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Steelers Film Room: Martavis Bryant 2013 Dropped Passes


Limas Bryant? Martavis Sweed? Are these fair nicknames already being given to new Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant by several in the fan base?

I have now finished my study of every incomplete pass that was thrown in 2013 to Bryant and of those 23 passes, I have come away with 11 of them that one might deem as a drop.

Here are those 11 plays and let me know in the comments how many should be considered drops and whether or not the Sweed comparison is a fair one.

Bryant’s 2013 season got off to a rough start against Georgia as he came away with zero receptions on three targets. While this first pass is a little low, it’s a catch that Bryant has to make. Consider this drop No. 1.

Later in that same game, Bryant drops another pass that is underthrown. He did, however, have the defensive back beat and had quarterback Tajh Boyd made a better throw, Bryant likely catches the ball in stride for a touchdown. Consider this drop No. 2.

On this route that breaks inside against South Carolina State, Boyd again throws very low. I have slowed this down frame by frame, but it looks like Bryant still should have come up with this catch. There was no replay to judge, so this is a tough call. Consider this drop No. 3.

Against North Carolina State, Bryant fails to come down with this one-handed attempt on a high pass from Boyd. Is it a drop? I say no, but you can be the judge.

This next incompletion against North Carolina State is a result of Bryant double-catching the football and not knowing where he was in relation to the sideline. This is a drop.

Against Boston College, Boyd again underthrows Bryant, who clearly has his defender beat. It’s tough to label this a drop as the defender is into him just before the ball arrives. This play, in my opinion, should have ended in a 65-yard touchdown reception.

This is clearly a drop against Boston College.

I will let you judge this one as I can’t find a replay of it. It’s a fade route by Bryant in the end zone with 34 seconds left in the blowout loss to Florida State. Also, backup Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt was forced to mop this game up. That last name ring a bell?

None of you are going to argue this drop against Citadel. This is very Limas-like. A little long of a throw, but Bryant has to lay out for this. Make the catch first, worry about scoring later.

A miscommunication here against Citadel or did Bryant just not get his head around quick enough? It’s hard to tell. Bryant gets a hand on it and I’ll let you decide if it’s a drop or not.

Finally, in the bowl game against Ohio State, this ball appears to go right through Bryant’s hands. The coverage on this play was fantastic, however, and it would have been one hell of a catch had he made it. Drop worthy?

Bryant is going to drop balls at the NFL level and especially because he only has 9 ½-inch hands and likes to body-catch at times. With that being said, I also think he’s going to make some spectacular plays like he did at Clemson with several of them being explosive in nature. Will Bryant ever be an 80 catch a season receiver? I doubt it, but he can catch 60 passes and 7-10 touchdowns a season starting as soon as 2015. He has a ton of upside and was a steal for the Steelers in the fourth round, in my opinion. We’ll see if he proves me right.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • dennisdoubleday

    Most of those I would not call bad drops. I think he’s going to be a real weapon. I liked the press conference Richard Mann gave about Bryant. He said something like “he is going to produce some red zone matchups where everybody on the field knows where the ball is gonna go but there ain’t a damn thing they can do about it.”

  • steeltown

    Yes there were definitely a couple ugly drops, but just as many ugly passes

  • Deuce22

    I would say 6-7 of those could be considered non-drops based on the throws to the receiver and where he was on the field (sideline, not catchable). So honestly, I think this kid will be special. He’s got the height that Ben has wanted his entire career (after plax). This very well could be the new “fast money” crew and even better. AB, Wheaton, Bryant, and Archer (slotback) makes for one fast set of receivers. I can’t wait to see how this offense turns out this year and many after it!

  • dkoy85

    Hard to say. He looks like he has the tools and with the right QB (Big Ben) he could be a monster. He could also be a major drop away from a playoff win. Time will tell but I think under Mann any focus and body catch issues he has will be corrected throughout the 2014 season. Get reps with Ben and make those catches.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Ben better get to work on those deep throws. Since the Wallace days he usually underthrows them, resulting in contested balls. I would rather he learns to throw it a little further, as it would create more easy TD’s as he catches these speed demons at full gallop and going away. I can easily live with some incompletions, as they are preferable to INT’s. Practice, practice, practice.

