Brent Celek has received plenty of positive pub this offseason.
Coming off a 2009 campaign in which he blew away expectations (76 catches for 971 yards and 8 TDs), he's quickly emerged as one of the faces of this young Eagles' offense.
But Celek got a mention earlier this week for something not so flattering: drops.
Our friend over at Football Outsiders, Bill Barnwell, made me aware of a post he put up yesterday, examining league-wide drops during the 2009 season.
According to the FO's crew of game-charters, Celek tied 49ers tight end Vernon Davis with the most drops in the NFL last season with 12.
The only other receiver with double-digit drops was Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe.
Barnwell took a look at combined numbers from 2008 and 2009. During that period, Celek dropped 11.3 percent of the passes thrown to him, the second-highest percentage among tight ends, behind only Donald Lee.
A couple notes from my perspective here.
One is that number of drops varies depending on which site you're looking at. For example, STATS.com also keeps the stat, and acccording to them, Celek had nine drops last season, not 12. According to Pro Football Focus, Celek had eight drops. Given the relatively small number we're dealing with, a drop here or a drop there can really make a difference in percentages.
Also, I went through my Man Up pieces to remember when Celek suffered his thumb/hand injury. Here's what I wrote after the Eagles' Week 12 win over the Redskins:
I think I caught the play where he got injured. Celek caught a ball over the middle early in the third quarter, and then was hit. The ball popped loose, but he held on. After that, we saw him really struggle, although give Celek credit for his toughness.
He had just two catches the following week. I'm not trying to make excuses for the guy, but that should be taken into account.
Getting back to Barnwell, another stat his crew tracked was unforced errors. These errors were defined as ones when the receiver was "Uncovered or up against the vaunted Hole In Zone." By Football Outsiders' count, DeSean Jackson led all receivers in this category with four unforced errors last season.
So what's the bottom line here? Celek and Jackson are among the few sure things on the 2010 Eagles. They are both playmakers, and based on the old eyeball test, they more than made up for the drops last year with spectacular plays.
Still, I always like to see how the Birds stack up in the different statistical categories that Football Outsiders measures.