With receivers taking over as the marquee players on the market because of the fact that the NFL has become a pass-happy league, Brooks’s look at these two players illustrates that the best player doesn’t always come out on top as far as what teams value.
In his film study, Brooks breaks down each of these receivers and compares them on ball skills, route running, yardage after the catch, explosiveness and clutch performance.
Brooks favors Jennings on the ball skills and route running. He says this about Jennings’ ball skills:
Jennings is one of the best pass catchers in the NFL. He snatches the ball out of the air with his big mitts; his hand-eye concentration is remarkable. He tracks and adjusts well to the flight of the ball while shielding defenders with his body to keep them from knocking the ball away at the last moment.
On his route running, Brooks says this about Jennings:
Jennings is one of the slickest route runners in the game, using a vast array of stems and releases to obtain leverage on defenders at the tops of routes. Additionally, he understands how to vary his tempo and speed to set defenders up for double moves down the field. Even while enjoying the freedom to empty his bag of tricks to get open in Green Bay, Jennings rarely affected the timing of the passing game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who routinely released the ball before Jennings would hit the top of his break — certainly trusted in Jennings’ ability to get to the designated spot. Every NFL quarterback covets a No. 1 receiver with exceptional route running skills, so it’s not surprising that Jennings tops the list of available free-agent receivers.
Brooks gives Wallace the advantage on yards after the catch and explosiveness, but again gives Jennings the nod on being clutch:
Evaluating Jennings’ play throughout his career, I was most impressed with his postseason performance. He consistently stepped up his game in the playoffs, thriving as the Packers‘ No. 1 receiver when the pressure was on. In 10 postseason games, Jennings has 50 receptions for 673 yards and six scores. Although injuries and the emergence of Jordy Nelson prevented Jennings from making a significant impact during the Packers‘ most recent playoff runs, the fact that he was so instrumental in helping the team win Super Bowl XLV makes him a special player, in my mind.
But does the fact that Jennings rates over Wallace translate into dollars? Not according to Brooks who says that Jennings’ age and injuries will play a large role on his final contract numbers and even with which team he eventually signs.
We’ll see how Brooks’s comparisons and bottom line evaluation will play out when teams go after the top free agents for real starting Tuesday at 3 p.m. CDT.