When it comes to discussing a pass-catcher's impact, nothing seems to come up more than his ability to catch passes. That is the name of the job, after all.
And in 2015, Bengals receivers were some of the most reliable pass-catchers in football. Improved catch rates could partially be attributed to Andy Dalton's progress as a passer, but most of the credit should go to the receivers themselves, along with James Urban, Cincinnati's wide receivers coach. The Bengals' pass-catchers were nothing short of brilliant in 2015.
Here are the Bengals' drop rates per SportingCharts.com, sorted from most to least drops:
|NFL Drop Rank||Player||Pos||Receptions||Drops||Targets||Targets %||Drop %|
Let's start with the running backs. Jeremy Hill was easily Cincinnati's least effective pass-catcher, hauling in 15 passes on 19 targets with two drops. Hill's 10.5 percent drop rate was the worst on the team, by more than two percent. However, his 78.9% catch percentage was best on the team, given that Dalton was very accurate when throwing Hill's way. Giovani Bernard was utilized more as a pass-catcher, catching 49 passes on 66 targets. Due to Bernard running more routes as a receiver and deeper routes downfield as a back, Dalton was less accurate when targeting the team's number two running back. But, Bernard still dropped four passes, leading to a somewhat unsatisfactory 6.1 percent drop rate, which ranks 59th worst in the league. Rex Burkhead caught 10 of 15 passes thrown his way, although all five passes that weren't completed were attributed to missed throws, giving Burkhead a 0 percent drop rate.
At tight end, Ryan Hewitt, like Burkhead, did not drop a single pass. Hewitt caught eight of his 12 targets. Tyler Kroft caught 11 of his 15 targets, only dropping one pass for a catch rate of 6.7 percent. Finally, starting tight end Tyler Eifert caught 52 of his 74 targets, dropping six passes. His main struggles came in the Bengals' loss to the Texans when he dropped four passes, but outside of that performance, he was spectacular. Eifert caught over 70 percent of his targets with a drop rate of 8.1 percent.
Cincinnati's wide receivers were fantastic in 2015. A.J. Green and Marvin Jones led the Bengals receivers with just two drops apiece. Jones caught 65 of his 103 targets, posting a 1.9 percent drop rate. Green hauled in 86 of 132 passes, with just a 1.5 percent drop rate. Brandon Tate caught two of three passes, the third being a missed throw from Dalton. But the receiver with the best hands in 2015 was Mohamed Sanu, who reeled in 33 of 49 passes without dropping a single ball. Sanu was somewhat known for his drops in 2014, so this was a big improvement for the fourth year player who's about to hit free agency.