Projecting Marvin Jones: Can He Break Out Like Geoff McArthur?

Geoff McArthur was exceptionally great at one thing when he was at Cal: Catching the ball. He didn't possess amazing athleticism the way Desean Jackson did, but he was able to snare grabs at an astounding rate in spite of the fact that most defenses knew he was the target. Some teams would throw double teams, even triple teams against him in 2003 and 2004--he still managed over 140 catches from Aaron Rodgers. Yeah, he was kind of amazing

You can begin to see McArthuresque characteristics building up in Marvin Jones too. He possesses an ability to find the ball when he knows he's going to get and hit and eat turf.  Although Kevin Riley isn't quite the quarterback Rodgers is, Jones has shown an impressive ability to adjust to some of Riley's more errant throws. He can reach back, jump up, extend the body and absorb contact while maintaining possession (look at his highlight reel last season and see if you agree).

Considering the similar skill set of the two receivers, we decided to project Jones's similar numbers based on how well McArthur performed his junior year and Desean from his first to second season. Stat-master Berkelium97 has the down-low.

Here's what I have for Marvin.  There are two ways this year could go for him: he could blow up like McArthur did in 2003, or he could see mild improvement like most other receivers.  Here are the numbers for both:

McArthur-esque year (regular season/regular season + bowl game):

78/85 receptions, 11/12 TDs, 1182/1288 if his yards per reception is around 15, 1415/1543 if his yards per reception is around 18.  Both DeSean and Geoff boosted their yards/reception by about +3, but if that's the case with Jones, he'll catapult from about 15 yards per reception to an incredible 18 yards per reception.  So I'm giving the yardage totals for both.  I'd be shocked if his yards per reception went as high as 18.  15 (which was his yards/reception in 2009) is much more reasonable

If he has a year during which he develops like other first-team Tedford receivers, his stats will look more like:

54/59 receptions, 8 TDs, 810/893 yards if his per reception is around 15, 980/1071 if his yards per reception is closer to 18.

Some factors that might need to be examined into this analysis:

  • McArthur upgraded from Kyle Boller to Aaron Rodgers. Jones is upgrading from Kevin Riley to Kevin Riley. It depends on how highly you think that Riley can improve from junior to senior season.
  • McArthur didn't have a very strong supporting cast behind him (Burl Toler was a solid #2, but that was about it). Whereas a lot of guys will probably be competing for playing time with Jones, including Alex Lagemann, Jeremy Ross and Michael Calvin, as well as Keenan Allen, Coleman Edmond, Tevin Carter, Kaelin Clay, etc. There's a possibility that a strong #2 is established by the end of camp, but there's no guarantee.
  • It's very hard to see anyone completing that many passes on a team that tends to run the ball first. Cal's starting running back in 2003 got injured a couple of times and a greater reliance was needed from the passing game.
  • I expect Jones to be nearer the final projection, although if no one else steps up on his other side, there is a chance he gets going for a monster year.
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