DeSean Jackson’s incredible 30.7 yards per catch could be a record setter

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

To say that the LA Rams coaching staff and front office knew what they were doing when they added veteran free agent DeSean Jackson to the roster is certainly an understatement. But to claim that the Rams expected the guy to be averaging 30.7 yards per catch on just seven catches five games into the 2021 NFL season would be a bit of a reach.

But here we are, five games into the season and wide receiver DeSean Jackson has an incredible 215 yards and one touchdown on seven of 13 catches. In fact, as soon as I saw that level of production, I immediately thought that an average like that if maintained over the course of a season had to be some kind of record, right? Well, it turns out that it is very close to one.

If you’ve seen Jackson catch a bomb or run with the football once he has that football, you know he is still one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the NFL to this day. Now it seems that his level of production is proving it.  And he’s getting better, at least in terms of his average yards per catch.

He’s already had a 75-yard touchdown catch earlier this season. He has just had a 68-yard reception against the Seattle Seahawks. With each game, his average continues to explode. At his current rate, he only needs 33 reception to break a 1000 yard season.  But even now, he is in great company.

Record-setting Rams

1967 Rams receiver Jack Snow made 28 catches for 735 yards to average 26.3 yards per catch. In 1989, the great Rams receiver Flipper Anderson needed just 44 catches to put up 1146 yards. In 1945, in his last year in Cleveland, Rams receiver Jim Benton put up 45 catches for 1067 yards. Now, in 2021, Rams receiver DeSean Jackson has caught seven passes for 221 yards.

Leaders Table
1Don Currivan (27)32.61947BOS
2Jimmy Orr (22)27.61958PIT
3Elbert Dubenion (31)27.11964BUF
4Frank Liebel (25)27.01945NYG
5Warren Wells (26)26.81969OAK
6Jack Snow (24)26.31967RAM
7Bob Hayes+ (27)26.11970DAL
Ron Sellers (22)26.11969BOS
9Flipper Anderson (24)26.01989RAM
Mervyn Fernandez (28)26.01988RAI
11Roger Carr (24)25.91976BAL
12Jimmy Orr (32)25.61968BAL
Ken Kavanaugh (30)25.61947CHI
14Paul Warfield+ (27)25.11970MIA
15Harlon Hill (22)25.01954CHI
16Don Hutson+ (26)24.91939GNB
Alvin Harper (26)24.91994DAL
18Devery Henderson (26)24.82008NOR
19Homer Jones (26)24.71967NYG
20Tony Bova (26)24.61943PHI
21Wesley Walker (23)24.41978NYJ
22Elbie Nickel (26)24.31949PIT
Buddy Dial (23)24.31960PIT
Anthony Carter (26)24.31987MIN
25Ray McLean (27)24.21943CHI
Cliff Branch (28)24.21976OAK
27Roy Jefferson (22)24.11966PIT
Stanley Morgan (23)24.11978NWE
29Eddie Brown (25)24.01988CIN
Bob Hayes+ (28)24.01971DAL
Harlon Hill (24)24.01956CHI
32Ray Renfro (28)23.91958CLE
33Billy Dewell (29)23.81946CRD
John Greene (28)23.81948DET
35Jim Benton (28)23.71945RAM

Provided by View Original Table

Of course, Jackson has not made the record books, not yet. To make this list, there is a minimum of 20 receptions in a season.  To claim 20th place in this NFL record, DeSean Jackson must make at least 13 more receptions and average 21 yards per catch in the remaining 12 games. But to set the All-Time NFL yards per reception record? DeSean Jackson must catch 13 more passes in the remaining 12 games, and put up 439 receiving yards in the process. That means he must average nearly 34 yards per catch for the rest of the season.

Still, with Sean McVay as his head coach, I wouldn’t be too quick to rule that out.

The path to the record books

Doing the math, that works out to just over one catch per game, and with quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing the football, that’s an easy bar to hurdle. The problem is maintaining that average against NFL defenses that have become very good at limiting deep throws.  That’s where the LA Rams‘ vastly talented receivers come in.

Defenses will not be able to key on DeSean Jackson with the likes of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson running to and fro on the football field. That alone should give Jackson ample opportunities to make catches for huge yards.

Setting personal records on the NFL’s All-Time list is not important to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. That’s not why he came to the LA Rams. He came to help the team, and his friend Sean McVay, win Super Bowl LVI.

But that means playing his best football. For a wide receiver blessed with blazing speed, it means taking each reception as far down the field as possible. So while it’s not a personal goal to set the NFL All-Time record for yards-per-reception, that is certainly a way to help the Rams hoist the Lombardi.

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So let’s not get lost in the semantics. This is not about a player going down in the record books for his personal achievement. But for a native son of Southern California, a young man who has returned home to give his all to help the LA Rams win an NFL Championship?  Wouldn’t it be one helluva way to remember this season when it’s all said and done?