I got myself into a hell of a problem today. I tweeted out what was to be the beginning of a thread of tweets and my mentions died a slow and painful death. So what I aim to do with today's piece is clear the air. First off, let me show you the tweet that's been blowing up my phone for an hour now.
What if told you Eric Ebron dropped he same amount of passes as OBJ, Marshall, Dez, Robinson, Cobb, Julio, Deymarius, Evans and Cooper?— Mike Payton (@POD_Payton) August 2, 2016
The easiest and absolutely correct answer to this tweet is Eric Ebron picked up a lot less targets than these guys. No doubt about it, that plays a huge role. I know as well as any Lions fan that Ebron does and has always had an issue with catching the ball. It goes all the way back to his days at North Carolina. I'm also well aware that percentage wise, he finds himself in the top ten among skill players in drops.
The point of this tweet was to start off a thread about how players that are perceived to be superstars are not exempt from drops either. Many great players drop the ball. Calvin Johnson, in fact, had just one less drop than Ebron did in 2015. It just happens. The issue I take is the over magnification of Ebron's perceived habit of doing so. There's no doubt that being drafted so high -- and over guys like Odell Beckham Jr. -- has a great deal to do with this narrative.
But I come to say that while this is indeed a problem that needs to be fixed, it's not at all the career crippling effect that will lead to Ebron becoming a bust, as so many have labeled him to be so early in his career. Going back to Ebron's rookie year with the Lions, he has dropped nine passes according to Sporting Charts.
So let's do a little math here. I know this is Kent's specialty, but I can do a little too. So out of the 117 times that Ebron has been targeted in his NFL career, he's caught the ball 72 times and dropped in nine times and had the ball either fly over his head or hit the dirt 36 times. That means that Ebron has caught the ball 88.9 percent of the time when the pass has been deemed catchable. Now about those nine drops.
Let's do some simple subtraction. Four of those drops were in his rookie year, that leaves five. That seems really bad when you look at it, but what if I told you three of them came in one game? Against the Packers in Green Bay, Ebron had three drops. Which means he only dropped the ball twice in 15 games. But wait, there's more: Ebron didn't have a single drop in the Lions last six games, the same stretch of games when Jim Bob Cooter had taken over and actually used Ebron properly.
So is it a problem or an overreaction? It's both. Yes it needs to be fixed, but it's nowhere near as bad as it seems, and and it's not at all rare. So let the guy play Pokemon Go without repeating the same old tired joke. That's all I was trying to say on Twitter today. Be sure to leave your comments below or continue to flood my mentions @POD_Payton.