Steve Breaston is, in my eyes, one of the Cardinals most important offensive players. He is a player I personally really want to see back in 2011. I think his ability to stretch defenses, his toughness and his attitude are big. He has been a huge surprise in his career. He never was expected to be anything other than a special teams player. He has, though, turned himself into a very productive receiver.
He did not, however, have a great 2010 season. He had an injured knee that was not fully healed until the offseason, but he only logged 47 receptions for 718 yards. The part that stood out to me was where he fell regarding dropped pass percentage, as compiled on Pro Football Focus.
In 2010, Breaston had the sixth worst drop percentage, having dropped 14.55 percent. That was eight drops on the year.
It shocked me because I remember how sure handed he had been in the past. I know the knock on him coming out of Michigan was that he was not that great a receiver. I specifically remember some point during the 2009 season when his sure hands were being the topic of conversation one afternoon on local radio.
So, I looked into it.
In 2009, he was absurdly good. He dropped only two passes the entire year and caught 66 passes. In fact, his first dropped pass came in Week 15 of the season. That comes out to 3.03 percent, lower than Larry Fitzgerald.
Sadly, 2009 was the only such year.
In 2008, he had his finest year catching 90 passes for almost 1200 yards (including the postseason). He also dropped nine passes, giving him a drop rate of 10 percent. Yes, that is better than 2010, but it seems to favor the idea that 2009 was more of the exception.
I want to make sure that it is clear that a high drop percentage does not mean you will not be productive. Some of the biggest names in the game are on the low end of that list. Over three seasons, Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are all on the bottom ten in drop percentage.
But I for one will be rooting for the return of the 2008-2009 version of Steve Breaston. I just hope that I will be rooting for him in Cardinals red.