Dez Bryant 2013 Projection
At NBC, I projected Dez Bryant in 2013:
In trying to project Bryant in 2013, the key is determining how many passes will go his way. Over the second half of the 2012 season, Bryant saw nine targets per game. With increased defensive attention, that’s probably where he’ll finish this year, giving him 144 targets.
Bryant caught 67.2 percent of his targets last year, but that rate will almost assuredly drop in 2013. For starters, No. 1 receivers rarely catch two-thirds of their targets. That’s because they typically see the most targets on the team, and as the frequency increases, their efficiency tends to drop. If Bryant catches 64 percent of his 2013 targets—a more realistic mark given the anticipated increase in defensive attention—he’ll again haul in 92 passes.
Bryant averaged 10.1 yards per target last year. Again, since the quality of his targets is likely to decrease, that number will probably drop a bit. At 9.8 yards per target, Bryant would post 1,411 yards in 2013.
Finally, we need to project Bryant’s touchdowns. Bryant is a touchdown machine because he can score from any spot on the field and, due to his stature, he’s a big-time red zone threat. Over the course of his three-year career, Bryant has taken 13.5 percent of his receptions into the end zone. That’s an outstanding mark, but I think it could increase this year. The primary reason is that the Cowboys should be in the red zone more often, so a higher percentage of Bryant’s looks will come in scoring situations. At a 15.0 percent touchdown rate, Bryant’s most likely touchdown total would be 14.