Patrick Crayton’s 2009 Reception Breakdown: Why He Should Stay in the Slot
Notice that Williams was a much better receiver over the middle of the field, while Austin was incredible just about everywhere. The numbers of Patrick Crayton (shown below), however, are the most overwhelming.
You can see that Crayton was tremendous over the middle of the field. Even Austin’s gaudy 11.43 yards-per-attempt and 70.0% completion rate are no match for Crayton’s 14.48 average and 74.1% rate between the hash-marks.
In fact, Crayton’s 14.48 yards-per-attempt in the middle of the field is 3.00 times as large as his yards-per-attempt on the left side of the field, and 2.47 times as great as the same statistic on the right side of the field.
Thus, while we have seen all three receivers (Crayton, Williams, and Austin) put up large numbers in the middle of the football field, we can safely conclude that such an overwhelming disparity in Crayton’s statistics must be due to something he is doing correctly in the slot (and probably poorly when on the outside).
Having said that, Crayton still has a role on the Cowboys. I will release another 53-man roster projection later this week, and I will tell you right now that, barring an unforeseen incident, Crayton will be on that list.
While his return duties have all but disappeared, Crayton is still a very skilled slot receiver. In a previous article on Crayton’s future in Dallas, I wrote about his value in the slot:
Roy Williams is obviously not a slot receiver. Dez Bryant is an option, but if he ends up overtaking Williams in the starting lineup (which will obviously happen eventually), he will be playing outside as the X or Z receiver.
The Cowboys could also look at Kevin Ogletree, who we believe has the sort of skill set which most resembles that of the prototypical slot receiver (outside of Crayton). Still, Ogletree is an undrafted second-year player with very limited experience. Can he be trusted as a slot receiver just yet? We believe Crayton’s experience in the slot is alone enough to justify his stay in Big D, as he provides a skill set which we cannot be sure would be present following his potential release.
Therefore, Crayton, who can also play special teams without being a return man, should be on the Dallas Cowboys in 2010. He can work in and out of the slot with other players and be insurance as a returner. His role is certain to be decreased and his long-term future in Dallas is shaky at best, but, as far as 2010 goes, Patrick Crayton has a place in Big D.