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Saturday, July 7, 2012
Catches and drops in the NFC North

By Kevin Seifert

Some of you might already be aware of the cool feature running this week over at Pro Football Focus: A three-year study of a performance on a number of levels, including drops and their frequency relative to opportunities.

NFC North players were ranked at the top and bottom of this analysis, so let's take this fine Saturday morning to run through most of them. Remember, drops are an unofficial and subjective statistic that sometimes varies significantly from outlet to outlet. The good thing, as always, is that all players in this study were subjected to the same standard.

THE GOOD

Earl Bennett
Statistic:
Lowest drop rate (3.15 percent) of any NFL receiver
Comment: Bennett dropped four passes in 127 opportunities, partially explaining why quarterback Jay Cutler has so much confidence in him.

Michael Jenkins
Statistic:
Had 12th-lowest drop rate (5.88).
Comment: He had eight drops in 136 opportunities. Jenkins isn't a game-breaker, but is the definition of a reliable possession receiver.

THE BAD

Brandon Marshall
Statistic:
No. 1 overall in raw drops (35).
Comment: Marshall also had the third-most opportunities over that stretch, 303. That made his drop rate 11.55, the 10th-worst mark among receivers.

Brandon Pettigrew
Statistic:
Tied for the most drops (24) and highest drop rate (11.5) of any NFL tight end.
Comment: Pettigrew saw the fifth-most opportunities (208) over the time period. Most everyone would agree he has dropped a few too many.

Jermichael Finley
Statistic:
Fourth-highest drop rate (10.9) among tight ends.
Comment: Finley has vowed to clean up that part of his game.

James Jones
Statistic:
Second-highest drop rate (14.39) among all NFL receivers.
Comment: In total, he dropped 20 of 139 opportunities. His difficulties in 2009 have been well-documented.

Donald Driver
Statistic:
Seventh-most drops (22) and seventh-highest drop rate (12.3).
Comment: At best, Driver will be the Packers' No. 3 or No. 4 receiver this season.

Devin Hester
Statistic:
Had 15th-highest drop rate at 10.3.
Comment: Overall, Hester dropped 14 of 136 opportunities. If he gets more opportunities this season, as promised, well …