Darrius Heyward-Bey was a bust in Oakland.
Yes, he was. I know some would think that 140 catches for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns doesn't make a player a bust, but when that player is taken 7th overall, given at least $23.5 million in guaranteed money, and never develops into a reliable pass catcher... yeah, that's a bust.
Still, in fairness to Heyward-Bey, it's not like the Oakland Raiders are the model franchise of stability in the NFL. Since his rookie season, he's has to catch passes from the likes of JaMarcus Russell, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer, and Terrelle Pryor.
Seven quarterbacks in four years.
A marriage to Kim Kardashian would be more "stable" than that.
However, despite all the quarterback shuffling, Heyward-Bey hasn't exactly been consistent either. As Pro Football Focus recently noted, Heyward-Bey's rookie season in 2009 was pretty puke-inspiring. To put that into context just how bad it was, last year we all saw how Donnie Avery drop footballs as often as Keith Richards dropped acid. Avery's drop rate in 2012 was the worst of any active WR, 16.67%. Amazingly, T.Y. Hilton was actually tied with Avery in drop rate, making him equally terrible at catching football he should.
Heyward-Bey's drop rate was 35.7% his rookie year!
To Heyward-Bey's credit, from 2010-2011, he got better. Significantly better. The drop rate fell to 21.6% in 2010 and went even further to a very respectable 8.6% in 2011. It spiked back up to 12.8% in 2012, which still kept him out of Avery-Hilton territory.
Ideally, you don't want that drop rate number to get above 10%. These are professional football players, and WRs who drop passes are effectively worthless no matter how fast their legs can make them run. The hope has to be that, with an accurate Andrew Luck, Heyward-Bey can become more reliable as a receiver.
Per @pff, Heyward-Bay has been targeted past 20 yards 75 times. With 11 receptions, his catch rate is 14.6.— Chuck Kingsbury (@ChuckKingsbury) April 2, 2013
Again, that drop rate number has to go down, but if there is ever a place where Heyward-Bey can achieve that, it's in Indianapolis.