Saturday, February 13, 2016

Too many drops for DeSean?

DeSean Jackson led the Eagles in receiving yards (1,056) and yards per catch in 2010 (22.5).

Too many drops for DeSean?

DeSean Jackson led the Eagles in receiving yards and yards per catch in 2010. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
DeSean Jackson led the Eagles in receiving yards and yards per catch in 2010. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

DeSean Jackson led the Eagles in receiving yards (1,056) and yards per catch in 2010 (22.5).

But did he have too many drops?

The crew over at Pro Football Focus says yes. Rather than measuring total drops, they use a simple metric called drop percentage that measures drops per catchable balls. A catchable ball is the total number of drops plus receptions.

According to PFF, Jackson had 12 drops out of 61 catchable balls (including the playoffs) for a drop percentage of 19.67, which ranked dead last among receivers who had at least 50 catchable balls.

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However, my numbers differ. I charted drops all season and had Jackson down for 7, which would give him a drop percentage of 12.5.

Drops are a subjective stat. Two people watching the same play might have different opinions on what constitutes a drop and what does not. It looks like there were five balls throughout the course of last season that I did not consider drops, but PFF did.

Maybe I'm just the blogger equivalent of an easy grader?

For what it's worth, keeps track of drops during the regular season too, and Jackson did not make their list of players with at least seven drops either.

There is value in the simple drop percentage metric though, so here's how the Eagles' top three wide receivers and Brent Celek stacked up last year (playoff game included):

  Catches Drops Drop Percentage
Brent Celek 44 7 13.73%
DeSean Jackson 49 7 12.50%
Jeremy Maclin 73 6 7.59%
Jason Avant 58 4 6.45%

As you can see, Avant had the best hands last year, which comes as no surprise. It's been that way for a few years now.

Celek had the highest drop percentage among this group and had seven total (the PFF analysis only counted wide receivers).

And while Maclin had just one fewer drop than Jackson and Celek, he also had many more receptions, so his drop percentage was much better.

One thing to keep in mind is that this metric only measures hands. There are obviously many more factors to consider when evaluating receivers, such as speed and playmaking ability. Jackson led the league, averaging 22.5 yards per catch and was tied for third with 21 receptions that gained 20 yards or more.

In other words, I don't see the drops as being as big of an issue as some others might.

Perhaps you disagree?

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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