Philadelphia Eagles: Just how rare is an Alshon Jeffery drop?

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

There’s no doubt the Philadelphia Eagles’ final drive in New Orleans didn’t go as planned, but just how rarely does Alshon Jeffery drop a pass?

Alshon Jeffery‘s fourth-quarter drop cost the Philadelphia Eagles a win over the New Orleans Saints.

Or, maybe it didn’t. Honestly who cares, as this article isn’t about the effect of the drop, but the drop itself. Mainly: Just how rare is an Alshon Jeffery drop?

Well, let’s take a moment to find out.

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According to Pro Football Focus, Jeffery hauled in 76 passes vs. only six drops over his 15 games, good for a 7.3 drop rate. Statistically speaking, this number ranked fifth on the Eagles behind Josh Perkins (28.6), Josh Adams (22.2), Darren Sproles (11.8), and Wendell Smallwood (9.7), but that should be taken with a grain of salt, as those players combined for 11, 13, 22, and 32 targets respectively.

Jeffery, on the other hand, was targeted 90 times in the regular season (106 overall) and dropped five passes (six overall), for a 7.3 drop percentage. That number ranked first on the team among wide receivers, even if you include Zach Ertz (who’s basically a receiver) who was targeted 62 more times in albeit three additional contests.

League-wide, a 7.3 drop percentage ranks 77th overall. There are plenty of great players, like A.J. Green, Julian Edelman, Calvin Ridley, and Demaryius Thomas who had higher drop percentages than Jeffery, but every single wide receiver set to attend the 2019 Pro Bowl had a drop percentage of 7.2 or lower save Mike Evans, who had a 7.5 drop percentage. Furthermore, Jeffery has the 112th highest drop rating according to Pro Football Focus at 66.7, tied with New York Giants receiver Bennie Fowler.

All and all, that’s not great, but it’s not all bad.

No, while Jeffery’s six drops did lead the team, he only averaged about .4 drops a game and had nine games without a drop throughout the season and has a better PFF Drop Rating than Golden Tate (64.4).

Blame it on his lack of a preseason, ineffective quarterback play, or having played in the Saints game with cracked ribs (seriously, that’s tough), but this was without a doubt a down season for Jeffery, and not particularly indicative of his career averages.

Last season, Jeffery finished out the year with an 81.8 rating, dropping just three balls vs. 69 catches on 131 total targets. That number ranked 11th in the league, two below Golden Tate.

For his career, Jeffery has been targeted 212 times for 122 catches and 28 drops for a PFF Drop Rating of 73.6. That’s not particularly great, but also not super-alarming, as Jeffery isn’t really a possession receiver by trade.

Because of his status as a number one receiver, Jeffery isn’t often tasked with running quick, under routes, or slants, but is instead asked to make big plays down the field. Standing a very formidable 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, Jeffery thrives in 50-50 ball situations, but by their nature, those passes have a tendency to hit the ground, or worse, the hands of defensive backs.

Since entering the league in 2013, Jeffery has hauled in 15 receiving touchdowns while averaging at least one catch of 50-plus yards a year. While he only catches about 57 percent of the balls thrown his way, Jeffery has averaged 67.2 yards on about eight targets a game for his career, with a 14.5 yards per catch average.

So even though Jeffery isn’t a prototypical possession receiver, that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad player. With a unique blend of size, speed, and strength, Alshon Jeffery is actually the Philadelphia Eagles’ best wide receiver overall, even if he could stand to take a few additional sessions on the JUGS machine this offseason.

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