We know you can take statistics and make whatever out of them.
(Much like this blog post.)
Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders ranks NFL players in a variety of statistical formulas. When we saw their regular season rankings of wide receivers we were preplexed.
PFF ranked Miles Austin as the 94th best wide receiver in the game, lower than Dez Bryant (35th) and Roy Williams (56). Austin received a ranking of -6.8 based on a statistical formula explained here.
FO had Austin as the 12th best receiver in the game with a 235 DYAR. Bryant was ranked 45th and Williams 56th. Here's an explanation of the DVOA from FO.
One thing that is certain about the stats is that Austin had a catch rate of 58 percent according to FO and 60 percent from PFF. Which seems about right.
All the other stuff we don't know.
We thought Austin had a decent enough season, not a Pro Bowl season, but good enough. He did have a team-leading 10 drops, which bothered us and him. One thing missing in his game was yards-after-catch. In 2009, Austin finished third in the NFL with 613 yards-after-catch, mainly on slants which enabled him to go one-on-one with a defender to make plays.
Austin's numbers in YAC were down to 439, 14th in the league in 2010. Some of that is attributed to Felix Jones getting more touches out of the backfield and of course Jason Witten leading the team with 128 targeted throws.
The Cowboys were 0-5 when he gained over 100 receiving yards and it seemed Jason Garrett didn't put him in good situations all the time. That's got to change in 2011.
We're not sure at least on paper if Austin was the third best receiver on his team like PFF says he was. We tend to think Austin was the No. 2 passing threat behind Witten. Bryant was a close second followed by Williams.
In terms of receivers, Bryant was the most explosive followed by Austin then Williams.
But this is from an untrained eye.