It can be very difficult to look at the statistics of cornerbacks in the NFL and be able to tell who is really good and who is not so good. Some people see a lot of interceptions and think a player is really good, even though it could be that there is a reason balls are thrown his way very often and/or he’s out of position quite a bit.
But, FootballOutsiders.com does a pretty good job of crunching the numbers so we can see who really isn’t doing their job. Here is how Aarch Schatz describes his system:
I’ve ranked all cornerbacks with at least 40 charted passes, which means 83 total cornerbacks. I’ve removed passes marked as Hail Mary, Hit in Motion, Tipped at Line, or Thrown Away. I’ve also removed wide receiver screens, which aren’t really a good way to measure cornerback coverage because a cornerback in man coverage is going to (or at least, is supposed to) immediately get blocked out of the play by another wide receiver. Right now I’m only looking at primary defenders, so this is not adjusted to account for double coverage, or plays where the charter marks a hole in zone but lists an appropriate zone defender in the second DEFENDER column. There are no opponent adjustments yet, and pass interference is not yet included.
Photo Caption: What more evidence do you need to prove that the Pro Bowl is a joke?
So, they do their best to be fair, but even they can admit that none of this is perfect. But when you rank the worst cornerbacks in the league on several different categories (YAC, Success Rate, and Yards per Pass) and you see the same names showing up? It’s a decent indicator that those guys aren’t very good.
Houston Texans first-round pick Kareem Jackson had a particularly tough year. While he isn’t in the bottom ten for Success Rate, he is numero uno on the lists of worst YAC and worst Yards per Pass. Although, we probably didn’t need stats to know that Jackson was horrific last year. He was the poster child of a terrible secondary.
Surprise, surprise, DeAngelo Hall of the Washington Redskins made the top three on all three lists. People see that he picks off some passes (or listen to him speak about how great he is) and think he’s a good player. I’ve thought he was a fraud for years.
Another guy who showed up on all three lists is Baltimore Ravens CB Fabian Washington. Remember when the Oakland Raiders traded up in the first round of the 2005 draft? They traded up right in front of the Green Bay Packers. “Oh! They’re going to grab the sliding Aaron Rodgers!” Nope, they took Fabian Washington, the corner from Nebraska who had great speed but that many draftniks said “lacked ball skills.” Sooooo…..he’s just a fast guy that’s not really good at football? It would seem so, even six years after the fact. And when you stink up the joint with a front seven like the Ravens have, then yeah…that’s pretty bad.
Another guy we’d like to bring up is Dallas Cowboys corner Mike Jenkins (all the guys I’ve singled out are former first-round picks, just FYI). Cowboys fans don’t need no stinkin’ numbers to tell them that Jenkins blew hamsters last year. He’s in the top five on two of these lists, not appearing on the YAC list. So maybe he’s a decent tackler. Now, he just needs to learn not to tackle people before they catch the ball.
Thanks to FootballOutsiders.com for putting these lists together. You really should check out their site.