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March 18, 2016

A deeper statistical look at Chris Givens

Eagles NFL
031816ChrisGivens Rick Scuteri/AP

It would appear this is common.

In taking a deeper statistical look at new Eagles receiver Chris Givens' career in St. Louis and Baltimore, there were two things that stood out. One was a negative, one was a positive. First, the negative:

Givens doesn't catch much of what is thrown his way

As we noted when Chris Givens signed in Philly, the Eagles don't have much in the way of receivers who can stretch the field vertically. Givens ran a 4.41 40 at the 2012 Combine and he has a 16.6 yards per catch average for his career. In theory, that gives them a speed guy who can take the top off the defense.

Unfortunately, passes targeted for Givens don't consistently find their way safely into his arms. Over his career, Givens has caught just 44.8 percent (107 of 239) of passes targeted for him:

Chris Givens Receptions Targets % completed 
 201242 81 51.9% 
 201334 83 41.0% 
 201411 21 52.4% 
 201520 54 37.0% 
 TOTAL107 239 44.8% 

Here's how the Eagles' receivers fared a year ago in regard to percentage of targets caught.

 PlayerReceptions Targets Percentage 
 DeMarco Murray44 55 80.0% 
 Brent Celek27 35 77.1% 
 Josh Huff27 40 67.5% 
 Zach Ertz75 112 67.0% 
 Jordan Matthews85 127 66.9% 
 Darren Sproles55 84 65.5% 
 Nelson Agholor23 44 52.3% 
 Riley Cooper21 41 51.2% 
 Miles Austin13 31 41.9% 

Givens, for his career, is right in the same ballpark as Miles Austin's atrocious 2015 season.

In fairness, obviously when you're catching easily completed swing passes that go nowhere every game like DeMarco Murray did a year ago, that is going to artificially inflate your completed target percentage. Conversely, when you're a down-the-field threat like Givens is, the degree of difficulty in completing deeper passes is much higher.

Perhaps a better comparison for Givens would be a guy like old friend DeSean Jackson. Here is how Givens and Jackson compare over their careers in completed target percentage:

PlayerReceptions Targets % completed 
 Chris Givens107 239 44.8% 
 DeSean Jackson442 793 55.7% 

Jackson is one of the best deep ball receivers ever, but that's a pretty big difference in efficiency.

Givens had his best success playing with Sam Bradford

On the bright side, Givens was far more productive playing with Sam Bradford than any other quarterback over the course of his career. In his 60 career games, Givens played 22 games with Bradford as the starting quarterback. Here's how his numbers compare with Bradford, and without him.

Chris Givens Games Rec per game Yards per game 
With Bradford 22 2.7 45.1 
 Without Bradford38 1.2 20.7 

Givens also caught 49.6 percent of his targets playing with Bradford, which is still bad, but only 42.0% of his targets with other quarterbacks. While Givens has never been anything close to a world beater in the NFL, there is evidence that he was at his best when he had a chance to go through a full offseason with the quarterback with whom he broke into the league.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski