Nania’s All-22 takes a deep dive into New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson’s 2019 season with film and plenty of numbers.
Career recap: After a productive, but tumultuous college career at Temple, Robby Anderson signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He had caught 114 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns over 24 games with the Owls, but missed his redshirt-sophomore 2014 season due to academic ineligibility. Given that issue and his frail frame (6-foot-3, 190 pounds), seven rounds passed without Anderson’s name being called.
Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Quincy Enunwa seemed to have their roster spots already locked down heading into 2016, but the competition was wide open beyond those three. Anderson would have every opportunity to make his claim for a place on the 53-man roster, competing against the likes of seventh-round pick Charone Peake, fellow undrafted free agent Jalin Marshall, veteran Jeremy Ross, and second-year former undrafted free agent Chandler Worthy.
Anderson exploded in the preseason, leading the league with 264 receiving yards and tying for the lead with three touchdown grabs. Following that display, he made the opening-week roster.
After averaging just five snaps per game over the first three weeks, Anderson became a regular part of the lineup in Week 4. He finished his rookie season with 42 catches for 587 yards and two touchdowns, flashing his tantalizing deep potential in the second half of the season (Week 9 onward) as he averaged 54.4 yards per game and 16.1 yards per reception (eighth-best among qualifiers over that span).
In 2017, Anderson developed a strong rapport with Josh McCown and became the Jets’ featured weapon on the outside. He caught 63 of 114 targets for 941 yards and seven touchdowns. All seven of those touchdowns traveled at least 20 yards through the air, which led the league. Anderson ranked sixth with 408 receiving yards on receptions made 20-plus yards downfield.
In 2018, Anderson had a tough time connecting with Sam Darnold early on, save for a handful of beautiful deep bombs. However, late in the season, the two started to gel. Over the final four weeks of the season, Anderson ranked eighth in receiving yards (346). He finished the season with similar numbers to 2017, seeing slight dips across the board.
- Receiving yards per game – 2018: 53.7, 2017: 58.8
- Receiving first downs per game – 2018: 2.4, 2017: 2.1
- Receiving touchdowns per game – 2018: 0.43, 2017: 0.44
- Receptions per game – 2018: 3.9, 2017: 3.6
2019 expectations: Anderson had flashed the potential to put together a complete 16 games of high-level production. Despite dealing with three different play-callers, five different quarterbacks, and horrid offensive line play over his first three seasons, he still produced a good number of big-time plays.
From 2017-18, in 24 games where the Jets’ first-string quarterback (Josh McCown in 2017, Sam Darnold in 2018) was healthy for the majority of the snaps, Anderson averaged 62.6 yards and 0.54 touchdowns per game — pace for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns over 16 games.