29 Feb 2012
Just in time for the long discussion of the Hall of Fame's wide receiver column that's coming in tomorrow's Walkthrough. The dude seems like a slam dunk to me. You're talking about the all-time Steelers leader in every single receiving category who also has two rings and a Super Bowl MVP trophy. If you want intangibles, he was also regarded for most of his career as the best blocking wide receiver in football. I'm sure the competitive juices still flow inside of Ward and he still wants to play. (He does, according to this statement.) However, how much is he going to help another team? Ward had not put up negative DVOA in any season from 2002 to 2010. Last year he was at a career-low -11.2% DVOA, even though he still had 73 percent catch rate. He is really strictly a short-pass receiver at this point, averaging just 6.2 "air yards" per pass last year. Do you really want your fourth receiver to be a 36-year-old veteran who blocks well but can't run routes past a dozen yards or play special teams?
P.S. Yes, I know Cris Carter isn't in, and other wide receivers, and so on. Like I said, we'll get to that issue in Walkthrough tomorrow. If we can fix the WR backlog problem, I think Ward should go in. Fixing the WR backlog problem is the first issue, of course.
141 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2012, 9:48am by erniecohen
The Wildcats receiver isn't the best athlete you'll ever see, but Matt Waldman says he could be an effective pro with small improvements in his technique.