Golden Tate was an under the radar signing for Detroit last season and Martin Mayhew proved again he can find diamonds in the rough. The dual sport athlete, who was drafted twice in the MLB draft but never signed, has all the attributes to continue to succeed in the NFL.
In his first year in Detroit, Golden Tate surpassed all expectations in route to a 99 catch 1331 yard 4 touchdown season. He took over as the #1 receiver when superstar Calvin Johnson went down with an ankle injury and did not miss a beat with Matthew Stafford. After breaking out last year and achieving his first selection to the Pro-Bowl a lot of people are questioning if he can do it again, but those haters are wrong.
In his first four years in the league Tate was underutilized in Seattle and never received over 100 targets and averaging only 572 yards. After improving every year, his best season with Seattle was his last in 2013 with 64 catches on 98 targets and 898 yards with 5TD. Digging a little deeper, although he didn’t pile up the stats in his last two years in Seattle, he still was a top 20 receiver according to PFF. In his third season, where he averaged 15.3 yards per catch, he graded at 8.5 which was good for #19 in the league. In his fourth season he continued to improve and finished with a grade of 8.8 for position #18 with the biggest statistic being his astounding 2% drop rate which was 8th among all receivers. In his first season with Detroit he actually declined in overall performance with a 4.4 total at #25 overall due to his -3.5 blocking rating.
Tate is elite after he gets the ball in his hands. He led the league with 709 yards after the catch which was aided by his league leading 20 missed tackles. Golden Tate’s 99 catches were good for 5th in the league behind only Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones and Emmanuel Sanders. He was also 7th in yards and with a 7.4 grade from Pro Football Focus he landed at #16 in passing plays for wide receivers. In addition he only had a ridiculous two dropped passes on 144 targets good for a 1.4% drop rate. With receivers over 100 targets he came in 3rd behind only Keenan Allen and Jeremy Maclin. As Matthew Stafford improves his accuracy could this number could drop even lower this year?
Golden Tate is currently the 21st receiver taken off the board at the end of the 4th round in 12 man PPR leagues which is crazy in my eyes. Coming in at #12 in .5 PPR leagues last year Golden is a steal at his current draft spot. He is a proven PPR commodity and will continue to put up 3rd round production in Detroit’s all out aerial assault offense. At age 26 Tate is a great dynasty target as he still has plenty of great years in front of him after being limited in his first four years and has never missed a game due to injury.
As Calvin Johnson is fully healed from his list of ailments, defenses will have no choice but to give him the All-Star treatment and double team him almost every play leaving one-on-one coverage for Tate to feast on once again. With the development of Eric Ebron and the off-season acquisitions of Ameer Abdullah and Lance Moore the Lions will continue to stretch the field on every play and leave lots of open space for Tate to continue to eat up his league leading YAC.