s a very good breakdown of Rogers. I’ve said it before and will say it again, Ben has to get better in using Eli. He is every bit as good a weapon as the other killer B’s. Eli needs to get better as well and both him and Ben did so last year but it’s still not there yet. It has to be better this year.

    We all know no one throws a better deep ball than Ben, I just wish he would become as good with the underneath game as Brady has over the years especially since many here like to put him in similar convo. This is why guys like Eldeman, Welker, Amendola, etc. do so well. It’s Brady who understands, they keep the chains moving, keep the TOP, and force the defense to change because of the mismatch of these guys underneath.

    Rogers is that guy for us but it doesn’t look like we use him to accomplish the same things. He is usually a mismatch against the LBs just about every time. Yes, we have a lot of weapons which is why most defenses aren’t game planning for Eli. I’ve watch too many plays where Ben didn’t even look at Eli and he was wide open.