I’m not quite sure whether it’s coaching practices or if it really takes players three years to acclimate to the league. For a large majority of NFL Wide Receivers, year three seems to be the final boarding call for career takeoff. Just for a moment though, imagine a scenario where it is year two when the wheels lift-off.
Let’s talk about a particular New York Jets Wide Receiver, Chad Hansen with respect to being a year-2 stash candidate.
Generally, a player isn’t touted towards an NFL career with one lonely college football scholarship offer – but that’s how this tale starts. That’s right, I am trying to sell you on a WR who received one single offer (Idaho State University). Obviously, it’s not the most intriguing of beginnings, but that will be the kind of smoke that I am trying to bring my readers throughout this series of articles. If you didn’t need me to sell you on someone, they probably aren’t a great hidden gem type of stash, right?
Hansen began his college career at IDSU and as a True Freshman he contributed a reasonable 45 catches for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, Chad wasn’t interested in spending his college years in Idaho, and transfers to play for the University of California, Berkeley – as a walk on.
Redshirt year, Chad sat out the entire season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Finally Hansen gets to take the field, but doesn’t contribute a lot to the cause. He finished his Sophomore year with a paltry 19 receptions, 249 yards and 1 TD. He didn’t have the on-field connection with Jared Goff that could have propelled his stock to new heights. At this point you’re probably thinking, ‘this guy is just silly for trying to get me hyped on a guy like this’. At this point I wouldn’t blame you, but then see what I write about his 2016 season.
There is a change at Offensive Coordinator in the offseason, and Jake Spavital puts his spin on the offense. Chad hits the ground running as a junior, catching passes from Davis Webb. The Cal Bear put up 92 receptions for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns (10 games), on his way to All-Pac-12 honors. The kid averaged a 9.2 Rec/124.9 Yds/1.1 TD receiving line each game. In the PAC-12 he faced players in the secondary such as the ones in the table below, and that’s not an exhaustive list.
|Name||College Team||NFL Team|
|Adoree’ Jackson||USC Trojans||Tennessee Titans|
|Kevin King||Washington Huskies||Green Bay Packers|
|Sidney Jones||Washington Huskies||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Budda Baker||Washington Huskies||Arizona Cardinals|
|Dane Cruikshank||Arizona Wildcats||Tennessee Titans|
|Marcus Williams||Utah||New Orleans Saints|
He was the focal point of the California passing game, and he couldn’t be stopped with all the defensive talent in the PAC-12 Conference and would forego his senior year to enter the draft. Click here for a Hansen highlight reel.
2017 NFL Combine
Chad entered the 2017 Combine trying to garner recognition and found himself jockeying for draft position with fellow prospects Corey Davis, John Ross, Zay Jones, and Mike Williams.
Chad measured in at 6’1” and 202 pounds and ran a 4.53 official 40-yard dash. He had a 35” vertical jump and a 9’9” broad jump. He also had a 6.74 second 3-cone drill and 11 repetitions on the bench press. Draftscout.com ranked him as the 11th overall WR prospect of a possible 438. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Chad posted a 104.3 sparq score, and he ranked in the 86th percentile with a 10.87 Agility Score.
Matt Harmon, creator of Perception Reception (available with the UDK – see below) – wrote an article about Chad Hansen and his unique usage at California-Berkeley. According to a six-game sample from the 2016 season, Chad Hansen spent an absurd 97.5% of his 218 routes run – at Right Wide and his target share was an incredible 44.5%. That percentage, at the time, was the highest concentration to one side of the field out of all prospects studied over the previous two seasons. The disappointing, and maybe even more contradicting stat – for the purposes of this article, is that he posted a lowly 64.6% success rate versus Man Coverage (127 out of a possible 218); a 36th percentile showing. He did, however, post a 67.3% success rate at beating press coverage, so he had a higher success rate of winning at the line of scrimmage, which put him at the 70th percentile in that category. Not exciting, at all. However, I urge you to remember the quality of cornerbacks he was facing during that stretch of games, which I alluded to earlier, that included players from Stanford, UCLA, Washington, San Diego State, Texas, and Oregon State.
The encouraging stat is found in the remaining 91 routes ran versus zone coverage. Chad posted an 83% success rate versus zone coverage, which checked him in the 91st percentile. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the types of routes designed to beat a zone – the curl, comeback, if given time to develop the slant and drag, and even outside fades can be effective. This is important because of all the routes run at his alignment, 80.8% of his routes were categorized as screens, slants, curls, or ‘nine type’ routes.
He won at the line of scrimmage and easily found the soft spots in zones in College. His performance vs KCC in 2017 showed that he could translate these skills into the NFL (Highlight Link)
This summer (2018), Chad spent a great amount of time working with Jared Goff in California, and he also began to build rapport through some early work with the Jets recent 3rd (overall) draft pick in Sam Darnold.
The Jets have a plethora of Wide Receivers on their roster, none who spark much excitement – aside from the oft-troubled Robby Anderson, leaving a potential opportunity beckoning. Other names in Chad’s path to relevancy are Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, and Terrelle Pryor. Many think Enunwa is back and will push Anderson from his spot at WR1 in The Gang Green. Kearse and Pryor are short-term answers, and their current contracts and age back that argument.
If you have an open spot at the end of your roster, or for whatever reason you’re still holding that guy you won’t start, make the move – put Chad Hansen at the end of your bench. When he starts producing you can just smile in knowing you were right all along.
By Joshua Deisinger – @SconnieJosh
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