Fun NextGen Stats From NFL Week 1

By Rhys Knott

NextGen stats are always fascinating. They illustrate precisely how freakish athletes NFL athletes are. NextGen provide quantitative values for some of the movements NFL players perform every week. And after the first weekend of the season there are some really fun numbers at the top of their categories.  

NextGen Stats Fastest Ball Carriers

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The fastest two ball carries recorded this weekend were by one person. And nobody will be surprised to find out that the fastest (and second fastest) player in the NFL this week is Tyreek Hill. Hill, who is aiming to notch up 2,000 receiving yards this season, started the season with 215 yards! He caught 11 of 15 targets and two of them were touchdown passes. His 35-yard touchdown reception was the second fastest of his carries. He reached 21.52 mph! His fastest carry of the day was only slightly quicker at 21.66 mph. Current World Champion 100 metre sprinter Noah Lyles’ top speed has been calculated at 27.7 mph, so Tyreek’s fast, but he’s not THAT fast (Hill is three years older though). 

The third fastest carry in week 1, and the fastest by a running back, was by Aaron Jones. 28-year-old Jones showed all those “explosive” rookie running backs how it’s done with a 35-yard touchdown reception against the Bears. 

Unsurprisingly, especially considering that Cris Collinsworth said “their offense is so fast” when talking about them on Sunday Night Football, the fourth fastest carry was by another Dolphins receiver. Jaylen Waddle hit 20.99 mph on a 35-yard touchdown reception of his own. 

Rounding out the top five players is the only defensive player in the top 10. And the only rookie to make the top 16 of the list, Brian Branch’s interception against the Chiefs saw him reach 20.74 mph.  

NextGen Stats "Unexpected YAC"

Yards After the Catch is always an important analytic, it’s how JuJu Smith Schuster and Marques Valdez-Scantling ended up winning Super Bowl rings in Kansas City. But unexpected YAC can turn a game in the offense’s favour. Aaron Jones and Jaylen Waddle had solid starts to the season, and both feature in this top five too. 

Aaron Jones, in fact, is first in this category. His 51 yards reception saw him gain 55 yards after the catch when he was expected to make just 19. His 37 yards over the expected number was nine more than the second-best player. 

CeeDee Lamb, in the beatdown the Cowboys dished out to the Giants, made a 49-yard reception that saw him make 34 yards after the catch. If the Giants defense hadn’t spent the whole game chasing their own tails Lamb would have made the 6 yards he was expected to. But the Giants’ performance was even worse than the weather in New Jersey, so he made 28 yards more than expected. 

Jaylen Waddle was just 4 yards behind Lamb’s number. On a 35-yard reception in Los Angeles Waddle made 30 yards after the catch. Waddle only recorded 34 YAC in the entire game. He was expected to make just 7! 

Michael Pittman and Derrick Henry are tied for fourth in this category with 21 extra YAC. Henry turned what should have been a 28-yard pass into a 49-yard pass in the Titans loss to the Saints. Pittman recorded his 21 extra YAC on a 39 yard touchdown reception. 

NextGen Stats Fastest Sacks  

That’s enough of the flash Harry’s on offense though, what about the people who do the real work, the defense? Well, that’s a very different story, there isn’t a Dolphin or a Packer in sight. 

Brian Burns recorded the fastest sack in week 1 (of course he did, he’s a machine and Ejiro Evero is a genius). The Panthers linebacker made 1.5 sacks in the first quarter against the Falcons. He got to the quarterback in 2.5 seconds dead to record his strip sack. 

Patriots linebacker Matt Judon wasn’t far behind, he got to Jalen Hurts in 2.57 seconds to record his only sack. The Patriots defensive front caused some major confusion and Judon was left unblocked as the right tackle stepped inside to block Kyle Dugger instead. 

The most surprising player on the list appears in the third spot. Free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. finds himself third as he took just 2.84 seconds to sack Kirk Cousins. Winfield is the only defensive back in the top 20! Winfield got the trifecta too, sack, strip and fumble recovery all at once. 

Everyone Loves a Big Man TD

DeForest Buckner doesn’t share many things with Antoine Winfield, but they are both in the top 5 of this list. Buckner stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at around 300 pounds. Winfield Jr is 5 feet nine and weighs a little over 200 pounds. It really is a game for all shapes and sizes. Something else Winfield and Buckner have in common is that they both ended week 1 with a sack, forced fumble and recovery. But Buckner took his to the house (somehow). Buckner got to Trevor Lawrence in 2.87 seconds to create his scoring opportunity. 

Fifth in the list is Cardinals outside linebacker Victor Dimukeje. The Cardinals got to Sam Howell six times in D.C. But the Commanders still ended the game with the victory. In a strange way that game was worrying for both Cardinals fans and Commander’s supporters alike.

Feature Image Credit: Harry How/Getty Images



Rhys has been watching the NFL for 30 something years and still hasn’t managed to pick a team to support. When he’s not fixatED on pass rushers you can find him blithering on about most sports on Twitter @wrhys_writes