So it's a pretty solid consensus that Hank Baskett is a very good blocker and strong contributor on special teams, but what exactly will he bring as a WR. Is he just depth, brought in over others because of his usefulness on STs? Or can he challenge for playing time in the window between when he learns the playbook and Gonzo returns to near full strength?
Baskett had an immediate impact as a deep threat despite going undrafted in 2006, playing all 16 games as a rookie and starting 5. In just his 5th career game Baskett broke 100 yards, going for 112 and a TD on 3 catches against the Cowboys. Baskett topped 100 a second time in week 17 of his rookie year, catching 7 for 177 and a TD as the Eagles backups beat the Falcons starters (who were just playing out the string at 7-8 having been eliminated from playoff contention the week before). The rookie Baskett caught 22 passes for 464 yards (a 21.1YPR average) and 2 TDs. The Outsiders numbers loved the rookie Baskett, placing him as the 2nd most productive WR in the under 50 target division. Slightly concerning is the 51% catch rate. Normally not something to bat an eye at when a player is averaging over 20 yards a reception, but Baskett made his average catch at a pretty much league average depth of 13.1 yards. Average depth is an imperfect measure of usage, especially for a small sample, but barely catching over half his targets is a little off putting since it isn't totally dismissible by usage. On the other hand the massive gap between his yards per reception and average catch depth is the result of an insane 8 yards of YAC per reception.
Baskett's sophomore season saw a shrunken role and vastly different usage. In 16 games (no starts) Baskett saw just 22 targets, catching 16 of them (a 73% catch rate) for 142 yards and a TD. He averaged just 8.9 yards per catch with 25 yards being his longest reception and the average catch coming at just 6.6 yards. Baskett is no Wes Welker and suffered as a result of being limited to dinks and dunks posting a negative DVOA and only a handful of DYAR.
Last year Baskett hit the happy medium. Getting his first 50 target season turning 51 targets into 33 receptions for 430 yards, 3 TDs, a top 25 DVOA rating and top 40 in DYAR. Baskett continued to be a case study in the relationship between route depth and catch rate. Catching 65% of his passes at an average depth of 8.5 yards.
Overall it looks as if Baskett is a useful role player as a WR, who can go deep with good success, but doesn't seem suited for a dumpoff/outlet role.
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