ESPN's K.C. Joyner has busted out the yards per attempt stat once again to analyse various NFL players, and he comes to one really surprising conclusion: Vincent Jackson may just be the best wide receiver in the entire NFL. Joyner bases this on Jackson's statistical performance against his top-rated cornerbacks, defined as cornerbacks who allow fewer than 9 yards per attempt. Vincent Jackson posted a yards per attempt (target) statistic of 11.5 against Joyner's top-rated cornerbacks. That statistic is much better than every other player on Joyner's list. Victor Cruz came closest, with 10.9 YPA.
Jackson was the only wideout to top the 11-yard mark in this category. Any concerns that this was due to his working extra hard to land a big free-agent contract should be alleviated by the fact that he posted an 11.7 YPA on 60 targets in this category in 2009, his last full NFL season. This just provides more evidence that Tampa Bay quite possibly made the best free-agent pickup this offseason when they signed Jackson. He gives Josh Freeman a dangerous downfield target, something that was lacking for Tampa Bay last year.
This is a bit surprising to me. I think Vincent Jackson is a great wide receiver, but he played with a struggling Philip Rivers last season while posting some inconsistent statlines. Yet, apparently, he was the best receiver in the NFL by at least one metric. That bodes well for his future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.