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Top NFL WRs on hitch routes

Training camps are popping up all over the country and fans will get their first glimpses of the 2018 iteration of their respective teams.
The middle of July means we also continue our look at the top wide receivers on each branch of the route tree from 2017, with an eye towards their possible success in the season to come.
Over the course of July, we’ll take a look at the top five receivers from the 2017 season on each individual route, by their passer rating when targeted – their WR Rating – on each specific branch of the route tree.
All told, Thielen brought in 21-of-28 hitch targets for 250 receiving yards and two touchdowns, both of which led the league’s receivers.
Just behind Thielen came the Panthers fourth-year wide receiver, who made a habit of performing on in-breaking routes last season.
His 10.4 yards per reception on hitch routes ranked 16th among the league’s pass-catchers, while his catch rate of 80.0 percent was good for 10th.
The hitch route was Crowder’s most-targeted route last year as it accounted for 17 of his 96 targets.
Surprise, surprise, it’s Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints, who also ranks in the top five among receivers on slant routes, crossing routes and out routes – so why not just add hitch route to that ever-growing list.
2017 marked the second straight year that Thomas dominated on the hitch route and he ended the year with 19 catches from 26 targets for 190 yards and one touchdown.
Over the last two seasons, Thomas has seen the second-most hitch route targets (57) and tallied the most receptions (46), the most receiving yards (453) and generated the third-highest passer rating (111.5) among wide receivers in that span.

Dec 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) looks on during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the middle of July which means football is closer than you think. Training camps are popping up all over the country and fans will get their first glimpses of the 2018 iteration of their respective teams. The middle of July means we also continue our look at the top wide receivers on each branch of the route tree from 2017, with an eye towards their possible success in the season to come.

[Editor’s note: Routes in this study are bucketed onto the common PFF route tree featured below, for comparison, attached with their NFL average passer rating when targeting each specific route. For more information on our route trees and signature statistics like WR Rating – passer rating when targeted – check out our Signature Stats Glossary.]

Over the course of July, we’ll take a look at the top five receivers from the 2017 season on each individual route, by their passer rating when targeted – their WR Rating – on each specific branch of the route tree. We’ve already looked at routes targeted at or behind the line of scrimmage, on slants, crossing routes, out routes, in routes and today continues our study.

With that, here are the top five receivers on hitch route concepts from 2017:

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings, receiving

It was only a matter of time before we saw the…

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