Nov 13, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett (80) makes a catch against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Bears Have the Best Pass Catcher in the NFL - and It's Not Brandon Marshall

The Chicago Bears have the best pass catcher in the NFL, and it’s not who you might think it is.  No, it’s not Brandon Marshall, which is the first name that would pop into your mind.  It’s Earl Bennett, the most sure-handed wide receiver in the NFL.  I’m not just pulling this out of thin air, the guys at Pro Football Focus conducted a study of drop rate over the last three years and Bennett bested such big names as Larry Fitzgerald (2), Reggie Wayne (6) and Anquan Boldin (13).  To view the complete list, go here.

Bennett had just 4 drops out of 127 “catchable” balls for a drop rate of just 3.15%.  Larry Fitzgerald had 9 drops in more than double the number of chances (275 catchable balls) for a drop rate of 3.27%.  That’s pretty damned impressive.  And in case you were wondering, the guys at PFF define what is considered catchable.

What comes as a surprise is that the Bears’ top offseason acquisition Brandon Marshall shows up in the team photo for the most drops and worst drop percentage.  Marshall was third in the league over the last 3 years with 419 targets, just behind Wes Welker and Roddy White.  303 of the 419 balls going his way were deemed catchable.  Marshall actually had the most drops in the NFL in that span with 35, but when you calculate the drop rate as a percentage of the total catchable balls, Marshall dropped 11.6% of his catchable targets.  That ranks him as the tenth worst in the league.

Here’s the full list including king of the drops Roy Williams (yes, our Roy Williams from 2011 with 14.6%):

Rank Player Current Team Drops Catchable Drop Rate
1 Roy E. Williams FA 19 130 14.62%
2 James Jones GB 20 139 14.39%
3 Mike A. Williams TB 20 149 13.42%
4 DeSean Jackson PHI 25 193 12.95%
5 Brandon Gibson SL 18 141 12.77%
6 Terrell Owens FA 18 145 12.41%
7 Donald Driver GB 22 179 12.29%
8 Randy Moss SF 15 126 11.90%
9 Dwayne Bowe KC 26 225 11.56%
10 Brandon Marshall CHI 35 303 11.55%
11 Michael Crabtree SF 22 195 11.28%
12 Mario Manningham SF 19 174 10.92%
13 Pierre Garcon WAS 22 206 10.68%
14 Santana Moss WAS 24 233 10.30%
15 Devin Hester CHI 14 136 10.29%

It’s also interesting and should come as no surprise that Devin Hester made the Top 15 with 14 drops in 136 catchable attempts in the last three years.  Jay told you he wasn’t a “go up and get it guy.”  So for all the preseason hype and love that Marshall and Hester are getting, watch out for Earl Bennett, who stands to  benefit most by the addition of Marshall and could have a breakout season.


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