  • John C

    One thing I like on some of these is how much he has the defender beat on the deep throws even though the passes were short. He should have caught the deep ball against Citadel but was probably so shocked that Boyd actually got it out there, he lost his mind and dropped it!! This season may be up and down for him but he definitely has the skills to be really good down the road. IMO

  • Iron Cadet

    I’m not really worried about his hand size, he had some ugly drops, but it’s not like kelvin benjamin didn’t either. Getting him in the 4th was great value because if he reaches his potential, we could be much more dangerous

  • RMSteeler

    Been saying the same thing about Ben’s deep balls. He needs to release sooner on the fast guys but it seems he doesn’t want to throw until he sees some separation. Has to trust the receiver more and get his timing right for each one. That does take ALOT of practice. Rarely overthrows the fast guys. They’re outrunning Ben’s arm because he waits too long. Frustrating to watch the small receivers coming back ot the ball for a contested catch when there would have been TD’s if hit in stride.There’s also the mystery rotator cuff injury he mentioned a couple of years ago and never was mentioned by anyone since.

  • Kurt Williams

    Agreed, some are tough to make a clear call as a drop or bad pass.

  • Kurt Williams

    Seems a lot of fans have forgotten about Markus Wheaton, he is the wild card here. We didn’t get to see much production last year due to the injuries, but the talent is there.

  • steeltown

    I haven’t. I think Teams are going to scheme towards A.Brown even more this year than last and that should give Wheaton (and Moore) more opportunities

  • Ike Evans

    ok, dave here is my question. From what you saw do you think Bryant is more of a natural hands catcher or a natural body cather? I didnt watch every game but i watched a few and from what I saw he is a natural hands catcher BUT it seems like whenever he has to use his body to catch a ball because of angle, trajectory, or maybe just bad decision making is when you see the drops or the double catches for the most part. I also think its a lack of concentration for a few of the drops…but if hes a natural body catcher then i believe he will have more trouble with drops then we think because some guys can live being body catchers but Im not sure this guy can. On the other hand…we may only bring him out in the red zone his rookie year anyway so it may not matter as much.

  • Lewis

    I think there are a lot of bad drops. Some were right in his gut. We can blame it on low throws, but those should be easy catches. At least Ben doesn’t underthrow his WR often, he just sails it over their head.

  • Lewis

    I think he lets the ball get to his body too often. I’d like to see him use his hands more. Especially if we expect him to fight for jump balls.

  • Ike Evans

    yeah guys forgot about wheaton …out of sight out of mind…i think the kid is going to break out

  • Iron Cadet

    his hand size is 9 1/2 or 9 4/8 Both of the top 2 receivers drafted, Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans hand sizes are 9 5/8. He doesnt have monster hands but he doesnt have an excuse to drop any balls

  • Iron Cadet

    i came away thinking the same thing after i watched more of his tape. he catches well with his hands but when he lets it get into his body he is more inconsistent. And if thats the case, then some coaching and experience should help a ton

  • Sonny-James

    All receivers have drops, but he has also had some really good catches where he showed strong hands and excellent concentration.

  • SteelersDepot

    it’s not he’s a Mike Wallace body catcher. He can high point and hand catch. He will let several into his body, however. Natural? Iv’e watched every catch. I would say half yes.

  • Brian Miller

    Every receiver in the draft has warts, except maybe Watkins…Obviously he is a risk since we got him in the 4th…but is there a receiver with a bigger upside and ceiling? I don’t think so. I get the drops…but AB drops at least 1 ball every game it seems like, and Wallace dropped God knows how many in his career. I think if Dave’s prediction comes true and he can get 60 catches a year, that would be exceptional…on top of that if Wheaton does well this year, then we have a true #1, and two excellent #2’s!!

  • Milliken Steeler

    I hope he honestly works out for us. That being said, I would have chosen someone that was 6’3″ 219lbs and ran a 4.4 forty. Had 200 catches in two years not 60 in three. had 3100 yards receiving and 31 TD’s in those two years and….was drafted in the 7th round.

    I liked our draft and give it a B initially however, I would have went with one of the many talented CB’s in the 3rd and possibly an even better receiver in the later rounds.

  • scott2443

    like i said before till he drops a game wining ball hes the guy to go to if open..how many drops did sammy watkins have would be my question

  • PA2AK

    Agreed, but Ben also had to put it on the money for Wallace to catch it. He was never really one to catch with his hands, jump, layout, or make adjustments to the ball. Aside from his effort in running fast, Wallace didn’t bring much else.

  • AzheDraven

    How did Tajh Boyd got drafted? How did he make look Watkins so good to be the 4th overall?

  • Arthur Branch

    This kid was playing behind Watkins and Hopkins his first 2 years. They were both high first round draft picks. To me that’s why his production was low. I can’t compare Jeff Janis’s production at Division 2 Saginaw Valley St. to what Bryant did at Clemson, the conference that the National Championship team came from. The knock on Janis is small hands and doesn’t play to his size. We have work out warrior in Moye already.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Moye, is nothing like Jeff Janis. Jeff will make the Greenbay squad and the rest will be history. Janis is a 219 lb strong receiver with speed, Moye well…is not strong at all.

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