Joseph Randle, Terrance Williams 2013 Projections
My two latest NBC projections are on Joseph Randle and Terrance Williams. On Randle:
The primary reason I’m not high on Randle is that he’s a rather slow, lean back. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at just 204 pounds. Those two traits—speed and weight—are the biggest predictors of NFL success for running backs, and Randle is average at best in both categories. Take a look at Randle and perhaps his closest comp:
Randle: 6-0, 204 pounds, 4.63 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical, 4.25 short shuttle, 5.5 YPC
Noah Herron: 5-11, 200 pounds, 4.60 40-yard dash, 31-inch vertical, 4.03 short shuttle, 5.5 YPC
Herron, who was less explosively vertically but quicker laterally, played two years in the NFL and ran for 273 yards. Is Randle the next Noah Herron? Maybe, maybe not. It’s important to note that Alfred Morris is another good comp for Randle. There are all kinds of paths down which Randle could go with his skill set, but he’s unlikely to be a top-tier player with his speed. Morris is the exception, Herron is the rule.
Rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams is particularly difficult to project because there are so many variables involved. He’ll be 24 years old when the season begins, so we should expect him to produce greater efficiency than your typical rookie. However, we’re not even totally sure that Williams will win the No. 3 receiver job. If he does, he’ll be playing behind Miles Austin—a player many have deemed as injury prone.
For the sake of this projection, I’m going to assume Williams will indeed become the Cowboys’ third receiver. That’s a reasonable assumption given Williams’ talent and where the Cowboys drafted him. Austin’s versatility allows the Cowboys to use Williams outside in three-receiver sets. That will be important to projecting him.
Last year, the Cowboys used three or more receivers on an incredible 56 percent of snaps. That was primarily because they were losing so often, and it won’t happen again. Williams is more likely to be on the field for 45 percent of the ‘Boys’ snaps, which would put him at around 475 plays on the year.
Romo has historically thrown about 12 percent of his passes to his No. 3 receiver, which would give Williams around 57 targets on the year. Most No. 3 receivers catch a high percentage of their targets because they usually see single coverage. I expect the Cowboys to use Williams downfield a lot, though, so his catch rate could be lower than normal—perhaps around 60 percent. That would give him 34 receptions in 2013. As a big-play threat who the Cowboys will try to get open downfield, Williams could easily average 16.0 YPR this year. If so, he’d convert his 34 receptions into 544 yards.