Marvin Jones Jr. has never been much of a burner. You don’t see him out there double-moving cornerbacks very often or waving Matthew Stafford down with 5 yards of cushion between him and the closest defender.
But that’s not what makes the Detroit Lions receiver valuable. He may not get wide open, but give him an inch and he’ll take a mile. Jones’ 2017 highlight reel is full of outstanding catches in the tightest of windows:
If it seems like Jones may have been one of the sure-handed receivers in contested passes, that’s because he was. And NFL.com has the Next Gen Stats to prove it.
On Tuesday, Matt Harmon developed a wide receiver ranking based on their ability to catch “tight-window” passes. Harmon defines tight-window passes as “a throw where the intended receiver had less than a yard of separation from the defender.” He then took the three statistics regarding tight-window passes—catch rate, QB’s passer rating when targeted in tight window throws, and yards per catch—and combined them to rank all of the qualifying receivers in the league.
Marvin Jones Jr. came in at No.2 on his list, only trailing Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs. Jones ranked seventh in catch percentage (46.5), second in passer rating (121.1) and third in yards per catch (26.5). And there’s also this...
Just noticed this: Marvin Jones led all WRs with 529 yards gained on tight window catches by a mile. Second place (AB) had 293 #NextGenStats— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) February 8, 2018
There’s no doubt that part of the reason Jones became so good at contested catching is because he learned from one of the best receivers of all time in catching tight-window balls. No, I’m not talking about Calvin Johnson. I’m talking about Randy Moss, who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame less than a week ago. Jones visited Moss last offseason to hone his craft, and plans on doing it again this offseason.
So while Marvin Jones may not have the crispest of routes or the athleticism to burn his fellow corners, he more than makes up for it with his supreme concentration, aggressive hands and ability to elevate in times of need.