Maintaining possession of the football is just about the most important thing for a player to do if and when he touches it. The National Football League is filled with talented players that are notorious for their inability to hold onto the ball and are often chastised by the media and coaches.
Tom Brady is often praised as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history, largely due to his ability to avoid turnovers. Brady threw just four interceptions and lost one fumble last season over the course of 492 pass attempts.
With organizations focused on filling their needs with free agency in the coming months, let’s take a look at the top 10 most notable players who have consistently shown an ability to avoid turnovers.
Ronnie Brown has spent his first six seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, proving to be a reliable source of offensive production both rushing and recieving.
While Brown did have two turnovers in 2010, his 200 rush attempts and 33 receptions proves that it doesn’t occur very frequently. He also only had two turnovers from 2007-2009.
With 2,900 yards rushing and 983 yards receiving over the last four seasons with just four turnovers is fairly impressive.
While Peyton Manning did throw 17 interceptions last season, he lost just one fumble and that was over the course of 679 pass attempts. Manning’s interceptions are also much less noticeable because he frequently is among the league leaders in touchdown passes.
Considering how many pass attempts the Indianapolis Colts have per game with Manning at the helm, it is impressive that his turnovers are as few as they are. He hasn’t thrown over 20 interceptions in a season since 2001 and he has just one lost fumble in the last three years.
Manning’s ability to consistently throw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns a year with those kind of numbers is astounding.
Although Sidney Rice is coming off of a disappointing season that saw him start just five games, his 2009 campaign allowed him to prove himself among the league’s best wide receivers.
Over the course of four seasons in the NFL, Rice has accumulated 2,129 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns. Only once has he committed a turnover.
Despite just a 17-reception, 280-yard 2010, Rice will still be of interest to many teams this offseason, especially at just 24 years of age.
Alex Smith may not be putting up any ridiculous numbers, but he’s still one of the more reliable quarterbacks available on the market in terms of turnovers.
Smith’s numbers from last season were decent—14 touchdowns, 2,370 yards and 10 interceptions.
Not bad numbers for 10 starts and 342 pass attempts.
Smith also has only lost three fumbles in the last two seasons, improving significantly since his first few seasons in the NFL.
Although Cadillac Williams hasn’t broke the 1,000 yard rushing mark since his first season in the NFL, his ability to avoid turnovers has improved.
In the last three seasons, over the course of 399 rush attempts and 81 receptions, Williams has fumbled just once per season and only one of them was actually turned over.
Williams has proved to provide diverse options in the backfield through his ability to rush and receive effectively, while his ability to hold onto the ball makes him a more valuable asset.
The Arizona Cardinals have had the services of Steve Breaston for the last four seasons. In that time, Breaston has accumulated 187 receptions and 2,528 yards receiving. He’s also tacked on an additional 95 yards rushing in just nine attempts.
Over the course of 196 touches in his NFL career, Breaston’s sole turnover came in 2009.
Vincent Jackson has spent all six years of his NFL career on the San Diego Chargers and although it looks like that’s where he’ll be remaining in 2011, he’s still one of the obvious picks for “least turnover-happy.”
Although he played in just five games in 2010, accumulating 14 receptions and 248 yards, Jackson has over 1,000 yards in both 2008 and 2009.
Over the course of his 3,648 yards receiving, 110 yards rushing, and 28 career touchdowns, Jackson has committed just one turnover, proving to be one of the most reliable players on the market.
Michael Bush spent the first three seasons of his NFL career playing for the Oakland Raiders where he accumulated 1,665 yards rushing in 376 attempts and 461 yards receiving in 54 catches.
One of the most impressive parts of his tenure in Oakland is that he fumbled just three times in his first two seasons and managed to not have a single turnover in 2010.
Having a career average of 4.4 yards per carry, coupled with his 8 touchdowns and zero turnovers last season makes Bush an eye-catching free agent this offseason.
Terrell Owens may not be the most likeable player in the NFL, but he’s one of the more reliable in terms of turnovers. Over the course of his 15 seasons in the league, Owens has lost just seven fumbles. For someone who has had 1,078 receptions and 39 rush attempts, that’s awfully impressive.
And while many of Owens critics claim he has been declining in recent years, his nine touchdowns and 983 yards receiving last season argue otherwise. Another argument against his decline is that Owens has lost just one fumble in the last six seasons and two in the last 10.
Sure, Owens will be remembered for his astounding career reception and yardage totals, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he was rather reliable with the ball in his hands—and we’re not talking about dropped passes here.
Malcom Floyd has had an impressive last few seasons in the NFL, averaging about 18 yards per catch and scoring 11 touchdowns.
Even more notable is that over the course of his seven seasons in the league, Floyd has never had a single turnover. 2,314 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns without turning the ball over once.
Coming off of two strong seasons, Floyd is a reliable addition to any receiving corps.