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Mike Williams and the Slant Route: Part 2, the Drops

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Clemson v Georgia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Mike Williams week continues. This time, not as positive, maybe. Here’s my question, do we overrate drops? Every drop isn’t equal. I’d say there are three different types. There are focus drops, which every receiver has. Focus drops are where the receiver just takes his eye off the ball in some capacity. Usually, it’s just as the ball is coming into his hands and he turns upfield to run before he has it. Those don’t concern me too much. Contested drops are self-explanatory but important to distinguish. When a defender has a chance to make a play on the ball, do you come up with it? A 50/50 ball, you could say. I don’t want to call it a 50/50 ball because in my experience anything over 40% is terrific. The final type is a technique drop. These are bad. These are when the receiver has his hands the wrong way. Or he lets the ball bounce off his pads. Instead of their index fingers and thumbs touching, they attempt to catch the ball like they’re going to hug somebody.

It’s tough to get a good read on what the drop rate for Williams exactly was. CFB Film room had him at 7.5%. PFF had him a bit lower at 5.7%. Dropping 6 of 105 catchable targets. For reference that’s better than the first 7 receivers that went last year. It would’ve put him 5th among the “top” receivers this year.

Here are the 3 different types of drops.

Watch it all the way in

This first route you see a little burst that seems to catch the corner off guard. There’s another defender coming from a different direction. I don’t think it’s the footsteps that caused this drop.

I believe Williams simply was looking at creating yards after the catch and forgot to secure the ball. While it is certainly frustrating, this falls under a focus drop. It doesn’t bother me.

Good ain’t good enough

This next route falls under the contested drop rate. This is where Williams is going to have to excel even more so than he did at Clemson. Defenders are going to be on his back on these underneath routes. He’s going to have to not only shield them but hold on all the way through to the ground.

This is a good release. It’s good at the top of the route. Williams even catches it away from his frame and shields the defender. He just doesn’t hold on. For him, these drops will be concerning and something for us to keep an eye on.

CFB Film room had Williams catching 18 of his 37 contested targets. I mentioned how anything above 40% is great. So him being at 48% is as good as you can ask. He’ll need to continue to do that at a high level.

Getting your head around

Another route where Williams wins at the top of the route. This time with positioning and strength. This is a bad drop. Not because it’s 3rd down and this is likely a touchdown. But where his hands are at coming out of the break. Here are a couple different angles.

What you’re looking for here is Williams to have his hands up around his chest and ready coming out of his break. His hands are at his waist, giving himself no chance.

It appears the throw had “too much on it” but to me, if Williams has his hands in a ready position he waltzes into the end zone. This is a technique drop. The worst type. One we don’t want to see.

I’ve seen each of his drops. On a positive note, the majority were focus drops. That said, expect to see some as a rookie. It’s going to happen. Especially if Williams is in more contested situations that number might shoot up a little. I’m not too worried about his technique. Which gets me back to my initial question. Are we willing to overlook a certain amount of drops if Williams performs well for a rookie? How about this drop below:

This was on 3rd down and in the end zone. A double whammy. If he puts up 8 touchdowns, nobody will remember if he has 8 drops. It’ll be something to keep an eye out for in whatever role Williams will have next year.