Sig Stats: Drop Rate, TEs

Khaled Elsayed revisits Drop Rate with a look at which tight ends proved their hands were up to snuff in 2013.

| 3 years ago

Sig Stats: Drop Rate, TEs

2013-DropRateTEsWhile free agency quiets down and the draft remains six weeks away, we figure we might reach out to NFL fans with some of our unique Signature Stat-based articles. A bridge between our grades and conventional stats, the aim is to embrace the use of numbers in examining areas of importance, but adding a greater degree of context than what is currently out there.

Yesterday we looked at The PFF Drop Rate for Wide Receivers? Well today we’re moving on to tight ends.

Often, receivers have been lambasted for their numbers of drops and while that can be fair game, how can we compare one person dropping 20 balls when he is thrown 150, to another dropping six when he is thrown 40? Well what we’ve done is create a few numbers to really answer which receivers have the best hands. Firstly we’ve created the catchable balls number which adds up catches and drops. We then collect a percentage of how many drops a receiver had by their catchable balls, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a drop rate. The best metric out there for determining the hands of tight ends.

To qualify a tight end needed to be thrown at least 30 catchable balls, leaving a field of 36.

Winslow for the Win

Can Kellen Winslow II really just be 30 years of age? It’s such a shame to see the impact injuries have had on the once unstoppable receiving threat, with the glimpses of that talent all too few. But after spending most of 2012 out of the league he did, at least, return and show off some excellent hands. He was the only tight end not to drop any passes, even if his low total (of 31) gives him something of a sample size advantage. He may be unemployed right now but any team thinking of picking him up can at least be sure this is an area of his game on song.

In second spot sophomore Colt Coby Fleener tried to lessen the loss of every-down wrecking ball Dwayne Allen with some silky work as a receiver. He dropped just the one pass in the regular season, in what was something of a breakout year for him after a disappointing rookie season. By virtue of catching more balls he just finished above Zach Miller, John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph who also only dropped one pass.

# Name Team Drops Catchable Drop Rate
1  Kellen Winslow NYJ 0 31 0.00
2  Coby Fleener IND 1 53 1.89
3  Zach J. Miller SEA 1 34 2.94
4  John Carlson MIN 1 33 3.03
5  Kyle Rudolph MIN 1 31 3.23
6  Martellus Bennett CHI 3 68 4.41
7  Tony Gonzalez ATL 4 87 4.60
8  Rob Gronkowski NE 2 41 4.88
9  Zach Ertz PHI 2 38 5.26
10  Garrett Graham HST 3 52 5.77
11  Julius Thomas DEN 4 69 5.80
12  Lance Kendricks SL 2 34 5.88
12  Andrew Quarless GB 2 34 5.88
14  Jordan Cameron CLV 5 84 5.95
15  Brandon Myers NYG 3 50 6.00


Dickson Downside

Down at the other end of things Ed Dickson didn’t help his free agent stock by dropping five of the 30 catchable balls thrown his way. An in-line blocker who struggles in this regard, there was little surprise when the Ravens opted to let him hit the open market after a number of opportunities spurned. Still, at least he wasn’t costing the team an arm and a leg, like say Jared Cook. The Rams paid him big to be an impact player, not drop eight of 59 catchable balls to give him the second worst drop rate of all tight ends. Far from ideal.

# Name Team Drops Catchable Drop Rate
36  Ed Dickson BLT 5 30 16.67
35  Jared Cook SL 8 59 13.56
34  Mychal Rivera OAK 5 43 11.63
33  Dallas Clark BLT 4 35 11.43
31  Rob Housler ARZ 5 44 11.36
31  Tyler Eifert CIN 5 44 11.36
30  Logan Paulsen WAS 3 31 9.68
29  Charles Clay MIA 7 76 9.21
28  Brandon Pettigrew DET 4 45 8.89
27  Vernon Davis SF 5 57 8.77
26  Scott Chandler BUF 5 58 8.62
25  Brent Celek PHI 3 35 8.57
24  Antonio Gates SD 7 84 8.33
23  Jordan Reed WAS 4 49 8.16
22  Delanie Walker TEN 5 65 7.69


As with all signature stats they aren’t exhaustive in what they explain. Not every drop is the same in terms of importance or difficulty. It’s why our grading always trumps any pure number out there. In any case with a PFF Premium membership, at just $26.99, you’re fortunate enough to get both the numbers and the grades. For now enjoy these numbers.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

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