Cecil Shorts III had a hell of a season for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. His 979 yards are the closest a Jaguar receiver has gotten to the elusive 1,000 yard mark since Jimmy Smith broke through in 2005. His pursuit for 1,000 yards – one of the few highlights of the Jags’ terrible 2-14 season – was unfortunately cut short by concussions.
But he could have had it all the same.
Pro Football Focus calculated the drop rate of NFL wide receivers this season. While Shorts didn’t have the highest number of dropped balls (thank you Wes Welker) or even finished in the top 10, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The drop rate is the total number of dropped balls plus the number of caught balls to give you a catchable balls number. Divide the number of drops by catchable balls and multiply by 100 to get the drop rate.
For Shorts: 9 dropped balls +55 receptions = 64 catchable balls
9/64*100 = 14.06%
Shorts’ 14.06% was good enough for sixth in the league in dropped ball rate. He finished behind such formidable receivers as Donnie Avery, TY Hilton, and Greg Little. While Justin Blackmon tended to get more attention for his mistakes (when you’re picked fifth overall you have a bullseye on your back), his drop rate of 11.11% was better than Shorts’.
The Jaguars did not manage to land anybody in the top 10 most sure handed receivers (a list topped by Jason Avant with no drops). However, the most sure-handed receiver for the Jaguars was actually Jordan Shipley who dropped only 8% of the passes thrown to him. With only 25 catchable balls, the sample size is a little small. He is the only Jaguar receiver with over 14 receptions to have a drop rate below 10% though. Of the receivers with more impact, tight end Marcedes Lewis managed the lowest drop rate by dropping 10.34% of catchable balls.
All in all, the Jaguars receiving corps, while performing better, can definitely improve more. Jerry Sullivan did wonders for the young guys in his first season and if he gets a shot at a second season with the team their numbers should only improve.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims