According to ProFootballFocus.com's Khaled Elsayed, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jordan Shipley led all NFL receivers in dropping the least amount of passes. He was thrown 52 catchable passes and he caught all 52. He dropped zero passes in his rookie season.
It’s not shocking to see that up near the top, we have a couple of guys who do most of their damage in catching shorter, underneath routes. Still, you have to give credit to Jordan Shipley and Earl Bennett for holding onto everything thrown their way. That’s the kind of dependency that should make life a lot easier for a potential rookie starter at quarterback in Cincinnati, and you would think it might make Jay Cutler seem a little less erratic.
With those 52 catches, Shipley accumulated 600 yards and three touchdowns, finishing second among 2010 rookies in receiving yards behind Tampa Bay's Mike Williams.
Shipley's consistency is going to be important for the Bengals offense in 2011, specifically for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who will likely be the starting quarterback once the season begins.
It won't just be the AFC North defenses that send extra pressure at Dalton in passing situations, it will be all defenses. That's how NFL defenses work. Until a quarterback proves that he can burn a defense that sends extra pressure his way, leaving receivers open or in one-on-one coverage, they will continue to send the heat.
A rookie quarterback's best friends in that situation are a good tight end, a solid running game and receiver who can catch everything thrown his way.
So when the Raven send Terrell Suggs or the Steelers send James Harrison Dalton's way, which will happen, Shipley's ability to catch a hurried pass can make or break the Bengals' offense's ability to move the ball down the field.
If the Bengals can pound the ball between the tackles with Cedric Benson, or another running back, on a consistent basis and Shipley's dependability rubs off on Gresham, A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson, the Bengals offense could surprise us in 2011.