Buckeye fans may have expected it, but Michael Thomas took the NFL by storm in just his rookie year. Thomas broke the Saints rookie record for receptions and touchdown catches, but it turns out his season was much more historic than that.
According to Football Outsiders, Thomas had the best rookie season of any wide receiver since Randy Moss.
Only one rookie wideout ever caught more passes than Thomas did last year: Anquan Boldin, who had 101 with the Cardinals in 2003. Thomas' yards and touchdowns were also among the top 20 rookie numbers of all time. It all looked like a very good year on a very good offense, but on the surface not anything that we had never seen before.
What we didn't realize, though, was that Thomas had done all this on just 121 targets. That gave him a catch rate of 76 percent, second-best of the 93 qualifying wide receivers this season. Dallas' Cole Beasley was first at 77 percent, but Thomas averaged 12.4 yards per catch, compared to Beasley's 11.1.
Put all that together and you get 429 receiving DYAR, and that's not just the second-best for a wide receiver this year, it's the best of any rookie wide receiver we have ever measured, just slipping ahead of Randy Moss' 428 DYAR in 1998.
And his rookie performance was arguably the third-best of Ohio State's 2016 draft class. There must be something in the water in Columbus.