Well if you want to know how good they are we have a rather excellent area in our premium area that gives each player a grade based on their body of work for an entire season. If you don’t believe in the power of the premium, then we have forgotten about you either. So to quench your thirst for cornerback numbers we’re going to give you some of the most relevant numbers from the 2011 regular season.
Looking for the best and worst performers when it comes to yards and receptions allowed and more? Then look no further with our glancing look at the 2011 cornerback numbers.Particularly looking at which cornerbacks were targeted most and which allowed the fewest receptions. Consider this a teaser piece to some of the data we have in our Signature Stats that tells you which corners see the most targets and which give up the most yardage on a per-snap basis.
That’s the kind of detail we go into.
Anyway, less of the patting ourselves on the back and more of the numbers … that’s why you came here, right?
There’s no point beating around the bush. Which player has drawn the wrath of quarterbacks the most this year? Well, it’s a name that may be a bit of a surprise to some until you think about how much time the Saints spend playing with a lead: Jabari Greer. The Saint has been thrown at 121 times this year; once more than Detroit’s Eric Wright. Wright’s spot can be understood too, as he (beyond having a pretty poor year) manned the slot in nickel situations–which always increased the likelihood of QBs coming after you.
To round out the Top 5, you’ve got Jason McCourty, Charles Tillman and rookie Patrick Peterson. An interesting mix of players with Peterson having plenty of issues (as a cornerback) in Year 1, though his performances at the end of the year suggest he could be the kind of player to make a Sean Weatherspoon-style leap in terms of improving his play. McCourty (who was targeted 16 more times than his brother Devin) and Tillman can take solace in that–despite how often they were targeted–they each only gave up one touchdown. Here are the Top 10 most targeted cornerbacks along with the number of receptions they allowed; the Top 5 in targets were also the Top 5 in receptions given up.[table "247" not found /]
Making Them Work
Being targeted and giving up receptions is one thing … what about the completion percentage when teams are going after a cornerback? Let’s take a look at which corners allowed the lowest completion percentage first. At the top of that list you have none other than Darrelle Revis. Who saw that coming? Interestingly, in second place is Ike Taylor, who despite that game against Denver isn’t a terrible cornerback–he just impersonated one for a highly-watched playoff matchup. His finish is all the more impressive given that he tracked receivers like Wes Welker and Larry Fitzgerald this year. Other players in the Top 5 are soon-to-be free agent Brent Grimes, Carolina Panther Chris Gamble, and Sheldon Brown. Just behind them, the only rookie to crack the Top 10 makes his presence felt–not the aforementioned Peterson, but rather Richard Sherman. Great drafting Seattle. Here’s the top 10:[table "249" not found /]
Unfortunately, you’ve got to have some people who don’t do quite as well in this stat and it needs to come with a heavy disclaimer. Some play the slot alone, and some play it in nickel situations and, as a result, they’re likely to be targeted a little bit more than your average CB. It will inspire some slot cornerback rankings from us in our Signature Stat section, but for now, just know that this is part of the reason why you see corners like Captain Munnerlyn, Tracy Porter and Orlando Scandrick near the bottom. So, with that statement in mind, here’s the Bottom 10:[table "250" not found /]
And what about yardage … which corner gave up the most this year? It’s a little unfair since he has faced Calvin Johnson and does man up with a team’s top receiver, but the title-holder here is Tramon Williams who broke the 1,000-yard mark this season along with Devin McCourty. It should be noted that, while McCourty received a negative grade for his coverage, Williams didn’t, demonstrating his playmaking with four picks and 12 pass break ups. Other names in the Top 5 include Tillman and Peterson, along with DeAngelo Hall. The Redskin cornerback traditionally finishes high on this list and this year is no different. Here’s the Top 10 in receiving yards allowed:[table "248" not found /]
Lastly, we’re going to give you two tables that show what a quarterback’s rating looks like when they throw at a certain cornerback. Again, you have Revis at the top, with Gamble and Taylor making appearances in the Top 5, but I also get to mention Asante Samuel and the highly impressive Lardarius Webb for the first time. Here are the lowest (and best) 10 ratings:[table "251" not found /]
And here are the highest (and worst) 10 ratings: (It’s probably best for any Quentin Jammer fans to turn away)[table "252" not found /]
Numbers without context can be an awful thing and you can read a lot into what these say, but know that they’re by no means definitive on their own or combined. We always prefer our grading in situations like this where context can be taken into account … a dropped pass when a cornerback was beaten, just what exactly the cornerback did to force an incompletion, and so on.
But numbers are fun, and while we wait for the divisional round of the playoffs (and before Tebow kills the internet), it doesn’t hurt to have a look and make something out of them.