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Arizona Cardinals had 2nd-best drop rate in 2013

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The Arizona Cardinals had the 2nd best drop rate in the NFL last year

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to SportingCharts.com 413 NFL players caught a pass in 2013. Overall there were 11,057 receptions and 17,746 passes thrown. That means the league "average" was 345 receptions and a 62% completion rate. Both those numbers surprised me as I couldn't help think of the NFL teams led by guys like Josh Weeden, Case Keenum and Geno Smith, all of whom completed less then 56% of their passes.

Taking this data I wanted to see how the Cardinal's WRs, TEs and RBs compared to their respective positions and to the NFL offensive skill players at large. First, I broke down the skill players separately and found their averages and then broke it down by team. This data is from 2013 but I edited the Cardinals roster adding John Carlson and Tedd Ginn to the roster for fun. Dropped passes is already an inexact science and adding Carlson and Ginn gives a sneak peek at what we may expect from our offensive skill players this year.

Wide Receivers versus League:

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Average

35

3

61

57%

5%

For the Cardinals seven WRs caught a pass. The numbers lay out like this:

Player

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Michael Floyd

65

5

112

58.00%

4.50%

Ted Ginn Jr.

36

3

68

52.90%

4.40%

Larry Fitzgerald

82

2

134

61.20%

1.50%

Kerry Taylor

22

1

34

64.70%

2.90%

Andre Roberts

43

1

76

56.60%

1.30%

Jaron Brown

11

0

18

61.10%

0.00%

Brittan Golden

4

0

10

40.00%

0.00%

Average

38

2

65

56%

2%

From the chart we can see that the Cardinals WRs are way better than average in dropped passes. Ted Ginn often gets criticized for his drops but these numbers tell a different tale. And as always Fitzgerald continues to show he has the best hands in the NFL. (Only six players in the NFL had less then a 2% drop rate and were targeted over 100 times).

Running Backs versus League:

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Average

19

1

25

74%

7%

Cardinals RBs:

Player

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Andre Ellington

39

4

58

67.20%

6.90%

Rashard Mendenhall

18

1

21

85.70%

4.80%

Alfonso Smith

10

0

13

76.90%

0.00%

Stepfan Taylor

8

0

9

88.90%

0.00%

Average

19

1

25

80%

3%

It appears that either Palmer is very accurate in his short throws and/or that the Cardinal's RBs have very good hands compared to the rest of the league. Also just to point out how perception can shape things, Ellington dropped just as many passes as Housler.

Tight Ends versus League:

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Average

24

1

38

63%

5%

Cardinals TEs:

Player

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Rob Housler

39

4

57

68.40%

7.00%

John Carlson

32

1

47

68.10%

2.10%

Jim Dray

26

1

32

81.30%

3.10%

Jake Ballard

7

0

9

77.80%

0.00%

Average

26

2

36

74%

3%

Last off season when I watched Palmer's game tape I noticed he loved to through to his TE Brandon Myers. Myers had a career year in 2012 and since leaving Oakland and Palmer he has been below average statistically. Now that Palmer has a retinue of TEs we may see some excellent numbers from the TE position and improved play from Palmer now that he actual talent at his go-to position to throw to. Carlson may be a TE fantasy sleeper in PPR leagues...

Team versus League:

Recs

Drops

Targets

Comp %

Drop %

Average

27

2

43

64%

5%

Cardinals Entire Team:

Player

Recs

Drops

Targets

Catch %

Drop %

Michael Floyd

65

5

112

58.00%

4.50%

Andre Ellington

39

4

58

67.20%

6.90%

Rob Housler

39

4

57

68.40%

7.00%

Ted Ginn Jr.

36

3

68

52.90%

4.40%

Larry Fitzgerald

82

2

134

61.20%

1.50%

John Carlson

32

1

47

68.10%

2.10%

Jim Dray

26

1

32

81.30%

3.10%

Kerry Taylor

22

1

34

64.70%

2.90%

Andre Roberts

43

1

76

56.60%

1.30%

Rashard Mendenhall

18

1

21

85.70%

4.80%

Jaron Brown

11

0

18

61.10%

0.00%

Jake Ballard

7

0

9

77.80%

0.00%

Alfonso Smith

10

0

13

76.90%

0.00%

Stepfan Taylor

8

0

9

88.90%

0.00%

Patrick Peterson

6

0

8

75.00%

0.00%

Brittan Golden

4

0

10

40.00%

0.00%

28

1

44

68%

2%

As a team the Cardinals (including Carlson and Ginn) were are above average in all of their numbers and most importantly for this article the Cardinals had a 2% drop rate compared to 5% for the league. Also I highlighted Peterson because while he didn't make huge plays, he had a high completion rate when thrown to him.

Full Team Rating

Team

Avg Drops

Targets

Catch %

Drop %

SD

1.08

44.58

71%

1.6%

ARI

1.44

44.13

68%

2.4%

SEA

1.00

33.83

69%

2.6%

BAL

1.93

43.71

66%

3.4%

HOU

1.85

47.38

62%

3.6%

DEN

3.18

60.82

72%

3.6%

GB

1.29

39.64

70%

4.2%

NO

1.15

49.46

68%

4.2%

MIN

1.33

40.25

62%

4.2%

TB

1.57

32.57

66%

4.5%

TEN

1.57

37.29

66%

4.6%

CLE

2.67

48.20

59%

4.8%

OAK

1.86

35.79

61%

4.8%

NE

2.73

41.53

62%

5.1%

DAL

2.08

48.25

70%

5.1%

KC

2.21

40.00

60%

5.3%

MIA

2.18

53.18

65%

5.6%

STL

2.50

41.83

64%

5.8%

NYJ

1.43

32.93

62%

6.0%

ATL

2.08

49.54

73%

6.1%

PHI

1.42

41.25

65%

6.1%

NYG

1.80

37.07

57%

6.2%

CIN

2.70

57.30

63%

6.2%

JAC

1.87

36.67

62%

6.4%

CAR

2.25

49.25

73%

6.5%

IND

1.92

40.15

63%

7.2%

Was

2.46

46.00

55%

7.3%

SF

1.46

29.08

58%

7.4%

PIT

1.86

41.14

64%

7.6%

CHI

3.38

70.00

67%

8.2%

BUF

2.23

39.77

60%

8.7%

DET

3.29

46.14

56%

10.1%

Overall Arizona ranked 8th in actual dropped passes, 9th overall in completion percentage and 2nd overall in drop percentage. Looking at these numbers I believe that the Cardinals will again be a top tier in drop rate and the claims of Palmer may be substantiated in that in general the Cardinals offense is loaded with receivers with good hands.

(If for any reason you want the Excel sheet I made to this please let me know and I can email it to your SB Nation profile email)