An explosive wide receiver might get more hype in the lead-up to the NFL Draft than a guy with great hands, but catching ability is certainly important -- great news for Aaron Dobson and Ace Sanders, who didn't drop any passes last year per John Pollard.
We see a lot of 40 times, vertical leap measurements, and other metrics. But often forgotten is the relatively simple question of how good a guy is at catching the ball, often just as much an innate talent as being fast or tall.
However, the stats on someone's catching ability aren't widely publicized. Which is why it's nice that Pollard tweeted out his list of top prospects who dropped the ball least often in 2012:
Back on the grid. Top prospect WRs ranked by best (lowest) Drop %. Min 40 Pass Targets in 2012. twitter.com/JPSTATS/status…— JohnPollard (@JPSTATS) March 29, 2013
The presence of Marshall's Dobson on a list highlighting one's hands should really not be a surprise. Reminder: he once did this:
Dobson also runs a 4.4 40, per his times at Marshall's pro day, and is 6'3 with clear leaping ability, so it's a little bit shocking he's just a second or third-rounder based on pure metrics when you consider how great his hands are.
Sanders probably has better upside as a punt or kick returner -- being 5'7 doesn't really help his cause -- but it's good to know he's sure-handed as a receiver.
Quinton Patton's numbers -- just one drop, apparently, on 158 targets -- is pretty impressive as well. It's also not surprising to see likely first-rounder Tavon Austin towards the top of the list, although the 5'8 West Virginia product is better known for his dynamic speed than his hands.
On the other side of the equation, Pollard said that Tennessee's Justin Hunter was last on his list, with a drop rate of 12.1 percent -- meaning over one in every 10 catches he got his hands on ended up on the ground, which is not a good number. Pollard shared that Early Doucet was the only NFL receiver whose drop rate was higher this past season, bad news for a likely second-day pick.