Cornerbacks: A Glance at the 2011 Numbers

| 5 years ago

Cornerbacks: A Glance at the 2011 Numbers

One of most common questions we get on twitter is in regards to cornerbacks. Precisely how many receptions have they given up, how many yards have they allowed and how good are they.

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?


Marked Men

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.

1Jabari GreerNO12167
2Eric WrightDET12075
3Jason McCourtyTEN11771
4Charles TillmanCHI11567
5Patrick PetersonARZ11367
6Cary WilliamsBLT11158
7Tim JenningsCHI11063
8Corey WebsterNYG10861
9Tramon WilliamsGB10861
10Carlos RogersSF10656


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:

RankNameTeamTARec% Ct
1Darrelle RevisNYJ853541.2
2Ike TaylorPIT964041.7
3Brent GrimesATL562544.6
4Chris GambleCAR602745.0
5Sheldon BrownCLV763546.1
6Antonio CromartieNYJ843946.4
7Richard ShermanSEA843946.4
8Asante SamuelPHI612947.5
9Joe HadenCLV854249.4
10Brandon CarrKC793949.4


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:

RankNameTeamTARec% Ct
66Captain MunnerlynCAR614573.8
65Jacob LaceyIND685073.5
64Tracy PorterNO735271.2
63Jerraud PowersIND594169.5
62Orlando ScandrickDAL624369.4
61Aaron RossNYG845767.9
60DeAngelo HallWAS946367.0
59Kyle WilsonNYJ604066.7
58Cedric GriffinMIN644265.6
57Quentin JammerSD664365.2


Covering Ground

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:

1Tramon WilliamsGB108611034
2Devin McCourtyNE101621004
3Patrick PetersonARZ11367869
4DeAngelo HallWAS9463858
5Charles TillmanCHI11567850
6Eric WrightDET12075842
7Brandon BrownerSEA9554830
8Cary WilliamsBLT11158822
9Aaron RossNYG8457811
10Kyle ArringtonNE10054810



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:

RankNameTeamNFL Rating
1Darrelle RevisNYJ45.6
2Asante SamuelPHI52.4
3Chris GambleCAR53.3
4Ike TaylorPIT54.8
5Lardarius WebbBLT56.2
6Richard ShermanSEA57.3
7Patrick RobinsonNO59.3
8Brandon CarrKC61.7
9Carlos RogersSF61.9
10Brent GrimesATL62.9


And here are the highest (and worst) 10 ratings:  (It’s probably best for any Quentin Jammer fans to turn away)

RankNameTeamNFL Rating
1Quentin JammerSD129.9
2Captain MunnerlynCAR126.9
3E.J. BiggersTB119.2
4Cedric GriffinMIN114.1
5Justin KingSL113.1
6Kareem JacksonHST110.9
7Aqib TalibTB109.8
8Devin McCourtyNE106.2
9Drayton FlorenceBUF103.3
10Aaron RossNYG102.8


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.


Follow Khaled on Twitter @PFF_Khaled and be sure to follow our main Twitter feed @ProFootbalFocus


  • ntahan

    In all fairness to Tramon Williams, he went up against Calvin twice

    • drgarnett

      Even if you take away Calvin Johnson’s performance, Williams has given up a whopping 16 yards per pass reception. Last year he was giving up a lot of yards per reception too, but no one paid much attention because the Packers defense played much better. He gets the turnovers, yes, but he plays soft and give up a lot of yards too.

  • snowman88

    are u guys going to do a slot CB signature stat like u do slot receivers??

    • Neil Hornsby

      Such a good call. We had it in mind and missed it. I’ll get our super IT guru on it now.

  • MikeG

    Revis is so good its scary. Makes me wonder how anyone could ever claim Nnamdi was better. Revis is the best corner of all time.

    • Tom

      Well last year Nnamdi was targeted 29 times out of 441 plays for 6.58%. Out of those 29 targets, he let up 13 catches. Same time period Revis was targeted 67 times and let up 28 catches.

    • Anthony

      Of all time? So you’ve reviewed every NFL season and every game with each corner? Doubtful. Revis is good. But if he’s the best, why did he only have 4 pics an one returned for a TD? Ask primetime or rod woodson who the best ever is. It will not be revis

  • Tom

    Can you tell us Nnamdi’s stats this year?

    • Rick Drummond

      571 coverage snaps, targeted 47 times, allowed 29 catches (61.7%), 376 yards, QB rating against of 88.6.

  • dinisco

    how does this analysis account for situations when CB’s are supposed to be getting help over the top?

    • Neil Hornsby

      It doesn’t. Just like all base stats don’t account for various things. For example plays where CBs are beaten but the pass is dropped, passes where the CB gives up a TD but the play is called back for holding. That’s exactly why we grade so we can take all of that into consideration. As Khaled says at the bottom (well actually implies) – numbers without context can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

  • MikeG

    Tom, Nnamdis numbers from Oakland were mostly based on the style of defense, teams didn’t throw at him because they didn’t need to (he only played 1 side of the field so offenses would move their top wide out to the other side), since signing with philly and playing in a new defense, he has been exposed. The fact that Revis gets less safety help than any corner in the league only makes his numbers even more impressive.

    • Tom

      No doubt that Revis is better than Nnamdi, but I was just telling you the stats which make it appear that Nnamdi is better. Still though the scheme that they were using Nnamdi in this year was awful. I still would like to know Nnamdi’s stats this year and how they compare to the rest of the people listed above.

  • MikeG

    Also 13 catches on 29 targets is a worse stop percentage than Revis’ 28 catches on 67 targets.