Detroit Lions pass catchers stood out in one area this season

SideLion Report

There was good and bad for the Detroit Lions pass catchers this season, but they did stand out in one category.

A thin Detroit Lions wide receiver corps got thinner when 2021 free agent signings Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman didn’t even make it through Week 1 healthy or on the roster. Perriman was cut before the season started, while Williams was injured in the season opener and eventually waived with an injury settlement.

On the positive side, rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown was a draft steal and became a star late in the season. Kalif Raymond was also solid (48 catches for 576 yards; 11.2 yards per punt return), and Josh Reynolds averaged 16.1 yards per catch after being claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans. Before suffering a collarbone injury in Week 5, Quintez Cephus was playing well.

St. Brown’s emergence and Reynolds’ arrival, with the latter’s history with him from time together with Los Angeles Rams, coincided with quarterback Jared Goff’s improvement late in the season.

Lions’ pass catchers stood out in one category

Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ website is putting out 2021 season reviews for each of the team’s position groups. Wide receivers were the evaluation group released on Friday, and the key stat Twentyman cited may be surprising.

Key stat: The Lions were credited with dropping only 14 passes all season, per STATS INC. Their drop percentage of just 3.4 percent ranked sixth best in the NFL. St. Brown was credited with dropping just one pass all season on 119 targets.

According to STATS Inc. the Lions had 14 drops all season, good for the sixth-best drop rate in the NFL (3.4 percent). St. Brown’s reliability is not breaking news. But Raymond’s drop rate (three in 71 targets; 4.2 percent according to Pro Football Reference) was also good, and he was clearly the second-most targeted wide receiver on the team (fourth-most targets overall). The insinuation of the drop rate state (with specificity to position not made clear) is that it includes all Lions’ pass catchers, not just wide receivers. But regardless, pretty good.

The Lions couldn’t afford to leave ungained yardage on the field via avoidable mistakes in a 3-13-1 campaign. Catching the ball as reliably as they did was helpful.

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