Putting Michael Crabtree’s 2012 production into perspective

There’s been a great deal of debate over how big of a loss of Michael Crabtree is to the 49ers. Some people say the loss is no big deal, others say it’s quite a big deal.

To inform the debate, let’s look closely at Crabtree’s 2012 stats.

 

Michael Crabtree

Catches: 85 (tied for 13th best in the NFL)

Yards: 1,105 (14th)

Touchdowns: 9 (tied for 11th)

Deep catches (passes traveling more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage): 5 (tied for 42nd)

First downs: 57 (13th)

Third down conversions: 22 (5th)

Third down conversions on third-and-more-than-seven-yards: 11 (2nd, Reggie Wayne was No.1 with 12 third-and-long conversions)

YAC (yards after the catch): 543 (4th)

YAC/reception: 6.4 (12th, Percy Harvin was No.1 with 8.7 YAC)

 

Notice Crabtree was one of the best receivers running after the catch, and arguably the best receiver in the entire league on third down.

Now, let’s compare his numbers to the 49ers’ other receivers’ 2012 stats:

 

Anquan Boldin

Catches: 65

Yards: 921

TDs: 4

Deep catches: 10

First downs: 45

Third down conversions: 16

Third-and-long conversions: 8

YAC: 276

YAC/reception: 4.2

 

Vernon Davis

Catches: 41

Yards: 548

TDs: 5

Deep catches: 6

First downs: 26

Third down conversions: 4

Third-and-long conversions: 1

YAC: 164

YAC/reception: 4.0

 

Mario Manningham

Catches: 42

Yards: 449

TDs: 1

Deep catches: 3

First downs: 21

Third down conversions: 2

Third-and-long conversions: 1

YAC: 187

YAC/reception: 4.5

 

Kyle Williams

Catches: 14

Yards: 212

TDs: 1

Deep catches: 2

First downs: 10

Third down conversions: 3

Third-and-long conversions: 0

YAC: 76 yards

YAC/reception: 5.4

 

Delanie Walker

Catches: 21

Yards: 344

Touchdowns: 3

Deep catches: 8 (Best among tight ends)

First downs: 14

Third down conversions: 3

Third-and-long conversions: 1

YAC: 60

YAC/reception: 2.9

 

Randy Moss

Catches: 28

Yards: 434

TDs: 3

Deep catches: 3

First downs: 22

Third down conversions: 4

Third-and-long conversions: 1

YAC: 82

YAC/reception: 2.9

 

In addition to Crabtree, the 49ers will not have Walker or Moss this season, and who knows when Manningham will return from his knee injury. Those four players combined last season for 176 catches, 2332 receiving yards, 16 TD catches; 872 YAC, 19 deep catches; 114 first down catches, 31 third down conversions and 14 third-and-long conversions.

Do you think the 49ers can make up all of that production this upcoming season? If so, how?

Here’s another question for you: How good do you think the 49ers will be on third down this season without Crabtree? The 49ers converted 36.62 percent of their third downs last season, which ranked 22nd in the NFL. Keep in mind, in 2011 – before Crabtree emerged as a dominant third down receiver – the 49ers converted 28.11 percent of their third downs, which ranked 31st.

Anquan Boldin was a good third down receiver for the Ravens last year. Who else on the 49ers do you think could emerge as a solid third down target for Colin Kaepernick?

Final question: Which 49er can replace Crabtree’s YAC? Kyle Williams? Vance McDonald? Neither Anquan Boldin nor Vernon David is a big YAC threat.

Double Bonus question: Delanie Walker was the most productive deep-threat tight end in the NFL last season. The 49ers always had two deep-threats on the field with him and Vernon Davis. Who will be the 49ers’ second deep-threat this season? Kyle Williams? Quinton Patton? A.J. Jenkins? Ricardo Lockette?

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