Neil’s NFL Daily: April 24, 2013

In today's Daily, Neil Hornsby explores slot cornerback play in more depth and addresses questions relating to blitz percentages.

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: April 24, 2013

Yesterday brought no real news but enough speculation to keep the uninitiated whirling like tops. At the moment all three teams picking first seem to be linked with left tackles (by at least some pundit or other) despite all three currently having perfectly good players in that position. It could easily be argued that Branden Albert (KC), Eugene Monroe (JAX), and Jared Veldheer (OAK) are Top 10 players at their positions so replacing them with players who are highly unlikely to be significant improvements would seem bizarre. However short-sighted that may appear to me, stranger things have happened and the history of drafting is littered with far worse blunders than this potential episode for the Twilight Zone.

It’s also fair to point out, though, that all of those teams do have real problems at right tackle and even if the incumbent isn’t traded he could be moved or the draftee could be put on the other side of the line. Regardless, perhaps a more obvious take is that having a quality player at left tackle really isn’t that much of an advantage if the Chiefs, Jaguars, and Raiders ended up with the first overall choices.

Wednesday, April 24 

Covering the Slot

Devoid of news to comment on, I thought I might provide a little more insight into the position of slot corner. Our premium subscribers already enjoy the base numbers for slot corner play within our “Signature Stats” section, but what we don’t currently provide is any associated grading. Therefore, I pulled the database, constructed a few pivot tables, and came up with the following information which I thought you might find interesting:

I’ve used our grading and re-normalized with slot coverage taken as a separate facet of play. Here are the Top 20 guys (with over 100 snaps in coverage) rated by performance in the slot:

RankPlayerTeamTotal CB SnapsTotal CB GradeOutside SnapsOutside GradeSlot SnapsSlot Grade
1Casey HaywardGB47020.8794.539116.3
2Chris Harris Jr.DEN50817.21394.036913.2
3Joselio HansonOAK3416.325-1.43167.7
4Leon HallCIN5289.02131.43157.6
5Antoine WinfieldMIN6427.0166-0.34767.3
6Robert McClainATL39211.7544.93386.8
6Cortez AllenPIT33410.21163.42186.8
8Carlos RogersSF7104.1149-1.25615.3
8Jacob LaceyDET3390.588-4.82515.3
10Buster SkrineCLV467-4.4279-8.91884.5
11D.J. MooreCHI2613.64-0.42574.0
11Javier ArenasKC3692.975-1.12944.0
13Lardarius WebbBLT1781.048-2.31303.3
14Darius ButlerIND2656.3853.11803.2
15Orlando ScandrickDAL2022.930.11992.8
16Eric WrightTB311-0.7212-3.1992.4
17Morris ClaiborneDAL486-1.6477-3.992.3
17Kyle WilsonNYJ472-3.4288-5.71842.3
19Antonio CromartieNYJ5488.14895.9592.2
19Brandon BoykinPHI3572.8240.63332.2
19Elbert MackNO1651.719-0.51462.2

Perhaps the most interesting thing to take from this is both Kyle Wilson of the Jets and Buster Skrine of the Browns (who both graded negatively overall) were significantly better (and actually good ) in the slot.

Now here is the bottom 20:

RankPlayerTeamTotal CB SnapsTotal CB GradeOutside SnapsOutside GradeSlot SnapsSlot Grade
114Trevin WadeCLV127-1.800.0127-1.8
115Richard CrawfordWAS1540.1922.362-2.2
115Coty SensabaughTEN215-2.816-0.6199-2.2
115Corey WebsterNYG569-12.1558-9.911-2.2
118Corey WhiteNO268-4.827-2.3241-2.5
119Michael HuffOAK493-3.4444-0.849-2.6
119Brandon McDonaldTB143-4.926-2.3117-2.6
121Cassius VaughnIND504-11.2487-8.217-3.0
122Brandon HarrisHST178-4.417-0.6161-3.8
123Patrick PetersonARZ5525.64999.653-4.0
123Ellis LanksterNYJ225-2.61561.469-4.0
123Janoris JenkinsSL571-8.0554-4.017-4.0
126Mike JenkinsDAL212-4.2880.2124-4.4
127Dunta RobinsonATL596-6.3543-1.853-4.5
128Marcus GilchristSD370-6.312-0.7358-5.6
129Dominique Rodgers-CromartiePHI552-2.95143.038-5.9
130Ryan MoutonTEN225-6.010.0224-6.0
131Johnny PatrickNO151-8.0105-1.846-6.2
132Jayron HosleyNYG280-9.798-1.5182-8.2
133Brice McCainHST341-7.7391.5302-9.2
134Justin RogersBUF372-9.230.1369-9.3

Standing out is the fact that Patrick Peterson, a player who did well on the outside, had some issues when in the slot, although the sample size is relatively low. This is something to watch out for going forward in 2013 and see if he takes this role less often or see if he starts becoming targeted more frequently when in that position.


PFF Mailbag

Quick question: how do you guys define a blitz? 5+ rushers? – @Bucs_Nation

On the back of my blitz table in yesterday’s mailbag, a number of people asked the above question.

The answer to this one specifically is no, you could have five or six men with their hands down in goal line but if it’s a pass and they all rush this isn’t a blitz. Similarly if you rush three down linemen and bring a corner or slot guy this clearly is.

In simple terms, we say if at any time you bring a DB  that is automatically a blitz and beyond that it relates to how many guys have their hands down and how many additional people rush.

A lot of the teams we work with have different definitions of a blitz, but as we collect data that says not only how many defenders rushed but who they were and from what position, we can easily build an algorithm to allow people to use whatever rule they want.


Catch up on past editions of Neil’s NFL Daily


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| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

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