Slot Wide Receiver
Trent Taylor had an interesting year to say the least. Traditional stats paint a gloomy picture for Taylor’s year. He had only 430 yards and 2 touchdowns. Advanced stats give him a better allure. According to Pro Football Focus (h/t ninerswire.com), Taylor was incredible on slant routes:
Apart from slant routes, Taylor was a beast on the money down. PFF added how Taylor had more than 50 percent of targets on third down, and how 23 of his receptions resulted in first downs.
There are two main reasons why Taylor may not keep his job as starting slot receiver. The first is injuries. Taylor had back surgery over the summer, but his injury is not considered severe.
The second reason is rookie receiver Dante Pettis. Usually, you shouldn’t read too much into draft position of players, but it is telling that Pettis was a second-round pick when the team had bigger concerns in other positions.
"Route running is going to be the prime staple to Pettis’ game. He’s elusive and more than capable of creating separation in open space. An ankle injury prevented him from running a 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and at his pro day, but NFL Draft Scout projected him to have a sub-4.50 40-yard time anyway. And the route-running abilities help make up for lack of elite-level speed."
Compared to Taylor, Pettis is a bit faster but otherwise has the same characteristics.
In all likelihood, Taylor will come back from his injury and continue to improve, cementing his place as the starting slot receiver.
Who I think will be starting Week 1: Trent Taylor