Since I have inadvertently been targeting the Oakland Raider receiving corp by pondering the merits of Plaxico Burress and SanJay Lal I figured I would keep it going with a look into the catching ability of the Raiders top-three receivers. Pro Football Focus charts the Drop Percentage of NFL receivers.
To qualify for their study a wide receiver had to have 50 catchable balls (receptions + drops). There were 55 receiver who qualified in 2010. They posted the top 15 and the bottom 15. Jump over to see if any Raiders made the list....
The Raiders did not have one receiver qualify for this list, which is a problem in itself, but for another day. Drops is an unofficial stat, and I do not have access to the drop numbers on PFF. However, the Raiders leading wide receiver, in terms of catches in 2010, was Louis Murphy with 41. Had he had enough drops to qualify him he would have easily made the bottom 15.
I moved onto the Washington Post, they chart drops, to try and get an idea where the Raiders receivers would fit on this list. I looked at Murphy, Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Louis Murphy was given credit for three drops. That gives him a drop percentage of 6.7 percent. That is a rock solid percentage. It would actually place Murphy just outside of the top 15. Andre Johnson was 15th with a 6.5 percentage.
DHB had three drops and 26 catches—a drop percentage of 10.3. This is a not a horrible drop percentage. It is good enough to keep DHB out of the bottom 15. The first guy on the bottom 15 is the Giants Steve Smith who had a 11.1 drop percentage.
Jacoby Ford had five drops and 25 catches—a drop percentage of 16.7. And that is not a good percentage at all. In fact, only two of the 55 measured were worse. The Panthers Steve Smith (17.9) and DeSean Jackson (19.7).
So, take this study for what you will. This does nothing to judge the accuracy of route running, adjustment to the ball while it is in flight, and the ability to get open. What it does tell us is that DHB's hands are improving a bit. Now, hopefully he can focus on route running and attacking the ball. Hopefully now DHB can just go out and play football.
It also tells us that Jacoby Ford has a fairly easy fix that will lead to improvement. Ford is a natural pass catcher. I would attribute his drops more on the concentration side of things than ability. As he gets more comfortable in the NFL and the offensive system it is easy to project that he will improve this number.