Stefon Diggs was one of the best pass catchers per Next Gen Stats

Bills receiver Stefon Diggs celebrates his 19-yard touchdown catch in a 26-15 win over the Steelers.Jg 121320 Bills 3
Bills receiver Stefon Diggs celebrates his 19-yard touchdown catch in a 26-15 win over the Steelers.Jg 121320 Bills 3 /

There was no question that Stefon Diggs was the best wide receiver last year in his first season with the Buffalo Bills. He finished the year first in the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535).

However, some could discredit those numbers by also pointing to the fact that Diggs finished first in the NFL with 166 targets. This was six more than DeAndre Hopkins, who finished second, and 19 more than Keenan Allen, who finished fifth last year.

Recently, Nick Shook at wrote an article that provided more evidence to just how good Stefon Diggs was last year and why he was the best pass catching wide receiver with the help of Next Gen Stats.

Shook put together a list of the Top 10 pass catchers by looking at the difference between catch rate and expected catch rate, which is the average completion probability when targeted, this past year. While Diggs didn’t finish first, that went to Green Bay Packers’ tight end Robert Tonyan, he did finish second and was the highest-rated wide receiver.

"Diggs was the only qualifying receiver to break 11 percent, and did so with an interesting combination of tactics. Diggs recorded the most receiving yards (685) on play-action targets in the NFL, and also caught 50 passes for 490 yards on hitch routes — a simple 5-yard, start-and-stop route designed to deliver passes quickly to the receiver when opposing defenses are typically playing softer coverage."

While it was Josh Allen who garnered most of the headlines last year with his improved play, he wouldn’t have been able to have the season he did with Stefon Diggs. The Bills quarterback had improved every year but was lacking that true number one wide receiver that he could go to in essentially any situation.

This is the role that Diggs filled last year and it was evident in what Shook noted about how the Bills wide receiver was utilized last year between play action passes and hitch routes. Those two situations alone accounted for 77% of all of Stefon Diggs receiving yards last year.

Next. 5 Buffalo Bills set to breakout in 2021. dark

The franchise quarterback and the star wide receiver are now entering this second year playing together and their familiarity and understanding of each other should continue to grow. This should help them to pick up right where they left off last year.