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Breaking Down T.Y. Hilton's Route Running

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Stampede Blue's Andrew Aziz analyzes and breaks down every type of route that T.Y. Hilton runs.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I examined T.Y. Hilton's route tree and the type of routes he runs in games. I watched 5 of his games (Panthers, Broncos, Falcons, Buccaneers and Steelers) and I observed only the plays where he was targeted. I also noted the route he ran, included the depth.

Hilton's route tree in those games look like this:

Here's a breakdown of the routes he ran, his reception percentage and his target percentage.

Reception Percentage = Receptions/Targets

Target Percentage = (Number of targets on a specific route)/(Total number of targets)

Route

Number of Receptions

Number of Targets

Reception %

Target %

Go/Fade/Seam

3

8

37.5%

23.5%

Short In (Less than 8 Yards)

0

0

0%

0%

Deep In (More than 8 Yards)

0

2

0%

5.9%

All Ins

0

2

0%

5.9%

Dig

2

2

100%

5.9%

Short Out (Less than 8 Yards)

3

3

100%

8.8%

Deep Out (More than 8 Yards)

0

3

0%

8.8%

All Outs

3

6

50%

17.6%

Short Hook(Less than 8)

3

4

75%

11.8%

Deep Hook (More than 8)

0

1

0%

2.9%

All Hooks

3

5

60%

14.7%

Comeback

1

2

50%

5.9%

Slant

3

5

60%

14.7%

Post

0

0

0%

0%

Corner

0

0

0%

0%

Cross

1

1

100%

2.9%

Slice

1

2

50%

5.9%

Screen

0

1

100%

2.9%

TOTAL

17

34

50%

On plays he was targeted, he played 26.5% of those plays on the left side of the line and 73.5% on the right side of the line.

What can we take away from his route breakdown?

He ran go/fade/seam routes the most (23.5% of the time) and caught 3 passes. That stat confirms that Hilton is a dangerous deep threat receiver. He was also good on slant routes. He was targeted on slant routes 14.7% of the time. On those routes, he showed a good understanding of reading defenses and knew where to sit down in zones. Here's an example of that:

Hilton was also targeted a lot on out routes (short and deep) (17.6%) and hooks (14.7%). He didn't have any catches on deep out patterns due to poor passes from Matt Hasselbeck (who has arm strength issues), so having a quarterback with a strong arm will certainly help on those deep out passes.

This breakdown tells us that Hilton is able to run a variety of routes. While 55% of his targets have come on three patterns (go's/fades/seams, outs and hooks), he has proven to be effective on digs and other patterns that cross the middle of the field. He is still improving as a route runner, but it's clear that he's an effective #1 receiver who can run most routes and beat you deep. Securing a higher percentage of his targets (only caught 51% of his targets) and being used on even more types of routes will be key for his development.