Sometimes when I mention an offensive skill player in a post, someone in the comments writes about the problems that player has with drops. Sometimes these comments have a basis in fact. Almost as often, though, the fan is remembering one particular play at a particular moment and that sticks in his or her mind, giving an impression that the player may not deserve.
So who on the 2014 Redskins deserves the label of being drop prone? Two players stand out in a negative way when it comes to hanging on to passes. The dubious distinction of having the most drops on the team went to Andre Roberts with eight. Only five NFL players had more drops than Roberts; Steve Smith of the Ravens, the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas, and the Panthers’ Kelvin Benjamin led the NFL with 10 each.
It needs to be noted, however that all of the receivers who dropped more passes than Roberts did were targeted a minimum of 98 times. Roberts had only 73 targets. Doing the math, he dropped the ball on 11.0 percent of the times he was targeted. A total of 122 players were targeted 55 or more times last year. Only Roberts had a double-digit drop percentage.
The other Redskins player who had legitimate problems holding on to the ball last year was running back Alfred Morris. He was targeted 26 times and he had six drops. That drop percentage of 23.1 percent was the worst among NFL players who were targeted at least once per game.
Is there a small sample size bias with Morris? Perhaps. In his previous two NFL seasons he had three drops in 28 targets, 10.7 percent. If you roll up his three seasons he has eight drops in 54 targets, 16.7 percent. That’s still well within “butterfingers” territory.
On the other end of the scale for the Redskins was Pierre Garçon. He was targeted 105 times and did not drop a pass. Only the Broncos’ Emmanuel Sanders was targeted more often (141) and also had zero drops.
The second most sure handed Redskins receiver was Jordan Reed. He had just one drop on 65 targets. DeSean Jackson was pretty good at holding on to the ball with three drops on 95 targets. Tight end Niles Paul also had three drops but he was targeted only 52 times.
Looking at players who are no longer on the roster, Roy Helu had 2 drops in 47 targets and Santana Moss had one in ten targets. Leonard Hankerson was active for a few games but did not have a pass thrown his way.
Logan Paulsen dropped two of 16 targets. Chris Thompson (7 targets), Darrel Young (14), Ryan Grant (15), and Silas Redd (10) were not charged with any drops.