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Green Zone League Articles

New rookie, single-game recieving yards record: Sutton
By Nic St. Marie
Special to gzl-football.com

So, one of our dear friends has been shotgunning his request for information out to everyone, wanting to know if his new shiny toy set a record in his first game. I'm one of the people he contacted, along with asking several times on the forums.

I am always curious about whether or not I can dig up this sort of information with the amazing LP data queries we have access to. At first I thought no. But I'm not the give in easy kind of guy, especially when there are real research questions to solve!

So, I think I have the actual answer, but as this had to be done manually I'm going to write my methods so my work can be checked in case I am wrong.

I started off Asleep'm ignoring my failed attempts) looking at the "GZL :: Milestones" page, where you can see all of the players who have reached certain milestones. You can look at them all on one list, called "Career Milestones." That's where you can see that 77 different WRs have had a single game (or more) with 200 receiving yards in it, 29 have had at least 2, 15 at least 3, and Calvin Johnson leads with 10 in his career.

Well, I don't want to click on 77 players, look at the game stats of their rookie year 77 times.

Instead, I started in 2010 and looked at each season individually. Certain players (Marques Colston, Steve Smith!) were not rookies anywhere close to 2010, but I clicked on several players just to check. If their rookie year was not 2010, I moved on.

That meant I didn't ever click on Julio Jones, as I knew he was a 2011 or 2012 draft pick (2012, just checked) and his first 200 yard game was in 2013. This method of skipping reduced the number of mouse-clicks significantly, as I never checked on several players. That also means there is a small chance I made a mistake and overlooked a player.

I continued on into 2011, and found my first rookie 200 yard game in 2012. To date, including Sutton 11 players have gained 200 yards through the air in a single game as a rookie. This mostly happened between 2013-2015, as 7 different rookies accomplished this feat in those three years. The other four games in 2012, 2017, 2020, and Sutton in 2022.

RNK   Yr   POS  PLAYER            CTH  YDS   TDs DROPS
1   2022   WR   Courtland Sutton   7   244   2   0
2   2017   WR   Josh Gordon        9   243   3   4
3   2014   WR   Terrance Williams  6   223   3   1
4   2020   WR   Pharoh Cooper      10  221   3   0
5   2014   WR   James Reddick      15  212   1   1
6   2013   WR   Norm Grace         5   206   2   2
7   2015   WR   Marquise Goodwin   13  204   1   0
8   2012   WR   Darvin Adams       7   203   4   0
9   2013   WR   Rueben Randle      8   201   1   0
10  2015   WR   Caz Dudley         7   201   1   2
11  2014   WR   Brad Edwards       5   200   1   1

Hey, it worked! My excel table was able to make it into that code box with only a minimal amount of spacing issues, easy to resolve with a few backspaces and spacebar taps!

I mean, the results show that Sutton is the indisputable new recordholder...by a single yard!

Like Tyler (peeked at his article) I'm interested a bit in how good these players were, but really I was more interested in their draft slots, as I noticed most of these were not the #1 WR drafted in their year!

None as rookies (Kenny Stills, Chris Spires, Tashaun Leonard, and Chip Hankerson have all done this)

James Reddick - 4.13 (14th WR 2014)
Caz Dudley - 3.18 (9th WR 2015)

WR Marquise Goodwin - 2.4 (3rd WR 2015)
Rueben Randle - 2.5 (4th WR 2013)
Pharoh Cooper - 2.10 (5th WR 2020)
Darvin Adams - 2.25 (8th WR 2012)
Norm Grace - 2.30 (9th WR 2013)

Josh Gordon - 1.2 (1st WR 2017)
Courtland Sutton - 1.3 (2nd WR 2022)
Terrance Williams - 1.15 (2nd WR 2014)
Brad Edwards - 1.28 (4th WR 2014)

Pair this with Tyler's research to get a sense of how good these players are on a per-year basis. Only the top three (Gordon, Sutton, and Williams) were drafted with the expectation of being a mismatch in both height and speed against most teams. Past those three most of the players were fast and short, and caught several streaks in the course of accomplishing their feats. Josh Gordon's year was one of the most dominant I've ever seen of a rookie, and has yet to be challenged. He actually led the league in number of games above 150 yards, 125 yards, and tied for the most games above 100 yards with 8. As a rookie!

Josh Gordon and Sutton have more in common than Sutton and Terrance Williams. But Gordon is better than Sutton, who is better than Terrance. Either way, both players have been stars in this league, which bodes well for Sutton.
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