Pro Football Focus has been continuing their off-season research and did an article today about wide receiver drop percentage. They tallied up the number of drops, divided it by the number of catchable balls thrown his way and ta da...
The news for the Eagles is mixed. By their calculation, DeSean Jackson dropped 19.67% of the catchable passes thrown his way, which is the worst percentage in the NFL. I think we all knew that Jackson dropped a lot of catchable balls last year, but almost 20% of them? That's a shockingly high percentage.
They counted 12 drops last year from 61 catchable balls. That could also help explain that while his yardage was only down slightly last year, he caught 16 fewer passes. He did appear in one less game, but clearly his numbers could have been dramatically improved had his hands been a little better.
In fact, let's make a crude calculation about what Jackson's drop could have cost the Eagles last season. He averaged a ridiculous 22.5 yards per catch last season. So if we applied that average to his drops last year, that was potentially 270 yards left on the field. He also caught about one TD per 12 catches. So, if he improves his hands, you can only imagine the kind of rise in production we could see from him.
All that said, it should be noted that Jackson is hardly the only pro bowl caliber WR who has a problem with drops. The rest of the bottom five as far as drop percentage over the past three years include Braylon Edwards, Dwayne Bowe, Terrell Owens & Randy Moss. All pro bowlers.
The good news for the Eagles is that Jason Avant has the 6th lowest drop percentage in the NFL over the past three seasons.