Even before he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Clemson, more than just a few analyst were comparing wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the great Randy Moss. Now that the Bryant has effectively played a full season’s worth of games (one was a playoff game), let’s see how he stacks up to the future Hall of Famer through the first 16 games of their careers.
First, keep in mind that Moss played in all 16 regular-season games during his 1998 rookie season. Bryant, on the other hand, only played in 11 in 2014, including the Steelers one playoff game.
Moss caught 69 passes for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first 16 games while Bryant has caught 53 passes for 1,050 yards and 14 touchdowns. While Bryant’s averaged yards per reception number of 19.8 is slightly higher than that of Moss’s 19.0, the latter did edge the former out in catch percentage.
While Bryant is certainly hanging tough with Moss right now early on in his career, keeping pace with him moving forward certainly won’t be easy. In Moss’s second season in the league, he caught 80 passes for 1,413 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his third season, he caught another 77 passes for 1,437 yards and another 15 touchdowns.
Just for fun, I wanted to see how Bryant’s first 16 games stacks up against the first 16 that former Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress played during his career. As you would probably expect, it’s not even a close fight as Burress only caught 32 passes for 392 yards and no touchdowns during his first 16 games played. In fact, Burress’s first touchdown reception didn’t even come until Week 8 of his second season, a 21-yard grab from quarterback Kordell Stewart against the Baltimore Ravens.
The good news is that while Bryant might not be able to keep up with the early-career production that Moss had, he still has a bright future ahead of him and he’s well on his way to becoming one of the best deep threat wide receivers to ever play the game.
Early Career Receiving Stats Comparison Through 16 Games Played