Lions need receivers with a good pair of hands

Posted Mar 6, 2014

The Lions have been among the lead leaders in dropped passes the last few seasons

The Detroit Lions are in the market for a receiver. Actually, they're probably looking for at least two new pass catchers to pair with All Pro Calvin Johnson.

The Lions released veteran receiver Nate Burleson last month, and receiver Ryan Broyles is coming off his third season ending leg injury in as many years.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian didn't want to speculate on who the Lions might be targeting when free agency begins next week or when the NFL Draft kicks off in May.

But he did say the formula for what Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is probably looking for hasn’t changed from the time he spent with him in Indianapolis.

“I will tell you this, Jim wants them to be smart, fast and physical,” Polian said. “And that isn’t going to change no matter what the system may be.

“We placed, in conjunction with Jim, a very, very high value on guys who had really good hands, who caught the ball consistently well.”

It’s something the Lions have struggled with for a number of years now.

Detroit has dropped 204 passes over the last five seasons, according to STATS, LLC, which is the most in the NFL over that span. New England is second on the list with 181. Detroit led the NFL with 44 drops this past season and 45 in 2012 and quarterback Matthew Stafford has seemed frustrated with all the drops.

Stafford needs players around him that can make more plays when he puts the football on them.

“It doesn’t do any good to have a really great passer if you don’t catch the ball consistently well, so I would expect that Jim will at least keep the scouts focused on that.”

It seems like such an obvious concept, but in the era when 40-yard dash times and height and weight measurments are vitally important for receivers, a good pair of hands sometimes doesn’t get the value it should.

When the Lions are looking for receiving help this offseason, drop rates should be just as important a statistic as the others.