Top 20 drop rates among NFL receivers

Oakland's Michael Crabtree owns the best drop rate in the league. See who else made the top 20.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Top 20 drop rates among NFL receivers

Now that we’re five weeks into the NFL season, the sample size has grown sufficiently enough that we can dig into PFF’s signature stats, pointing out the standouts in hundreds of unique categories.

Let’s check in with the league’s wide receivers to see who has been a sure-handed star, and who has let that stardom slip through their fingers most often. To be considered, receivers needed to have 20 targets to their name; that gives us 61 receivers to compare.


Drop rate: Top 20 NFL receivers

Rank Name Team Targets Receptions Drops Catchable Drop Rate
1. Michael Crabtree OAK 47 27 0 27 0.00
2. Doug Baldwin SEA 26 23 0 23 0.00
3. Travis Benjamin CLE 38 22 0 22 0.00
4. Mike Wallace MIN 24 20 0 20 0.00
5. James Jones GB 23 19 0 19 0.00
6. Jermaine Kearse SEA 23 18 0 18 0.00
7. Darrius Heyward-Bey PIT 25 17 0 17 0.00
8. Tavon Austin STL 22 16 0 16 0.00
9. Lance Moore DET 22 14 0 14 0.00
10. Jeremy Maclin KC 51 36 1 37 2.70
11. Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 44 35 1 36 2.78
12. Calvin Johnson DET 50 32 1 33 3.03
13. Steve Smith Sr. BLT 46 29 1 30 3.33
14. Randall Cobb GB 39 28 1 29 3.45
15. Allen Hurns JAX 35 27 1 28 3.57
16. Golden Tate DET 43 26 1 27 3.70
17. Brandin Cooks NO 40 25 1 26 3.85
18. John Brown ARZ 30 23 1 24 4.17
18. Jamison Crowder WAS 26 23 1 24 4.17
20. Cole Beasley DAL 26 22 1 23 4.35


2009 first-rounders

Coming off a 10-drop campaign in his final season as a 49er, Oakland’s Michael Crabtree is a bit of a shock to be holding down the top spot at this stage. The new Raider has settled in well, and can head into his bye week proud of the fact that he’s nabbed all 27 of the catchable balls that have come his way.

Did I say shock? I take it back, Crabtree’s presence isn’t the shocker. This is: Darrius Heyward-Bey came into Pittsburgh’s 2015 season carrying a career drop rate of 16.5 percent—that includes three separate years in which he failed to haul in more than 20 percent of the catchable balls sent his way. This strong start could be an early look at the vindicating season he’s been in search of for so long.

A torn ACL wiped out Jeremy Maclin’s 2013 season, but the time off may have cured more than just his knee. With hands that hadn’t been among the league’s best before the injury—he averaged nearly seven drops per season—Maclin came from nowhere to finish second on this list in 2014, with just one flub in 86 tries, and he’s setting another great pace in his first season as a Chief.


Past champs

Dallas’ Cole Beasley finished 2014 with the WR group’s lone unblemished record, no drops on 37 catchable passes. He won’t match that effort this season, as he’s already let one get away, but it was just the fourth of his 107 career chances to date.

A drop rate article wouldn’t be complete if Larry Fitzgerald didn’t get a mention. Third behind Beasley and Maclin last year, and first the season before, he’s landed inside the top 10 six times in the PFF-era. His one drop so far this season matches his totals from each of the past two years, and brings his tally to three drops in his last 183 opportunities. Simply amazing.


Three Lions

The Seahawks have two receivers in the top six, the Packers and Cardinals each put a pair in the top 20, but Detroit is the only team represented by three receivers in this group. Lance Moore, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate have combined to successfully handle 75 of 77 catchable balls this year, making it clear that they’re not at the root of the team’s QB troubles.


Editor’s note: To see the receivers with the worst hands this season, click here.

  • Andrew Gunter

    Although he has been better, it should be noted though that Darrius Heyward-Bey did not keep his feet in bounds for an easy touchdown vs Patriots. Should be counted as a drop. No excuse for not keeping feet in there. Note: Martavious Bryant was drop-a-licious at Clemson. It appears the Steelers know how to get WR to catch. “It’s in the gloves,” (Spike Lee voice.) Lol.

    • Sam Doohan

      Yeah, I was thinking exactly that. He’s kept hold of the ball but damn stepping out of bounds drove me nuts in that game.

  • Jaguars28

    Hurns’ hands have definitely improved from last year

  • Drew Dalton

    Where the hell is Jordan Matthews on this list? I swear he’s dropped at least 2 passes per game so far this year. It’s like he’s forgotten how to catch it’s unbelievable.

    • binyomin goldgrab

      Um this list is players who have the LOWEST drop rate. Not the highest.

      • Bob

        reading is hard

    • Bubs Solo


  • Drew Dalton

    Well shit. That explains it then.

  • Josh Stewart

    Give us the bottom 20. I want to see how many Rams receivers are on it lol.

    • Brandon Nanza Sams

      alll except tavon lol leading with cook

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  • Josh Stewart

    Give us the bottom 20. I want to see how many Rams receivers are on it lol.

  • Anthony

    Jeremy Maclin definitley has more than one drop. I really have a problem with a lot of PFF’s metrics.

  • Brandon

    Love seeing J mac on here. Man its obvious who has the work load in KC lol. Guess who were gonna throw it to?