Golden Tate has quiety been one of the most productive receivers over the past three years. Since joining the Detroit Lions in 2014, Tate ranks 10th in the NFL receiving yards and sixth in receptions. He’s one of four receivers to reach 90 receptions in three straight years—Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas, being the others.
But that isn’t enough for Tate. He has a brand new goal for 2017: Become the league-leader in yards after the catch (YAC):
Tate is no stranger to YAC. In fact, that’s where his game thrives. Detroit has adopted a short-yardage passing attack, and Tate has been the centerpiece to their offensive game-planning. Over three seasons, Tate has seen 405 targets—or over 22 percent of the Lions’ pass attempts. Mind you, that includes two seasons with Calvin Johnson on the roster.
After the ball is in his hands, Tate thrives. Though YAC is not an official stat, ESPN tracks their own version, and Tate placed fifth in the league in 2016. In total, 54.6 percent of his receiving yards were gained after the catch. Those 588 yards were good enough for second-most among wide receivers, trailing only Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry by five yards.
Here’s how Tate has ranked in YAC (by yardage) in his past four years, according to ESPN:
2016: 5th (2nd among WRs)
2015: 8th (4th among WRs)
2014: 3rd (1st among WRs)
2013: 15th (7th among WRs)—with the Seahawks
As you can see, the Lions have really leaned into Tate’s ability to produce after the catch, and the veteran receiver has certainly been up to the task. Tate’s goal of leading the league in YAC is more than reachable—he was first amongst wide receivers back in 2014.
If he wants to beat out everyone, it’ll be a little tougher this time around Running backs, by nature, have it a bit easier since most of their catches originate around or behind the line of scrimmage. Players like Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson and Theo Riddick typically top the list. In fact, Riddick (628) finished with more YAC than Tate (525) in 2015.
Still, the goal is attainable. Tate was less only 97 yards away from the lead last year and he has shown no signs of slowing since joining Detroit.