Sig. Stat Snapshot: Drop Rate, WRs

A mid-season look at the receivers who are (and aren't) hanging on to the catchable passes thrown their way.

| 5 years ago

Sig. Stat Snapshot: Drop Rate, WRs

Drops. They can kill a team. If you don’t believe me just ask the Chargers. In difficult conditions if Robert Meachem doesn’t drop that ball then it wouldn’t be the biggest leap to say they win in Cleveland.

But he didn’t catch that ball, and they lost. And it’s adding another argument to the case building against Norv Turner.

So you see how big a difference a drop here or there could make. Thus, join us as we look at which wide receivers are dropping the most (and fewest) balls.


I guess the best place to start is with a rundown of who has dropped the most balls. Well, with eight drops, that man salsa dancing to the front is none other than Victor Cruz. It tells you something about what he does the rest of the time that he’s still picking up a heck of a lot of yardage.

Behind him, both Calvin Johnson and Eric Decker have seven drops, while there’s a glut of guys with six. Some of the names included are Wes Welker, Jordy Nelson, and Dez Bryant, but I ask the question: so what? Welker has dropped six balls compared to 60 receptions. Are his six drops worse than the six of Greg Little who has 22 receptions? Of course not, and that’s what led to the creation of our Signature Stat…

The Drop Rate.

If you’re hearing ominous music in the background while you read that, good, because it’s an ominous stat for the guys who are about to feature.

A Little Bit Bad

First let’s see how we get the number. We’ve simply added the receptions a guy has made to the drops he’s had to give a new number called ‘catchable balls’. Then it’s a case of getting a percentage of those drops from the catchable balls. The lower the percent the better. The higher… well, you get the drift. Minimum of 25 catchable balls to qualify.

The man at the top? Well this won’t surprise any Cleveland Browns fans, as Little’s 21.43 drop rate figure leads the way. He might feel a little aggrieved in that MeachemStephen Hill, and Rod Streater all have worse scores but didn’t qualify for this study, but that doesn’t excuse the severe case of the dropsies Little has had. Consolation time? He hasn’t dropped one for three weeks. Progress that warrants acknowledgement.

Elsewhere near the bottom you’ve got Eric Decker (15.56), Santana Moss (14.81), and Calvin Johnson (14.58). Yes, when the world ends all that will be left are cockroaches and the Madden Curse, with Johnson the latest to fall victim to it. If he’s not careful he’ll find himself in Kansas City next year wondering where it all went wrong (shout out to Peyton Hillis).

Anyway, less ramble, more Bottom 20:

#NameTeamTargetsReceptionsDropsCatchableDrop Rate
1 Greg LittleCLV412262821.43
2 Eric DeckerDEN573874515.56
3 Santana MossWAS352342714.81
4 Calvin JohnsonDET734174814.58
5 Brandon LloydNE683764313.95
6 Lance MooreNO503153613.89
7 Victor CruzNYG865286013.33
8 Demaryius ThomasDEN563964513.33
9 Jordy NelsonGB564064613.04
10 Andre JohnsonHST503453912.82
11 Dez BryantDAL624164712.77
12 Nate WashingtonTEN472843212.50
13 Kendall WrightTEN554054511.11
14t Davone BessMIA523243611.11
14t Steve JohnsonBUF623243611.11
16 Mike A. WilliamsTB432532810.71
17t Denarius MooreOAK502632910.34
17t Jeremy MaclinPHI452632910.34
19t Andre RobertsARZ563644010.00
19t Mike WallacePIT573644010.00


Miles Ahead

Not every receiver puts the ball on the ground. In fact there are two guys out there who have yet to drop even a single pass. As you may have guessed from the imaginative heading, one of them is the Cowboys’ Miles Austin. The other? He plays in the NFC East and last year he dropped 13.43% of all passes aimed his way. Yep, I’m obviously talking about DeSean Jackson. There were questions as to how he’d respond to getting paid, but the early signs are very encouraging for the Eagles.

Just below those two guys you’ve got the explosive Percy Harvin, who is more than just a guy who forces missed tackles as you can tell from his one drop on the 61 catchable balls thrown his way. That was good for the third-most impressive score, marginally ahead of James Jones (2.7) and the marks of Anquan Boldin (3.13) and Malcolm Floyd (3.33).

Long live the stick’em! (Allegedly.)

Here are the best 20 scores:

#NameTeamTargetsReceptionsDropsCatchableDrop Rate
1t Miles AustinDAL58340340.00
1t DeSean JacksonPHI51340340.00
3 Percy HarvinMIN75601611.64
4 James JonesGB53361372.70
5 Anquan BoldinBLT49311323.13
6 Malcom FloydSD44291303.33
7 Mario ManninghamSF35281293.45
8 Andrew HawkinsCIN38271283.57
9 Hakeem NicksNYG41261273.70
10 Domenik HixonNYG38251263.85
11 Michael JenkinsMIN41241254.00
12 Larry FitzgeraldARZ78452474.26
13 A.J. GreenCIN70442464.35
14t Antonio BrownPIT58402424.76
14t Roddy WhiteATL56402424.76
16 Michael CrabtreeSF51392414.88
17 Reggie WayneIND87543575.26
18 Danny AmendolaSL46312336.06
19 Jeremy KerleyNYJ47302326.25
20 Vincent JacksonTB59292316.45


So there you have it. Obviously we’re halfway through the season so the sample size is small, and it’s important to note that not all drops are created equal. Our grading takes that into account, but numbers don’t like these subjective elements.

In any case, if you want Drop Rates and other signature stats along with the PFF grades updated within 36 hours of games being played, then what are you waiting for? Sign up for PFF Premium today.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • lightsout85

    Personally I would love to see how “bad” individual drops were (like combining your stats with Advanced NFL Stats’ Win Probability Added (unfortunately they don’t track drops)). Both in the negative of the drop, and the positive that could-have-been if the pass was caught (and perhaps the average-per-drop for each team, who’s being affected most by them, etc). Yes, mostly because I’m a Charger fan and I want to see how bad Meachem (& partially Gates’) drops have been haha.